Biography of James E. Knight

CCC Man, Company 1813, Davis, Oklahoma & Company 868, Camp Green Mountain, Palisade Colorado

Corporal, 31st Infantry, United States Army, Bataan Death March, POW, World War II

     My father, James E. Knight was born November 17, 1910 in Stephenville, Erath, Texas, the eighth child of Thomas Presley Knight and Margaret Catherine Doughty. He attended Pawnee County Schools, Dist. No. 41 in Oklahoma in for five months in 1926 and also attended Gatesville High School in Gatesville, Texas in 1926.

     James worked 1926/1929 as a ranch hand at different ranches, herding as many as 12,000 cattle. In 1929/1930, he worked on his uncle, Sam Doughty's farm as a Farm Auto Mechanic. Where he repaired all types of brakes, clutches, aligned wheels and tightened body bolts. Used general mechanics tools.

     In 1934, he worked in the "Get it Done" C.C.C. camp, Company 1813, Camp SP-9, near Davis, Oklahoma on the tree detail. ( curator's note, if 1813 and 1934 are correct this Camp was considered by the CCC to be near Ardmore Oklahoma and is Camp SP-9).

     James worked for the railroad in 1935 near Maramac, Pawnee County, Oklahoma helping put down rails.

     In 1936 in the Company 868 C.C.C. Camp B.R.-59-CO. on Green Mountain near Palisade, Colorado.

     He married Irene Wright in 1939 (family members say they were not really married but his Military papers say he was married at the time of enlistment. They must have divorced sometime before 1942.) They had one child, James E. Knight, Jr.

     James had 15 years experience as a farmer prior to entering the military service. Worked on small farms in Oklahoma and also on his father's farms in Texas.

     He entered the military January 8, 1941 at San Francisco, California, he lived in Stockton, California at the time of enlistment. He was in the Cpl 31 Inf, United States Army, World War II, Philippine Islands as a Auto Mechanic, worked in the motor pool, repaired all types of military vehicles, over hauling motors, checking brakes, clutches, ignition systems, carburetors, differentials, body bolts and lubrication.

     He married in 1942 in the Philippines Islands, Maria ? , she died in the hospital where she went to give birth when the Japanese bombed it. The fate of her child is not known. He was stationed on the Bataan Peninsula at the time of the American Surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, was in the Bataan Death March, was a Japanese Prisoner of War for 3 years and 8 months and left the military at the rank of Corporal with an Honorable Discharge at the Separation Center at Camp Beale, California on June 7, 1946.

     He married 1946 in Pawnee, Pawnee, Oklahoma, Irene Besse (This marriage lasted six months.)

     James moved to Wichita, Kansas and worked for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company from December 1946 until June 1948 as an Extra Gang and Section Man.

     He married August 7, 1948 in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas, Ruth Josiephene Prochaska Bartlett. They had two children, Catherine Inez Knight and Nellie Ruth Knight.

     In 1949 to 1950, James attended Kansas State Tech. College in Pittsburg, Kansas, in the fall of 1950 he moved to Ralston, Oklahoma and worked as a carpenter.

     He died June 11, 1951 at Pawnee Municipal Hospital in Pawnee, Pawnee, Oklahoma and was buried June 15, 1951 at Riverside Cemetery, Ralston, Pawnee,Oklahoma.

     His brother, Chester Knight also worked at these two CCC camps at the same time my father did.

     I am sending you some pictures of dad when he was in the camps.

----- Nellie Barnes


LtoR, Joe Shrrod, Doug Allen, James Knight, 1936, James E. Knight, CCC Man, Company 868, Camp BR-59-CO, Camp Green Mountain, Palisade Colorado

Tree Detail, 1934, James E. Knight, CCC Man, Company 1813, SP-9, Ardmore/Davis, Oklahoma

LtoR, James Knight, Doug Allen, Joe Shrrod, crossing a rock slide while climbing Green Mountain, 1936, James E. Knight, CCC Man, Company 868, Camp BR-59-CO, Camp Green Mountain, Palisade Colorado

LtoR, James Kinght, Joe Shrrod, Doug Allen, 1936, James E. Knight, CCC Man, Company 868, Camp BR-59-CO, Camp Green Mountain, Palisade Colorado



Please Share your Stories! E-mail the Curator to share or discuss or with any questions!