Passing of Newt Knight

Obituary for Newt Knight, self proclaimed governor of The Free State of Jones

 

220px-Newton-knight

The following obituary is copied from The Ellisville Progress Newspaper, March 16, 1922.  No changes or corrections made.  It was reprinted in our book Secrets of Historic Deason Home.

A unique character of national repute passed away at his home several miles north of Soso,  Miss., about three weeks ago.  For some unaccountable reason the newspapers failed to hear of his death or else the account of his death would have been given wide publicity.  Newt Knight was about ninety years of age when he died.  His claim to notoriety was due to the fact that he walked off from the Confederate army sometimes after enlisting, and organized a band of deserters which held together until the close.  Capt. Knight and his followers held that after the twenty negro law was passed during the war they had no interest in the fortunes of the Confederacy, and it became their own families, and there was a great deal of truth in their connection.

Note: Newton “Newt” Knight –  born Nov 10, 1829, died Feb 16, 1922 – Buried in the Knight Family Cemetery Jasper County, MS. Dates are as recorded on tombstone.

For more information about the Deason Home, please visit our website at http://www.deasonhome.org and be sure to like us on Facebook – (Deason Home).

Background before you see the movie..

Did Newt Knight shoot Amos McLemore?

This Friday, the movie The Free State of Jones will be showing in a theater near you.  There has been a lot of talk about the movie and its connection to the Deason Home.  To start this blog, I wanted to give you the story of Newt Knight’s association with this historic home.  The following is an excerpt from our book, Secrets of Historic Deason Home, published in 2002 by the Tallahala Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, owners of the home.

“It was on a dark and stormy night in 1863 that Major Amos McLemore stared into the fire, exhausted.  Somewhere in the dark of the night, the War Between the States raged on.  He sighed and sat down in the old wooden rocker.  Laying his sidearms down on the table, he wrenched off his mud-encrusted boots.  It was good to be in a warm, comfortable place tonight.  His soldiers were quartered elsewhere but his friends Amos and Eleanor Deason, had invited him to stay at their home.  He was happy to accept.

McLemore’s eyes were getting heavy and his head was nodding.  Outside, unknown to the tired man, Newt Knight was stealing up on the house with some of his followers.  Newt being the self proclaimed leader of the band of Leaf River Rowdies that Major McLemore may have been sent to apprehend and Newt was determined not to be caught.  Suddenly the door to the room was flung open.  Newt Knight stormed into the room, shot Amos McLemore, and vanished into the night.  The wind moaned as Amos fell and died* in front of the fireplace.  Other accounts state that Newt Knight shot him through a window.

The family was shocked, the town grieved and the soldiers swore to avenge their Major’s death.  Eleanor Deason openly wept as she cleaned the blood of her friend from the floor and fireplace.  Major Amos’ lifeless body was taken home to his old homeplace where he was later mournfully buried and time passed.  Somehow Newt Knight always managed to evade capture and lived a long life. ”

*Correction to the story:  Major McLemore was taken home to Eastabuchie, where he died a few days later.

A few questions and answers:

Q. Was any of the movie filmed at the Deason Home?

A. No.  The movie was filmed in Louisiana.

Q. Will the Deason Home receive money from the movie company or proceeds from the movie?   Does the home receive government funding?

A. No.  The Deason Home has not received any money and does not anticipate receiving any money from the movie, although we would gladly accept if any money was offered!  The Deason Home is privately owned and we do not receive any money from the state or national government.  All money used for the upkeep and restoration of the home comes from tours, ghost hunts, sales of books and other products and donations from Tallahala members and the public.

Q. Will a home representing the Deason Home be in the movie?

A. Not having seen the movie, we do not really know.  However, many names were changed so characters in the movie that were based on real people now have different names.  It is not known whether or not the shooting of McLemore is in the movie at all.

The Deason Home is a wonderful home, full of history and character.  It is open the first and third Saturday of each month from 1 – 4 PM.  Private tours and ghost hunts can also be scheduled.  Contact us at 601-577-1066.  We hope you will find time to visit this summer!

Visit our website – http://www.deasonhome.org.