George A. Knight, of San Francisco, has for a quarter of a century figured prominently in the legal and political affairs of California and his political activity has also gained for him a prominent place in national history.
George A. Knight is descended from Revolutionary ancestors and was born in New England, his birth occurring in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1851. George H. Knight, his father, was a native of Providence, Rhode Island; and his mother, Elizabeth McFarland, of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, her people being early settlers of New Brunswick. In 1853, George H. Knight, who was a prominent merchant in Providence, Rhode Island, disposed of his interests there and, accompanied by his family, wife and two sons, Fred S. and George A., came to California, making the journey via the Isthmus of Panama. They located in Eureka, Humboldt county, where Mrs. Knight's two brothers, Alexander and George McFarland, had settled in 1849, and Mr. Knight was jointly interested in mining properties with them for a number of years, until his death in 1858.
At the time the Knight family took up their residence in California George A. was a small child. His education was obtained in the public schools of Humboldt county and in Oakland College. During his school days he sold newspapers and worked in the printing office of the Humboldt Times, which paper was then edited by Judge Van Dyke, now associate justice of the supreme court. Leaving school at the age of eighteen, he entered the office of Judge J. E. Wyman in Eureka and took up the study of law. He was admitted to practice in the supreme court in 1872 and that same year was elected district attorney of Humboldt county, an office to which he was twice re-elected, and served in all six years. At an early age his interest in political affairs was most enthusiastic, and as he grew older his influence was directed along lines that helped materially to advance the interests of his party. The campaign of 1879 was one in which he made no less than sixty-two Republican speeches. He visited many places on his campaign tour that year in company with Senator Perkins, who was at the election which followed made governor of the state of California.
Mr. Knight practiced law in Eureka until 1880, when he removed to San Francisco. That year he was the Republican nominee for Congress in the northern district, but, as q880 was a year of Democratic victory in California, he was defeated by Campbell P. Berry. After his removal to San Francisco Mr. Knight formed a partnership with General Thomas J. Clunie, under the firm name of Clunie & Knight, which assocation continued for a period of five years, since which time Mr. Knight has practiced with Charles J. Heggerty, the firm being Knight & Heggerty. In 1882 he was appointed state insurance commissioner, under Governor Perkins, which office he filled four years. In 1888 he was honored by Governor Markham with appointment to the position of judge advocate on his staff, with rank of lieutenant colonel. Also by Governor Markham he was appointed attorney for the state board of health, a position to which he was also appointed by Governor Gage. Five times Mr. Knight has been a delegate to the Republican national convention, first, in 1884, when James G. Blaine was nominated, and again in 1892, 1896, 1900, and 1904. The last-named year he was chairman of the convention, and when President McKinley was nominated Mr. Knight, at the request of Mr. McKinley, seconded the nomination. He was likewise one of the foremost orators at the convention of 1904.
Mr. Knight has a wife and two sons. He married, in 1870, Miss Frances H., daughter of Judge J. E. Wyman. Judge Wyman came to California in 1850, from Woburn, Massachusetts, his native place, and was for many years judge of the superior court at Eureka. The Wymans, like the Knights, are descended from Revolutionary stock, and Mrs. Knight is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames. She is a native of Humboldt county, California. Their two sons are Fred S. and Charles E., the former a stock and bond broker of San Francisco, and the latter a national bank examiner.
Fraternally Mr. Knight is identified with the Pacific Union Club, the Bohemian Club, all the branches of Masonry and the Odd Fellows. He is past grand of the I. O. O. F.
Return to California AHGP home page
Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page