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09/24/2021 05:35 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

William James McKnight


Session Position District Party
1881-1882 37 Republican
1883-1884 37 Republican
 Counties   Indiana, Jefferson


1836 - 1918

Born on May 6, 1836, Brookville, Jefferson County, the son of Alexander and Mary Polly (Thompson) McKnight; attended common schools; worked on farms and as a typesetter for a local printer, who produced medical books.  McKnight studied the books he was printing; attended medical lectures; and opened an office in Brookville in 1857.  In 1859, he combined his practice with Dr. Niver in “Brockwayville,” then engaged in a pharmacy partner ship with his (half) brother, Thomas L. Templeton in Brookville, 1863.  During the Civil War, he served as Quartermaster Sgt. in Co. G, 57th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, two-month duty, 1863.  He developed his medical career by attending lectures in Philadelphia, receiving a medical degree, and later attended additional classes at Jefferson Medical College, graduating in 1884; continuing post graduate studies in the School of Anatomy.  While Dr. McKnight developed an interest in local politics at age sixteen, he failed to secure public office until 1881, when he was elected to the state Senate.  He served one, four-year term.  Dr. McKnight married Penelope Goddard Clark of Brookville in 1860.  He died in Brookville on October 12, 1918.