Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


AMMON KNIGHTEN. It is now becoming generally understood that the life of the man who lives closest to nature is the best life, and no class of men are in better position to receive the benefits which are thus to be derived than farmers. You study the merchant, the professional man, the artist, the preacher, statesmen and inventor to find their lives no more excellent than the lives of mechanics or farmers. While the farmer stands at the head of art as found in nature, the others get but glimpses of the delights of nature in its various elements and moods. Ammon Knighten, one of the most progressive general farmers and stockmen of Franklin township, Greene county, is one of our worthy citizens who has ever taken a delight in nature and existence, because he has been in touch with the springs of life, having spent his years on the farm.

Mr. Knighten was born on November 26, 1854, in Lawrence county, Arkansas. He is a son of William York Knighten and Sarah (Archey) Knighten, both natives of that state also, the father's birth occurring in Lawrence county, December 28, 1826, and there he grew to manhood and married. He was a life-long farmer. He remained in his native state until 1873 when he came with his family to Dade county, Missouri, where he farmed a year, then moved to Webster county, and a year later took up his residence in Dallas county, where he bought a farm of eighty acres on which he spent the rest of his life, dying there at the advanced age of eighty-two years. He was a successful general farmer and handled a great deal of live stock. He owned nearly four hundred acres of good land in Arkansas. He was three times married, first to a Miss Phillips, and to this union one child was born, Mrs. Sarah Thorne. The second wife of William Y. Knighten was known in her maidenhood as Sarah Archer, and to them eight children were born, namely: John Amonet is a practicing physician of Springfield; Ammon, subject of this sketch; William Thomas lives in Dade county, Missouri; Alice is deceased; William York, Jr., died in Greene county in 1901; Laura died in infancy; Mrs. Radie West lives in Lebanon, Laclede county, this state; Mrs. Effie Le Hew lives in Wisconsin. The mother of the above named children died on the home farm in Dallas county, Missouri, in February, 1877. The third marriage of William Y. Knighten was to Sally Stever, a native of Webster county, Missouri, and to this union four children were born, namely; Bogie, deceased; Mrs. Minnie Williams lives in Dallas county, this state; Winfrey also lives in that county; and Bertram, who lived on the farm with the subject of this sketch, died in 1894. Politically, William Y. Knighten was a Democrat, and he belonged to the Christian church.

Ammon Knighten grew to manhood on the home farm where he worked when a boy, and he received a common school education. He came to Greene county in January, 1891, locating at Hickory Barrens, Franklin township, ten miles northeast of Springfield. He learned the blacksmith's trade at Marshfield, Webster county, and there he maintained a shop for some time, and also had a shop at Hickory Barrens, where he spent eight years. He was regarded at both places as an exceptionally highly skilled workman. He also operated a store at the latter place, which he finally traded for a farm, and has since followed farming. He located on his present fine farm (The Mansel Patman homestead) in 1900. It is known as "The Prairie View Stock Farm." In connection with general farming he raises lives stock in large numbers, specializing in Aberdeen and Galloway cattle, mostly the latter breed. His registered pedigree bull "Laddie," an Aberdeen, known as "Prairie View Laddie No. 4," was bred by J. M. Jones, of Everton, Missouri. It is the sire of "Laddie Blanchard," and its register number is 177435. Mr. Knighten's fine stock is greatly admired by all, being superior quality. His farm contains over four hundred acres of excellent land. It is nearly all under cultivation, a small portion being in timber. It is well improved in every way, and he has a substantial and convenient group of buildings. Everything about his place denotes thrift and good -management. He also raises good horses, and the many cattle that he raises are sold to local buyers. He is one of the best judges of live stock in the county. He built his present handsome residence in 1906, and has made most of the other improvements on his farm.

Mr. Knighten was twice married, first, to Mary E. Dotson, July 10, 1873. She was born in Polk county, Missouri, but was reared in Arkansas. Her death occurred in 1891. To this union five children were born, namely: Samuel Arthur, who lives in Franklin township, near Fair Grove; Ida died when six years of age; Lona, wife of Claude L. Headlee, lives in Franklin township (a sketch of Mr. Headlee and family appears on another page of this work); John Albert is deceased; Pearl is also deceased.

On May 6, 1900, Mr. Knighten married for his second wife, Mary Jane Putman, a daughter of Mansel and Minerva (James) Putman. This second union has been without issue. A sketch of the Putman family will be found in another part of this volume.

Politically, Mr. Knighten is a Democrat, and fraternally he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Fair Grove. He was reared in the faith of the Missionary Baptist church. He is a congenial, quiet, plain gentleman and it is a pleasure to talk to him and visit his hospitable home. He is a man of strong intellectual endowment, and is deserving of much credit for his large success in life.

[1824-1826]


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