A PLACE IN HISTORY:
William H. Knight and his wife Carmel played a vital role in the Bear Flag Revolt of June 1846, in which a little handful of settlers and mountain men proclaimed California a free and independent republic and hoisted the Grizzly Bear flag, a symbol of strength & unyielding resistance, at Sonoma on 14 June 1846 at the opening of the Mexican War in California.
At Knights Landing, Mrs. Knight (Carmel) obtained sensitive intelligence from Mexican Lieutenant Francisco de Arci (Secretary of Gen. Castro) who was crossing the Sacramento River on her husband's ferry with horses on the evening of June 8th, 1846. Being a pretty woman from Santa Fe, she won his confidence, and he confided the secret of his mission for Mexican General Jose Castro to collect about 250 horses for the Mexican militia, which would be used against Captain Fremont & Governor Pio Pico & to force all American settlers out of the area and to put a stop to all new immigration. Carmel told her husband, William Knight, who bestrided his fleetest horse to warn Captain J.C. Fremont's camp at the confluence of the Feather and Yuba rivers, where he arrived early in the morning of June 9th and found a group of some 20 settlers.
Armed with this intelligence, on June 10, 1846, this small group of settlers and mountain men captured Lt. Arci & the horses, marking the first stroke of the Bear Flag Revolt. After taking the horses, the group headed to the small town of Sonoma, quietly arriving near dawn on Sunday morning, June 14, 1846. Without firing a shot, they took control capturing the Mesican leaders and officers, including General Mariano Vallejo.
Three of the men fashioned a flag from cotton cloth, red flannel and blackberry juice. Then this handful of some 24 to 33 men, including William H. Knight, proclaimed California a free and independent republic and hoisted the Grizzly Bear flag, a symbol of strength & unyielding resistance, at Sonoma on 14 June 1846 at the opening of the Mexican War in California.
Founder of the town Knights Landing (Sacramento river)
Founder of the town Knights Ferry (Stanislaus river)
William Knight, a practising physician from Baltimore, Maryland, had graduated in the study of medicine, explored the West as a mountain man, scout and fur trader, lived at Santa Fe', where he became a Mexican citizen, pushed on to Los Angeles in 1841, and in 1843, settled in Cache Creek twp, Yolo county founding the town of Knights Landing on the Sacramento River.
Then in the spring of 1849, this gentleman moved his family to a site rich in gold on the Stanislaus River and founded another town, Knights Ferry, establishing a ferry crossing there used heavily by the Gold Rush miners.
On Nov. 9, 1849, Dr. William Knight was gunned down and murdered "by a name lost to history" in the streets of Knights Ferry, a town he founded along with his wife and family only months earlier. Witness James G. Fair of "the Big Four" remarked it was "one of the most cold-blooded murders" he had ever witnessed.
William H. Knight, M.D., murdered in cold blood on the street, is buried where he died near the southeast corner of the Masonic Hall on the hill above the Plaza at a spot overlooking the Stanislaus River, Main Street, Knights Ferry, Stanislaus Co., CA
KNIGHTS FERRY TODAY:
Today a visit to Knights Ferry is not complete without a visit to the Knights Ferry Covered Bridge, built in 1863, which spans 330 feet and is the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. Adventurous souls may wish to take part in river rafting. The Knights Ferry to Orange Blossom rafting run can see an influx of over 1,000 people per day on busy weekends in the spring and summer.
-History of Sonoma County: including its geology..., San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1880, c 1879. (p 93...)
-Pub 1882; Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen, & Sierra Counties: with California from 1513 to 1850, p109
-History of Yolo County, California with biographical sketches..., Chap 7, p 28, Author Tom Gregory, Historic Record Company, 1913
"The Searcher" October 1988, Pages 192-198
A contributor suggested birth 1800 at Anapolis, MD, source not shared.
See more Knight memorials in: