Knight Family

About the Knight Family

Elnora (Ellen Nora) Coats Knight (1864-1886) and her daughter, Edith Knight (1886-1897), are buried together in the Gualala Cemetery. While there are no records to corroborate, it is presumed that Elnora died during childbirth. Her daughter Edith died at the age of eleven due to unknown causes.

Elnora Coats was born on 31 July 1864 to Elisha Avery and Mary Catherine Coats. The couple had eleven children and are traced back to Wisconsin, where in 1874, their first known child was born. The family came west likely for land or gold, arriving in California by 1852. By 1860 they had settled in the Big Rock Township, southeast of Hopland.

The Coats family had moved to the coast by 1866. In 1874 Elisha Coats was granted through the government Land Scrip program 160 acres at Ferguson’s Cove Township (later called Iverson), a small settlement 5 miles south of Point Arena that was home to a doghole port called Rough and Ready. Land Scrip grants were issued as a reward to veterans, children of intermarried Native Americans, and to indemnify people who lost their valid land claims through General Land Office errors. Elisha was not known to have served in the war, or intermarried, so the latter was probably how he came into the property, known today as the Craig Ranch. Elisha Coats’s granddaughter, Mary Catherine Dunbar (daughter of Celina Coats and Allan Dunbar, a neighboring landowner) ultimately inherited the property and married Hugh Craig. The property has continued to be passed down in the Craig family.

Elnora, the youngest known child of the Coats family, married Charles Knight on 17 June 1883 in Point Arena Township, Mendocino County. Charles had emigrated to California with his father at the age of fifteen, first settling at Schooner Gulch, close to the Coats family. Charles and Elnora moved to Gualala, where he worked as the foreman at the Gualala Mill. In 1884, the couple had their first child, Chester Charles Knight (1884-1963). Their second child, Edith Ella Knight, was born two years later.

Chester Knight married Adelaide Bailey in San Pedro, California and had three children: Henry Knight, Edith Knight, and Jerald Knight. After his wife Elnora’s death, Charles Knight married Kate Randolph. They had two children Gladys and Laurence.

Elisha Coats died in 1880, his wife Mary Catherine remarried in 1886 to William Reiley, a native of Nova Scotia. Hardships continued for the family. Elnora’s older siblings Celina and Sylvester were both committed to the Mendocino State Hospital. As a result, Sylvester’s daughters were raised by other families, and his son raised by Mary Catherine Coats. Elnora’s known siblings were John Coats, Sylvester Coats (m. Lily Tolbert), Celina Coats (m. Allan Dunbar), William H Coats (m. Alice Morrison), and Francis “Frank” Coats (m. Nettie Hearn). Nettie is the granddaughter of Sarah Walton (1821-1886), who is also buried in the Gualala Cemetery.

Researched by Kelly S. Richardson, AP, AG. Anchored Genealogy