Don Carlos Knight
Emma Hale Smith spent the winter of 1846-47 in Fulton, Illinois, and had traveled upriver from Nauvoo with the Wesley Knight and Lorin Walker families. I became particularly interested in the Knight family when Steve and Linda Stuart shared a letter with me written by Joseph Smith III to Emma Knight Wythe Puffer, the daughter of Wesley and Louisa Cowles Knight. Emma’s sister, Mary Knight, married Daniel Hollinshead.
The first census recorded for the City of Fulton lists a Don Carlos Knight. I knew that Emma Hale Smith had had a child in 1840-41 named Don Carlos Smith. He was named for the brother of her husband, Joseph. Could her close friends the Knights, have had a son they named Don Carlos after the child of Emma and Joseph?
Mystery solved by THE FULTON WEEKLY: April 18, 1873.
A Sad and Fatal Accident
“Don C. Knight, formerly of this city, and brother of Mrs. L.F. Puffer, was so severely injured at the corner of Seventh and Poplar streets in St. Louis, on Sunday evening, the 5th inst. by a freight train of the Pacific Railroad backing into the street car which he was driving, that he died on the Thursday following. This news will make many hearts sad in this city and vicinity, where he had so long lived and was so well known.
It seems that he was driving his cars along 7th street, going south, at the same time a freight train was being backed up Poplar street, going west. The watchman on the Pacific railroad was lounging in a saloon at the time, and consequently no warning was given him of the approach of the train. There was a blinding storm also raging at the time. The car had scarcely touched the track before it was struck by the rear car of the freight train, staving in the forward end of the car, and throwing it and the horses from the track. Mr. Knight was found horribly mutilated lying under the car. The wheels had passed over his legs, which were both broken, two fingers of his left hand were cut off, and he sustained other injuries about the head and face. He was taken to the Hospital immediately where he lingered until the 10th inst. That the Pacific Railroad Company are to blame for this sad occurrence was established beyond doubt by the evidence at the Coroner’s inquest. Indeed everything connected with the matter tends to show it.
Mrs. Knight, mother of the deceased went down to St. Louis, where she was kindly treated by Col. Madison, the President of the street railway Company, and everything done to assuage her grief. The body was taken charge of by Col. M. and properly buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery. Mr. Knight was born in Hancock county in the State and was 29 years of age at the time of his death. He came to this city with his parents at an early age, and remained here until about eight years ago when he started for Kansas. He endeared himself to all with whom he became acquainted, by his many good qualities of mind and heart.
Mr. Puffer visited St. Louis a day or two since, and brought Mrs. Knight back with him. He says the Pacific Railroad Co. refuse to pay her any damages, taking the ground that they are not responsible for the acts of the employees. If that is their only defence, it is a very flimsy one.”