James Knott, of Nansemond, Gent.

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James Knott

Also Known As: "James fitz Barnard Knott", "I"
Birthplace: England
Death: between September 04, 1651 and May 13, 1653 (48-51)
Old Charles County, Maryland
Immediate Family:

Son of Barnard Knott and Alice Knott
Husband of Elinor Knott
Father of Francis Knott; Elizabeth Thomas; Bernard Knott; Nathaniel Knott; William Knott, Sr. and 1 other
Brother of E. M. Collins

Occupation: Planter
Immigration: 1617 - James Knott arrived aboard "The George" from the Port of London to Virginia
Jamestowne Society Ancestor #: A4609
Managed by: John Lawrence Dooley, Jr
Last Updated:

About James Knott, of Nansemond, Gent.


Updated 10 March 2024

James Knott was born 1602 in England, and died between September 04, 1651 (date will written) and May 13,1653 (date will proved) in the Maryland Colony.

  • His parents are seen as Barnard Knott and Alice Longe of Witnesham in Suffolk, England.
  • His widow was Elinor. She is seen as a Collins.
  • He was listed as James Knott, age 23 in February 1624/5, who came in the George in 1617, in Charles Harman's Muster at the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
  • He married after 1625, and the family removed to the mainland of Virginia from the Eastern Shore, and eventually to Old Charles County, MD.

Children of James Knott and Ellinor, born after 1625:

  1. Elizabeth Knott, b., Eastern Shore, VA, USA6, d. 1656, Calvert, MD, USA6, married before 1651 to Thomas Thomas.
  2. Bernard Knott, b. After 1631, Eastern Shore, VA, USA6. Oldest son, underage in 1651.
  3. Mary Knott, b. Sep 1635, VA, USA6. Unmarried in 1651
  4. William Knott, b. 1643, New Kent, VA, USA6, d. 1700, Barnesville, Maryland USA6.
  5. Francis Knott.
  6. Nathanial Knott, b. 1645, Eastern Shore, VA. USA.

James Knott Sr., did not name his sons Francis and [James] in his will, but he left them lands in Maryland and Virginia. (Boddie)

Excerpt From “Side-Lights on Maryland History; with Sketches of Early Maryland Families” by Hester Dorsey Richardson. Tidewater Publishers (A Division of Bay Country Publishing Corporation) Cambridge, Maryland 1967. Originally published in 1913. Volume 2, Page 382-386 < HathiTrust > or From The Knott Family :Information about James Knott < link >

James Knott, founder of the family of this name in Maryland and Virginia, came out of England about seventeen years before Leonard Calvert planted his first settlement in Maryland in 1634. In "Hotten's Lists of Persons of Quality who Emigrated to Virginia" is the following: "Mr. James Knott, age 23, came from England to Virginia in the ship George and settled in Accomac County on the Eastern Shore in 1617."

The word Accomack was in the day used to designate the whole of that fertile strip of Virginia between the Atlantic ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, beginning at the southern lin of what was afterwards Somerset (since 1742 Worcester) County, Maryland, to the tip end of Cape Charles. But one will look in vain for traces of James Knott int he records of the present Accomac County, fot it was not cut off from Northampton County, where the ancient records are kept (dating from 1632), until about 1660-02. As James Knott's interests on the Eastern Shore were in Northampton County, it is there we find him, in Liber No. 1, folio 10, of these old records, as owner of land in 1632, situated "on the other side of King's Creek." He is also referred to on page 2 of the same book, in 1632 having an apprentice named Phario Wien, the son of Jan Wien. Again we find mention of James Knott and his wife, Elinor, June 11, 1631, in Court Order Book No. 1, folio 37, Northampton County Records. After this he appears to have removed to Namsemond County Virginia, for he is recorded as a land owner in that county in 1635, in volune 3, p. 188, of the Virginia Magazin. Also in volume 2, of th esame magazine, p. 308, it is stated that James Knott, of Accomack, was granted 50 acres of land in Virginia City County, March 12, 1632.

Mr. Knott appears to have been a close friend of Governor Leonard Calvert, of Maryland. In this connection the following quaint document, executed by Giles Brent, October 10, 1642, speaks for itself:

"These prts witness that I Giles Brent of Kent ffort in the Isle of Kent have conveyed & sold & doe hereby convey and sell unto my sister Mrs. Margaret Brent of St. Maries in Maryland all my lands goods debts due to me in the Province aforesaid for the consideration hereafter ezpresst viz.: for satisfaction and payment of L73 English money wch I doe owe to herselfe, also of about L40 English money or between that and L30 wch I owe to Mr. Richard Reed, also 1400 pounds of tob and cask I owe to Mr. Wm. Blunt and 900lbs. tob. & cask 8000 of it to certain assignes of Mr. John Lewger also of 400 lbs. of tob. & cask I owe to Mr. Purfrey of Virg. of 1200 lbs. tob. & cask I have assumed to pay to Mr. Knott of Virginia for Mr. Leonard Calvert, Governor of Maryland" &c. Singned-Giles Brent (Testamentary Business Prov. Court., Vol. 4, pp. 132, 133, Maryland Archives).

Kilty mention the fact that Governor Leonard Calvert admonishes the people not to encroach upon lands of "my friend Mr. Knott." As there is no record of James Knott having been granted lands in Maryland at the period contemplated, it may be that the following will explain it: Court at At. Maries, 1652.

"James Knott, defendant: John Abbington, plaintiff: on petition for relief from act of Knott who cleared 100 acres of land that Abbington claimed as his own. Knott claimed to have had a verbal grant of land from Governor Leonard Calvert prior to the claim of Abbington" (Liber B, volume 10, p. 220, Provicial Court Proceedings, Maryland Archives).

James Knott was evidently a man of restless activity, and is very interesting personality to the delver in our ancient records. While he is known to have been an extensive land owner in Nanesmond County, Virginia, he demands and receives 200 acres of land in st. Mary's County, Maryland, in 1651, for transporting himself and his minor son, Nathaniel, into the Provinex (Liber A B H, folio 237, Annapolis Land Records.)

In Liber No. 1, folio 402, Annapolis Land Records, Thomas Warr in 1651, sells to James Knott, Gent., of Virginia, 200 acres of land which he describes as "the equal half of my plantation which I now live upon at Mattapony, . . . St. Mary's County.' Consideration, 1390 pounds of tobacco.

Following is his will, in which, however, he does not mention all his sons.

Liber No. 1, folio 51, Annapolis Wills; James Knott of Nansemond, in Virginia: will dated September 4, 1651, proved May 13, 1635. [sic: 1653] Witness: George White, Devises:-To my threes sonnes Bernard Knott, Nathaniel Knott and William Knott, four cowes (mentions Bernard as his eldest son and stipulates that the "cowes" shall be kept together until he comes to the full age of 20 years); to my dau. Mary 6 cowes to be delivered by 25th of Dec. next, also a negro man to dau. Mary to be delivered her in Oct. 1654; to son BernardKnott 600 acres of land, "plantation whereon I lnow live, with reversion to his other children;" to sons Nathaniel & William Knott 600 acres of land, equally divided between them, "being the upper part of this division now in my possession, with reversion in case of death of either;" "I give to my sister E. M. Colins, Anna Young or any of her chidren 2 cowes that shall come here to demand them: I give to my dau. Elizabeth Thomas, one cowe;" balance ofestate divided into five parts, viz.: "one part to my wife & four parts to my four children, Bernard, Nathaniel, William and Mary Knott; my loving friend John Ascumb to be over-seers of this my last will and testament."

Ellinor Knott, the late wife of James Knott, deceased, made oath that the will was that of her late husband, James Knott, May 13, 1635 [sic: 1653]. On January 22, 1653, Thomas Cornwallis, Esq., filed a caveat to the will as the greatest creditor of James Knott, deceased.

"Daughter Elizabeth Thomas" was the wife of Thomas Thomas, of Calvert County, Maryland: "John Ascumb," overseer in the will, was John Ashcom, of Patuxent River, Calvert County, Maryland.

The lands of James Knott in St. Mary's County were conveyed to his son Francis, who conveyed some of them whild living, and devised them in his will, proved in St. Mary's County, May 14, 1705, in his old age (Liber B No. 2, folio 500, Annapolis Wills).

The Lineal descendant of James Knott, Gent. A. Leo Knott, has reflected honor on the name as one of Maryland's most distinguished legal lights.

From: Boddie, (1938), "Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight"

James Knott, Sr., aged 23, came over on the George and settled in Accomac in 1617. He owned land there in 1632 and he and his wife Elinor sold this land June 11, 1634 (Order Bk., 1, Folio 37, Northampton). March 24, 1635, James Knott patented 1200 acres in Nansemond for the transportation of himself, wife Elinor and 21 other persons (C&P, p. 37). James Knott was probably one of those Puritans who joined in the trek to Maryland for he patented land there in 1652 but died soon afterwards. As “James Knott of Nansemond” he mad is will there September 4, 1751, and same was probated 13 May, 1653. He mentioned three sons in his will, but did not mention Francis and James. The records of St. Mary’s County show that he conveyed land to his son Francis before his death. Probably on leaving Nansemond he likewise conveyed land to James, for the Quit Rent Rolls of Nansemond show that James was holding 1050 acres there in 1704 which was probably the same land James, Sr., was granted in 1635. Descendants of James, Jr., moved to North Carolina.



Source: Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia 1624/1625, in Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1625.

1623-1637 Cavaliers and Pioneers, Patent Book No. 1, Part 1; [Nell Marion Nugent]; Page 18

JAMES KNOTT, Planter, of Accomack, 50 acs., 12 Mar. 1632, Page 133.

Desiring to keepe a howse of entertainment in the lower parte at the Mouth of Hampton Riv. within the precincts of Eliz. Citty whereby strangers & other may bee well accommodated with great ease to the inhabitants in those parts, etc. Abutting Sly. upon a Cr. parting the same from land of Capt. Francis West, Nly. upon the Gleab land & Wly. upon sd. Riv. To have & to hold the sd. 50 acs. togeather with the howse commonly called the great howse & all other howses ediffices & buildings &c. 21 year Lease, as above.

Will abstract

Name James Knott
Residence Date Abt 1651
Residence Place Virginia
Will Date 4 Sep
Probate Date 4 1651
Probate Place Maryland, USA
Death Date 1651
Death Place Maryland, USA
Case Number 144 144 159
Description Wills, Vol 1-2, 1635-1704

  • Knott, James, of Nansemum, Virginia., 4th Sept., 1651; 13th May, 1653.
  • To eld. son Bernard, 600 A. home plantation.
  • To sons Nathaniel and William, sd. property in event of son Bernard afsd. dying without issue; also 600 A. equally at majority, either dying without hrs., survivor to inherit deceased's portion.
  • To dau. Mary Knott at 16 yrs. of age, personalty.
  • To dau. Eliza: Thomas for benefit of her son (unnamed), personalty.
  • To sister E. M. Collins, Anna Young, or any of her child., personalty,
  • Wife Ellinor, execx., together with her son Bernard.
  • Test: Ellinor Knott, Geo. White. 1. 51.


  • “The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 4.” edited by Philip Alexander Bruce, William Glover Stanard. Page 425. < GoogleBooks >
  • (Royal bloodline) But sources need to be added.
  • https://espl-genealogy.org/getperson.php?personID=I84736&tree=1 cites
    • John Frederick Dorman, Dorman, Adv of Purse & Person, 4th Ed, Vol 1, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2004), p. 70 (Muster of the Eastern Shore), 887.
  • John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, 3 volumes (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2005), Two: 422-423
  • https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Knott-70
    • “I have found the complete generation list on ancestry and the information is correct he was the son Of Benard and Alice . He came to the states in the late 1690's on the ship George . He was sent out due to being charged as a felon for being jewel thief .”
  • https://www.colonial-settlers-md-va.us/getperson.php?personID=I3237...
  • Jamestowne Society Qualifying Ancestor < link > Knott, James - A4609; born 1603 [??], died 1653 Maryland; (Musters of 1623/4 and 1624/5); resided in Nansemond Co.
  • https://revjrknott.blogspot.com/2020/07/knott-ancestors-back-to-155... (careful: English line may have errors)
  • Application for Membership, 8074, Jamestowne Society. Connie Moss. [This approved membership application proves the descent of Sarah Knott Hunt from Jamestowne ancestor James Knott, through her father William Knott.]
  • “The Knott Family :Information about James Knott” (Family Tree Maker file, with notes and sources) < link > cites:
    • Richardson, H. Dorsey. (1913). Side-lights on Maryland history: with sketches of early Maryland families, by Hester Dorsey Richardson ... Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins company. Volume 2, page 368. Note. First "published serially in the Baltimore Sunday ʻSun' from May 17, 1903, to December 25, 1904." < Hathitrust >
    • 5. Passengers from the Port of London on the George to Virginia, 1617 Knott, James . . . . . -- Age 23 in Virginia Muster, February 7, 1624
    • 6. OneWorldTree, Ancestry.com. One World Tree (sm) [database online]. Provo, UT: MyFamily.com, Inc.
  • Jester, Annie Lash., Hiden, Martha Woodruff. 1883. “Musters of the Inhabitants in Virginia 1624/1625,” Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1625: FamilySearch International, Title No. 2058494., p. 68. < Viewer page 102 > [57] Musters Eastern Shore. Charles Harman his muster. [Charles Harmar link was an overseer for Lady Dale.]
  • https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/4:1:LWBM-QB4
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James Knott, of Nansemond, Gent.'s Timeline

Accomack County , Virginia, Colonial America
Virginia Colony, Colonial America
December 25, 1630
Old Accomack County, Virginia
September 1632
Nansemond County , Virginia, Colonial America
Nansemond County, Virginia, Colonial America
October 20, 1636
Nansemond County, Virginia
September 4, 1651
Age 49
Old Charles County, Maryland