The obituary of Willie Knight.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 August 1941.

Brothers Avan and Calvin Melvin were arrested and charged with the murder of Willie Knight. Avan Melvin claimed he struck Knight because Knight was cutting Calvin Melvin.  Calvin Melvin claimed innocence. I have not been able to determine the outcome of the trial, which was held the month after the incident.


In the 1910 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Colonel Knight, 24; wife Flora, 20; and son Willie, 1.

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Colonel Knight, 34; wife Flora, 28; and children Willie, 11, Nella, 8, George, 7, Colonel Jr., 4, and Percy, 2.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 717 Vance Street, rented at $16/month, Cullan Knight, 44, farmer; wife Flora, 37; and children Willie, 21, odd jobs laborer, George, 16, baker, Cullon Jr., bakery delivery boy, Percy, 13, and Gladys, 9.

In 1940, Willie Knight registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 4 June 1908 in Wilson County; lived at 646 Wiggins Street; was married to Thelma Newman Knight; and worked for R.P. Watson Tobacco Company. The card is marked “Deceased.”

Willie Knight died 2 August 1941 on Banks Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born in June 1909 in Wilson County to Colonel Knight and Flora Thomas; was married to Thelma Knight; lived at 127 Narrowly Street; and worked as a laborer. Cause of death: “hit on head with brick fracturing skull killing almost instantly.”