I would certainly like to engage some distant cousins who I know are interested in this line, to give some input into this post. I think there are a few clues that are out there, that we haven't yet pulled together, that may enable us to figure out who this ancestor was, and to someday give her parents, and a home.
Let's start with what is known about her. She was married to Joseph Scull Knott, and she had perhaps eleven children with him. A typewritten manuscript about the Knott familly said that she could remember her older brothers taking her into the woods and hiding with her when there was a threat of Indian activity, so this was definitely frontier land. It also indicates that she was born about 1773 and was of "Derry township" in Pennsylvania. This is believed to be Westmoreland County, and this particular township was first settled in 1763. It also gives a physical connection to the area Joseph Scull Knott lived in. (There is another Derry township in Dauphin county, but it appears to be much less likely a location for either person.)
Thomas Jefferson Knott, a son, reports that he had 10 brothers and sisters, and two half sisters. This is a puzzle. We know he had at least one half brother, a son of Joseph Knott's first wife, who was raised in Pennsylvania. Who were the half sisters? Was Mary married before she married Joseph? The censuses we can find don't indicate any mystery children, so what happened to them? The first census we can locate of this family doesn't show any "extra" daughters. Since Mary and Joseph were presumably married at the time of their son Joseph's birth in 1793, Mary would have had to have married very early to have two children prior to this time. I'd sure love to solve this mystery!
Mary traveled with her husband and family from Pennsylvania to Richland County and then to Crawford County, Ohio, where he died in 1836. By this time, her sons were grown and several of them were located in Steuben or LaGrange county, Indiana. Thomas had lived there, but in 1840 moved north to Hillsdale, Michigan. Robert was still in Crawford County, Ohio, and in that household there is a woman aged 60-69, who could very well be Mary Adams Knott. However, Mary apparently moved on. I think she probably went to live with Levi and Sallie Knott, who were in Lagrange County, Indiana, in the 1840 census. There is a burial for Mary Knott at the Riverside Cemetery in Howe, Lagrange County, Indiana which shows her date of death as 1846 and her age as 73 (birth date of 1773, as indicated in family manuscript). The next year, there is a burial there for Sallie Knott, wife of Levi. The tombstones shown on FindaGrave are similar, but it's not known how close in proximity they are. Still, I feel sure this is our Mary (Adams) Knott.
So now that we know where she died, we can work backwards, a little. In 1830, the Knotts were at Bucyrus, Crawford County, Ohio. So was Thomas Adams, who was born sometime in the 1770s and had a large family. Unfortunately, this census list is alphabetized, so it's hard to know if the two families lived in the same area. However, I think it may be this Thomas Adams who died in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana in 1843. Mary Ann Knott, daughter of Joseph and Mary Knott, was married to Page Porter and living there at that time, so it seems that there is a family connection.
I'm wondering if Thomas could have been Mary Adams' older brother? A son was named Thomas (middle name Jefferson, so perhaps that is the only reason) so maybe he was named after Mary's brother.
When we look at the children's names for Joseph and Mary Knott, there may be other clues there. The first son, Joseph, was obviously named for his father. The second son was Solomon, the third Richard, the fourth John, the fifth Robert, then Samuel, Thomas, Levi, William, and Adam. There were a lot of Adams in Derry Township, Westmoreland County with some of these names-Solomon, Robert, John, Levi and Samuel, at least, being common either in Westmoreland, Bedford, or Washington County, Pa. Boundary lines changed as counties were created, so it's hard to figure out whether we are talking about one location for the Adams family, or several. It's also hard to know how many Adams families we are talking about. One item I've found that interests me is the marriage of John Adams and Elizabeth Blackburn in 1764, marriage records of Rev. John Casper Stoever). Elizabeth was from "Derry", with no indication of which Derry. It could have been Ireland. I am still working on tracing this couple, but haven't had much luck so far. Still, Mary and Joseph named one of their sons John, so this is a possibility.
We are still left with a lot of questions about Mary Adams Knott. Did she have an earlier marriage? Who were her parents? What siblings did she have (the family manuscript says she had older brothers, at least.) And was she the mother of Thomas Knott's two half-sisters? Who were they?
Women of the colonial period, on the frontier, are hard to research. But we have clues...Can anyone add to this? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment to this post.
Our line of descent is:
Mary Adams-Joseph Scull Knott
Thomas J Knott-Hannah Bell
John Wilson Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook