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Guide to the James Knox diary

Summary Information

Mississippi State University Libraries
James Knox diary
Date [inclusive]
0.04 Cubic feet

Preferred Citation

James Knox diary, Special Collections Department, Mississippi State University Libraries.

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Biographical Information

James Knox was born in South Carolina on February 21, 1786, the son of John Knox (1750-1802) and Elizabeth Berry (1760-1840). He married his first cousin, Margaret Elliott (born 1782), and their children included John Springer (1807-1861), Mary Ann (1810-1887; m. John Holder in 1836), David Ware (1817-1888), Margaret C. (born c. 1819; m. Andrew Paden in 1844), Jane (born c. 1820), Damaris F. (born c. 1822; m. A. Paden in 1854), and Rosanna (born c. 1822). There is also a William, born c. 1830, mentioned in the diary and living with the family in 1850. He may have been Knox’s son or another relative under his care. Knox’s children and sons-in-law, particularly John Holder, are mentioned frequently in the diary.

At some point in the 1830s, Knox and his family moved to the southern district of Pickens County, Alabama, where they joined Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. Knox was elected a Ruling Elder of that church in 1838. Knox was also a member of the Sons of Temperance and served in various offices in his local division of that organization.

Knox died in Pickens County on May 1, 1864.

There are frequent mentions of Knox and other persons in the diary in the records of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, found at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~kithandkin2000/oakgrovepresbyterianchurch.htm (viewed July 2012).

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Scope and Contents

The James Knox diary, which begins in March 1848 and ends in February 1851, records the daily operations of his plantation in Pickens County, Alabama, including sowing, plowing, harvesting, and selling. He refers to several slaves by name, most often Patrick and Alvin. Knox’s regular attendance at church and presbytery meetings is recorded in the diary, along with information about the pastors and their sermon texts. Ministers James Somerville, J. L. Kirkpatrick, Thomas Morrow, and A. P. Silliman are often mentioned. The diary also includes notes about social visits and family travels to Mississippi, Tuscaloosa, and elsewhere.

The diary is bound in a handmade paper cover and is handsewn. A transcription is available.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Mississippi State University Libraries 

P.O. Box 5408
Mississippi State, MS, 39762

Publication date: July 2012

Access Restrictions

Open to all researchers.

Use Restrictions

Any requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce materials from this collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian for Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Mississippi State University as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


Mrs. J.J. Barnett, Meridian, Mississippi, 1959.

Processing Information

When the diary was received in 1959 it was attributed to William M. Stone of Meridian, Mississippi, and known as the William M. Stone diary until the correct author was identified after transcription in 2012.

Processed and transcribed by DeeDee Baldwin, 2012.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Oak Grove Presbyterian Church (Franconia, Ala.).
  • Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Presbytery of Tuscaloosa..
  • Sons of Temperance of North America.


  • Diaries.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pickens County (Ala.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Kirkpatrick, John Lycan, 1813-1885
  • Knox, James, 1786-1864.
  • Somerville, James, 1827-1868


  • African-Americans.
  • Agriculture.
  • Cotton.
  • Farms and plantations--Mississippi.
  • Presbyterians
  • Slavery--Alabama--History.

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Collection Inventory

 Miscellaneous Box 1. Diary, 1848-1851. 

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