Fun Facts Friday: Sarah Kemble Knight

April 19, 2024

Sarah Kemble Knight (19 April, 1666 – 25 September, 1727) was a businesswoman, teacher and diarist. Her journey from Boston to New York City provides historians one of the few first-hand accounts of traveling through Colonial New England.

Fun Facts Friday: Sarah Kemble Knight
Buy the Journal of Madam Sarah Kemble Knight from Amazon.com*

Fun Facts about Sarah Kemble Knight:

  1. Sarah Kemble was born in Boston, MA to Captain Thomas Kemble and Elizabeth Treice. Captain Kemble was a merchant and Sarah was his first daughter out of five, or six children.
  2. On, or about, 1689 Sarah married Richard Knight. We know very little about Richard Knight, but we do know the couple had one child, Elizabeth. Richard passed away in 1703.
  3. Sarah Knight, keeper of a Boston boarding house and a copier of legal documents. As part of her job, she went to New Haven, CT, and New York City to act in the settlement of a friend’s dead husband’s estate.
  4. Mrs. Knight was also a schoolmistress, and legend has it that she taught Benjamin Franklin and the Mather children. Historians, however, think it’s just a legend as there is no proof of it.
  5. Sarah Kemble Knight was a smart woman and didn’t travel alone. She used reliable guides or post riders (postal delivery). This was one of the duties of the colonial post riders.
  6. Knight’s path from Boston to New York was along the lower post road, which was just a crude path with no markings.
  7. About 50 years later, Benjamin Franklin traveled the same route to standardize postal rate through distance.
  8. Here experience traveling ran from great hospitality to being served inedible food (but still pay for it).
  9. Her journal also reveals the biases of the time. The Massachusetts Native Americans are “the most salvage (savage)” and a woman who tried to overcharge her was thought to be part of a minority reviled by the Massachusetts Puritans – Quakers.
  10. Towards the end of her life, Sarah Kemble Knight moved to New London, CT to be with her married daughter. A businesswoman through and through, she owned a tavern and inn, as well s dabbling in land speculation.

Buy the Journal of Madam Sarah Kemble Knight from Amazon.com*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

Sources:

Boston Post Road Carved out Three Travel Routes through State | Connecticut History

Sarah Kemble Knight | Oxford Bibliographies

Sarah Kemble Knight | Wikipedia

Knight, Sarah Kemble (1666–1727) | Encyclopedia.com

Sarah Kemble Knight’s Journey through Colonial Connecticut | Connecticut History

Sarah Kemble Knight Rides the Boston Post Road. Alone. In 1704. | New England Historical Society

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Fun Facts Friday: Sarah Kemble Knight
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Fun Facts Friday: Sarah Kemble Knight
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Sarah Kemble Knight (19 April, 1666 – 25 September, 1727) was a businesswoman, teacher and diarist. Her journey from Boston to New York City provides historians one of the few first-hand accounts of traveling through Colonial New England.
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