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RALPH KNIGHT

The interests of occupational employment have taken Mr. Knight into various parts of the country and have given him a broad knowledge not only concerning his native commonwealth of California, but also in regard to much of the south and east. Brief sojourns in many well-known cities and temporary association with a number of industrial and railroad corporations have made him conversant with the opportunities afforded by different regions and with the condition of workmen connected with various large corporations. He was, however, connected with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in a larger degree than with any other organization and for five years was engaged as foreman of the drafting department in the company's shops at Sacramento, filling the responsible position with an energy which is one of his characteristics and with an intelligent comprehension of the work acquired through former associations with similar departments elsewhere. However, in 1912 he resigned his position to engage in mechanical engineering.

In the city where he now resides Mr. Knight was born during May of 1869 into the home of Capt. William L. and Mary D. Knight. The local schools afforded him excellent advantages in the primary and grammar department, after which from 1880 until 1884 he studied in the public schools of Oakland and then completed his education by a year's course in the Spencerian Business College. His entrance into the world of industrial activity was made as an apprentice machinist in the printing press machine shop of Hare & Berryman, printers, at San Francisco, with whom he continued for a year. Returning to Sacramento he engaged as an apprentice machinist with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and during 1892 completed the trade in these shops, after which he went back to the coast and for two months worked as machinist with the South San Francisco Land Improvement Company. The five months following were spent in San Luis Obispo, Cal., as a machinist. Upon his return to San Francisco he took a course in mechanical drafting in a school of engineering, where he studied for one year, later until 1896 engaging as a machinist with the Southern Pacific Company in Oakland. Next he spent two years as a machinist in the government employ at Mare Island Navy yard, where he held a position in the steam engineering department. During April of 1898 he returned to Oakland as a machinist with the railroad company and afterward with the same company at Dunsmuir, Siskiyou county, to work in the railroad shops at that point, where he continued from 1900 imtil March of the next year. From March until June he was with the Southern Pacific at Tucson, Ariz., as a machinist. The following month was spent at Denison, Texas, as a machinist in the shops of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, and he then worked for a similar period at Pine Bluff, Ark., as a machinist with the St. Louis & Southwestern Railroad. The next position was at Little Rock, Ark., with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad.

A brief experience concerning conditions and environment in Indiana came to Mr. Knight when for two months he worked at Lafayette, that state, as a machinist with the Chicago, Indiana & Louisville Railroad. From Indiana he traveled across the line into Ohio and secured employment as draftsman with the American Steel & Wire Company, of Cleveland, with whom he continued until December of 1902. From that time until November of 1903 he held a position as draftsman with the Baldwin Locomotive Works at Philadelphia, Pa. Returning to Ohio he became draftsman with the Columbia Chemical Company at Barberton, but in March of 1904 he decided to resign and return to the south. After spending three months in Tucson, Ariz., as machinist with the Southern Pacific Railroad, he came back to California, where he entered the Southern Pacific shops at Rocklin, Placer county. During July of 1904 he was employed at Ogden, Utah, as a machinist with the same company, but in a very short time he returned to the company's Sacramento shops, where he was employed as a machinist until November of 1905 and then entered the drafting room as a draftsman, being promoted in 1907 as foreman of the department. In 1912 he resigned to engage as a mechanical engineer, opening an office in Sacramento, where he is practicing. He is loyal to his native commonwealth and maintains an active association with the Society of California Pioneers. Politically he votes with the Republican party, fraternally holds membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and in religion adheres to the doctrines of the Christian Science Church. 


Source:
History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011