Tarrant County, TXGenWeb

Sallie Hodges & William B. McKnight
provided by Margaret R. Bates
from a manuscript of Sallie Hodges McKnight


Sarah Hodges was born about 1860, the daughter of Duff Green and Hannah A. (House) Hodges. She stated she was the second white child born in Mansfield. "Sallie" married Dr. William B. McKnight, 29 November 1889.

William B. McKnight had moved with his four brothers, one sister, and widowed mother to Johnson Station, Texas about 1865 or perhaps later. The father, a captain in the Confederate Army, had been killed in a farm accident trying to repair a sawmill shortly after the war began.

McKnight, the youngest son, studied at Mansfield Male and Female College and then attended the University of Louisville, in Kentucky. By 1889, he had earned his medical degree and had begun his first medical practice in Springtown, Texas. In 1891 and 1892, he began post graduate work at Bellevue Medical College in New York. While her husband was in New York, Sallie gave piano lessons to supplement their income. During this time in McKnight's career, a diptheria epidemic broke out and many people died. Mrs. McKnight called her husband back from New York and the two of them cared for the sick people until the danger passed. The family moved to Mansfield, Texas in 1895 and Dr. McKnight practiced here until he retired in 1935.

Dr. McKnight had traveled by horseback throughout his practice, having a "day" horse and a "night" horse, when he heard of a new buggy manufactured for physicians. The buggy had roll down sides, a windshield, and a brick oven to keep the feet warm. The town turned out to see the "Doctor Buggy" when it arrived by train. The McKnights were also the first to have a telephone and telephone number in the town of Mansfield.

In 1909, McKnight traded homes with A.J. Dukes and moved into "Lone Pine" which was the former John Collier House. They renamed the home Woodnotes, and lived there until 1944, when they sold it to T. E. "Ernie" Blessing, who converted it into Mansfield's first funeral home. At that time, they moved into a smaller home closer to the main town area.

McKnight was one of the organizers of Mansfield State Bank and a Royal Arch Mason. He was a member of the AMA and was the last surviving charter member of the Tarrant County, Texas, Medical Association. He also served as physician for the Southern Pacific Railroad during his long career.

Sallie was an accomplished musician, having completed her music education at the Boston Conservatory of Music. She remained an avid student of music throughout her life. She was also a writer of fiction, history, and poetry. She was an enthusiastic reader and at the age of 73, decided to take up the study of mathematics, not having mastered it in her youth. As a lifelong contributing member of the community, Mansfield honored Sallie by crowning her "Queen of the Pioneers" during the celebration commemorating Mansfield's 87th year.

William B. McKnight died three years short of his goal of living to be 100 years old, and his funeral services were held in the parlor of the home he once owned.


This page was last modified 15 Jan 2003.

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