The New International Encyclopædia/Knight, Sarah Kemble

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

KNIGHT, Sarah Kemble (1666-1727). A preacher and traveler, born in Boston, the daughter of Thomas Kemble, a merchant. Having been left a widow, she opened in middle life a school which gained some reputation in Boston, and included among its pupils Benjamin Franklin. Before opening this school, Madame Knight, as she was generally called, took a journey in 1704 on horseback from Boston to New York — for those days an unparalleled feat for a woman. She recounted her experiences in the ‘journals’ which have made her known to students of colonial literature and history. The discomforts of primitive traveling are described with much sprightliness, and not a little humor. The writer's personality emerges also as that of a modern American woman in embryo. Little is known of her later life. She seems to have removed to Norwalk, Conn., and there to have got into trouble for selling liquors to the Indians — an offense which she herself charged to her maid. Her diary, which is not bulky, was first edited in 1825 by Theodore Dwight. Forty years later it was reprinted with additional biographical information, and there is a recent edition, published by the Free Academy of Norwich, Conn. Consult Tyler, History of American Literature, vol. ii. (New York, 1897-99).