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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Knowlton family come from? What is the English Knowlton family crest and coat of arms? When did the Knowlton family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Knowlton family history?

Knowlton is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Knowlton family lived in the township of Knowlton, Kent, from whence their name is taken.

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Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Knowltone, Knowlten, Nowlton, Nolton, Knowelden and others.

First found in Kent where they held a family seat from ancient times, and were granted the lands by King William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. They were conjecturally descended from Thurstan, a Norman noble, who held the lands of Knowlton, originally spelt Chenoltone, from the Bishop of Bayeux.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knowlton research. Another 149 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knowlton History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Knowlton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Knowlton or a variant listed above:

Knowlton Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Knowlton settled in Hingham Massachusetts in 1630
  • William Knowlton, who arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1635
  • John Knowlton, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1641
  • Thomas Knowlton, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1648

Knowlton Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • J W Knowlton, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • O Knowlton, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • T. N. Knowlton arrived in San Francisco in 1851

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  • Thomas Knowlton (1740-1776), American patriot who served in the French and Indian war, considered to be America's first intelligence professional, founder of Knowlton's Rangers in 1776
  • Charles Knowlton (1800-1850), American physician and writer
  • Austin Eldon Knowlton (1909-2003), American architect
  • Ebenezer Knowlton (1815-1874), American co-founder of Bates College, Congressman, abolitionist, and Free Will Baptist minister
  • Miles Justice Knowlton, American Baptist missionary to China
  • Donald Snow "Don" Knowlton (1892-1976), American public relations executive, co-founder of Hill + Knowlton (Strategies) in 1927
  • Markeith Knowlton (b. 1983), American CFL football linebacker
  • Wiram Knowlton (1816-1863), American politician and jurist
  • Daniel Gibson Knowlton (b. 1922), American classicist bookbinder at Brown University
  • General William Allen Knowlton (1920-2008), United States Army four-star general, and a former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy


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  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Knowlton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Knowlton Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 4 June 2014 at 09:48.

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