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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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.


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.


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.


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


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 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 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

Knowlton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • David Knowlton settled in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1855


  • Daniel Gibson Knowlton (b. 1922), American classicist bookbinder at Brown University
  • Wiram Knowlton (1816-1863), American politician and jurist
  • Markeith Knowlton (b. 1983), American CFL football linebacker
  • Donald Snow "Don" Knowlton (1892-1976), American public relations executive, co-founder of Hill + Knowlton (Strategies) in 1927
  • Ebenezer Knowlton (1815-1874), American co-founder of Bates College, Congressman, abolitionist, and Free Will Baptist minister
  • 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
  • Austin Eldon Knowlton (1909-2003), American architect
  • Charles Knowlton (1800-1850), American physician and writer
  • Miles Justice Knowlton, American Baptist missionary to China
  • 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. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  7. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  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 25 March 2015 at 21:28.

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