Francis Parkman Knight | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Francis Parkman Knight

Am looking for any information on Francis Parkman Knight (1831-1880), an American Consulate officer stationed in Newchwang, China in 1862 and died in Shanghai.  I am trying to determine if he is the father of Yuk-Hing Lai (1870-1945), the 2nd wife of Sir Ho Kai (1859-1914).

He had a son named Kennitt Stephen Knight.

Kennitt had a son name Thomas Leonard Knight.

Thomas had a son named David Francis Knight (1933-  ) born in HK, interned there during WWII.

I am a descendant of Yuk-Hing Lai and Ho Kai and am hoping to flesh out some family history.

Any leads to available resources - birth, school, marriage, tax or death records - would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Alfred Wen





Name Thomas Leonard Knight
Gender Male
Nationality English
Arrival Age 27
Birth Date 1894
Birth Place Hong kong, China
Last Residence China
Departure Place Vancouver, British Columbia
Arrival Date Nov 1921
Arrival Place Seattle, Washington
Line Number 1

Sister A.J. Denning of Nottingham, England

Directory and Chronicle 1903 & 1904

Postmaster, Imperial Chinese Post Office — K. S. Knight



Thank you for the information on Kenneth Stephen Knight and Thomas Leonard Knight.  To help me understand the information, could you tell me what the "Carl Smith cards at the PRO" refer to?  Where can I find out what the dates refer to - employment, deaths, divorce, etc.?

Do you know if the records of the Diocesan School or the Post Office internet searchable?

This has been invaluable to me as leads.

Thank you again.

Alfred Wen

 Another Possibility



Photo of T.L. Knight, 1931, Water Polo League Winners, Victoria Recreation Club


Directory and Chronicle 1912



I've been in touch with your cousin via who told me you had posted here.  Perhaps we can all chat together.

You can find more information about the Carl Smith Collection and other online resources at the page: How to research people who lived in Hong Kong

"F. P. Knight" North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1874

non resident member


F. P. Knight, His suggestion to establish a Chinese professorship at Harvard.

Through the influence of Mr. F. P. Knight and Mr. E. B. Drew, both of whom knew him in China, he was, in 1879, appointed instructor in Chinese in Harvard 

Mr. F. P. Knight, a resident of China, has collected $10,000 to support, for three years, two Chinese instructors at Harvard, who are to fit young men for positions in China.



Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University

The Albert M. Knight papers consist of letters written by Albert to his fiancée Abigail Jane Knight, "Jennie," from 1863 to 1872, and include one letter from her to him. From 1863 to 1865 Albert lived in the Boston area and the letters describe his daily activities, his health, his spiritual beliefs as a member of the New Church congregation, working for his father, textiles and fashion, and current events such as his being drafted (and exempted) for the Civil War.
In early 1864 Albert sailed to Cadiz and the Canary Islands, and his letters from this trip describe the landscape, houses, local dress, fruits, and climate. He also visited London, in early 1863 and again in 1865, with a brief visit to Paris, on his way to China, and described visits to monuments such as the Westminster Abbey and artwork he had the chance to see. In March 1865 he sailed to China from London, with stops in Algiers and the island of Java, and his letters recorded the journey, the arrival in China, impressions of China, names of people he encountered, descriptions of the lifestyle of the foreign community, and mentions of trade-related topics such as exports (beans, bean oil, beancakes and peas), imports (cottons, rice, opium and cheeses), and ship traffic.
While Albert was in China, Abigail Jane Knight left her home in Lancaster, MA, to go teach at a Freedmen's School in Edisto Island, SC; from then onwards she did not write him as often and his letters to her became increasingly focused on this point. It is unclear what happened between them but there was a break in correspondence until 1872, when Albert returned to Boston and wrote to request the return of his gifts and letters to her.

Englishman J. Bandinel joined Knight & Co in 1876. That year Knight went to the US as part of the Chinese Maritime Customs delegation to the Philidelphia Exposition. Knight stayed in the US for two years returning after his father died in 1878 

1st May, Knight 1879 left the partnership, but retained his liability for his part of the very large existing debt. Knight was in Shanghai as the court appointed receiver of the massive estate of the late Edwin Maurice Smith.

Bandinel renamed it, "Knight, Bandinel & Co." but his shady business practices caught up with him and in 1880 his creditors had the court declare him a bankrupt so they could further inspect his books, instead of just letting him liquidate the firm.

Middlesex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1871-1909 (Part A-K)
Given Name Francis P.
Surname Knight
City Shanghai China
Date 1882
Subject Will
Number 14166

Story - p439

Doctor tells of a skirmish and an operation with Knight assisting

Thank you, Annelise, for the story!  Will pass the interesting first person account of an ancestor in action.

An even more colorful account:

" in the momentary expectation of the Chinese attacking the foreign quarter, their avowed intention being to sack and burn the American Consulate, knowing that there were some 50 chests of opium stored there. "

Tireless!  Thank you again.  Starting to paint quite a picture of FPK.  

Think you’ll eventually find documentary evidence to connect FPK with Kenneth Stephen Knight and Lily Yuk-Hing Lai, his (alleged) children?

Your generousity of time and effort is much appreciated.


The key is whether in his will, probated in 1882, he listed the names of his children and their mother. His father Mannassah explicitly left inheritances to all the (unnamed) grandchildren living when he died in 1878, so FPK’s will is key. 

Call the Middlesex county clerk and ask their procedures of how you can get a copy. 

(781) 939-2700


Thank you once again.  Will contact county clerk to see if we can get a copy. 


 Draft timeline of Francis Parkman Knight's (Frank) life.

1831 Frank born  





Setting up shop in Asia - Newchwang, China  -  Knight & Co. 

appointed American Consul in Newchwang

brother Albert comes to live and work with Frank in Newchwang




brother Albert returns to US

son Kenneth born

daughter Lily born




takes Bandinel as partner

Philadelphia Exposition, 2 years in US

1878 father Manesseh dies  



Frank exits Knight & Co (retaining past debts)

Frank moves to Shanghai





Bandinel delclared bankrupt

Frank's past debts are now due in full

Nov - Frank kills himself

1895 father Manessah probate settles  


San Francisco, Jan. 16, 1860.

We are to leave here on Saturday or Sunday for Japan.

M and myself go over with Mr. Frank Knight, of Boston, who has chartered the barque What Cheer, of four or five hundred tons, with remarkably fine accommodations for passengers. Mr. Knight came from there only six weeks ago, and expects to establish a commercial house at Kanagawa. This is only a few miles from Jeddo, which place we hope to be able to visit; but this is extremely doubtful. A steamer runs from Kanagawa to Shanghai,and we expect to go to China on her. T has not yet arrived, and we shall probably not see him; we have been here much longer than we intended.

Source: Memorial of Pickering Dodge Allen By John Fisk Allen

Time line looks correct.  Hopefully documented information will emerge regarding his children and their mother(s). 

Thanks, Annelise, for your interest and help. 


New Chwang, Albert M. Knight. "


General Convention of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America
Otis Clapp, 1860

Hi Alfred,  my grandfather was TL Knight's brother, John Knight.  Lai Yuk-Hing have 7 siblings and my great grandfather was the older brother of Lai Yuk-Hing, but his full name was a mystery.  It was believed to be Kam Shing Knight or 黎金成.  I am interested in your source of information of Kennitt Stephen Knight and wondering whether he and KS Knight was same person.  Do you have any evidence to conclude Kennitt Stephen Knight was the son of Francis Parkman Knight?  I could not find any evidence of Francis Parkman Knight ever lived in HK.  Since you are a descendant of Yuk_Hing Lai, would you by any chance related to Wilma Ho?  

Looking forward to your comment.

Daisy Knight


Hi Daisy

Do you know anyone in Hong Kong that can go to the public records office in Kwun Tong and look at the Carl Smith cards?

Francis Parkman Knight never lived in Hong Kong but the Carl Smith records show a Kenneth Stephen Knight at the Diocesan School in Hong Kong . It was common for Shanghai western men to send their mixed race children to Hong Kong for schooling. 

What was the family connection to the London Missionary Society and the To Tsai  - Hop Yat Church ?

Thanks, Annelise


p.s. if you would like to help fill out the family tree with the names of the siblings please see what we have done so far.  You can just join Geni and add the names yourself.

Hi Daisy,

I replied earlier but do not see it on this thread.

It is very exciting to hear from you!  What initiated my interest in the Knights was the family story that my great-grandmother's (Lai Yuk-Hing) father was an American consul named Knight.  A DNA test matched me with an Australian named Stephen Knight who shared his family's connection to HK and the American consul Francis Parkman Knight.  Thomas Leonard Knight is Stephen's grandfather and a KS Knight is his great-grandfather.

He was also unclear as to KS Knight's given name - Kennett, Kennitt or Kenneth Stephen.  "Kam-Shing" could certainly be anglicized to "Ken - something".

Unfortunately I do not know Wilma Ho.  In fact, I know only 3 of Lai Yuk-Hing and Ho Kai's descendants - Arnold Hall (their grandson); the descendants of my maternal grandparents Alice Ho (Yuk-Hing's daughter) and Herbert To; and the descendants of another daughter (whose name I cannot find) with CC Wu.

My uncle's wife, Ivy To, says she visits the Knight relatives whenever she visits HK, but she didn't know their English names.  Is it you?

I would be happy to share more information with you as I find more.  Annelise Connell, who I met through Gwulo several years ago on another research project, has been invaluable helping me locate more information.

I will let Stephen know I heard from you.  He was not aware that he had any relatives in HK. 

If you wish, contact me outside the forum at so I can pass along your contact information to Stephen.

Thanks for reponding to my query about Francis Parkman Knight.

Alfred Wen






Hi Alfred,  my family live in AUS but I live in HK.  We will contact you separately for Stephen Knight's contact.   I don't know of any Ivy To, but am interested to know who are the Knights that she has been in contact.  They may be the offsprings of Lai Yuk-Hing's other siblings.  Wilma Ho was the descendent of one of Ho Kai's son.  I first met her about 14 years ago, her old uncle (in Canada) told her that Lai Yuk-Hing's dad was an American missionary.  But I could not find any evidence to support such claim.  Sir Ho Kai's father, the Reverend Ho Fuk-tong, was a well-known Anglican preacher for the London Missionary Society and founder of Church of Christ in China (HKCCC) and I think the Hop Yat Church is associated with CCC.

Daisy Knight


I can visit the public records office in Kwun Tong and look at the Carl Smith cards.  But what exactly is "Carl Smith cards"?  I am still doubtful that Kenneth Stephen Knight is related to Francis Parkman Knight. 

Daisy Knight

Index cards that have been digitised. Here is an explanation

Hi Daisy,

I am trying to establish a documentary link to FP Knight as well.  

There was another Knight in China at the same time with the Chinese Customs Service (1862) named J. Sparrow Knight.  Does that name mean anything?  

FP Knight’s brother Albert Maynard Knight came to stay with him in China for about 6 years, became a Sinophile, and could have fathered some children.  Is his name familiar with anyone in your family?

Thanks for engaging in this search.

Alfred Wen




Diocesan Boys School 1888 - Lai Kam-Fat
Diocesan Boys School 1888 - Lai Kam-Fat, by annelisec

Lucy (Knight) Ozorio - SCMP 8 Dec 1937
Lucy (Knight) Ozorio - SCMP 8 Dec 1937, by annelisec

Lady Ho Kai - 60th birthday - SCMP - 14 Jan 1931
Lady Ho Kai - 60th birthday - SCMP - 14 Jan 1931, by annelisec


Thank you for the articles on Lucy Knight Ozorio and her sister Lily Lai Ho. 

Fleshing out their lives.



Lai Kam Fat’s dog - SCMP - 5 Dec 1938
Lai Kam Fat’s dog - SCMP - 5 Dec 1938, by annelisec