John Knox

1798 - 27th Dec 1868

Claimant or beneficiary


  1. John Knox first appears in Jamaica in the quit rents of 1824 when he owned enslaved people on Retirement estate in St Ann. He had acquired Retirement when he married Rachael Hanslep nee Gordon at some point after the death of her first husband Alexander Hanslep in January 1823. Rachael was born in 1773 so would have been in her early 50s at the time of her second marriage while John Knox, according to his age at death in Australia, would have been in his late 20s.

  2. Ann Burrows Knox and Eliza Burrows Knox, children of John Knox and Sophia Gunn, were baptised at St Ann, Jamaica, 01/10/1831. Sophia Gunn is probably the 'free child of colour' baptised at St Ann, 03/05/1815 with John Gunn and William Gunn. Ann Knox, another daughter of John Knox of Dry Harbour, wharfinger, mother's name not given, was baptised in St Ann 29/09/1833. William Knox, no parents's names given, was baptised at St Ann, 16/11/1834.

  3. John Knox appears to have left Jamaica by October 1837 when Edward Gunn, an apprentice of John Knox, of Dry Harbour, New Wharf, St Ann, gave evidence of mistreatment which he had endured about two and a half years previously. Edward Gunn had been accused of stealing coffee, or of being aware of the identity of the thief, and was taken to Queenhithe and 'catted' - 'The man here pulled off his shirt and showed his back, exhibiting the marks of a severe flogging thereon, the sores of which had been evidently neglected.' Edward Gunn described how 'After the flogging massa would not allow anybody to bathe my back, and the flies too it; if it had now been for strangers I would have been a dead man.'

  4. John Knox married Eliza Ann Park, daughter of Mr John Park of Stewartstown, 19/10/1838 in Donaghenry Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland. His residence is given as Greenville, Ballymoney, County Antrim. Presumably this marriage was bigamous as Rachael Knox was still living. According to their later death records, John was age 40 and Eliza age 50 at the time of their marriage.

  5. John Knox arrived in Adelaide on the Tancred, with his wife, two sons John and William, both aged about 17 years, his daughter Eliza, her husband James Stuart Loughhead, and Eliza's two children John and Robert. According to the diary of William Wells, also on board the Tancred, 'Mr and Mrs Knox, and two sons, young men, from Ireland, has held an estate in Jamaica, and lived there seventeen years. Married I should suppose a native as the sons are approaching? to the Mulatto. This is his second wife. They are very respectable people, and I should say worth property - he has disposed of his Jamaican property, and he is going on his sons account to put them in some way of business, thinking they will have a better chance there than in their own country, goes to Adelaide. Mr and Mrs Lockhead / Longhead and two children, she is the daughter of Mr Knox. He appears to have been very respectably brought up, but things appear to have gone wrong, with them, as he said he will take any kind of a situation that offers itself, down to a Shepherd. They seem ill adapted for this kind of life, but all know time works wonders. She appears dejected and low spirited, no wonder as she is fit to move in a different sphere and is repining at her and her children’s blasted prospects.'

  6. John Knox, age 70, died in Adelaide, 27/12/1868. The letters of Administration (with the will annexed) of the personal estate and effects of John Knox formerly of Greenville Ballymoney in Ireland but late of Rundle Street, Adelaide in the province of South Australia deceased who died 27 December 1868 at Adelaide aforesaid were granted at the Principal Registry under the usual limitations to William Mackintosh Murray of 3 Fenchurch Buildings in the City of London, merchant, the lawful attorney of John Knox and William Knox, the sons, the executors named in the said will now respectively residing at Adelaide aforesaid he the said William Mackintosh Murray having been first sworn. Effects under £2,000.

  7. The obituary of John Knox junior, 31/10/1908, in the Adelaide Advertiser states, 'Mr John Knox, one of the pioneer business men of Adelaide, has died at his residence, "Kirkwall", William-street, Norwood, at an early hour on Tuesday after an illness of about a month's duration, the immediate cause of death being heart failure. The deceased was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1836, and arrived in Australia 56 years ago. He spent almost the whole of his life in Adelaide. Forty-one years ago he entered into partnership with his brother, the late Mr William Knox, when the well-known house, land, and sharebroking business in King William-street was founded. The partnership was continued until 17 months ago, when Mr W. Knox died. The deceased did not take any prominent part in public life, but was always ready to assist any movement calculated to advance the interests of South Australia. He was held in high esteem by a large circle of friends, and was for many years a member of Clayton Church. The deceased left a widow, two unmarried daughters, and five sons...'


  1. Jamaica Almanac (1825); see estate information for Retirement.

  2., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

  3. Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons. Accounts and Papers, vol 14, Slavery (Session: 15 Nov 1837 – 16 Aug 1838), no. 50, Copy of a Despatch from Governor Sir Lionel Smith, K.C.B., to Lord Glenelg, dated Spanish Town, 13 November 1837, p. 197.

  4. [accessed 07/02/2017].

  5. Adelaide Advertiser 05/01/1853. Transcription of diary from Janine Holland available at [accessed 07/02/2017].

  6., Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database online]. National Probate Calendar 1869.

  7. Adelaide Advertiser, 31/10/1908 p. 6.

We are grateful to Mary Symons for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Rachael Hanslep
[With Sophia Gunn] Ann Burrows Knox, Eliza Burrows Knox [Probably with Sophia Gunn] John Knox, William Knox
Wealth at death

Associated Claims (2)

£345 2s 6d
£244 7s 0d

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1824 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Joint owner

Relationships (2)

Son-in-law → Mother-in-law
Husband → Wife

Addresses (2)

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Greenville, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, Ireland