Jon P Knight Sought Nomination to the Bench

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Born in Rays Mill, GA, Jonathan Perry Knight rose to prominence in local and state politics, and practiced law for many years in Nashville, GA. (see Knight of Berrien ~ Jonathan Perry Knight)

When in 1921 Knight learned of the resignation of Georgia Supreme Court justice Walter Franklin George, he wrote to Senator Thomas E. Watson, seeking his recommendation for the position.  The nomination for the new justice would be made by Governor Thomas Hardwick.  Although the two had a long history of vitriolic dialogue,  Senator Watson enjoyed a congenial relationship with the Governor at the time time of Knight’s writing.  In fact, a year earlier the “Two Toms” had appeared together in Thomasville, GA .

Letter from Jon P. Knight to Thomas E. Watson, 26 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Letter from Jon P. Knight to Thomas E. Watson, 26 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jon P. Knight
Attorney at Law
Nashville, Ga.

October 26th, 1921.

Senator Thomas E. Watson,
Washington, D. C.

My Dear Senator:

                    I have just learned of the resignation of Judge Walter F. George, from the Supreme Court bench of Georgia, to take effect January 1st. next, and I am writing you for your endorsement in my behalf to Governor Hardwick, to succeed to the vacancy.  I have had more than eighteen years in active practice at the bar, in both State and Federal Courts, and feel that I am equipped with both efficiency and practice for this very important position.

                   I will be fifty years of age my next birthday, and my health is good, and can promise to the people of Georgia, should I be appointed, active, energetic, honest and faithful service.

                   I am fully aware of what I ask at your hand and promise you, that should you give me this endorsement, that neither you nor the people of Georgia shall ever have cause to regret it.

                   I cannot close the request without taking the liberty of saying to you again, as I did in the lobby of the Senate Chamber, some time ago, while in Washington, that Old Man People are forever with you in the fight you are waging in the Senate.

                  Thanking you in advance for a compliance with the above request, if you can grant it, and if so, leaving it to your best judgement as to the manner and form of endorsement,
I am,
                                      Your obedient servant,
                                      J. P. Knight

dk/jpk

 By unfortunate circumstance, the timing of Knight’s letter coincided with the falling out of the “Two Toms”:

Citing political differences with Governor Thomas Hardwick, Senator Watson declined to convey his endorsement.

Letter from Thomas E. Watson to Jon P. Knight, 29 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Letter from Thomas E. Watson to Jon P. Knight, 29 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

October 26, 1921

Hon. J. P. Knight,
Attorney at Law,
Nashville, Ga.

My dear Mr. Knight:

Yours received.  As you have doubtless seen in the papers since your letter was written, the relation between Governor Hardwick are such that it is impossible for me to write to him on any subject whatever.

Were conditions different, I would be glad to recommend you to him for the appointment.

I am sure you will appreciate my position in view of the present status of things.

Accept my thanks for the kind personal reference made in your letter.  I am deeply appreciative of your friendship and will be glad to render you any service at any time that I can.

Yours very truly,

When Senator Watson died in 1922, it was Walter F. George who was elected to succeed him.

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