Portrait of Rossie O. Knight

Rossie O. Knight as a young Soldier. Born August 28, 1892, Rossie O. Knight grew up in Ray City, GA.

Rossie O. Knight as a young Soldier. Born August 28, 1892, Rossie O. Knight grew up in Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

Rossie O. Knight

Rossie O. Knight, a son of Sovin J. Knight and Ann Eliza Allen,  and grew up on his parents’ farm near Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA.   He was one of many young men of Berrien County who served in WWI.  Rossie served in  France with the U.S. 1st Division, where he was engaged in major campaigns at Montdidier, Marne, St. Mihiel and Argonne. After the Armistice he served in occupation of Germany at Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

Family member Bryan Shaw shares the following:

“Rossie Knight returned home after the war but was plagued with the effects of multiple gas exposures he received while fighting in France. Rossie remained single the rest of his life. He died November 16, 1963 at the age of 71.

“These photos of Rossie O. Knight are very revealing. First of all there is the young Rossie with tousled hair standing tall and almost innocent in his demeanor and facial features.

In the next photo, chest up and three-quarters, he is firm and self confident, ready for any challenge he is faced with, slightly older and more mature looking than the  first photo.

Then, almost a tragic contrast are the last two photos, one standing alone with hat in hand, the other with his two brothers, Mansfield in the center and Leland on the right. Rossie is on the left.

After all he had seen and endured throughout the war, the obvious effects on his mental well being is poignantly captured. He appears almost timid and withdrawn. He had emotional and health problems throughout the remainder of his life. A handsome young man, he came back from the war broken, and he never married.”

He is buried at the Pleasant Cemetery in the Lois community.”

Bryan Shaw

Rossie O. Knight, soldier. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation www.berriencountyga.com

Rossie O. Knight, soldier. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

Rossie O. KnightImage courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation www.berriencountyga.com

Rossie O. Knight. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

Rossie O. Knight returned to Berrien County after WWI, but never fully recovered from his wartime experiences.

Rossie O. Knight returned to Berrien County after WWI, but never fully recovered from his wartime experiences. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

Three Knight brothers, left to right: Rossie O. Knight, Marion Mansfield Knight, and Leland Thomas Knight. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation www.berriencountyga.com

Three Knight brothers, left to right: Rossie O. Knight, Marion Mansfield Knight, and Leland Thomas Knight. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

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2 Comments

  1. Bryan Shaw said,

    April 25, 2015 at 7:44 am

    As I continue to research the life of Rossie O. Knight, I discover new pieces of information about his emotional and physical health and the details surrounding his post-war circumstances. According to his niece, Carolyn Swindle Monroe, his condition as a result of frequent gassing and combat related activities in a machine gun regiment caused him a life-long nervous anxiety condition. This condition was so severe that he was institutionalized at the Augusta, Georgia Veterans Hospital from the 1920s to the end of his life. Today it would probably be called post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, shell shock, or combat stress.He made occasional visits to his family in South Georgia, but was not exposed to group gatherings or any conditions of excitement.
    According to Carolyn, he was never married, however the 1930 and 1940 census list him as being married. He did have a girl friend known only as “Virginia” who he met while living in New York who would visit him on occasion. Perhaps the administrators at the VA hospital assumed he was married when providing “inmate” information for the census bureau. I have never found any record of him being married in Georgia, New York, New Jersey, or overseas. Possibly his military records may reveal more information on this subject.

    • April 25, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Bryan,
      Thanks again for these additional details on Rossie O. Knight and for sharing your family photos and history. Rossie’s story shows how the horrors of gas warfare in WWI reached into little communities all over the nation, with lingering, sometimes permanent effects on the individuals who served and their families. We should all remember the burdens our veterans carry.


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