Jack Knight
  Jack Knight was born March 14th, 1893, in Lincoln Center, Kansas. His Christian name was "James Herbert Brockett." Parents were Janes D. Brockett, mother H. Mabel Smith-Brockett. Jack had a sister Lucile. Jack was 2 years old, and Lucile 4. Died Feb. 24th 1945 - Age 53
From collection of Lester Bishop
Courtesy of David Balanky
via email from Patricia Finn Lammersfeld, 7-8-07
Grandaughter of Jack Knight
     Jack Knight had a very brief marriage to my grandmother, Esther Sullivan of Chicago several years before he married Lois. Esther was only 16. My mother was born in 1915.
     My mother, Margaret Knight Finn, his only child, loved to tell me the story of Jack's famous flight. I never met him. He died when I was only eight. About 15 years ago, (after my children were grown,) my mother and I drove to Buchanan andsaw the house where he was raised. We especially wanted to see what the library had in the way of information. Of special interest to me was that many local people still told stories of his boyhood!! "My uncle remembers.." etc. I wish I knew where his WWI pilots wings are today.
     My mother always told me, "you're much like him," when telling me the story of Jack Knight.
     I recently visited the U.S. Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. (with my 3 grandsons) They have a nice display featuring airmail pilots....especially Jack.
     Jack learned to fly at Ellington Field in Houston. Hoping to go to France, he was disappointed when he was assigned to be an instructor pilot for the duration of the war which was soon over. He then got a job flying mail. One of my grandsons is a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol at Ellington Field. This grandson has done school projects featuring Jack Knight.
     Several years ago United Airlines graciously gave me photos and news articles featuring Jack. I especially treasure articles and reports that he wrote.
     I wrote to Hamilton Lee (when he was 99 years old in a nursing home in CA) and asked him to tell me about my grandfather. "He was a great pilot and a great man" was his reply.
     I give HISTORY OF AIRMAIL slide presentations (featuring Jack of course) to pilot groups (or anyone interested). It is amazing to me that people are still interested in him and the true story of his bravely flown night flight that cold, cold night. Interesting that you treasure that prop... United did have his helmet and goggles, but they have been "misplaced" they say.
Patricia Finn Lammersfeld
Marco Island FL

Jack Knight
Jack Knight
Jack Knight
From collection of Lester Bishop
Courtesy of David Balanky
Jack Knight
From collection of Lester Bishop
Courtesy of David Balanky

Jack Knight
James H. "Jack" Knight
In his De Havilland DH-4.
From collection of Lester Bishop
Courtesy of David Balanky
Physician to the Pioneer Airmail Pilots
via email from Pat Heese, 4-29-05
     My mother's step-father was Dr. John A. Tamisiea. He was a physician in Omaha, NE and also a retired Col. in the Air Force. Grandpa knew Jack Knight personally and when the famous plane he flew during the transcontinental air mail flight was "junked" he gave the propellor to my grandfather, which now hangs in my home. He also gave Grandpa a signed photograph along with a signed letter authenticating the propellor to be off the plane that flew the historic flight.
     Grandpa used to give all the pilots their physicals and so knew many of them well. He also used to fly with some of them and they sometimes let him take over the controls. As my grandmother told me, in those days they didn't have the strict laws re who could fly a plane. My mother also remembered meeting him when she was a child.
     Unfortunately, when Grandpa died in 1958 and my grandmother moved into an apartment, she donated the propellor, photograph, and signed letter from Jack knight authenticating the propellor to the local Omaha Post Office Museum. In the 1980's I was telling my husband about this propellor I remember hanging in my grandparents home and he said he'd love to have it. My grandmother, who was still living then, called the Omaha Post Office Museum and asked them if these items could be returned to the family. A week later a post office truck pulled up in front of my house and they brought the propellor and the photograph. Unfortunately, nobody knew anything about the letter that was part of the exhibit. My husband is sure that someone "stole" it for the signature. Unfortunately, I have no proof anymore that this propellor is off said plane but know it is because my mother and grandmother remembered the letter well.
Pat Heese
Jack Knight
Jack Knight's Propeller
From collection of Mike Heese

Email inquiry from Dorothy M. Lewis
Dear Mr. Cooper,
     I was so thrilled to find your web page, since it's the first lead I've found. I'm really hoping that you might have, or can direct me to, information about Jack Knight's expeditions for the U.S. government to South American in search of rubber during WW II. My father, Arthur R. Lewis, flew as his radio officer on at least one of these expeditions to the Amazon, and I'd very much like to include this information in our family genealogy.
     To read the whole story, click on the title above.

via email from Jim Herbert, 8-6-07
Dear Ralph,
     Just a note to you. I am doing genealogy work on my family and my father, Maxwell S. Herbert, 1901-1977, with his family, had belonged to the "Christian Church" in Omaha -- I think it may have been either North Side Christian or the First Christian.
     However, when I was a "little guy" about 4th grade (maybe 1950), I remember reading a book titled, PILOT JACK KNIGHT. When my Dad saw what I was reading, he said "I remember him and he was a nice guy. In fact, he sang in the choir at First Christian Church." Of course, I never forgot this and when I stumbled onto your web site, wanted to write you to tell you this. The time period to which I am referring is around 1912-1917.
     When your notes indicated to write you with anything, I wanted to send you these thoughts. All the very best from one who still remembers "Pilot Jack Knight."
Dr. James W. Herbert
Editor's Note: I thank Dr. Herbert for this insight into Jack's character.

Jack Knight's Log House
via email from A. Henry Studebaker, 7-12-09
     In 1937 my daddy built a log house in Dune Acres, Indiana, on the shores of Lake Michigan for Jack Knight, The house still stands today. Jack was a great guy. He had a motor launch that he kept in the harbor in Michigan City, Indiana. Occasionally he would take my brother and I on trips in the lake,
     I remember when United Airlines started flying DC-3's he buzzed Dune Acres in one.
A. Henry Studebaker

Jack Marries Florence Jones
via email from Jack Hill, 8-15-10
I was reading about Jack Knight and saw your link. I grew up in Dune Acres, IN. I remember Jack's cabin. My mother was Florence Jones who married Jack Knight. She flew with him to South America and tells stories about her trip. She brought back some fabric.

I lost my mother in 2001, among her belongings is Jack Knight's and Florence Jones' Marriage License. Before she passed she told me she had Jack's "wings" in a box on her dresser. I remember the box and the wings, but I'm not sure what happened to them.

Out of all the information I've read on line, I've never read anything about Jack's and my mother's relationship. I thought you might want to know.

Jack Hill

Jack and the Exchange Club
via email from Jim Ashbrook, 10-11-11
Do you know if Jack Knight was a member of the Exchange Club? The Club was founded in 1911 and one of its first priorities was involved in aviation. The club supported arrows on the top of barns as planes flew from one airport to the next. I am certain Jack Knight took advantage of these helpful arrows on the tops of barns. Just curious. Thank you

Jim Ashbrook
Exchange Club of Benton Harbor St Joseph Michigan
Editor's Note: I don't know if he was a member or not, but I do believe that he would have used the arrows in his flights and would have been grateful for them, as were the other pioneer aviators.

     If you search for "Jack Knight +aviation", using the Google search engine, (10-14-07), you will find about 1.120 links! Among the most helpful are the following.
History of the Iowa City Airport
     "The Iowa City Municipal Airport, opened in 1918, is the oldest airport west of the Mississippi River. Many of the early pioneers of flight landed here, including Wiley Post, Charles Lindbergh, and Jack Knight.
     Who was Jack Knight, you say? Read on..."
Jack Knight and the Iowa City Connection
     On this site you will find the exciting story of how in 1921, Jack was able to save the first continuous coast-to-coast airmail flight from certain failure. You can read the whole story by clicking on the title above.
"Our Mission:
     Honor Michigan's Aviation and Space pioneers by inducting them into Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame at an annual Enshrinement Program, highlight the outstanding achievements of aviation/space organizations or groups through an annual "Arthur P. Tesner Spirit of Flight" award."
You may review Jack's entry by clicking on the title above.
     While on the site, I recommend that you sample the other features and enjoy the capsule biographies of the other 68 enshrinees.

Pilot Jack Knight

A. M. Anderson & R. E. Johnson
Product Details
Cloth: 188 pages; 6 x 8 inches
Used Price: 9.45
Publisher: Row, Peterson and Company, 1950

Courtesy of Steve Perkins, 5-17-08

Pilot Jack Knight,
by A.M. Anderson and R.E. Johnson

This was one of my favorite books as a child. I read this book, which was published in 1950, over and over, checking it out many times from the library at Slate Run Elementary School. Perhaps because I am turning 40 this year, I have been trying to collect pieces of my past and recently purchased a pristine edition of this book on eBay. As soon as it arrived, I began reading a chapter a night to our seven year old son, Austin.

I am not sure what it was about this book that so captivated my imagination as a child. As I read it to Austin, I recalled some of the feelings of thrill and excitement as Jack Knight faced death, met obstacles, and made his historic night flight using only bonfires to guide him. Apparently, though, the book had the same effect on my son, for today we played in his room with Lincoln Logs, building an airfield on each side of his bed, one for Chicago and one for Cheyenne. He made airplanes for Jack, Ham Lee, Ed Stover, and Bill...all of whose names he recalled on his own. At one point I flipped off the lights in his room to simulate Jack's night flight, and Austin quickly plucked the yellow plastic chimneys from one of the airfield buildings and placed them in a line along the floor. I asked him what they were for, already guessing the answer. He said, "Those are the bonfires."

Jack Knight died on February 24, 1945

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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