The grandfather of this popular physician was James A. McKnight, a native of Indiana, who became an early settler of Illinois. He located at Ingraham, in the county of Clay, and prosecuted his trade as a miller, a business of much importance in a pioneer community. His death occurred in 1895, when he was quite advanced in years. He had been accompanied to Illinois by his son, Frank, who was born in Indiana, learned his father's trade of milling, and continued in this calling during the working period of his life, which ended at Ingraham, in 1894, at the comparatively early age of forty-seven years. Frank McKnight was married in early manhood to Lou Shriner, a native of Ohio, who is still residing in Chicago. The children of this union, three in number, were: Roy H., Rolla, now at Minnie, Arkansas, and Hazel, a resident of Chicago.
Roy H. McKnight was born March 14, 1881, at Ingraham, Clay county, Illinois. After the usual elementary course in the district schools at home, he was graduated in 1899 from the Jefferson high school in Chicago. In 1900, he matriculated in the medical department of the Illinois University and spent three years in diligent prosecution of his studies. After leaving this institution, three additional years were spent at the Dearborn Medical College in Chicago, from which he was graduated in the class of 1906. After practicing a year in Chicago, Dr. McKnight opened an office in Clay City in the fall of 1907 and since then has continued in business at that place. He had a lucrative practice in the hospital at Englewood, but was forced to give this up and seek the country on account of ill health. The doctor's early career was at once a test of his ambitious determination and a guarantee of his success in life, as he early learned the valuable lesson of self-denial and saving. When his father died, he was thrown on his own resources at the tender age of thirteen. He bought a pair of overalls and a cap, took a freight train to Chicago and found employment at four dollars per week. All but fifty cents of this went for board, but on this scant surplus he saved money. When by hard work and faithful service he was promoted to a stipend of four dollars and fifty cents a week, he was correspondingly happy. His first work was for the Thompson (bicycle) Manufacturing Company and his next job was with the Western Electric Company. His hard labor extended through seven years, at the end of which time he found himself in possession of the, to him, munificent remuneration of twenty-five dollars per week. In the seven years he saved four thousand dollars, every cent of which was spent in procuring his education as a physician. It is hardly necessary to add that the doctor is a progressive young man, of boundless ambition and possessing especial aptitude and ability. Dr. McKnight is a member of the American, Clay County and Cook (Chicago) County Medical societies. He is a Mason and holds membership in Union Park Lodge, No. 610, of that order in Chicago.
In 1903, Dr. McKnight was married to Bertha May Hill, of Wheeling, West Virginia, and they have one child, Mildred, born July 1, 1904. The parents are members of the Christian church at Clay City.
Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 297-298.