Robert Knight, manufacturer, was born in Old Warwick,R.I., January 8, 1826; son of Stephen and Weltham (Brayton) Knight. He was employed in the Cranston Print Works, and in the other cotton factories,
1834-1843, and in the latter year became a clerk in the store of his brother Benjamin Brayton at Providence, R.I. He attended Pawcatuck Academy, Westerly, R.I., for a short time, and taught a district school one winter.
In 1847 with Zachariah Parker, he leased John H. Clark's cotton mill and bleachery at Arnold's Bridge, and in 1850 they purchased the property, of which Mr. Knight became sole owner in 1851. He gave to the village and
mill the name of Pontiac. In 1852 he purchased a half-interest in the flour and grain business of his brother Benjamin Brayton Knight, in Providence, the firm name becoming B. B. & R. Knight. He extensively increased
this cotton manufacturing interests, operating as part owner about ten mills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In 1867 he was elected director in the National Bank of Commerce,Providence, and in 1884 became its
president. In 1874 he was chosen director in the People's Savings Bank,Providence, becoming its president in 1884. He was also elected a director in the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad company, and became
prominently identified with various insurance companies. In June, 1898, on the death of his brother Benjamin Brayton Knight, he became the largest individual owner of cotton mills in the world, with upwards of twenty
distinct establishments under his personal control. He was married, March 5, 1849 to Josephine Louisa, daughter of Royal A. and Hannah C. Webster of Providence, and had nine children.
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