GHPCC-Edward Collings Knight
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This is one of the series of caches placed throughout Camden County to bring awareness to historical locations. It has been placed here with the permission of the Mayor of Collingswood.
The second of seven children born to Jonathan and Rebecca (nee Callings) Knight, Edward Collings Knight, was born in Collingswood, New Jersey, December 8, 1813.
In 1832, at the age of nineteen, he went to Philadelphia, and secured a job as clerk in the grocery establishment of Atkinson & Cuthbert on South Street wharf. Edward remained with them for four years, leaving them in 1836 to establish himself in the grocery business on Second Street. Having acquired a thorough business training, and possessing fine executive and business ability, his business thrived from the start. In 1844 he became involved in the importation of coffees on a large scale and became a ship owner. In 1846 he moved to the southeast corner of Chestnut and Water Streets, and added to his wholesale grocery, commission, and importing business, that of sugar-refining. In 1851 Edward organized the firm of E. C. Knight & Co., sugar refiners, and became widely known as a merchant and businessman. The sugar-refining business eventually outgrew the original plant, and in 1881 the immense refining plant was erected on Mr. Knight's property on Delaware Avenue becoming one of the most complete and convenient refineries in this country, with a capacity of fifteen hundred barrels per day - trading to all the larger cities of the United States.
Edward Knight became interested in railroad enterprises early in his business career; he was elected a director of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was largely through his effforts as chairman of the committee that the American Steamship Line, between Philadelphia and Europe, was established He was appointed its first president. He later withdrew from the Pennsylvania Railroad directorship, and became a director of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, of which he was president from 1876 to 1880. In 1874 he organized, and was chosen president of the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad Company, which position he held until his death, July 22, 1892. He was also a director of the Philadelphia & Reading, and of the North Pennsylvania Railroad companies, and was president of the latter. He was also the first president of the Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Company, of Philadelphia.
Probably one of the most interesting events of his long and successful career was his invention, in 1859, of the sleeping car, later known as the Pullman Sleeper (the company organized by him for its manufacture having sold their patents to the Pullman Company in 1868). In 1873 Mr. Knight was a member of the State Constitutional Convention, and his sound opinions and advice as a business man had unusual weight in the formulation of much of the best provisions of the present organic law of this Commonwealth.
Though early transplanted to Philadelphia, where his whole active life was spent, Edward Collings Knight always retained a keen interest in Collingswood, the place of his birth. Whenever opportunity offered he purchased, bit by bit, the lands that had formerly belonged to the Collings and Knight families, and after obtaining them all, he set aside eighty acres and donated it as a public park in memory of his parents, and placed in trust, one hudred thousand dollars, the interest of which to be always used in maintaining and beautifying the grounds.
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