Books like The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War
The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War
Newton Knight (November 10, 1837 – February 16, 1922) was an American farmer, soldier and Southern Unionist in Mississippi, best known as the leader of the Knight Company, a band of Confederate army deserters who resisted the Confederacy during the Civil War. Local legends tell of Knight and his men forming the "Free State of Jones" in the area in and around Jones County, Mississippi, at the height of the war. The nature and extent of the Knight Company's opposition to the Confederate government is disputed among historians. After the war, Knight joined the Republican Party and served in Mississippi's Reconstruction government as a deputy US Marshal.
Knight has long been a controversial figure in the region, with people divided over his motives and actions. He and his allies developed a small mixed-race community in southeastern Mississippi. His interracial marriage with Rachel Knight was considered illegal, as Mississippi had banned interracial marriages before and after the war, except for a brief period during Reconstruction.