Knightdale NC

Knightdale, North Carolina, or the Town of Knightdale, is located in Wake County. Knightdale is directly west of Raleigh, NC, the North Carolina state capital.  The 2010 U.S. Census placed Knightdale’s population at 11,401. The U.S. Census 2019 population estimate was 17,843.     

Knightdale received its charter from the North Carolina General Assembly and was incorporated in 1927. The origins of Knightdale can be traced back to the same origins of other towns in North Carolina and other towns through the rest of the United States at that time, the railroad. While most North Carolina “railroad stop” towns developed from the 1850s through the 1890s, the town of Knightdale was a little late to the party when the railroad arrived in 1904.  

However, the story of the Knightdale area has a much deeper history than that of 1904 when the railroad finally arrived. The Lords Proprietors of the Colony, the English Lords who oversaw the colony for the King, were interested in attracting settlers to the Carolina Colony. In 1700 the Lords Proprietors of the Colony (the Carolina Colony), retained Englishman John Lawson (December 27, 1674 – September 16, 1711) to explore the unknown and uncharted Carolina backcountry. His explorations of colonial South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina were instrumental in future exploration and in encouraging future settlers to immigrate to the Carolinas. Lawson published his trip’s journal in 1709 on his explorations, A New Voyage to Carolina. He was eventually appointed Surveyor-General of North Carolina.

Lawson began his Carolina backcountry exploration near present day Charleston, South Carolina on December 28, 1700. As noted in A New Voyage to Carolina, Lawson explored the Knightdale area in February of 1701. He recorded in his journal his encounter with the Tuscarora Indians (Lawson spelled as Tuskeruros) who inhabited the area on the banks of the Neuse River. From his journal, “…we met with about 500 Tuskeruros in one Hunting-Quarter. They had made themselves Streets of Houses, built with Pine-Bark…” A substantial Native American Indian “town” in the middle of the backcountry. 

Lawson in his journal recorded this encounter with the Tuscarora and noted their warlike nature. He noted their practice of cutting half of both feet off of other Native Americans who they had captured in battle. From A New Voyage to Carolina, “By this cruel Method, the Indian Captive is hinder’d from making his Escape, for he can neither run fast or go any where, but his Feet are more easily traced and discover’d.” Another quote from the journal about the Tuscarora Indians who first inhabited the Knightdale area, “The Indians are very revengeful, and never forget an Injury done, till they have receiv’d Satisfaction.” So, it is safe to say the Tuscarora Indians were not a people to be trifled with. 

Lawson recorded this 1701 encounter with the Tuscarora Indians as peaceful. However, in September 1711, John Lawson and Christoph von Graffenried, 1st Baron of Bernberg, who founded New Bern, North Carolina, were traversing the Neuse River. Lawson and his travel companion the Baron, were captured by Tuscarora Indians. The Baron was eventually released, but the Tuscarora Indians ritualistically tortured John Lawson to death. This killing of Lawson along with other acts against colonial settlers is what led to the Tuscarora War (September 10, 1711 – February 11, 1715) which some historians consider the bloodiest war in colonial North Carolina.

John Hinton, a 1700 English emigrant to North Carolina via Nansemond County, Virginia married Mary Hardy who had arrived from Virginia to North Carolina in 1695. John and Mary had five children together, and their fourth child was John Hinton II born in Chowan County (Now within Gates County) in 1725. John Hinton II was six or seven when his father died in 1731.   

John Hinton II (1725 – 1784) was to become a pioneer, planter, justice of the peace, American Patriot, soldier, and legislator. In the mid to late 1730s (possibly 1739) when Hinton II was not yet eighteen, he received a land grant of 640 acres in Craven County (now within Wake County) and moved west. In colonial times a land grant was from the King of England and was typically under 50 acres, however with the difficulty of recruiting settlers up to 100 acres became common. Considering the size of Hinton II’s land grant, 640 acres, it could be assumed no one else was actively seeking a land grant in future Wake County so this is probably how he garnered such a large land grant. Larger land grants were not unheard of; however, 700 acres was typically considered the maximum. 

He was to become an early pioneer in the wilderness of Wake County. In present-day Knightdale, less than five miles east of present-day Raleigh, Hinton II constructed a log cabin on the south side of the Neuse River (Near where Hodge Road and Old Faison Road intersect). The log cabin was primitive without a door, and presumably without windows as entry was gained via a ladder dropped from an upper portion. This elaborate entrance and exit provided protection from unfriendly natives and wild animals. As Hinton II prospered, he constructed another home of bricks facing the Neuse River.  

In the coming years Hinton II received several thousand acres of Granville grants (Land grants from the Earl of Granville) and purchased land. His land followed the course of the Neuse River, and in certain areas he owned up to four miles to the east and west of the river.

Hinton II served in the colonial and the state militia. By 1769, he advanced to the rank of colonel in the state militia. When the American Revolution began, Hinton II became a Patriot. He played a key leadership role in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge near Wilmington, NC on February 27, 1776. This was the first battle of the American Revolution fought within North Carolina. The Patriot victory at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge was one of only two Revolutionary victories fought within North Carolina.

Hinton II was later selected as a delegate to the North Carolina Fourth Provincial Congress. The Fourth Provincial Congress passed the Halifax Resolves. The Halifax Resolves, adopted on April 12, 1775, was the first official action by an American Colony calling for independence from England. The Halifax Resolves helped set the tone and the presentation to the Congress of the United States Declaration of Independence less than three months later.

Three of the seven Hinton descendants’ plantations, The Oaks, Midway, and Beaver are still intact. They are located in the Knightdale area. 

After American Independence, the population in the Knightdale area went back to their agriculture driven economy. The primary crops being tobacco and cotton. This agriculture driven economy remained in place for approximately the next 150 years. 

Towards the end of the American Civil War in 1865, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Southern Campaign strategy wreaked havoc on crops and structures in the Carolinas. The burning and pilfering strategy came to the Knightdale area as well. John Hinton II’s descendant’s plantations, The Clay Hill Plantation and the Midway Plantations, witnessed the greatest damage.   

After the Civil War, the population began to rebuild and plant crops again. For years to come the area that eventually became Knightdale was nothing more than a crossroads with a sole post office. The population were mostly farmers who grew different crops; however, tobacco and cotton were still the main crops. 

In the 1890s, many of the population began seeing the need for a town. Henry Haywood Knight was one of these people and he personally donated land to the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Company in the hopes the free land would entice the railroad to come to the future Knightdale. Knight died in 1904, the railroad finally came to the community that would eventually bear his name within a few years thereafter.

The railroad and depot changed the area significantly, especially regarding the local economics. The railroad moved agricultural products to market and moved the population to Raleigh and beyond. 

As the agriculture economy grew around the railroad, so did the population and the business enterprises. A dry goods store named Robertson’s, a bank, and other enterprises soon followed with the success of the railroad. The North Carolina General Assembly granted a charter to the town of Knightdale, and the town was incorporation on March 9, 1927. 

One notable or infamous date in Knightdale’s early history is February 7, 1940. In the early morning hours, a massive fire engulfed downtown Knightdale. Despite the economic growth, the town did not have a professional fire department or a municipal water system. Even with the entire town population forming a bucket brigade, the fire could not be contained until firefighters from Raleigh arrived with firefighting equipment.

As evidenced by the U.S. Census, the population post incorporation up until the 1990 U.S. Census which place the population at 1,884, still showed Knightdale as a small town. However, this small-town atmosphere with regard to population drastically changed when the 2000 U.S. Census placed the population at 5,958 and the 2019 population estimate is 17,843.  

Census Pop. %±

1930 243 —

1940 352 44.9%

1950 461 31.0%

1960 622 34.9%

1970 815 31.0%

1980 985 20.9%

1990 1,884 91.3%

2000 5,958 216.2%

2010 11,401 91.4%

2019 (est.) 17,843 56.5%

Highways & Roads 

U.S. Interstate 87, U.S. Interstate 540, US 64, and US 264 are easily accessible from Knightdale.

U.S. 64 (Business) is the main commercial area of Knightdale and connects Knightdale with Raleigh to the west and Wendall to the east. 

From Knightdale to Raleigh, NC (11 Miles), Durham, NC (32 Miles), Chapel Hill, NC (41 Miles), Research Triangle Park (25 Miles) Charlotte, NC (174 Miles), Wilmington, NC (136 Miles), and Washington, DC (270 Miles). 

Public transportation

Knightdale is served by the Triangle Transit Authority through Knightdale-Raleigh Express. This connects Knightdale commuters to the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill bus systems.

Rail Service

Amtrak does not offer passenger service through Knightdale; However, Raleigh has an Amtrak station with regular passenger service that is a 13-mile drive from Knightdale. 

Commercial air service that is most convenient from Knightdale is Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The following airlines currently serve Raleigh-Durham: Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express. 

The Knightdale educational systems are part of Wake County Schools System and are well rated from primary to secondary. There are 11 top ranked colleges or universities in the Knightdale area. 

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knightdale nc

Knightdale, North Carolina, or the Town of Knightdale, is located in Wake County. Knightdale is directly west of Raleigh, NC, the North Carolina state capital.  The 2010 U.S. Census placed Knightdale’s population at 11,401. The U.S. Census 2019 population estimate was 17,843.     

Knightdale received its charter from the North Carolina General Assembly and was incorporated in 1927. The origins of Knightdale can be traced back to the same origins of other towns in North Carolina and other towns through the rest of the United States at that time, the railroad. While most North Carolina “railroad stop” towns developed from the 1850s through the 1890s, the town of Knightdale was a little late to the party when the railroad arrived in 1904.

However, the story of the Knightdale area has a much deeper history than that of 1904 when the railroad finally arrived. The Lords Proprietors of the Colony, the English Lords who oversaw the colony for the King, were interested in attracting settlers to the Carolina Colony. In 1700 the Lords Proprietors of the Colony (the Carolina Colony), retained Englishman John Lawson (December 27, 1674 – September 16, 1711) to explore the unknown and uncharted Carolina backcountry. His explorations of colonial South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina were instrumental in future exploration and in encouraging future settlers to immigrate to the Carolinas. Lawson published his trip’s journal in 1709 on his explorations, A New Voyage to Carolina. He was eventually appointed Surveyor-General of North Carolina.

Lawson began his Carolina backcountry exploration near present day Charleston, South Carolina on December 28, 1700. As noted in A New Voyage to Carolina, Lawson explored the Knightdale area in February of 1701. He recorded in his journal his encounter with the Tuscarora Indians (Lawson spelled as Tuskeruros) who inhabited the area on the banks of the Neuse River. From his journal, “…we met with about 500 Tuskeruros in one Hunting-Quarter. They had made themselves Streets of Houses, built with Pine-Bark…” A substantial Native American Indian “town” in the middle of the backcountry.

Lawson in his journal recorded this encounter with the Tuscarora and noted their warlike nature. He noted their practice of cutting half of both feet off of other Native Americans who they had captured in battle. From A New Voyage to Carolina, “By this cruel Method, the Indian Captive is hinder’d from making his Escape, for he can neither run fast or go any where, but his Feet are more easily traced and discover’d.” Another quote from the journal about the Tuscarora Indians who first inhabited the Knightdale area, “The Indians are very revengeful, and never forget an Injury done, till they have receiv’d Satisfaction.” So, it is safe to say the Tuscarora Indians were not a people to be trifled with.

Lawson recorded this 1701 encounter with the Tuscarora Indians as peaceful. However, in September 1711, John Lawson and Christoph von Graffenried, 1st Baron of Bernberg, who founded New Bern, North Carolina, were traversing the Neuse River. Lawson and his travel companion the Baron, were captured by Tuscarora Indians. The Baron was eventually released, but the Tuscarora Indians ritualistically tortured John Lawson to death. This killing of Lawson along with other acts against colonial settlers is what led to the Tuscarora War (September 10, 1711 – February 11, 1715) which some historians consider the bloodiest war in colonial North Carolina.

John Hinton, a 1700 English emigrant to North Carolina via Nansemond County, Virginia married Mary Hardy who had arrived from Virginia to North Carolina in 1695. John and Mary had five children together, and their fourth child was John Hinton II born in Chowan County (Now within Gates County) in 1725. John Hinton II was six or seven when his father died in 1731.   

John Hinton II (1725 – 1784) was to become a pioneer, planter, justice of the peace, American Patriot, soldier, and legislator. In the mid to late 1730s (possibly 1739) when Hinton II was not yet eighteen, he received a land grant of 640 acres in Craven County (now within Wake County) and moved west. In colonial times a land grant was from the King of England and was typically under 50 acres, however with the difficulty of recruiting settlers up to 100 acres became common. Considering the size of Hinton II’s land grant, 640 acres, it could be assumed no one else was actively seeking a land grant in future Wake County so this is probably how he garnered such a large land grant. Larger land grants were not unheard of; however, 700 acres was typically considered the maximum.

He was to become an early pioneer in the wilderness of Wake County. In present-day Knightdale, less than five miles east of present-day Raleigh, Hinton II constructed a log cabin on the south side of the Neuse River (Near where Hodge Road and Old Faison Road intersect). The log cabin was primitive without a door, and presumably without windows as entry was gained via a ladder dropped from an upper portion. This elaborate entrance and exit provided protection from unfriendly natives and wild animals. As Hinton II prospered, he constructed another home of bricks facing the Neuse River.

In the coming years Hinton II received several thousand acres of Granville grants (Land grants from the Earl of Granville) and purchased land. His land followed the course of the Neuse River, and in certain areas he owned up to four miles to the east and west of the river.

Hinton II served in the colonial and the state militia. By 1769, he advanced to the rank of colonel in the state militia. When the American Revolution began, Hinton II became a Patriot. He played a key leadership role in the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge near Wilmington, NC on February 27, 1776. This was the first battle of the American Revolution fought within North Carolina. The Patriot victory at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge was one of only two Revolutionary victories fought within North Carolina.

Hinton II was later selected as a delegate to the North Carolina Fourth Provincial Congress. The Fourth Provincial Congress passed the Halifax Resolves. The Halifax Resolves, adopted on April 12, 1775, was the first official action by an American Colony calling for independence from England. The Halifax Resolves helped set the tone and the presentation to the Congress of the United States Declaration of Independence less than three months later.

Three of the seven Hinton descendants’ plantations, The Oaks, Midway, and Beaver are still intact. They are located in the Knightdale area.

After American Independence, the population in the Knightdale area went back to their agriculture driven economy. The primary crops being tobacco and cotton. This agriculture driven economy remained in place for approximately the next 150 years.

Towards the end of the American Civil War in 1865, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Southern Campaign strategy wreaked havoc on crops and structures in the Carolinas. The burning and pilfering strategy came to the Knightdale area as well. John Hinton II’s descendant’s plantations, The Clay Hill Plantation and the Midway Plantations, witnessed the greatest damage.   

After the Civil War, the population began to rebuild and plant crops again. For years to come the area that eventually became Knightdale was nothing more than a crossroads with a sole post office. The population were mostly farmers who grew different crops; however, tobacco and cotton were still the main crops.

In the 1890s, many of the population began seeing the need for a town. Henry Haywood Knight was one of these people and he personally donated land to the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Company in the hopes the free land would entice the railroad to come to the future Knightdale. Knight died in 1904, the railroad finally came to the community that would eventually bear his name within a few years thereafter.

The railroad and depot changed the area significantly, especially regarding the local economics. The railroad moved agricultural products to market and moved the population to Raleigh and beyond.

As the agriculture economy grew around the railroad, so did the population and the business enterprises. A dry goods store named Robertson’s, a bank, and other enterprises soon followed with the success of the railroad. The North Carolina General Assembly granted a charter to the town of Knightdale, and the town was incorporation on March 9, 1927.

One notable or infamous date in Knightdale’s early history is February 7, 1940. In the early morning hours, a massive fire engulfed downtown Knightdale. Despite the economic growth, the town did not have a professional fire department or a municipal water system. Even with the entire town population forming a bucket brigade, the fire could not be contained until firefighters from Raleigh arrived with firefighting equipment.

As evidenced by the U.S. Census, the population post incorporation up until the 1990 U.S. Census which place the population at 1,884, still showed Knightdale as a small town. However, this small-town atmosphere with regard to population drastically changed when the 2000 U.S. Census placed the population at 5,958 and the 2019 population estimate is 17,843.

Census Pop. %±

1930 243 —

1940 352 44.9%

1950 461 31.0%

1960 622 34.9%

1970 815 31.0%

1980 985 20.9%

1990 1,884 91.3%

2000 5,958 216.2%

2010 11,401 91.4%

2019 (est.) 17,843 56.5%

Highways & Roads

U.S. Interstate 87, U.S. Interstate 540, US 64, and US 264 are easily accessible from Knightdale.

U.S. 64 (Business) is the main commercial area of Knightdale and connects Knightdale with Raleigh to the west and Wendall to the east.

From Knightdale to Raleigh, NC (11 Miles), Durham, NC (32 Miles), Chapel Hill, NC (41 Miles), Research Triangle Park (25 Miles) Charlotte, NC (174 Miles), Wilmington, NC (136 Miles), and Washington, DC (270 Miles).

Public transportation

Knightdale is served by the Triangle Transit Authority through Knightdale-Raleigh Express. This connects Knightdale commuters to the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill bus systems.

Rail Service

Amtrak does not offer passenger service through Knightdale; However, Raleigh has an Amtrak station with regular passenger service that is a 13-mile drive from Knightdale.

Commercial air service that is most convenient from Knightdale is Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The following airlines currently serve Raleigh-Durham: Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express.

The Knightdale educational systems are part of Wake County Schools System and are well rated from primary to secondary. There are 11 top ranked colleges or universities in the Knightdale area.

Need Association Management?

Contact Us