John Knox

John Knox was born abt 1514 near the lowlands of Haddington, Scotland.  His father, William, was a farmer and his mother died when he was a child.  He studied at the University of St. Andrews for the priesthood.  By 1540 he has become a priest and notary, according to public records.

By 1546, Knox had converted to the Protestant faith.  When he preached against the Virgin Mary, a sculpture or picture of him was burned and he was forced to flee to Europe.  Upon returning to Scotland, he served as bodyguard to George Wishart, who was soon burned at the stake.  Knox continued to live as a fugitive.

In 1547, he received his own parish.  In his first sermon, he reportedly compared the pope to the antichrist.  He was then arrested and served nineteen months in a galley-prison.  He then met Marjorie Bowes and at some point the two were married, but to her families opposition. The couple would have two sons together.

In 1554, Knox met with John Calvin.  Shortly thereafter he published a scathing pamphlet attacking Mary Tudor {the infant queen} and her advisors.  The bishops in Scotland viewed him as a threat, but after a failed trial he was left free to preach.  Knox did manage to alienate and or anger Queen Elizabeth of England and the Queen Regent.  When the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, died suddenly the way was paved for the Treaty of Edinburgh to be signed on July 5, 1560.

On August 1, Knox was one of five ministers called to draw up new confessions of faith.  The men then set to the task of organizing the new formed kirk {church} and write the Book of Discipline.  His wife, Marjorie, died during this time in December 1560.

When Queen Mary of Scotland arrived in Scotland in August 1561 and worshiped at the Catholic church, Knox protested from the pulpit of St. Giles.  Queen Mary summoned him a number of times, after he preached against the Queen’s beliefs.  He expressed his dislike of the Queen’s marriage while preaching at a service the king consort attended shortly after the marriage.

On March 26, 1564 Knox married Margaret Stewart, a descendant of Robert the Bruce and the Royal Stewart line. .  He was fifty and she was seventeen, but they would have three daughters together.  In 1566, he wrote History of the Reformation in Scotland.  On July 29, 1567, he preached the coronation of King James VI, after his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots was overthrown.

On November 9, 1572, he preached his last sermon at St. Giles and handed the reigns over to his successor.  He passed into eternal glory on November 24, 1572.  He had very little money to leave his family.  John Knox was buried at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where a statue also stands in his memory.  Knox is considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination.  His home is now a museum in Edinburgh.

John’s daughter, Elizabeth, married John Walsh, a Scottish Presbyterian minister.  Their daughter would marry, James Alexander Witherspoon.  They were the grandparents of John and Jeanette Witherspoon, whom the McKee’s are related to.

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