While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Joseph W. McKnight

MCKNIGHT, JOSEPH BANNING (1869–1961). Joseph Banning McKnight, physician, son of Joseph P. and Mary (Elkins) McKnight, was born in Dallas on November 7, 1869. With a very rudimentary preparatory education he enrolled in the Memphis Hospital and Medical College (now the University of Tennessee) to study medicine. After receiving his M.D. degree in 1893 he stayed on at the college for an internship and spent a year in residence at St. Joseph's Hospital, Memphis. In later years he did postgraduate study at Rush Medical School Polyclinic in Chicago, the Trudeau School of Tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, New York, and Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He began his medical practice in Menardville (now Menard), Texas, and served that community, Fort McKavett, and the surrounding countryside before moving to Brady in 1908. Late in 1913 he was appointed head of the newly founded state tuberculosis colony near Carlsbad, a small hospital with facilities for fifty-seven patients. McKnight accepted the appointment for one year, but stayed on to serve as superintendent and medical director until his retirement on April 1, 1950, when the legislature honored him by naming the facility McKnight State Tuberculosis Sanatorium (see SANATORIUM, TEXAS). Under his direction the hospital expanded into a treatment center with more than 1,000 beds; more than 28,000 patients were treated during his tenure.

In 1915 McKnight founded the first training school in Texas for nurses of tuberculosis patients. During World War I he served as examiner of men found unfit for service by reason of diseases of the chest. In 1918 he was instrumental in establishing an extension service that supplied printed information on the study and prevention of tuberculosis, especially directed to the pupils of Texas public schools. Throughout his career he supported reforms in public health. In 1922 he was a member of the building committee for the federal Veterans Administration Hospital, Kerrville (later the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kerrville), and in 1935 he helped to establish the Kerrville State Sanatorium (later the Kerrville State Hospital). He was active in the affairs of the American Medical Association and held various offices in the Texas Medical Association and in local medical groups. He became a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians in 1939, a member of the American Trudeau Society in 1941, and a member of the American Association of Railway Surgeons in 1948. He was married to Geraldine Mabel Latham on June 19, 1894, and his wife worked with him toward the eradication of tuberculosis in Texas. McKnight died in San Angelo on January 27, 1961, a short time after the death of his wife; both were buried in San Angelo.


Texarado McKnight Peak, The McKnight Family and Their Descendents (Austin, 1965). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Joseph W. McKnight, "MCKNIGHT, JOSEPH BANNING," accessed July 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmc80.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 13, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...