About the Collection
Amanda Inez Knight
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Amanda Inez Knight was born on 8 September 1876 near Payson, Utah County, Utah, to Jesse Knight and Amanda Melvina McEwan. She was the fourth of six children and second of four daughters. Her father Jesse was a prominent businessman, mining entrepreneur, and philanthropist in early Utah history. Due to his close friendship with Karl G. Maeser, president of Brigham Young Academy at Provo, Utah, Jesse “was anxious to give [his] children an education in the Church school.” 1 Therefore the family moved to Provo and Amanda (or Inez, as she preferred to be called) enrolled in the Academy.
Inez’s studies were interrupted by a call in 1898 to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was assigned to the British Isles and she and her companion, Jennie Brimhall, were the first women to serve missions unaccompanied by a husband. Leaving Provo on 2 April 1898 they arrived in Liverpool on April 22. The mission president assigned them to labor in the Cheltenham Conference. The next month they embarked on a trip to the continent. Inez frequently participated in street meetings, although at first she was quite nervous, commenting: “Oh those fearful trembling feelings I shall never forget, if I ever am free from them.” 2 Indeed, it did not take long for her to adjust to speaking on a regular basis, and in September she recorded after a meeting: “With the help of the Lord I spoke 20 minutes at the close one stranger said ‘God bless your good mission.’” 3
Inez also witnessed significant opposition, as on one occasion when a mob attacked them and “threw rocks and mud and sticks at [them] all the way to the police station.” 4 This did not deter her, however, and she remained devoted to the work: “I like my work very much and I feel as if I don’t care how long I am required to labor as an ambassador for Christ.” 5 While in England, Inez was also a delegate to the 1899 International Council of Women, held in London. Inez returned home in June 1900.
In 1901, while continuing her studies and serving as matron of Brigham Young Academy, Inez met R. Eugene Allen. Her future father-in-law, Thomas L. Allen, later commented that at the time he “did not think there [was] any better woman in the world,” and told Eugene that he was not worthy to be her companion. 6 Eugene, however, disregarded his father’s advice; the following year, on 11 June 1902 they were married in Salt Lake City. Five boys resulted from their union, all of whom became successful businessmen or educators. Twin girls were also born, but prematurely; they died the same day.
Inez held many callings in the church, especially in the Relief Society organization. For many years she served as counselor or president in the Utah Stake Relief Society, and later became a member of the General Relief Society Board. The latter calling she held until her death. Inez was also politically active. She was a candidate to the Utah State Senate, a delegate to the 1924 Democratic Convention in New York, and a delegate again to the 1938 Democratic Convention in Houston. Interestingly, her husband served as a delegate to the 1924 Republican Convention in Cleveland. She also took a lead in civic affairs during World War I, serving as county chairman of the Women’s Liberty Loan Committee and the Women’s Council of Defense, and as vice-chairman for the Utah County Red Cross.
Amanda Inez Knight Allen died of acute gastritis on 5 June 1937 in Provo, Utah. Her friends and associates remembered her as an intelligent, kind, understanding, entertaining, and independent woman who displayed “a competent and tireless devotion to great causes as she saw them.” 7
1 Jesse Knight, “Autobiography, 1896–1913,” p. 29, MSS SC 939, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
2 Inez Knight Allen, “Diary, 1898–1899,” p.22 [not dated], MSS SC 932, LTPSC.
3 Ibid., 12 September 1898,
4 Ibid., 19 January, 1899.
5 Ibid., 30 January, 1899.
6 “Dedicatory services of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Knight, 187 East Center Street, Provo City, Utah: March 1, 1906,” p. 12, MSS 1434, LTPSC.
7 Dedication and Naming of 22 Buildings (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1954), 67.
Allen, Inez Knight. “Diary, 1898–1899.” MSS SC 932, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 1 December 2003 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm.
Binheim, Max. Women of the West: A Series of Biographical Sketches of Living Eminent Women in the Eleven Western States of the United States of America. Los Angeles: Publishing Press, 1928.
Dedication and Naming of 22 Buildings. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1954.
Knight, Jesse. “Papers, 1856–1945.” MSS 1434, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
“Inez Knight Allen.” [BX 8608 .A1a no.1197 in Americana Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Vol. 4. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901–1936.
Knight, Jesse. “Autobiography, 1896–1913.” MSS SC 939, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Salt Lake Tribune, Obituary of Inez Knight Allen, 6 June 1937.