The migration from the West Country (often through Poole and Dartmouth) to Newfoundland in the late 18th century was probably mostly fishermen in search of a better life. Somewhere in amongst this a Philip Knee (born 1745 in England died 25 Nov 1835 at Pools island.
Knees began an offshoot of the family at Fool’s Island (later known as Pool’s island and pictured above in a photo supplied by Mr Frank Knee). Around the 1800’s Fool’s island was populated by seal and inshore cod fishermen. The Knees prospered , a number became whaling captains of some repute. In the 1860’s William Knee became one of the first occupants of Safe Harbour on the northern shore of Bonavista Bay. I have been in contact with Frank Knee who lives in the area and is a direct descendant of Philip Knee.
Knees were involved as captains and crew of the Newfoundland fleets, often becoming involved in dramatic incidents and rescues:http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=35&dat=18900424&id=-AIJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ODsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6846,4245118 which descibes asistance given by Captain William (Billy) Knee of the SS Kite to the crew of the Terra Nova (later of Scott’s expedition fame).
It has been difficult to track some of this information, particularly as a remakable coincidence clouds the issue. In 1745 a Philip Herman Knie (becoming Knee) born Oberfischback, Siegen, Westphalia and emigrating to Pennsylvania. Philip comes up as a Knee on searches and there are a good number (the majority) of US Knees belonging to this line.
Philip was the father of Philip Knee born 1794.
Recently I have been trying to pin down the North American section of the Knees. There are 528 names listed in the Canadian phone directory, 217 located in Newfoundland and Labrador (see above). There are 1880 names in the US phone directory (around 3000 Knees in total), some of these will be from the German line of Philip Knie (Knee), fewer, I suspect, will be descendants of emigrating Wiltshire Knees. Work to be done here.
There are another 160+ in Australia, many, no doubt descended from deportees. With only 490+ in England, it is interesting to note the migration and increase of the name in the New World.