Eloise Wicker Knight

21 September 1922 – 3 May 2004

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged about 3 dozen vascular plants collected by Eloise Wicker Knight. Most were collected in the Chapel Hill area during her undergraduate days and are signed “Eloise Wicker.” A few were collected in Moore County, North Carolina, where her parents lived.  Her father, Rassie Everton Wicker, was also very interested in botany and deposited vascular plant specimens in NCU.

Louisiana State University Herbarium (LSU) curates specimens collected by Eloise Wicker Knight.

Eloise Wicker was born on 21 September 1922 to Dolly Loving and Rassie Everton Wicker in Pinehurst, Moore County, North Carolina. She attended Woman’s College in Greensboro, NC (now University of North Carolina at Greensboro) for two years, then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated with a B.S. in botany from the UNC-CH in 1943.(1)

Until 1951, very few women — and only those from local families — were allowed to attend the university as freshmen and sophomores. The policy wasn’t steadfast; it had been removed and reinstated several times. By 1963, women were free to apply to all departments as freshmen and sophomores, but they had to abide by many rules regarding visitation and curfews that did not apply to men. (2)

Eloise Wicker worked in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium 1943 – 1944, then earned her teaching certificate from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She returned to Pinehurst and taught in the public school system for eight years.(1)

On 16 September 1950 Eloise Wicker married Richard Knight (b. 1919), who earned his degree in Pharmacy from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1951. The Knights had two sons and one daughter:  Alan Wicker Knight (b. 1958), Kevin Richard Knight, and Mary Knight O’Donnell (b. 1964).(1)

Like her father, Eloise Wicker Knight was interested in geneology and local history. She was a charter member of the Moore County Geneological Society, and served for 15 years as the co-historian of the Community Presbyterian Church in Pinehurst.(1)

Eloise Wicker Knight died on 3 May 2004 and is buried in Bethesda Cemetery, Aberdeen, Moore County, North Carolina. (4)

Eloise Wicker Knight and Richard Knight were generous supporters of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium, and the Coker Arboretum.(3)

1. http://archives.thepilot.com/Obituaries/2004/ob050504Knight.html accessed on 27 August 2007
2. http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/oct97/100.html accessed on 27 August 2007
3.  Pers. comm.  Charlotte Jones-Roe, North Carolina Botanical Garden to McCormick.
4.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36792815/eloise-knight  accessed on 10 April 2020