Biography of Henry H. Knapp
Napa County, CA Biographies





HENRY HAY KNAPP.
The life record of the late and well remembered Henry Hay Knapp is closely identified with the history of Napa county, for here he spent the major part of his useful, industrious and honorable life, beginning his career here in the pioneer epoch of the county, and throughout his remaining years he was closely identified with its development and prosperity. His life, which was one of unfailing activity, was crowned with a gratifying measure of success, and at the same time he won and retained the confidence and respect of the entire community because of his marked business ability, his fine character and his friendly relations with all with whom he came in contact.

Mr. Knapp was born at Spafford, Onondaga county, New York, on the 23d of July, 1832, and his death occurred in 1901, at the age of sixty nine years. When still a child he was taken by his parents to Lenawee county, Michigan, where he was reared to manhood and secured his education. He remained there until 1852, when, at the age of twenty years, he made the long overland trip across the plains to California. He had learned the trade of a carpenter, and he followed that vocation in Stockton, Marysville and Knight's Landing, this state. In 1854 he returned east and was married, remaining there until 1859, when he returned to California and located in Napa. He became the pioneer lumberman of this locality, establishing himself in that business in 1860 and meeting with splendid success from the beginning. He also was engaged extensively in building operations here, in which connection he was for many years one of the most prominent men in this part of the country. He disposed of this business in 1900. In 1889 Mr. Knapp became a director of the James H. Goodman Bank of Napa and later became manager of that institution, retaining that position up to the time of his death. He also served efficiently as a trustee of the city of Napa and was president of the Napa City Water Company over a long period of years. In many other ways he was connected with the business and industrial interests of this thriving community, and his business ability and soundness of judgment were recognized and appreciated by his associates. His progressive spirit, tempered by a commendable cautiousness, made him a leader in important enterprises, and he earned a reputation second to none as a capable and reliable man of affairs.

Mr. Knapp was a republican in his political allegiance and long took a prominent and active part in local public affairs. He was especially prominent in the Masonic order, being a member of Yountville Lodge No. 12; Napa Chapter No. 30, Royal Arch Masons, and Napa Commandery No. 34, Knights Templar. In Royal Arch Masonry he was honored by being chosen grand high priest of the grand chapter of the state of California. He was also a member of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His career was characterized by faithfulness to every task to which he applied himself, and this undoubtedly was the key to his success. He was a busy man and by close devotion to his work accomplished much. The activities in which he was engaged exercised to the full his unusual abilities, and he reached a place of compelling importance among the successful business men of his city. In short, he was a splendid type of the self made man. Preeminent among his qualities was that sound judgment which is ordinarily called common sense. He had the ability to grasp facts and infer their significance with almost unerring certainty, the correctness of his opinions in practical matters being almost proverbial. A thoroughly practical man, self reliant, firm and resolute, he was not underestimated by the people, who soon learned to appreciate his value as a potent factor in important affairs.

In 1854 Mr. Knapp was married to Miss Jennie Knapp, a daughter of Amos S. Knapp and a native of Ontario county, New York. In 1859 Amos S. Knapp and his family, together with our subject and his wife, made the trip across the plains to California and located in Napa, and from that time forward Amos S. Knapp remained identified with this community. His daughter Elizabeth, who is the widow of C. G. Ault, is the only surviving member of the family now living in Napa, where, because of her family prestige and her fine and gracious personal qualities she is held in the highest regard. She attended the Napa Collegiate Institute and the Napa Ladies Seminary, and she has always been deeply interested in the welfare of her community. She is now a member of the Napa Century Club. C. G. Ault came to Napa in 1867, as an engineer on the Southern Pacific railroad, and he was a man of fine character, genial disposition and great energy, enjoying the respect of all who knew him. To Mr. and Mrs. Ault was born a son, James Marshall.

From:
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
and Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1926


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