Biography of George W. Knapp

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In the year 1836, George W. Knapp located a tract of land in Assyria township. and since 1843 he has resided upon the place which he wrested from the wilderness thirty seven years ago, and now, in the stead of that wilderness, rests his gaze upon a beautiful home and the broad acres of one of the finest farms in Barry County. He was born in Litchfield Co., Coon., July 21, 1807. His father, Jared, was born in Stamford, Conn., July 27, 1749, and died in Wyoming Co., N. Y., in the fall of 1848, aged ninety-nine years. Jared Knapp entered the service of his country upon the outbreak of the Revolution, in 1776; served first as private, then as orderly sergeant, and eventually as captain ; was with Gen. Washington in all his campaigns, and after a military career of seven years and seven months returned to the walks of peace. At the age of ninety-three he had a third set of teeth; at the age of sixty obtained his second sight, and so retained it that up the age of ninety he used no glasses, and to the day of his death was hearty and active. He was much in demand in the late years of his life as a public orator, and attracted crowds from far and near to hear his public recitals of the stirring times of the Revolution, through which he passed. His wife, Catherine Baldwin, was born in Derby, Conn., in 1769, and died in Hinsdale, N. Y., in 1853, aged eightyfour. Three of Mr. Jared Knapp’s sisters lived to the respective ages of ninety-seven, ninety-nine, and one hundred, and illustrated, as did their brother, the truth of the assertion that they came of a long-lived race.

George W. Knapp spent his earlier years at home in Wyoming County, and March 1, 1832, married Lucy, daughter of Jonathan and Anna Tripp. He had been in boyhood apprenticed to a painter and glazier, and after farming in Wyoming County until 1836 removed to Buffalo N. Y., where lie pushed forward in business as a house, ship, and ornamental painter. There he remained until 1840, when he moved westward to Battle Creek, and resumed his trade. While in that village he painted for H. A. Goodyear, of Hastings, the first store-sign painted in Barry County, hung the first piece of wall paper hung in Battle Creek, painted the first post-office sign and cut the first pane of glass in Battle Creek, and afterwards set the window-lights in the second court-house built in Barry County. In February, 1843, he became a pioneer in Assyria township, upon land in section 26, which he had located May 19, 1836, and wrestled energetically with the hardships and privations of a pioneer life and grinding poverty. To earn money for the necessaries of life, he walked eleven miles to Battle Creek many a morning and back again at night with twelve shillings obtained by labor at his trade as glazier.

Mr. Knapp’s history is a portion of the history of Assyria township. He has for thirty-seven years been closely identified with town affairs, and ranks as one of the town’s leading citizens. lie has served as supervisor one term, justice of the peace three terms, notary public eight years, postmaster at South Assyria, and in the business of laying out roads at in early day performed valuable and important services. He was the third of four sons, each of wnom is living at an advanced age, viz., William, aged seventy-nine; Charles H., seventy-seven; George W., seventy-three; and Julius, sixty-three. Mrs. Lucy Knapp was born in Cherry Valley, N. Y., March 29, 1810, her father, Jonathan Tripp, having been born in Dutehess Co., N. Y., in 1769, and her mother (Anna Suscomb) in Otsego County, 1781. Jonathan Tripp was a farmer throughout his life, and died in Assyria, Dec 25, 1867, aged ninety-eight years and six months. The last ten years of his life were passed at his daughter’s home, and to the hour of his dcuth he was bright, active, and cheerful. His wife died in Wisconsin in 1856, aged seventy-five. Mr. and Mrs. Knapp have been married nearly fifty years, and March 1, 1882, will celebrate their golden wedding. Their children have been Sophia, born Nov. 4, 1835, and died in infancy; Jared M., born Nov. 16, 1837, and now living at home on the old farm; Priscilla H., born Feb. 9, 1840, and now Mrs. B. F. Bullis, of Johnstown; Harriet F., born July 21, 1842, and now Mrs. Alonzo Lamkin of Mason Co., Mich.; Mary E., born March 12, 1845, and died June, 1848; Emma O., born June 8, 1849, and now Mrs. Joseph H. Parmelee, of Spencerport, N. Y. Jared M., the second child of this worthy couple, electing to remain with his parents rather than marry, has never left the parental roof (save for a brief season), and still remains to comfort and cheer with his presence and labors the declining years of his father and mother. He was a pioneer student in the State Agricultural College at Lansing in 1837, and passed there a period of two years and a half, from winch experience lie emerged with much credit. Early in life he evinced a strong sympathy for the life of a student, and, although he has always been engaged and is still engaged in active farm labor, he has devoted much time to profitable study and mental improvement. He taught school three terms in Barry and Calhoun Counties, takes an earnest interest in literary matters, owns a fine library of valuable books, is well known as a strong and intelligent debater in the lyceums of his township, and occupies, in short, a place in social existence of which he may justifiably feel proud.


From:
History of Allegan and Berry Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.

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