Biography of R. H. Knapp
Saunders County, NE Biographies





R. H. Knapp was identified with both agricultural and financial interests in Saunders county as in addition to owning and operating a large amount of land he organized and was the first president of the Bank of Cedar Bluffs. He likewise held public office, serving as county treasurer for six years, and his record in that connection was a credit to his ability. He was born in Parmey, near Buffalo, New York, on the 1st of November, 1881, of the marriage of Randall H and Tryphena (Havens) Knapp, both of whom were life long residents of the Empire state. There were five children in their family, all of whom are deceased.

R. H. Knapp received the greater part, of his education in New York but attended school for a time in Hudson, Michigan. Later he clerked in a store in the latter state but when twenty five years of age came west on account of his health and, being favorably impressed with conditions in Desoto, Washington county, Nebraska, he purchased a farm in that locality. He resided upon that place for a considerable period, after which he went to Wood River, Nebraska, which was then on the frontier, and there located on a ranch, where he lived for six years. He then returned to Desoto, whence he came to Saunders county, locating on a homestead three and a half miles west of Cedar Bluffs. Charles Perky, the supervising editor of this work, took the adjoining claim and they lived together for some time. Mr. Knapp purchased railroad land adjoining his homestead and devoted his time and energies to the improvement and cultivation of his land until he was elected county treasurer, when he removed to Wahoo. He served in that office for six years and discharged the important duties devolving upon him with promptness and accuracy. Following the expiration of his term he continued to live in Wahoo for one year, during which time he engaged in the stock business. He then returned to his farm and for about ten years largely concentrated his energies upon agricultural pursuits. During that time he established the Bank of Cedar Bluffs and was elected the first president of that institution. He held that position continuously until his demise in February, 1918, and under his management the bank became known as one of the prosperous and reliable financial institutions of the county. Mr. Knapp possessed natural business ability, kept in close touch with agricultural conditions and with the general trend in the financial world, following a policy which safeguarded the interests of depositors and stockholders and promoted the legitimate business expansion of the community through judiciously extended credit. At the time of his death he was not only a leader in financial circles in the county but he was also one of the largest landowners, holding title to twelve hundred acres, four hundred of which was located near Wahoo and eight hundred in the vicinity of Cedar Bluffs.

On November 1, 1852, in Wheatland, Michigan, Mr. Knapp was united in marriage to Miss Barbara Van fleet, who was born in Chautauqua, New York, but was taken to Michigan when quite small, and she proved an excellent helpmate to her husband. They became the parents of one son, Ned W., who died when forty one years of age, and they also reared two adopted children: Frank, who is now president of the Bank of Cedar Bluffs; and Mary, the wife of John Winslow, who lives a mile east of Cedar Bluffs.

Mr. Knapp was a republican and was elected on that ticket treasurer for a second term, although he was elected the first time on an independent ticket. He was not a member of either of the churches in Cedar Bluffs but supported both, believing them to be valuable factors in the moral development of the community. Independence and perseverance, which were strong factors in his success, were strikingly manifested while he resided at Wood River. The white settlers in that locality were few and Indians were numerous and frequently troublesome. On one occasion there was a serious uprising and Mr. Knapp's hired man and a neighbor and two of the children were killed. Terror stricken, the greater part of the settlers fled to Fort Kearney, but Mr. Knapp and his wife remained upon their ranch, although the trouble with the Indians had not subsided and the other settlers did not return until the following spring. All who knew him agreed that with his passing Cedar Bluffs and Saunders county lost one of their foremost citizens.

Frank Knapp, the adopted son of R. H. Knapp, is a resident of Fremont and is cashier of the First National Bank of that place and president of the Fidelity Loan & Trust Company of Fremont. He is also president of the Bank of Cedar Bluffs, having succeeded his father in that office. He is efficient and enterprising and is recognized as one of the leading financiers of the county.

From:
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
Vol. II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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