Biography of F. W. Knox
Potter County, PA Biographies

F. W. KNOX, the subject of these lines, entered the law office of the well known Hon. James Lowrey. Under the instruction of these able jurists, the subject about which we write was found well qualified, and in September, 1850, was admitted to the bar of Tioga county. In February, 1851, Mr. Knox located at Coudersport, there opened a law office, and very soon had clients, and from that date until 1884 continued in active practice, not only in this county, but also had a very large collection business in McKean and Cameron counties as well. For thirty two years, practically, all the legal business of this county, and much in adjoining counties, was done in four law offices here, and each office was full of legal work, and continued unbroken until the death of Hon. John S. Mann. Many, very many, important, intricate and interesting cases were tried, and land titles were settled in our courts. During all the years Mr. Knox not only continued in active practice in courts, but gave much time to the care and management of large landed estates placed in his charge by Philadelphians, and to his credit be it said not one acre was lost by neglect in not paying taxes or by occupancy. Any and everything that in his judgment would benefit his village or county found in him a willing assistant. In 1871 he assisted W. W. Thompson in establishing the Potter Enterprise, and gave it his aid and support for some years. In 1869 he became connected with the enterprise of building a railroad from Buffalo to Emporium, now known as The Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad. The subject of this brief sketch became the president of the Pennsylvania portion, but when the two portions were merged, B. C. Rumsey became president. and F. W. Knox became the Pennsylvania attorney of the road, and held the position for many years. He was also largely instrumental in organizing and building the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad, of which he is president, and has been since its organization; and to him Coudersport, and, in fact, the central portion of the county, is indebted for its facilities as regards railroad transportation and communication. The Vanderbilts and Gen. George J. Magee, in the winter of 1881, had procured a controling interest in the Pine Creek Railway. The principal office had been held here. In March Gen Magee and party came here to attend the annual election. The railroad had been partly graded west of Coudersport. It was well known that if the Vanderbilt and Magee party carried the election, the Pine Creek line was to be diverted to the lines of the above named parties, and Potter county was to be given the " go by." At this important crisis an interview was held, at which were Gen. Magee, H. Sherwood, Judge A. G. Olmsted and the subject of this sketch. The result was that the Vanderbilt and Magee party carried the election, and the two Coudersport gentlemen owned practically the partly graded line from Coudersport to Port Allegany, the grading alone costing $120,000. The railroad was completed in the summer of 1882, and has been a very profitable property, managed as it is with economy. Last June the road was changed from narrow to standard gauge. To do this, a mortgage of $75,000 was placed on the road and its franchise, and will earn the interest on mortgage and fair dividend on stock. Mr. Knox also materially assisted in the organization of the Citizens' Water Company, of this village, whereby the citizens have pure spring water in their homes, and the town is well protected from fire by ample pressure, and insurance rates have been reduced one and one half per cent. His son, J. L. Knox, is secretary of the company, and, in connection with the president, manages the affairs of the company. Mr. Knox is still the owner of large tracts of valuable timbered land, and was formerly engaged in lumbering with profitable results. His oldest son, Oscar D. Knox, after being admitted to the bar here in 1870, took up his residence in southwest Missouri, and engaged in the practice of his profession. About 1881 he became the trial lawyer of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad, and during the years following was very much of the time in the courts, embracing a large district of the southwest. While engaged in court during the winter of 1884-85, he broke down, brain fever set in, and he died March 11, 1885. His remains were brought to Pennsylvania, and placed in the family vault His children are now here, cared for by their grandfather. His death was due to overwork. He was greatly respected in his far distant home; was a delegate to the Chicago convention in 1884 that nominated Cleveland for the presidency, and had the reputation, in connection with Mr. John O. Day. of carrying the entire delegation to Cleveland. James L. Knox, second son of F. W. Knox, is an attorney at Coudersport. A daughter is engaged in the mercantile business, and has a large trade. Katie, a bright school girl of eleven years, and Frankie D. , an active, bright boy of nine years, constitute the children. James Knox, father of F. W. Knox, died in 1882; the mother a few years prior.

The business life of Mr. F. W. Knox has been one of great activity and constant toil. Having a fine rugged constitution and rare good judgment, he was well equipped to manage successfully a large business. In church matters, while not a member, he assists the Presbyterian Church liberally, and is regarded as "good help."

Another F. W. Knox in Potter County


From:
History of the Counties of
McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter, Pennsylvania
J. H. Beers & Co. Publishers
Chicago, Ill. 1890


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