Biography of Frank A. Knapp
North Central Ohio Biographies





Frank A. Knapp. One of the leading citizens of Huron County is Frank A. Knapp, who is president of the Union Bank & Savings Company of Bellevue. He was born in Germany, March 29, 1865, the son of Frank and Christina (Schwenn) Knapp.

Frank Knapp served throughout the Franco Prussian War and was in the service of the German army from 1865 until 1871. In the latter year he was accompanied to the United States by his wife and children and they located at Bellevue, where he followed his trade as a tailor. He died at the age of 64 years, and his wife died at the age of 49 years. They were the parents of two sons: John, who lives at Portland, Ore.; and Frank A., the subject of this sketch.

Frank A. Knapp spent his boyhood in Bellevue and his first employment was in a dry goods store at this place. His first active identification with the business life of Bellevue and vicinity came in early manhood when, in company with the late Fred Woifrom, he became a partner in a dry goods store which flourished here for a period of 18 years, until in 1902 he withdrew from the business field to become Bellevue's postmaster, an office which he filled for six years. He then retired to assume active management of the Bellevue Home Telephone Company and the Local Telephone Company, both of which then were in their infancy. While engaged in the dry goods business, Mr. Knapp had visualized the day when telephonic communication would be a necessity, and in company with a group of local citizens he formed the Bellevue Home Telephone Company, which afforded Bellevue its first telephone communication and laid the groundwork for what was to develop into the largest independent telephone system in Ohio. Mr. Knapp became president and general manager, and began building the nucleus of the present Northern Ohio Telephone Company, with 1,500 miles of communication line and 30,000 telephone units. Mr. Knapp's demonstrated business acumen brought demands for his participation and counsel by numerous other fields, and during the intervening years he has assisted in directing the destines of business and financial institutions in Bellevue and elsewhere, including that of the Ohio State Life Insurance Company, of which he has been vice president and director for 20 years, and chairman of the executive committee for 10 years, and which has nearly 100 million of insurance and assets of $12,000,000.

As a member of the board of directors of the Wright Banking Company for a period of approximately 20 years, Mr. Knapp became a keen student of financial affairs and laid the groundwork for his present executive position. In April, 1929, he acquired control through purchase of a stock majority in the Bellevue Savings Company, the capitalization of which was increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and later successfully concluded negotiations for purchase of a controlling interest in the Wright Banking Company. Plans for merger of the two banks were immediately undertaken and reached their culmination on Feb. 24, 1930. At that time Mr. Knapp became president of the newly organized Union Bank & Savings Company.

Mr. Knapp is also president of the Northern Ohio Security Company, which has assets of nearly $500,000, with branches in Bellevue, Sandusky, Lorain, and Elyria. He has played a prominent part in civic affairs in Bellevue throughout his entire business career. In an effort to increase civic activity and service, Mr. Knapp was largely instrumental in the organization here of the Kiwanis Club, which he served as president during its first year. His fraternal affiliations include membership in the Masonic bodies of Bellevue and Consistory and Shrine of Toledo, and also the Elks Lodge of Bellevue.

Mr. Knapp is a trustee of Capital University, Columbus, and a trustee of the Bellevue Hospital Association.

In 1889 Mr. Knapp was married to Miss Lena C. Sutter, of Bellevue, Ohio, the daughter of Rev. J. J. and Magdalena (Hoffman) Sutter. Mr. and Mrs. Knapp are the parents of five daughters: 1. Magdalena, a graduate of Wittenberg College, married Allan Aigler, attorney at law, lives at Bellevue. They have three sons: William Frank, Thomas Knapp, and John Allan. 2. Stella C., who died in 1924. She was a graduate of the University of Michigan, and the wife of Dr. H. U. Sykes, dentist at Lakewood, Ohio. They have a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth. 3. Alice, a graduate of Oberlin Kindergarten College and Columbia University, married William C. Henry, secretary and treasurer of the Northern Ohio Telephone Company, and they have two sons, Frank Carter, born in 1924; and Charles Allan, born in 1928. They live at Bellevue. 4. Winifred, a graduate of Wittenberg College, married Dr. H. H. Thornton, professor at Oberlin College, and they have a daughter, Susan Jean, born in 1928. They live at Oberlin. 5. Frances, a graduate of Oberlin College, married Herbert Erf, accoustical engineer with the Geo. P. Little Company, of Cleveland, and they have a son, Herbert, Jr. They live at Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Mr. Knapp is also a director of the Gazette Publishing Company and the Crestline Publishing Company.

From:
History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931


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