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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

JOHN KNAPP, farmer, section 1, Cedar Township, and abstract office, Vinton, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 9, 1829. He remained in Philadelphia until he was fourteen years of age, and then went to Paris, Tenn., where he was employed as a clerk two years. He then went to Columbus, Miss., where he clerked six months, and then in June, 1846, enlisted in the 1st Miss. Vol. Rifle Regt., for service in the Mexican War. He served through the war and was mustered out at Vicksburg, July 19, 1848. He was Acting Commissary Sergeant of the regiment for the last year, and participated in the battles of Monterey and Buena Vista; he was named for Second Lieutenant, but was not commissioned because of the close of the war. Returning to Philadelphia, he remained in that city until 1850, when he came West to Davenport, Iowa, and during that summer went to St. Paul, Minn., where under the call of Gov. Ramsey for volunteers to suppress an Indian outbreak, he was made Orderly Sergeant, and spent nearly two months in that service.

In the fall of 1850, Mr. Knapp returned to Philadelphia, and on the 12th day of December, he was united in marriage with Miss Hannah Kimley, born Dec. 24, 1830, in Berks County, Pa., a daughter of John and Barbara (Polsgrove) Kimley. The union of Mr. Knapp and wife has been blest with nine children, of whom seven survive — George R. married Dora Denman, lives in Vinton and is the present County Auditor; Francis F., living at home; Howard M., now in Portland, Ore.; Everett W., now in college at Mt. Vernon, Iowa; Sherman E., in Portland, Ore.; Clarence I. and Gertie A. Adeline K. and Lena M. died in infancy. All the children but the oldest were born in Iowa.

In the fall of 1856 our subject and family came to Iowa, and stopped at Davenport until April, 1857, when they came to Benton County, locating in Cedar Township, where they have since resided. Mr. Knapp engaged in the abstract business in 1872 for A. A. Wentz, and in 1876 purchased the books and conducted the business alone until 1879, when he admitted Mr. Wentz into partnership, and has since carried on his farming and abstract business.

Mr. Knapp was elected a member of the County Board of Supervisors from Cedar Township in 1863, serving until 1868; he was again elected in 1870 and served one year. When the Board was reduced to three members elected from the entire county. Mr. Knapp was elected for one year and afterward re-elected for three years. He has been Assessor of Cedar Township three years, and has held other local offices.

Mr. Knapp's father was Christian F., born in Stuttgart, Germany; he emigrated to America in 1807, and settled in Philadelphia. He took for his wife Maria (Bremer) Knapp, a native of New Jersey, but brought up in Philadelphia. Mrs. Knapp's father was born in Philadelphia, of English descent, the family coming to America in 1692. He was a member of the Society of Friends, but laid aside his Quaker principles and became a soldier in the Revolutionary War when only fourteen years old. Her mother was born in Delaware, of Swedish descent, her parents being early settlers of Pennsylvania, the family originally coming over in 1630.

Mrs. Knapp is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt. Auburn. In politics Mr. Knapp is an earnest Republican and has taken an active part in local politics.

Shortly after coming to this county Mr. Knapp was burned out and lost everything he had. He also had the misfortune to lose his homestead, his title to it being defective. Notwithstanding this he has been very successful in business, and now has 420 acres of land, his farm being among the best improved in Cedar Township.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 276-277.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 9th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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