John Turner Knapp
From: History of Cayuga County, New York
By: Elliot G. Storke, Assisted by: Jos H. Smith
Published by: D. Mason & Co.,
Syracuse, New York, 1879

(Offsite link) - A complete name index of the Biographical
review of Cayuga County, New York, edition of 1894


JOHN TURNER KNAPP is the second child of Uz and Abigail (Sherman) Knapp. His father was born in Vermont and his mother in Connecticut. They moved from Vermont and settled in the town of Moreau, Saratoga county, N. Y., about the year 1797. They remained there, his father following the trade of shoemaker, until 1810, when they removed further west, to the town of Cato, Cayuga County. His father here was engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes and leather until his death, which occurred in the year 1816, one year after the death of his wife, in 1815. There were born to them five children, viz.: Sallie, John T., Abigail, Betsey and Mary, all of whom are now dead, except John T., who was born May 19th, 1802, in the town of Moreau, Saratoga county. and came with his parents to Cato. As soon as his strength would permit he was put into service in his father's tannery grinding bark, and when not employed in that capacity he was engaged in fitting boots and shoes, and at the time of his father's death, being only fourteen years old, he was so skillful as to be able to make and finish a pair of boots or shoes in a manner nearly equal to that of some of the best workmen in his father's employ.

The facilities for obtaining an education were meager in those times and young Knapp was able to attend school only during the winter months, which he did with the exception of one year, up to 1816, about eighteen months all told. After his father's death he lived with his half brother for about two years, working summers at his trade and going to school winters. In the year 1818, being anxious to finish his trade of tanner and currier, he went to Oswego and engaged with Shopley & Card, with whom he remained a little more than one year.

In 1820 he went to what was then Cato, now Victory, Cayuga County, and was engaged there from that time until 1854, in the manufacture of leather, boots and shoes and lumber, owning and operating a steam saw-mill, and carrying on a general country store.

In 1853 he was elected sheriff -of the County. Owing to the sudden death of Sheriff Fancher, Mr. Knapp was appointed December 7th, 1853, by Governor Seymour to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Fancher, and moved to Auburn and took possession of the County building on the first of January, 1854.

In the spring of 1858 Mr. Knapp moved to the village of Cato, where he now resides, and engaged in farming, which business he has followed up to the present time.

In politics Mr. Knapp was a Free Soil Democrat until the adoption of the Buffalo Platform by the followers of Martin Van Buren, and upon the formation of the Republican party he joined its ranks and has ever been an earnest supporter of its principles and objects. During the late war he was a special detective for two years, having received his appointment from the Provost-Marshal-General. About this time he was appointed by Governor Seymour to the position of recruiting agent for the Station at Auburn.

Mr. Knapp has also held other offices of trust and responsibility, among which may be named that of postmaster at Victory for fifteen years, and Justice of the Peace for the same length of time and at the same place.

In 1823 he was joined in marriage to Theoda, daughter of John and Theoda (Hunt) Newcomb, of Cayuga County. She was born in Lebanon, now Columbia, Conn., in 1805. She died February igth, 1874. She was a pure-minded, largehearted, Christian woman, with malice towards none and charity for all, and loved and honored by all who enjoyed the favor of her acquaintance. There have been born to them ten children, named in the order of their birth: Submit Jerusha, born March 20th, 1824, died December 19th, 1840; John N., born November 3d, 1826; Lovinia Eliza, born May 26th, 1828, died February 26th, 1829; James G., born November 26th, 1830; Edward N., born September 6th, 1832, who was a Captain in 52d Illinois infantry, and killed at the battle of Shiloh April 7th, 1862, Harriette B., born March 25th, 1835, died January 28th, 1861, wife of Dr. Henry Parker; Charles H., born January 12th, 1837; Theoda Abigail, born August 10th, 1838; Dwight B., born April 12th, 1840, died December i6th, 1840; George P., born March 4th, 1842.

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