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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Knox

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 833-836 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Knox family of Johnstown, New York, descend from Scotch ancestors who settled in Ireland at an early date. The American ancestor was John Knox, born in 1730, came to America with his brother William (born in Stratburn, Ireland in 1732) in 1760. William settled in Connecticut, where he married Janette Morrison, founded a family, and died April 30, 1787. John Knox, from whom the family herein recorded descend, settled in Schenectady, New York, where he married, in 1764, Elizabeth Cornue. He died in Schenectady, October 11, 1771. He left issue, a son James, who is the progenitor of the Knox families of Montgomery, Fulton and Oneida counties, New York. The eldest son of James founded the village of Knoxboro, town of Augusta, Oneida county, where descendants are still numerous. The family of Knox is a leading one in every community they inhabit.

(II) James, son of John and Elizabeth (Cornue) Knox, was born in Schenectady, New York, December 26, 1766, died in Canajoharie, Montgomery county, New York, 1821. In 1791, in company with his brother-in-law, Jacob Ehle, he located in the village of Mapletown, town of Canajoharie. They purchased land on the old Indian trail from Canajoharie to New Dorlach, paying therefor two dollars and sixty-two and one-half cents per acre. James Knox was a successful farmer, was supervisor of the town for several years, and justice of the peace. He was highly regarded and well liked in the town. One of his peculiarities was an aversion to receiving any remuneration for his public services. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed church. He married, December 6, 1784, Nancy Ehle, of Canajoharie, New York. Children:

  1. General John Jay, of Knoxboro; married Sarah Ann Curtis; children: James C., Eliza, William E., Cordelia, Algernon, John J., Henry, Charles, Sarah A. and Emma. John J. and Sarah Ann Knox lived to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding.
  2. Elizabeth, died at the age of ninety years.
  3. Catharine, married John Taylor, and had Norman, Louisa, Jane Ann, Elizabeth, and Knox.
  4. William (see forward).
  5. Hermann, born 1798, died May 9, 1841.
  6. James, born July 4, 1807, married Prudence Bliss, January 20, 1841.

(III) William, son of James and Nancy (Ehle) Knox, was born in the town of Canajoharie, New York, in 1802, died there in 1870. He inherited the homestead farm, cleared and brought under cultivation by his father. William Knox was educated in the public school, and always followed agriculture as his business. He was a very religious man and stood high in the estimation of his neighbors. He was a Whig and a Republican, and a member of the Dutch Reformed church. He married Jane Ann Mitchell, born July 19, 1803, died November, 1890. Children:

  1. James W., born January 25, 1826, died September 15, 1854; married Elizabeth Johnson, and had a son James.
  2. Charles Mitchell (see forward).
  3. John J., born November 25, 1829; married Mary Anderson, and had Calvin, Walter, and James S., who married Grace Belnap.
  4. Lydia Ann, born October 20, 1831; married John J. Culver; children: William, Edward, Agnes and Charles S. Knox.

(IV) Charles Mitchell, second son of William and Jane Ann (Mitchell) Knox, was born in the town of Canajoharie, village of Mapletown, Montgomery county, New York, October 16, 1827. He was educated in the public schools and at Ames Academy, finishing his studies at Norwich Academy, at Norwich, New York. After leaving school he returned to the farm, where he remained until 1865. During this time he married and had a family, all born on the old homestead. In the year 1865 he removed from the farm to the village of Canajoharie, where he bought an interest in a malt house and became the junior partner of Wemple & Knox. He remained in this business until 1869, when he retired and located at St. Johnsville, New York, where he engaged in the manufacture of "fifth wheels" for carriages, in company with John V. Conover. In 1876 he settled in Johnstown, New York, and for two years engaged in the milk business. Later he engaged in the flour and feed business. In 1880 he went on the road as salesman for Arkell & Smith's, of Canajoharie, manufacturers of paper sacks and flouring mill specialties, continuing with them until 1888, when he located permanently in Johnstown, where he engaged in the manufacture of gelatine with his son Charles B. Knox, who conducted the business until his death, Charles M. having retired. When Johnstown became a city he was the first elected mayor, defeating his opponent by about fifty votes. He had previously served as town auditor. He is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Presbyterian church. For several years he was a member of the Lotus Club. He married, December 21, 1852, Mary E. Briggs, a daughter of one of Johnstown's oldest families. Children:

  1. William, born March 3, 1854, died September 2, 1880.
  2. Charles Briggs (q. v.) born October 8, 1855.
  3. Anna Sarah, born May 14, 1859, died August 31, 1902; married James L. Northrup; children: Elizabeth K. and Charles W.
  4. Joseph F., born May 12, 1862, died December 20, 1873.
  5. Elisha B., born February 27, 1864, died, 1910; married Grace E. Knox.

Mrs. Mary E. Briggs Knox is a daughter of Elisha (born in Washington county, New York, 1787), and Sarah (Babcock) Briggs (born in Chatham, Albany county, New York), and is of revolutionary and early pioneer ancestry. They were the parents of seven children:

  1. Garrett E., married Almira Dillenback; children:
    1. Daniel, married ———— Hollenbach, and had son Daniel (2).
    2. Helen, married ———— Heagle.
    3. Nancy, married Fred Mister.
    4. Almira.
    5. Garrett (2), twin of Almira, married Minnie Tizzle.
  2. Thomas R., married Rachel Sammons; children: Sarah, married McIntyre Fraser, and had
    1. McIntyre (2), married Catherine Argersinger, whose son is McIntyre Fraser (3).
    2. William T., married Libbie A., daughter of Martin Kennedy, and had children; William, Martin Kennedy, Rachel S., Elizabeth, Everett and Thomas.
    3. Sidney, married ———— and had Sidney and Marguerite.
    4. Julia, married Clarence Briggs.
  3. William, married ———— Dorn.
  4. Delevan, married Almira Dockstader; children: William, Henry M., Phoebe, John R., Edward, Carrie, married Thomas Barclay, and has children, Briggs and Eloise Barclay.
  5. Charles E., born April 24, 1831; married (first) Julia H. Failing; (second) Sabra Burton; children by first wife:
    1. George R., deceased;
    2. Gertrude, married De Witt C. Smith;
    3. Mary C., married John P. Snell.
    Children by second wife: Sabra, Charles, Archibald.
  6. Mary E., married Charles M. Knox.
  7. Daniel C., married Catherine Gilchrist; children: Charles G. and Ellen.

Charles Mitchell Knox and wife were among the very oldest residents of Johnstown, New York, where he is rounding out a useful life far in excess of the scriptural "three score years and ten." Mrs. Knox died in Washington, D. C., October 28, 1908.

(V) Charles Briggs Knox, son of Charles Mitchell (q. v.) and Mary E. (Briggs) Knox, was born on the homestead farm in Mapleton, Montgomery county, New York, October 8, 1855, making the third generation to be born there since the settlement by James Knox. He attended the district school of Mapleton until he was twelve years of age, when his parents removed to Canajoharie, where he resumed his studies in the public school, and for two years attended Kelsey Boys' Academy at Clinton. His first business experience was as clerk in a grocery store at Canajoharie. When his father removed to St. Johnsville and engaged in the manufacture of "fifth wheels," Charles B. accompanied him and for a time worked in the wheel factory. The years between nineteen and his majority he spent in the Michigan woods, where a relative was engaged in the lumber trade. These were years of hard experience, and although he held a clerical position he did not escape many of the lumberman's tasks that required courage, skill and daring, but acquitted himself so well that he rose to the position of lumber inspector. His next experience was on the plains of Texas as a sheep herder. He saved his earnings, which he prudently invested in sheep and soon became the owner of a flock. All went prosperously until a "norther" destroyed his sheep and left him stranded. He served for a time with the "Texas Rangers," being stationed in the southwest part of the state, in the Rio Grande district. He remained in Texas until 1880, when he returned north and settled in Johnstown, New York, where his father, Charles M. Knox, was then engaged in the flour and feed business. For a time he was associated with his father and later continued the business alone. He also became interested in glove making, after which he became travelling salesman for James Talcot, for one of the largest knit goods houses in the United States. Later he represented Iselin, Neeser & Company in the same line, with territory extending from Chicago to the Pa cific coast. He was a most successful salesman, being known to the trade as one of the "Big Four" — the quartet comprising the four best known salesmen of knit goods in the United States. About this time he became interested in glue manufacture, and erected a plant in Johnstown, New York, still covering his glove territory with his full energy. He also became interested in comparatively a new article then being placed upon the market as a food — gelatine. He experimented with this article for some time and succeeded in working out a process that produced gelatine superior to anything on the market, and it may be remarked that it has held that commanding position up to the present time. The placing of his product on the market against the older established brands and firms was no light task. He assumed this duty himself, and with a line of gloves to pay expenses he toured the country, watching closely every opportunity (even the smallest) for placing his gelatine, and slowly but surely he gained a foothold in the trade. His capital was small but be believed in the excellence of his goods, and with rare skill and courage overcame all obstacles and saw his goods gain in favor and popularity until their sale led all others. Success did not come to him, he compelled it, and nothing in his whole career so proved his indomitable courage as this fight for a market. From a little one-man concern his business grew until at the time of his death he was the largest manufacturer of gelatine in the United States. After seeing his gelatine manufacturing business upon a sound and substantial basis he turned his energies in other directions. He was vice-president and director of the Glen Telephone Company; a director until his death of the Peoples' Bank, and until failing health compelled him to decline re-election, he was a director of the Farmers' & Merchants' Bank of Fort Plain, New York. An opportunity offering, he acquired the ownership of The Morning Herald of Johnstown and Gloversville, which passed under his sole control October 1, 1906. His ambition for this enterprise is best expressed in his own words: "God grant that this structure may be the ever-enduring home of a newspaper eternally dissatisfied with the mere print of the news, a paper that panders to the prejudice of no clique nor class, a paper whose sole attributes shall ever be truth, courage and independence, and which may ever be a public educator and a tribune of the people." While the Morning Herald was but one of his many business enterprises, he took a deep personal interest in the paper, striving to give Fulton county "the best newspaper, fearless, clean and independent, unmoved by influence and unbribed by gain." In order that the paper might have the advantages of the latest and best machinery he planned a structure in Gloversville that should become the home of one of the most modern and best equipped of newspaper plants. Although he did not live to complete all his plans, he had them so far advanced that in October, 1908, "The Knox Building," on South Main street, was formally opened as the permanent home of The Morning Herald, for whose use it was specially designed. The building and the equipment are as he planned, and constitute one of the finest modern newspaper plants in this country.

Not entirely engrossed in private business affairs was Mr. Knox. He was too big-hearted, whole-souled and generous not to think of the welfare of others. In the summer of 1907 he purchased the old Livingston mansion in Johnstown and presented it to the "Willing Helpers" to be used as a home for aged women. He gave liberally to the public library, of which he was trustee, and was a generous friend of the Young Men's Christian Association. He offered an annual prize to be competed for by the public schools of Fulton county at the county fair, and in many ways showed his deep interest in every department of his city's philanthropic, educational or material life. Although devoting but little time to any of them, he was a member of the Colonial Club of Johnstown, the Antlers of Amsterdam, the Laurentian of Canada, the Transportational Club, the Aldine Club, the Manufacturers' Association of New York City, and the New York Athletic club. He was a prominent member of the Masonic order, belonging to St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons; Johnstown Chapter No. 78, Royal Arch Masons, Johnstown Council No. 72, R. and S. M.; Holy Cross Commandery No. 51, K. T. of Gloversville; and of Cyprus Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., of Albany. In the Scottish Rite he had attained the thirty-second degree. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, and of the Young Men's Christian Association. His patriotic descent gained for him admission to the Sons of the American Revolution. In personality Mr. Knox was a plain every-day man. From his boyhood he had been genial in nature, and as he grew older that trait marked him to a great degree. No one feared to approach him, and to the last he was known by his boyhood name, "Charley." He was a lover of all that was clean in life, be it business, politics or sport. He was especially fond of animals, and delighted in a good horse; and for several years owned and maintained a very successful stable in the grand circuit, in which were many famous horses. He was a lover of his home, and of deep religious convictions. He was a firm believer in the efficacy of prayer. He left to posterity an unsullied reputation, and an example worthy of emulation. He married, February 15, 1883, Rose Markward, born in Mansfield, Ohio, November 18, 1857, daughter of David and Amanda Markward, of that place. Children:

  1. Charles M. (q. v.).
  2. James Elisha, born December 11, 1892.

Charles Briggs Knox died June 17, 1908, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Canada. He was on his return from a fishing trip to the Laurentian Club preserves at Lac la Peche, in company with his sons, Charles M. and James E. Knox. He had been in failing health for the three previous years. He is buried at the family mausoleum in Johnstown cemetery.

(VI) Charles Markward, eldest son of Charles Briggs and Rose (Markward) Knox, was born in Johnstown, New York, March 13, 1888. His early education was obtained in the public schools of that city. He fitted for college at Laurenceville Preparatory School, Laurenceville, New Jersey, and entered the Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, class of 1910. In 1907 he became associated with his father in business, and to which he has devoted his entire attention. He is a member of the Colonial Club, the Eccentric Club of Gloversville, the Laurentian Club of Canada, the Aldine Association of New York; the Sons of the American Revolution; a director of the Johnstown Bank; a member of St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons; Johnstown Chapter No. 78, Royal Arch Masons; Holy Cross Commandry, No. 51, K. T., and of the Beta Theta Phi fraternity. He married, August 11, 1909, Eloise Mitchell, born February 27, 1888, daughter of Captain Benjamin B. and Ellen (Pomeroy) Mitchell, of Troy, Pennsylvania.

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