I have spent some time lately trying to figure out what happened to all of Franz Adam Knapp’s children.
To review the facts: Franz Adam Knapp, our immigrant ancestor, married Eva Elizabeth Jost (I have seen it written Just and Jost with the two dots over the ‘o’ in the German fashion) on 10 Aug 1812 in Heppenheim, Starkenburg, Hesse, Germany.
The couple had four children:
- Margaretha Knapp: born 5 May 1813 in Hesse, Germany. She died 7 Feb 1880 in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois. She married John Joseph Spillman in Ohio sometime before 1828 and the couple headed west sometime between 1840 and 1845 to settle in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois. John and Margaretha had ten children: Charles, Mary Louise, Amelia, Rosanna, Matilda, Olympia, Frederick Jacob, Fredericka M., Julia and Harriet Mignon Spillman.
- John Adam Knapp: born 24 Oct 1815 in Hesse, Germany and died 5 Feb 1898 in Randolph, Portage, Ohio. He married Agnes Trares, daughter of Matthias Trares and Elizabeth Helmling sometime before 1842. The couple had eight children: John F. Knapp, Jr.; Peter Knapp; Margaret Knapp; Else Knapp; Barbara Knapp; Elizabeth Knapp; Lewis J. Knapp (father of John Lewis Knapp); and Charles Knapp.
- Gerhard Knapp: born 11 Dec 1816 in Hesse Germany. This is the mystery man in this Knapp family. I have been searching for some time to find out what happened to Gerhard. Frankly, I didn’t know Gerhard existed until I saw him mentioned on a website. I haven’t confirmed that the information is correct through independent research yet – I am still looking for proof. So if anyone out there has any information on Gerhard, please drop me a note. I have a sneaking suspicion he may have died young, but I just don’t know at this point.
- Elizabeth Knapp: born 15 Nov 1820 in Hesse, Germany. Married an Irishman named John P. Kelley (who was born in Ireland about 1815). John and Elizabeth were married in Ohio, but moved to Michigan sometime before 1844. Elizabeth and John had seven children: Joseph, Margaret, John, Francis A., Mary Jane, Charles and James Kelley. John died on 15 Jan 1870 and Elizabeth died 23 Dec 1894 in Prairieville, Barry County, Michigan.
Like many families during that time period, the lure of cheap land for sale in the west must have been too strong to ignore. Two of Franz Adam Knapp’s children left Ohio to seek their fortunes on what was then the frontier – Michigan and Illinois.
Only son John Adam Knapp remained in Portage County.
If any of the Spillmans from Illinois or Kelley’s from Michigan read this post, I invite you to comment on this blog and/or get in touch. It would be great if someone from the western branch of the extended Knapp clan could attend the 2011 Knapp Family Reunion.
Stay tuned for more family history information as the Knapp story unfolds!