A plaque located on the altar of Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Randolph, Portage, Ohio, is pictured on this site. The plaque lists six early parishioners whose tombstones were used to build the outdoor altar back in 1919.
The six parishioners remembered on the plaque are:
- Anthony Miller
- Lawrence Rhodes
- John Adam Knapp
- Barbara Paulus
- Maria E. Wise
- Elisebeth Wise
John Adam KNAPP was the younger brother of our immigrant ancestor, Franz Adam KNAPP. He was born 21 Oct 1800 in Wald-Erlenbach, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. He married Elizabeth ANDES on 28 July 1829 in Heppenheim, Starkenburg, Hessen, Germany. The couple had the following children:
- Nancy Maryann KNAPP, who married John Lewis TRARES.
- Elizabeth KNAPP, who married Nicholas HORNING.
- Eva KNAPP, who married Joseph PAULUS.
- Peter KNAPP, who died at the age of 20 and never married.
- Rosina KNAPP, who married Bernard WISE.
- Margaret KNAPP, who never married.
- Mary KNAPP, who married John J. WISE.
John Adam KNAPP died 14 May 1885 in Randolph Twp., Portage, Ohio.
I have been trying to learn more about how the decision to use tombstones to build the grotto’s altar came about in the first place. It is reasonable to assume that marble and/or granite was costly for a small rural parish. A thrifty option was recycling the stone from tombstones.
Someone in the KNAPP family must have given permission for his tombstone to be used for this purpose. It was not his wife, since she had preceded him in death in 1871. And it wasn’t his son, Peter KNAPP, either. He died in 1860.
It must have been one of his daughters, possibly Margaret. Margaret never married and took care of her father after her mother’s death. John Adam KNAPP lost his eyesight in his later years.
The original family homestead passed into the hands of his daughter, Nancy Maryann KNAPP and her husband, John Lewis TRARES and later passed into the Paulus family by way of Frank W. PAULUS, a grandson, son of Joseph PAULUS and Eva KNAPP, who added modern comforts to the homestead such as running water, heat and electricity.
Also listed on this plaque are the names of other relatives, from the PAULUS and WISE families. I will write about them in my next series of posts.