Thursday, November 29, 2018

About Arthur

We found big brother Arthur Knapp, posing with his baby brother Peteralias Jackson Harlowe Knappin an abandoned family photo from 1899. The photo, after an unexplained hundred and twenty year journey, surfaced in an antique store in Sonora, Californiapretty much a seven hundred twenty mile trip from where the picture was taken in Kelso, Washington.

As we learned yesterday, Arthur and Peter, er, Jackson were sons of George and Lena Overacker Knapp. Arthur was the couple's second-born child and oldest son, born in Washington state in 1893. It was Arthur who, in 1910, garnered two entries in the census recordsone in the Portland, Oregon, household of his parents, and another along with his father as laborers in a railroad construction camp about one hundred miles on the other side of Mount Hood. Granted, they could have left home for work the day after the April 18 enumeration in town, and arrived at the Lyle Gap work camp before the head count there on April 25. But there is more to that story, I suspect.

Curiously, when Arthur registered for the draft in either 1917 or 1918the date is nearly illegible on the digitized copy of his registration (though we do learn from elsewhere that he enlisted on July 28, 1917)—he reported being married, although Washington state records show the actual date of the marriage he claimed as his first was August 22, 1920. Interestingly, that same draft registration card indicated that his mother and a sister were solely dependent on him for their support.

By 1930, Arthur and his bride, the former Philena Malone, were settled in Wahkiakum Countysame county where his brother Peter Jackson also resided. By then, Arthur and Philena were proud parents of a son and two daughters.

The story, after that point, gets murky. I can find neither Arthur nor Philena in the 1940 census. While there is a Mrs. Philena M. Knapp listed in the voter registration records of Los Angeles, California, as early as 1934, of course, that could be a case of mistaken identitiesalthough, c'mon, how many Philenas do you know?! The tale may be told to us in shadow form when we find Philena's Social Security record showing she received her identification number in the state of Floridawhere her father-in-law had movedand realize that Philena's burial and Arthur's were not in the same cemetery.

Which brings us to another point: just where did Arthur's father, George Knapp, go? While Arthur and his brother Jackson remained in the Pacific Northwest, what became of George Knapp, himself? While he is not in any of the Knapp family photos I found in that Sonora antique shop, we may as well get some closure to this family's saga, by visiting the rest of the story in tomorrow's post.

Above: Close up of six year old Arthur Knapp, from a photo with his baby brother Peter (Jackson Knapp) taken in 1899 in Kelso, Washington; photo currently in possession of owner until returned to a direct descendant of the Knapp family.


  1. This is certainly a convoluted family story!

  2. Arthur Knapp is David Knapp’s grandfather. David’s dad was William C.Knapp
    I am David’s ex-wife and have done a lot of genealogy on his family.

    1. Carol, thank you for getting in touch and mentioning that other Knapp line. The extended Knapp family is so fortunate to have so many avid researchers following this line!

      Researching this photo took me a lot of time, since there were two different possibilities within the Knapp extended family. I did spot that Arthur Knapp you mentioned and wondered if that was the right person. Especially since a lot of the Knapp family moved to Washington state, it meant that this research needed to have a lot of care--especially since the Knapp family seemed to prefer calling their children by their middle names. However, isn't your Arthur Knapp actually Cornelius Arthur Knapp?

      I believe the other line (that I've posted on) included the two siblings from the photograph. That photo is now on its way to a descendant of George Harlow Knapp, father of both Peter and Arthur Knapp, the two boys in that photo from 1899.

  3. Well, well, well.... it is getting more convoluted.... will tomorrow get here soon? tomorrow..... tomorrow....tomorrow?

    1. I imagine a lot of our family lines may look convoluted to those who research us, one hundred years from now :)


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