JOHN KNOOP & BROTHERS
Among the first emigrants to Miami county were the Knoop brothers, consisting of John, Benjamin, Christian and Daniel. John was the eldest. He was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, November 8, 1767. They emigrated to Ohio, then the Northwest Territory, in 1797, and came down the Ohio in a flat boat to Fort Washington, afterwards Cincinnati. Their father was of German descent and died some years before his sons removed to the west. Their mother was a native of Switzerland and emigrated to America in 1732. When they came to Fort Washington early in the spring of 1797 they planted a crop of corn on Zeigler's stone-house farm about four miles above Cincinnati, on land then belonging to John Smith. During the summer John Knoop made two excursions into the Indian country with surveying parties and at that time selected the land on which he lived and died. The above statement is from an article called "Miami County Traditions," written by William Bosson and published in the Troy Times of April 10, I839, but notes prepared by William R. Saunders, who married the daughter of William Knoop and who lives on the settled by John Knoop in 1797, state that the Knoop brothers came to Fort Washington in 1796 and located a tract of land in Warren county, and that in 1797, when, on a second excursion into the Indian country, he located on what is now section 4, Staunton township, in this county. On his return to Fort Washington they immediately made preparations for their removal, and in connection with Other families made the journey up the Miami river, following the trace road over which General Clark traveled in I872 in his expeditions against the Indian towns of Piqua, on the Miami river, until they came to the bend of the river where the village of Staunton is now located, and there John Knoop, his brothers Henry Girard, Benjamin Hamlet and John Tilders established a station for the security of their families. This station was called Dutch Station. It was a stockade built so as to enclose the cabins of the above named settlers, and for those days it was a rather strong fort, proving an effectual protection against the Indians. It was the first permanent settlement made in Miami county. It became the stopping point for new emigrants to this portion of the Miami Valley and here Jacob Knoop was born in 1798. He was the first white child born within what is now Miami county, and was the son of John and Barbara Knoop. The families in this station remained there until 1800. In the meantime they raised crops across the river, opposite the stockade on a prairie that had been-cultivated by the Indian's, and was afterwards known as Gahagan's prairie. In the spring of 1800 the settlers commenced improving their land by building cabins and clearing the ground. John Knoop erected on his land in 1900 a cabin with a loft to it, which is still standing, and which the writer visited a few days prior to writing this sketch. It is the oldest cabin now standing in the county of Miami and is kept in good preservation by Mr. Saunders and his wife. It may be a matter of interest to the readers of this sketch to state where each of the Knoop brothers located. John settled on section 4, where the old cabin stands, near the beautiful home now occupied by Mr. Saunders and his wife. Benjamin Knoop located on the farm adjoining, Lost creek dividing the farms, and his place is owned, at the present time by George and Mary Sheets. Christian Knoop located on the farm now owned by Presley Sayers, while Daniel Knoop located on the farm where S. D. Green at present resides. There was, and is yet, a good spring of water on each farm named. After John Knoop had built his cabin he went back to Pennsylvania after his aged mother and brought her to his new home, making the trip of five hundred miles through the wilderness on horseback. She died in 1805, and was buried on the ground selected by herself only a short time before her death. This was the beginning of the Knoop cemetery, where now sleep the old pioneer Knoops and their sons and daughters, by the side of the emigrant woman from the mountains of Switzerland, who raised her boys in the shadow of the Alleghenies. The subject is one worthy of the poet's song as well as of the historian's pen. In. the old house built in 1800 were raised seven children: Five were born beneath its clapboard roof; one son, George, the eldest, was born in Pennsylvania in 1795, and Jacob, the second son, in the stockade at Dutch Station. All the family, father, mother and several children sleep side by side "waiting the judgment day" in the beautiful Knoop cemetery on the bank of Lost creek, close by the old cabin of 1800: and over their graves grow the flowers that were first propagated from the seeds brought from Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. in 1797. Each one of the pioneers and their sons and daughters filled a place in the early settlement of this county and are entitled to the gratitude of the present generation George the eldest son, died in 1862. He was never married. He was a genial. generous, practical man and was the head of the firm of "Knoop Brothers." or, as they were usually called, "The Bachelor Knoops," the rest of the bachelors being Jacob and John H. Thomas, another son, died in the year 18--; William, the youngest son, was born in 1812, married to Rachael A. Kerr, and reared a family of eight children. Nancy Knoop was born in. 1800, and was married to Isaac Sheets in I824. She was the mother of six children, three boys and three girls. Elizabeth was married to George Statler, in the year of 1829, and was the mother of two boys and one girl - Samuel K., W. S. and Harriet Statler.
John Knoop, the pioneer, was an active, energetic, enterprising business man, and did much in his modest, unassuming way towards building up and improving Miami county. At an early day he erected a sawmill and gristmill; also a distillery, and his whisky was noted for its purity. In 1816 he erected a two-story brick house as a residence, near the log cabin he erected in 1800. His wife, Mrs. Barbara Knoop, planted apple seeds and raised her own trees for a large orchard. One tree grew to an enormous size, being ten feet in circumference and branches shading over seventy feet. The fruit was similar in color and shape to the popular Maiden Blush apple, but was more acid. Pinks are growing in the cemetery in the spring and summer of 1900, the seed of which was brought to Miami county in 1797. John and Benjamin Knoop married sisters by the name of Holstine. Benjamin raised a large family of sons and daughters. Daniel, a son of Benjamin Knoop, was a merchant and at an early day opened a store in Casstown. Jacob Knoop, Jr., was a surveyor by profession; was elected mayor of Troy and justice of the peace. He also was elected and served as auditor and treasurer of Miami county. Andrew, another son, was an active business man, and became quite a large land holder. Jacob Knoop, Sr., the son of John Knoop, was twice elected county commissioner; George Knoop, when only seventeen years of age, enlisted in the army and served against the British and the Indians in the war of 1812 The Knoop brothers brought the first sheep to Miami county, and in everything pertaining to agriculture and public enterprise they took an active part and did much to lay wide and deep the foundations for the present prosperity of this county. The whole generation were Whigs in politics, and were stanch supporters of Henry Clay. The family sent many soldiers to the front to battle for the Union and the old flag during the late Rebellion. Mrs. Henry Carver, of Troy, and Henry Knoop, of Dayton, are the only survivors of the first generation of Knoops born in Miami county.
John Knoop and Colonel John Johnson, the Indian agent, a sketch of whom appears in this book, were fast friends and often visited each other. The sons of John Knoop, Jacob and John H. Knoop, in 1873, purchased the Statler farm lying in Elizabeth township, consisting of one hundred and sixty-three acres of land. After making some necessary improvements, they transferred it to the county of Miami in June, 1877, for a home for orphan children provided the county would erect the necessary buildings. Miami county has now upon this donation of the "Bachelor Knoops" one of the finest county children's homes in the state of Ohio. The Bachelor Knoops added to the competence left them by their father, the pioneer of 1796, and when they died they left to their heirs the snug fortune of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, yet they were generous to all worthy charities. Jacob was one of the originators of. the old State Bank of Troy, which, under the national banking act, was organized into the First National Bank of Troy.
In preparing this sketch of a family that had so marked an influence upon the past of Miami county the writer is under many obligations to W. R. Saunders.
Return to the Biography Index
Copyright © 1998 by Computerized Heritage