George Knapp, 1814–1883
George Knapp was born on 25 September 1814 in Montgomery, Orange County, New York. He died on 18 September 1883 at the age of 68. George died on the steamer Pennland, from Antwerp to New York. He had been in Europe for his health. George Knapp was editor and co-owner (with Adam Chambers) of the Missouri Republican.
The oldest newspaper in St. Louis was the Missouri Gazette, first published in 1808. It changed ownership in 1820 and was renamed the Missouri Republican in 1822. George Knapp had come to St. Louis with his father’s family in 1819 and joined the newspaper as a printer’s apprentice in 1827. In 1834, the twenty-year-old George became a journeyman printer, and, in 1837 together with Adam Black Chambers, George became a member of Chambers and Knapp, the new publishers of the paper. After Chambers’ death in 1854 George and his brother, John Knapp, together with Nathaniel Paschall, formed a partnership to publish the paper, after purchasing her share from Adam Chambers’s widow.
Mr. Paschall died in 1866 and William Hyde became managing editor. George died in 1883 and his brother John, who had been with the newspaper for thirty years, died in 1888.
As a young man, George fought in the Mexican War with the St. Louis Grays in 1846. Returning from that conflict, he was promoted to captain of the Grays and then to lieutenant colonel in the First Battalion of the St. Louis Legion. George sided with the Union cause during the Civil War.
Suffering from ill health in July 1883, George and his son, Thomas, left St. Louis and went to Germany in hopes of finding treatment in the mineral springs there. When his condition worsened, doctors in Wiesbaden suggested that he be treated in Bavaria, after which he returned to Wiesbaden where he appeared to improve. On September 7th, they left Germany to return home, arriving at Antwerp on the 14th. They boarded the steamer Pennland the next day with the hopes that the sea air would help, but George died on the morning of September 18th. The ship docked in New York on September 26th and his remains were brought to St. Louis for burial at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
George Knapp was the father of the scheme to separate the city from the county of St. Louis. He was a promoter of the Eads Bridge and the new Merchants’ Exchange. He was also a champion of the public schools, the public library, and for paving the city’s streets.
George Knapp and Eleanor McCartan were married on 22 December 1840 in St. Louis, Eleanor McCartan, daughter of Thomas McCartan and Judith Smith, was born in March 1822 in Madison, Morgan Co., Georgia. She died on 26 August 1902 at the age of 80 at the family home on Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis. George and Eleanor had twelve children, ten of whom lived to adulthood.
Written by Ted Steele
Submitted July 2022
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Last Modified: 12-Nov-2022 16:16