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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Frank J. Knapp, dealer in and manufacturer of boots and shoes, and proprietor of a private boarding house, De Soto, was born February 29, 1852, in Baden, Germany, and is a son of Casper and Christenia (Schaffer) Knapp, also natives of Baden, Germany, and born, respectively, in 1807 and 1809. Casper Knapp was a contractor by trade, and a very successful business man, employing from twenty-five to thirty men constantly; he died in the prime of life in 1852. Mrs. Christenia Knapp died in 1855. She was the mother of eight children, of whom Frank J. was the youngest. After the death of his parents our subject was taken by an uncle, Lawrence Beck, with whom he lived until thirteen years old, when he went to Heidelberg and began working at the shoe maker’s trade. Three years later he left his native land and immigrated to America, locating in Philadelphia, where he followed his trade until 1873, when he came to De Soto, Mo., and established a shop of his own. February 20, 1876 he married Miss Matilda, daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Vernon) Halter. She was born June 21, 1850. By this marriage eight children have been born, viz.: Frank J., born December 8, 1878; Ida Amelia, February 19, 1880; John William, April 20, 1881; Frederick Victor, September 28, 1882; Anna Margaret, March 3, 1884; Charles Lawrence, November 9, 1885; Julia Lyda and Rudolph Benjamin (twins), born July 25, 1887. About 1878 Mr. Knapp began keeping boarders, and he now has from twelve to fifteen constantly. By industry, economy and close attention to business he has succeeded in a financial way. In politics he is conservative. He is a member of the Encampment. I. O. O. F., and was reared in the Catholic faith. Mrs. Knapp is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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