For more than thirty years closely identified with the business interests of Denison and also an active and efficient worker in the cause of public education, Rudolph Knaul is justly held in high regard by the people of the city.
He was born in Berlin, Germany, February 24, 1850, a son of Adolph and Mary (Woltke) Knaul, the former of whom was born in Brandenburg and the latter at Wittenberg, Germany. There were four children in the family, our subject being the only one now living. The mother and the other children died from cholera in 1856. The father learned the tanner's trade and later became a merchant in Berlin. In 1868 he emigrated to this country and spent the first eighteen months in Chicago, then locating at Clinton, Iowa, where he entered the drug business.
He was three times married, and by his second wife had four children, three of whom are now living, namely: Gertie, who married George Rumsey; Anna, who became the wife of George Naeve, a banker of Denison; and Lena, who married J. C. Mastie and now live at Chardon, Ohio.
The third wife of Mr. Knaul was a Miss Horst, and there were two children born to that union: Otto; and Bertha, now the wife of Dr. H. C. Simpson, of Denison. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a tanner and died in Germany from the effects of an accident. There were four children in his family: Rudolph, Robert, Adolph and Johanna. John Woltke, the maternal grandfather, who was a watchmaker and jeweler and passed away in the old country but had spent about twenty years in the United States.
Rudolph Knaul received the advantages of a good education in his native land and engaged in the drug business for a year and a half in that country after leaving school. In 1868 he arrived in America and spent the first two years in Chicago, clerking in a drug store. He then went to Clinton, Iowa, and clerked in his father's store, after which he returned to Chicago, where he was identified for a year and a half with the same line of business. He again came to Clinton and spent two years, at the end of which time he decided to locate permanently and in 1879 he selected Denison as his home. He has ever since been connected with the drug business in this city and maintains a neat and well stocked store, being accorded a large and lucrative patronage.
On the 24th of July, 1876, Mr. Knaul was united in marriage at Clinton to Miss Maggie Au, who was born in New York city, July 28, 1854, a daughter of Julius and Maggie Au. The father was born in Hanover, Germany, and the mother in Bavaria. He was a harness and trunk maker. He and his wife both died in Lyons, Iowa. There were six children in their family: Charles, William, George, Emma, Maggie, and a son who died in infancy.
Two daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Knaul, namely: Mamie, who married M. E. Lies, of Waterville, Washington, and has one child, Margaret; and Alys, an artist, who does beautiful work on china and is living at home.
Politically, Mr. Knaul is an earnest supporter of the republican party, with whose principles he has been in accord ever since he cast his first ballot in 1871. He early observed the beneficial effects of education and for twenty-five years has been a member of the school board of Denison, in the course of which time he has greatly assisted in advancing the cause of education in the community. An intelligent, progressive and capable citizen, he has been successful in business and has gained a host of warm friends in this city.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.