Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


Joseph Knapp, son of Barnhardt Knapp, was born in Baden, Germany, Sept. 11, 1850, and there began his education in the public schools. When only a boy he became an orphan by the death of his father and mother, and at an early age began to depend upon his own efforts to advance himself in the world, to secure a livelihood and to equip himself with an education. His father and an elder brother were blacksmiths by trade, and with them he worked until his father’s death and the entrance of his brother into the German army. At the age of seventeen years he decided to seek his fortune in America, and crossing the Atlantic he came to the West, and located in Burlington, Iowa. Here he completed his education, attending the public schools, and was for a time in the employ of the blacksmithing and carriage-making firm of Goerling & Buhrmaster, with whom he remained four years. He also worked in Kingston and Oskaloosa about two years, and was for a time in St. Louis, and on his return to this city re-engaged with his former employers. In 1876, however, he was able to establish a business of his own, and this he did, taking up his present location at 1424 North Eighth Street. He does here all kinds of blacksmithing, repairing, and wagon-making, and is in addition an experienced shoer of fine horses, although he does not make a specialty of this work, but accepts all that is offered. He has been very successful in his business, and has by industry, honesty, and courtesy built up a large patronage.

On Jan. 27, 1880, Mr. Knapp married Miss Emma Kruse, and to them have been born six children: Louis, Charles, Hattie, Joseph, Emma, and Clarence. Mr. Knapp was reared in the Catholic faith, but does not at the present time adhere to any religious denomination. Although a member of the Democratic party, he gives his attention principally to his business interests, and has never taken a part in politics, contenting himself with casting his vote in favor of good government.

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