Jefferson County Historical Society

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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 shoemaker'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.