I have been working on the ancestors of Moses Knapp, but haven't made much progress. See my "thinking" page.


Moses Knapp


He was born New York in 1774-75. Can't find a lineage for him. I haven't been able to connect him to the Nicholas Knapp line who was a 1630 emigrant to Massachusetts, but there is a DNA link from one of Moses' male descendant to Nicholas Knapp.

I think maybe Moses' father was also Moses Knapp; don't know his mother's name, but maybe her last name was Chesney or McChesney.  He seems to have had a brother named Joshua.  

There were several Moses Knapps in NY.
1. Moses Knapp born Mar 14, 1777 in Duchess Co, NH, son of Moses Knapp Jr and Elizabeth Hatfield (b Jan 6, 1743 White Plains, Westchester Co, NY).  he had 2 sister, Marie & Elizabeth (b Nov 30, 1770). He married Catherine Feltz.
2. Moses Alexander Knapp, b 1778 in Orange City, NY, son of Moses Knapp & Amy Sprague.  He married Susan Matson.

In the 1790 census of New York there were 48 Knapps, but only one Moses Knapp in Rensselaerville, Albany County, NY (in the E part of the state).  [There was 3 other Moses Knaps in NY: Westchester & Dutchess Cos.]  It appears that ALL of the New York Knapps/Knaps in 1790 were located in the eastern part of the state: Albany-12, Dutchess-31, Orange-23, Ulster-5, Columbia-2, New York-2, Westchester-9, Montgomery-7, Clinton-2

There were 8 in this Albany Co. Moses Knapp family, prob wife & 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls).  There were also 2 other Knapps in Rensselaerville:  Ephriam D. and Israel.

In 1800 there were 6 men named Moses Knapp:  New York-3, Connecticut-1, Massachusetts-1, Vermont-1. [There is no surviving 1800 census of Kentucky or Virginia.]

Since Moses was from NY, possibly he west west and caught the Allegheny River in western New York sometime before 1783 and floated thru Pennsylvania to Pittsburg (see map at left).  On the other hand, if he was from one of the eastern counties, he may have gone down to Philadelphia and traveled west to Pittsburg.

He must have stayed in the area for a while. If he was born in 1774, he was 17 years old in 1781.
In 1781 a Moses Knapp was in the land records of Doe Hill (155 acres in Bull Pasture, west of Doe Hill, Va) (which is now in Highland Co, Va., formerly Pendleton Co, Va, before that it was in Augusta Co, Va.). Doe Hill is almost 200 miles south of Pittsburg just over the border into Virginia. Named for it's lofty elevation, Highland County, Va. is located in the Allegheny Mountains between the border of WV and the border of the Shenandoah Valley (where VA juts out into WV) and is often referred to as "Virginia's Switzerland," a land of high mountain valleys and scenic beauty. It was originally populated by Scotch-Irish & German settlers.   In the early 1800 records Highland County also had two other Knaps: Abraham (son of Caleb) and John.  They were gone by 1813.  (Of course, since there were other Moses Knapps around, it's possible that this was a different man.)

Perhaps he married first here. If he was born in 1774 he would have been 28 when he married Betty Emmons, leaving plenty of room for an earlier marriage.

There is some indication (special 1782 census of Virginia) that he had a son in 1782 (perhaps John).  The 1790 Augusta Co, Va (tax list) shows “Moses Knap” with 2 others besides himself.

1790 census - There are 134 Knapp families in various states of New England, most in CT and NY. There is a Moses Knapp in Ct & NY.

1790 NY census, Albany Co, Rensselaerville
Knapp, Moses - 13400, p186
Knapp, Ebenezer - 10000, p182
Knapp, Ephriam D. - 10000, p198
Knapp, Israel - 12500, p. 273

1790 NY census, Orange Co, Warwick, p.392
Knapp, Caleb - 12200
There are 14 other Knapp families in Orange Co.
The county with the most Knapps in New York is Duchess co. with 20

1790 legend: males over 16, males under 16, females, other free, slaves

Here is a story from Ollie Raines (a descendant of Moses Knapp, written in 1956):
“It was in 1792 that Moses Knapp lived on Old Town Creek and one day while he was talking to a Michael See who had a farm where North Pt. Pleasant now is, they saw an Indian and Mr. See raised his gun to point at the Indian. Moses said 'I would not shoot the poor Indian.’ Mr. See put his gun down and later in the day the Indian came back and killed Mr. See. That evening Mrs. See gave birth to a baby boy who was named William. There is a large number of the descendants of William See in Mason County.”
William See was born May 26, 1792 and soon afterwards Moses left for Kentucky. If John was his son, chances are he left him in WV with relatives. (Years later William See married Sarah Pruitt and Moses’ daughter Patsy married Robert Pruitt, brother and sister)

Perhaps he was grieving over a perceived responsibility in the death of his friend, but that summer, Moses picked up the Ohio River at Pittsburg, from there sailed down the Ohio River to Kentucky.  Moses took his brother Joshua (who was 10 years younger than him) with him to Kentucky, where they married sisters (or cousins) in a double wedding Dec. 10, 1792, Bourbon Co, Ky. Moses married Elizabeth "Betty" Emmons and Joshua married Jenny Emmons. He had 3 children and Joshua had 2 before both of their wives died before the end of 1800.

Bourbon Co. was formed in 1785 from Fayette and was very large at the time. By 1800 it had been divided into smaller counties.  Fleming Co in NE Ky was formed in 1798 from Mason Co., but Fleming was on the border of the 1790 shape of Bourbon Co, so it's possible that Moses didn't move around much in the area.  His daughter, Martha, was born in 1799 in Fleming Co, then his wife, Elizabeth died in Fleming Co, Ky. in 1800.  Maybe he lived near Flemingsburg, KY, the county seat of Fleming Co.  There is a small river that runs down from the Ohio River at Maysville right to Flemingsburg. Perhaps that was the route he took there.

There was still much danger from the Indians around 1790 in Kentucky but by 1800 there 124 people in Flemingsburg.  There were 3 early settlements in the area: Stockton Station (1787) on the north side of Flemingsburg, Fleming station (1790) 5 miles west of what is now Flemingsburg, and Cassidy Station, 2 miles west of Stockton Station.  Surely Moses Knapp lived in or around one of these stations.

1805 (Sept. 10) Stephen Jones vs. Moses Knapp. "Plea of detinue brought to recover a spotted horse." (Fleming Co, Ky Circuit Court, file 865)

Moses Knapp m Anne Byram in Fleming Co, Ky in 1802.  They were still in Fleming Co, Ky in 1805 where some court action was taken on Sept. 11. Evidently James Roe's wife, Abigail, said some slanderous words to Anne, and Anne took her to court. A few days later (Sept 20) they were in court again accusing Richard Hart of slanderous words against Anne. So this may give some reasoning of why Moses and Anne decided to move away from Kentucky and to Mason County WV.  His brother Joshua stayed in Kentucky (1830 in Greenup Co, and 1850 in Carter Co. where he died in 1851, probably not over 50 miles from where Moses lived in Mason Co, WV.)

There were 2 Knapp families of Mason Co, WV: Moses & Caleb. Moses was from New York and Caleb was from Greenbrier Co, (W)Va. Not related. Caleb was son of Titus Knapp. In 1783 Moses Knap and Caleb Knap were in the tax records of Doe Hill (which is now in Highland Co, Va., formerly Pendleton Co, WV, before that it was in Augusta Co, Va.)
Moses disappeared from the record in 1810 (because he had moved to Mason Co, WV by then). In the early 1800 records Highland Co also had two other Knaps: Abraham and John. They were gone by 1813. Abraham was Caleb's son. Caleb also had a son named Joshua.

Moses didn't move that far away from his brother, just over into WV (near Gallipolis--see map). He went back up the Ohio River to Point Pleasant, where he took the Kanawha River to Leon, WV, and settled there.

By 1810 they were living in Mason Co (W)Va.
The 1810 census of Mason Co, (W)Va. shows:
376A 18 Knap, Moses 0101 - 02 01
1 male 10-16 [William-14]
1 male 26-44 [Moses]
2 females 10-16 [Martha-11, Priscilla-13?]
1 female 26-44 [Anne]
See: ftp://ftp.us-census.org/pub/usgenweb/census/wv/mason/1810/pg0372.txt

Also there in 1810 was:
375 11 Prewet, Obed [Moses' daughter's future father-in-law]

In 1812 Moses was fined $200 by the court for failing to keep his son William under control.
In 1819 Moses bought 104 acres on Thirteen-mile Creek in Mason County.
In 1820 Moses was on the Mason County census, p125.

1821  Moses Knapp having "taken up an estray horse upon his own land", the court orders a description and an appraisal to be published. Other cases of strays, and one of a "raft of plank adrift" with these. (Mason Co. court order )

In 1818 a Methodist minister, Francis Wilson, preached the first sermon in Union District.
Later in 1823 he organized the first society at the home of Moses Knapp. Among the members were Samuel Smith, Moses Knapp, Jane Smith, Reuben Harrison, Jacob Newell, William Knapp, Isaac E. Smith, John Harrison, Andrew Waugh, Eachel Smith, William Hanson, and John Knapp.
.....In 1840, some of these people, and a few others, formed the Smith Methodist Church. The members at the time of its formation were Jacob Newell, John Newell, Preston Newell, Fannie Newell, Isaac Smith, Rachel Smith, William Knapp Sr. William Knapp Jr., Jane McDermitt, Strauther Smith, Samuel L. Smith, Gideon Smith, Elizabeth Smith, Burwell Smith, Charles Baker, Sarah Baker, and Abraham Baker. Rev, A. L. Lyda was the minister.
.....Here on this high point overlooking the valley of Thirteenmile Creek, they built a log church which stood just inside the fence in the old part of the cemetery. This log structure served as their meeting house until about the year 1900

Several of Moses' descendants are buried at the cemetery of the old Smith Church. The old log church stood on a high point overlooking the Thirteen-mile Creek valley.
See: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/8003/cem.html


1828  Moses Knapp. Receipt for allowance (bounty) for one grown wolf scalp, $4.00 (County Court, Mason Co Va (1828- 11)

1829 (June 6)Moses Napp vs. Andrew Kerr. Fifa. Casa. Suit brought to recover legal costs, $11.58. (Superior Court.Mason Co., Va.. (1829-5, 1830-1)

1830 census, Mason Co, (W)Va (Knapp heads of households)
Moses Knapp, p 149
John
William
George
Peter

This would seem to indicate that Moses had other sons named John, George & Peter. Possibly Moses and Anne had some children. Ollie Knapp Raines, born in 1880, wrote an article in 1956, when she was 76.  She said that her grandmother, Emoline (John's daughter), often spoke of her uncles, Moses and Abram. This sounds to me like Anne and Moses had 3 sons: Moses Jr, Abram and John, b abt 1810-25.

In 1832 the first election was held at Moses Knapp's home.
1837 Moses bought 150 acres.
1840 census - Mason Co, (W)Va.
Moses
John
William
Jacob
John
Peter

1842 Moses married 3rd to widow Sarah (Haptonsthall) Weaver.
In 1842 & 1843, 3 different men brought court action against Moses for a debt. But in 1844 Moses had an action against another man for a debt.

MOSES was listed in the 1850 Mason Co. WV census as being 75 yrs old (b. 1775 NY) m. to Sara S who was 43 and b. abt 1807 in Ohio.
1850 Mason Co, Va #164
Knapp, Moses - 75 NY
. . . . Sarah S. - 43 OH

In 1850, 1852 & 1854 Moses sold some of his land.

Moses Knapp's Last Will and Testament (recorded in Mason Co. Will Bk 1a, p 143) which was written and signed on September 8, 1859. It was proven by the County Court on April 2, 1860.
He probably died on March 15, which was the last date his doctor visited him (doctor bill in estate papers, plus a bill from a shopkeeper for black crepe bought on the 15th)
In the will Priscilla Harrison is mentioned as receiving a portion of Moses Knapp's estate. 

He was buried in the Samuel Greenlee Cemetery, a mile from Leon, WV. on a High Point above 13 mile Creek, opposite the Devil's Tea Table (rock formation). It seems that there may have been 2 cemeteries called Greenlee near Leon.
See his Find-a-grave memorial.
Other family members buried in Old Smith Church Cemetery near Robertsburg, WV

There was a Knapp's Creek off Greenbrier River in West Virginia (at what is now known as Marlinton).

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There was a Abraham KNAPP b abt 1801 in Greenbrier Co. He married Jeanette B. Taylor 1821 in Monroe, but children born in Greenbrier are Albert, Caleb and James. Albert and James moved to Mason Co. about 1850.
Albert KNAPP was born Greenbrier 1824 died in Mason Co. His wife Mary Ann Welch, their sons James KNAPP and Thomas KNAPP were in Mason by 1850. Thomas m Sarah Jane LAMBERT in Mason.