Manasseh Stewart Knox

MANASSEH STEWART KNOX is one of the oldest residents of Pottawatomie County. His own recollections of that district cover a period of sixty years, beginning in his early childhood. He knew Pottawatomie County when it was a virtual wilderness and when Kansas was still in the throes of the free state struggle. Mr. Knox is one of the most substantial land holders and formerly one of the largest farmers in Northern Kansas and is president of the First National Bank of Havensville and has banking interests elsewhere.

He was born in Cayuga County, New York, August 21, 1843. His ancestors were Scotch-Irish and English and were colonial settlers in Virginia. His grandfather, John Knox, was a native of Virginia and perhaps through disinclination to the institution of slavery he moved north into Pennsylvania, freeing his slaves. He became a farmer and millwright in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1845. His son, John Knox, Jr., served with the rank of colonel in the Civil war and was killed in battle.

The founder of the family in Kansas was Charles S. Knox, who was born in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in 1810. He grew up there and when a young man went to Cayuga County, New York, where he became a farmer and where he married. It was in June, 1857, that he joined the pioneers of Pottawatomie County, Kansas. His homestead of 160 acres, now owned by his son M. S. Knox, was two miles north of Havensville and close to the old and now almost forgotten town, America City. Charles S. Knox was one of the useful pioneers of Pottawatomie County, but did not live to see the fruits of his enterprise. He died in 1864. He was a republican and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He married Jane S. Johnson, who was born in Cayuga County, New York, in 1811, and died in Pottawatomie County. Kansas, in 1903 when ninety-two years of age. Manasseh S. Knox was the third of their five children. William J., the oldest, became a farmer and died in Pottawatomie County in 1861, at the age of twenty-two. R. F. J. was a banker and farmer at Alexandria, Nebraska, but died at Excelsior Springs, Missouri, in 1897. Margaret died in Pottawatomie County in 1862. Charles S. was living in Omaha, Nebraska, when last heard from.

Manasseh S. Knox was fourteen years of age when his father came to Pottawatomie County. He continued his education in the rural schools of this new and frontier country and also had a course or two in college at Manhattan. He left school in 1865 and for two years was a teacher in his home county. He then gave all his time and energy to farming and for fully half a century he has indulged in a close participation in the enterprise of agriculture and its related activities. Besides the old homestead of his father he owns thirty-five hundred acres in Pottawatomie and Nemaha counties, Kansas, and in Nebraska. He also has other real estate and buildings in Havensville, and in 1913 built the finest and most modern residence of that town. Mr. Knox was formerly a well known stock man and especially excelled in his Shorthorn cattle.

Since 1902 he has been president of the First National Bank of Havensville and is also president of the Citizens State Bank of Westmoreland, the county seat of Pottawatomie County, and is owner and a director of the Union State Bank of Arkansas City. He is a republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His participation in public affairs has always been keen, though officially he has limited his work to membership on the school board.

In Pottawatomie County in 1874 Mr. Knox married Miss Lovina Davis. Her parents, Alexander and Melinda (Hamer) Davis, both now deceased, were pioneers and farmers in Pottawatomie County.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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