|Birth: ||Jun. 7, 1854|
|Death: ||Dec. 24, 1910|
Occupation: Carthage and Jasper County, Missouri's early licensed undertakers and embalmers.
Sometimes it is difficult to separate a building from the family that built it, and the Knell building illustrates that fact. The Knell family has had an enormous impact on the State of Missouri, the art of undertaking and the City of Carthage.
In 1882, when the Square was just getting used to having a bandstand in its center and long before the new courthouse was built, a small announcement in the Carthage Press told the citizens that a new business was coming to town. Edward Knell was setting up a new stock of furniture in the Opera House building on the south side of the Square. Knell specialized in undertaking and would bring a $2,000 hearse with him, and in addition to the fine caskets he made, he and his new partner, George Howenstein would be selling furniture. Furniture was a common accompaniment to undertaking and casket-making in the early days and helped provide a steady income between burials.
When the new furniture house of E. Knell and Company opened in January of 1883, much was made of the large stock of fine and medium-class furniture offered. French dressers, bureaus, wardrobes, secretaries and desks, safes, tables, bedsteads and mattresses, all kinds of chairs, parlor suits, carpets, oil cloths, rugs and mats were available. they also offered the most complete stock of undertaking goods ever and coffins of all descriptions, pedestals, emblems, draperies, and of course, the finest hearse ever seen in these parts. E. Knell and company advertised as practical embalmers with many years experience and were prepared to embalm and care for bodies without the use of ice, and would take full charge of burials.
It was common practice in the late 1800's for bodies to be taken care of in private homes. Two men would show up at the undertaker's establishment with a corn stalk or wooden stick the exact length of the deceased. The undertaker would then sell the men a coffin and a shroud. Coffins came untrimmed, so while the men waited, the undertaker would install handles, line the interior with either silk or satin, and then put the coffin into a larger box. The coffin would then be loaded for the men. Edward Knell reminisced that many times this would occur at night, and Mrs. Knell would make fresh coffee and serve donuts or cookies to make the waiting easier.
The following article was published in the March 5, 1891 edition of the Carthage Weekly Press newspaper.
Undertaking and Embalming
Owing to the remarkable healthfulness of this climate there is not much of this business requiring attention, but those who are unfortunate enough to require such service should know that Mr. E. Knell's record for the past nine years as an undertaker and embalmer in this city places him at the top of the profession as well as at the head of the procession, as a successful embalmer. He has never yet made a failure and during the nine years he has been here he has had several bad cases to contend with.
Mr. Knell holds his certificate as a graduate of Professor Clark's School of Embalming, and when anyone places the remains of their deceased friends in his care they can rest assured that everything will be done properly and successfully, and all the details of the funeral arrangements have prompt attention. His knowledge of just how to proceed, no matter how difficult a case it may be, is due to having had a large practical experience, both in Carthage and several cities in Illinois.
Mr. Knell is well known as a friend to the poor, and the many times he has conducted funerals, furnished hearses, teams and his own service free of charge to the deserving poor proves him to be charitable in deed as well as in theory. He now, as heretofore, offers the use of either of his hearses free of charge to all the deserving poor people of this city when the misfortune of death causes them to need them.
To those who have a sufficiency of this world's goods his charges are always most reasonable and the services he willingly gives, most satisfactory. All calls, both day and night, promptly attended to.
Office on north side of square over Henderson & Huntley's hardware store.
His parents were:
FATHER: Fred Knell
Announcement of the death of Ed Knell's father in Switzerland in Carthage Evening Press May 4, 1907
E. KNELL'S FATHER DEAD
Passed Away at Stein Am Rhein, Switzerland at Age of 86
E. Knell has received word of the death of his father at Stein am Rhein, Switzerland. The death occurred April 18. A notice of the death which was mailed immediately has just reached him. The old gentleman was 86 years of age, and though very feeble, there had been no word of his being ill, so Mr. Knell infers that the death was sudden. Mr. Knell's mother has been dead for several years, and the member of the family now living are three married daughters in Switzerland and two sons beside Mr. Knell in America.
The deceased had said that all he wanted to live for now was to see his granddaughter, Miss Emma, and Mr. Knell thinks that the news of Emma's illness and the postponement of her trip to Europe, coupled with his feebleness, may have hastened the end.
Fred Knell, the deceased, had the honor of founding Zurich, a town in Canada on lake Huron. He owned a big tract of land there and in the early fifties [1850's] he established a trading post and operated the town grist mill, grocery store and blacksmith shop.
It was there that E. Knell of this city was born and lived until he was 10 years of age. Many think that Mr. Knell was born in Switzerland, but he merely moved back there with his father and was there about five years, just long enough to learn the German and French languages, and then he came to the United States to seek his fortune.
MOTHER: Rosalie Bernoulli b. 1817 Switzerland
Edward Knell was 56 years, 5 months & 7 days of age when he passed away from liver disease according to his Missouri Death Certificate. Dr. David Wise, M.D. was the attending physician
CARTHAGE EVENING PRESS December 27, 1910
DEATH COMES TO E. KNELL
WELL KNOWN CARTHAGE CITIZEN PASSES AWAY AFTER LONG ILLNESS
Body Will Lie in State Tomorrow at the Knell Chapel - Funeral Thursday Afternoon
Edward Knell, one of the best known of Carthage citizens, succumbed Saturday afternoon at 5:45 o'clock in his fight with death after a long illness, dating back several months, with liver trouble. For considerable time his death had been daily expected by the family, but with the marvelous vitality and indomitable spirit, which marked his fight in the battles of life. Mr. Knell attempted to shake off the Grim Reaper who finally overcame him. During his long suffering he has been unconscious a greater part of the time and has been able to take but very little nourishment.
His death, though expected was a great shock to his large list of friends who were hoping against hope that he would pull through. Mr. Knell during his long life here, has done much to make a better Carthage. He has given liberally of his time and money to that end and his death will be the occasion of much sincere regret. When the end came, his wife and children were all at the bedside.
Besides a wife four children, Miss Emma, Lucy Knell Buckwell, Fred and Frank Knell survive. Also a brother Albert Knell of St. Louis, and two sisters, Mrs. Rosa Diener and Mrs. Emma Kellar, both of St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Mr. Knell's life was an eventful and busy one and shows conclusively that success can be attained if the right events are set forth. He was born in 1854, at Bayfield, Canada, and was 54 years of age at the time of his death. At the age of 10 years he went to Switzerland to be with his parents, where he made a close study of German and French and visited the many points of Switzerland.
At the age of fifteen he came to the United States, going directly to Davenport, Iowa where he had an elder brother living. When Mr. Knell reached Davenport he had but two dollars in money and could speak the English language but imperfectly, but he had a determination to make a success in life and become a useful citizen in the country of his adoption.
Mr. Knell's brother was in the furniture and upholstery business at Davenport and Mr. Knell entered the upholstery department of this establishment where he thoroughly learned that business. Leaving there he went to Chicago, where he secured a position with Holden & Hildreth, one of the largest firms in the upholstery business in that city. He worked there one year and then went to Cincinnati where he work at his trade. Having satisfied himself with travel in finishing his trade knowledge, Mr. Knell returned to his brother who, in the meantime had established a business at Moline, Illinois.
The brother returned to Davenport and Mr. Knell, then at the age of nineteen years, started a furniture and upholstery business of his own. He was successful and met with encouraging results from the start. His good business methods, his attention to details, and his strict rule to have everything exactly as represented, made friends and permanent patrons for his establishment. Men learned to know that if E. Knell made a statement regarding his goods, that statement was true in every detail. He scorned a falsehood and despised a man who would make a mis-representation. That early business training has followed him through life and made his business a success in Carthage.
At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Knell was married to Miss Susan L. Wheelock, daughter of C. E. Wheelock who was at that time interested in the Moline Paper Company, of Moline, Illinois. From this union were born four children, Miss Emma and Mrs. G. G. Buckwell and Fred and Frank.
In 1882, on account of the severeness of the winters in Illinois, Mr. Knell and family moved to Carthage and he started a furniture and undertaking business in the Burlingame & Chaffee building on the south side of the square. He was the first to introduce the art of embalming in Jasper county. He made the undertaking business the study of his life, just as soon as he became interested in it. There was in death something sacred to him. To properly care for those who passed away so as to take away in a measure, the horror of death from the loved ones remaining was to him a subject of constant thought. He gave his time and money in perfecting himself in the art and succeeded beyond his highest expectations. His presence in a chamber of death was a solace and comfort to the surviving friends of the dead. His life study was crowned with success and bringing happiness to him to know he was appreciated by his friends.
Mr. Knell has not only built the undertaking business up to the top-most in Jasper county, but he was one of the first ones to bring to Jasper county standard bred horses. It was in 1882 that he purchased "Ben McGregor," at a cost of $3,000 and up until last may when his health demanded that he lessen his business interests, and he decided to close out his horse business, he has been each year bringing into Jasper county's midst some of the best bred horses in the United States.
In this list were:
* "Allercyone 2:17 1/4";
*the good sire "Kankakee";
*the "Electioneer" stallion 'Anteros";
*the game race horse "Early Reaper" 2:09 3/4;
*"Dare Devil" 2:00; and
*the great "Baron Wilkes" 2:18, the sire of the great futurity winning family.
Mr. Knell has done more to build up the horse interests of Jasper county than any other one individual, and the best horses now owned in the country have come from his farm or were sired by a horse which he brought here.
It was in 1902 that Mr. Knell tried to organize a stock company for the purpose of giving Jasper county a fair. Mr. Knell not being able to interest enough to form a stock company decided that Jasper county should have a fair, so he shouldered the burden himself and proceeded to build one expending $21,000 in building the fair grounds at Knell's Driving park. He was assisted by his daughter, Miss Emma and W. C. Boon. The first fair given was in 1902 and was for two years known as the Jasper County Fair, but since it was conducted by Mr. Knell the newspapers and people in general over the country referred it as the Knell fair and in 1904 the catalogues appeared with the fair name "BIG KNELL FAIR." In 1905, the fair having grown to such large proportions that it was impossible for Mr. Knell to handle it alone, he incorporated it and some of the best citizens of Carthage and farmers of Jasper County subscribed liberally for the stock. After having incorporated, Mr. Knell continued as manager until the year 1908, when he resigned feeling that his work was too strenuous and Frank Boland was selected in his place, Miss Emma Knell still remaining as secretary.
During the years 1897-1898 Mr. Knell was president of the Charity union.
Mr. Knell was a member of several lodges including the I.O.O.F., A.O.U.W, Modern Woodmen, Fraternal Aid Association and the Elks. He was also a member of the First Methodist Episcopal church of this city.
Some time ago Mr. Knell selected his casket, named the hymns to be sung and selected his own pallbearers. In fact he stated his wishes as to what he desired his funeral to be like and his wishes will be obeyed in the matter.
Those he selected as honorary pallbearers are;
Chauncey M. Sumner of Galena, Kansas
H. B. Henderson of Columbus, Kansas
S. B. Griswold
J. A. Mitchell
R. T. Stickney
William H. Waters
Dr. F. W. Flower
Col. William H. Phelps
J. E. Lang
E. B. Jacobs
J. M. White
The active pallbearers will be;
J. P. Leggett
G. W. Hall
W. R. Logan
Mr. Knell's funeral was held at the First Methodist Church in Carthage.
Dr. J. W. Stewart of Springfield, an intimate friend of Mr. Knell and with whom the latter had long had the understanding that he was to conduct Mr. Knell's funeral services, was in charge of the obsequies.
Dr. Stewart was assisted by Rev. A. J. Van Wagner, Rev. W. C. MaCurdy, pastor of the First M.E. church, and Dr. H. E. Tralle, pastor of the First Baptist church.
(bio by: NJBrewer)
Susan L Wheelock Knell (1856 - 1946)*
Emma Rosina Knell (1878 - 1963)*
Fred E Knell (1879 - 1921)*
Lucille Knell Buckwell (1883 - 1973)*
Frank William Knell (1884 - 1943)*
Plot: Park Lawn Bl 33 Lot 118 Sp 7
Maintained by: NJBrewer
Originally Created by: James Baucom
Record added: May 29, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14441894