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Emma Rosina Knell
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Birth: Oct. 21, 1878
Jasper County
Missouri, USA
Death: Sep. 15, 1963
Jasper County
Missouri, USA

Emma R. Knell was inducted in the Carthage, Missouri Hall of Heroes, class of 2012

Her grandparents, Fred Knell and Bernolli came from Europe. Her father, Edward Knell, started the family business of Knell Undertaking in Carthage, MO.

2 Brothers, 1 sister
Fred Knell
Lucille 'Lucy' Knell Buckwell
Frank William Knell

Emma was very active in Jasper county and also Missouri politics and ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives in 1926. She opposed another Carthaginian, Martha Coffin Taaffe, and succeeded in defeating her in that election.

JANUARY 20, 1890

Miss Emma Knell an Embalmer
Miss Emma Knell, daughter of E. Knell, the undertaker of this city, yesterday passed her final examinations at the national school of embalming at St. Louis and was granted a diploma. In a letter to her parents here Dr. George Sherive, demonstrator at the school, compliments her highly as an apt scholar and competent embalmer.
Miss Knell will remain in St. Louis all winter studying music and working with various embalmers and will in the spring secure her certificate from the state board of embalming, after which she will return to Carthage to assist her father in his business.
She is one of less than a half dozen lady embalmers in the state and the only one unmarried.

Newsworthy item in the Carthage Weekly Press
Thursday, week of September 28, 1899

Miss Emma Knell has received a handsome new embalming grip. the outside is made of the finest alligator hide and it is handsomely lined with tan colored calf skin. the center holds firmly in place four large bottles of embalming fluid, while on one side is a receptacle for the instrument case and on the other is an improved pump and place for sundry necessary articles. On a pretty plate near the handle is her name. It is a convenient and up-to-date grip sack and will prove a great convenience tot he young lady undertaker.




Only Woman in World Doing Such Work

Well Known Carthage Young Lady is Asked to Name Her Own Salary and Terms

The only woman in the world who is secretary of a fair association, Miss Emma R. Knell of this city, will leave Carthage March 1st for Muskogee, OK., to assume the active management of a $50,000 fair association which has just been organized in that city and which will be made the greatest fair meet in the west. In being elected to this high position, Miss Knell was allowed by the fair organizers to name her own salary and terms.
Several weeks ago Miss Knell was surprised to receive a letter from the Muskogee fair association offering her the active management of the first fair meet in that city. She was asked to name her own salary and terms, for the directors were familiar with her wonderful ability in conducting the great Knell fair of this city, of which she has been secretary since its organization.
Miss Knell did not seriously consider the proposition and in her letter of reply to the directors she named a salary so high that she expected it to be refused. This morning, however, another letter was received from the Muskogee people accepting her terms and asking her to arrive in Muskogee March 1st to take active charge of the enterprise.

Knell Fair Meeting Tomorrow
A meeting of the Knell Fair association will be called for tomorrow afternoon at three o'clock, when Miss Knell will tender her resignation as secretary and a new secretary will be chosen for the local association. It is said that the board of directors of the Knell fair are divided in their opinions regarding a fair for Carthage this year. Some are in favor of having a meet and others want to quit entirely. Miss Knell's resignation may mean, therefore, that Carthage will have no 1910 fair.
The Muskogee Fair Association was recently incorporated for $50,000, the money being subscribed by the citizens of that city in a few hours. The citizens of Muskogee are guaranteed five purses, four of them being for $1,000 each and the fifth $2,500.
The Muskogee fair will be on the same circuit as the Lexington, KY., and the Dallas, TX. fairs and the date of the first meet will be between the fair meets of those two cities - probably in the third week of October.
Work has already begun on building a fair grounds in Muskogee and many large permanent buildings are in course of erection. A full-mile track has been started, with a half-mile track in the center. No pains or expense will be spared in making the Muskogee fair the greatest in the west and as Muskogee citizens are a crowd of boosters, they will without doubt realize their ambition.
Practically the same fast horses which will be seen at the great Lexington, KY. annual fall meet will race in Muskogee. Such a race program will draw crowds from all over this section of the country and no doubt many Carthage people will make an effort to attend this event.
In selecting a secretary, the Muskogee fair organizers could not have found a more capable person that Miss Knell. She is thoroughly familiar with the details connected with planning for and hold a fair and is untiring in her efforts to make a success of anything she undertakes. This has been proved by her work with the Knell fair, which has given her national fame.
During the years of the Knell fair's annual meets at Carthage, Miss Knell has assumed all the burden of responsibility and everyone connected with the fair has south out "Miss Emma" when advice was needed.
In accepting the management of the Muskogee fair Miss Knell reserved the privilege of returning home for three weeks in April, when she will attend to some special business of the Knell Undertaking Company's office.
From March 1 to October 1 Miss Knell will be busy with the Muskogee fair business, but at least once a week during those months she will be able to come to Carthage for a visit, probably spending each Sunday here.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1963


CARTHAGE, MO.- Miss Emma Knell, 84-year old Carthage funeral director and the first Republican woman ever to serve in the Missouri legislature, died at 3:20 o'clock Thursday afternoon in McCune-Brooks hospital.
She had been ill several months and in the hospital several times. She had been a patient in the Carthage hospital since September 11, being returned here from St. John's hospital in Joplin where she was admitted August 30.

Born October 21, 1878, in Moline, Illinois, Miss Knell came to Carthage when she was 4 years old with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Knell. Holding Missouri license No. 7, Mr. Knell founded Knell mortuary and introduced embalming in Jasper County.
Miss Knell was elected to the House of Representatives in 1926 from Jasper county's Eastern district. She served three terms and was sponsor of the bill which established the highway patrol. Also she sponsored a bill establishing a Jasper County Tuberculosis hospital, which operated for many years in the building now occupied by Elmhurst Rest Home west of Webb City.
Previous to that, Miss Knell served as secretary and general manager of the Southwest Missouri District Fair, which her father founded in 1902. She also organized the Oklahoma State Fair at Muskogee. She served three terms on the Carthage board of education.

Miss Knell was graduated from Carthage High School in 1897, and the following year she attended the National College of Embalming and received her Missouri embalmers' license May 13, 1898. At the time of her death, she held the oldest embalmers' license in the state, No 391.

She became of a member of the mortuary firm here in 1896, and upon her father's death December 24, 1910, she and her brothers, Fred and Frank W. Knell, Sr., carried on the business. Fred Knell died in 1921, and another sister, Mrs. Lucy Knell Buckwell, entered the firm. Frank W. Knell, Sr., father of Robert and Frank W. Knell, Jr., who now operate the firm, died in 1943.
Knell Mortuary is the oldest funeral service firm in Southwest Missouri and Carthage's second oldest business.

Miss Knell was honored here October 15, 1956, by the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association with a reception in recognition of her 65 years service.
She was a charter member of the Carthage park board, established in 1924. She was a member of the First Methodist Church, PEO Sisterhood, Daughters of the American Revolution, Eastern Star, Rebekah lodge, Pythian Sisters, Sunshine society, Madison Township Community Club and Pipe Organ society.
Her home was at 302 West Chestnut Street

Surviving are his sister, Mrs. Buckwell, five nieces and nephews. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Knell Mortuary. Her death certificate can be viewed at Missouri Digital Archives/death certificates online website.

* * * * * * *

Announcement of the death of Ed Knell's father in Switzerland in Carthage Evening Press May 4, 1907

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.
Family links: 
  Edward Knell (1854 - 1910)
  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)*
*Calculated relationship
Park Cemetery
Jasper County
Missouri, USA
Plot: Bl 33 Lot 118 Sp 6
Created by: NJBrewer
Record added: Jan 13, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64147341
Emma Rosina Knell
Added by: NJBrewer
Emma Rosina Knell
Added by: NJBrewer
Emma Rosina Knell
Added by: NJBrewer
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- NJBrewer
 Added: Sep. 6, 2014

 Added: Sep. 6, 2014
Because I could not stop for Death He kindly stopped for me - The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. - Emily Dickinson
- NJBrewer
 Added: Jan. 13, 2011

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