The Old Homestead

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God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

- Romans 5:8


    Friedrich Knoepp was born in Escholderbach in Hesse-Darmstadt on Nov. 30, 1800. (1)
    Married a Catherine Oeffnehert or Oeffnechirt, who was born May 10, 1810 in Ollershausen in Hesse-Darmstadt. (2)
    Children: (3)
    Henry, born about 1829.
    Elizabeth, born in Aug. 9, 1833. Married Abraham Moyer.
    The German hometowns of Friedrich and Catherine – probably neighboring villages – are listed in their death records at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Zelienople, Pa.  The spellings of the town names appear to be incorrect because the names don’t appear in a detailed road atlas of Germany.     
    The family immigrated to the United States in August 1833. Family tradition says Elizabeth Moyer was born at sea and this is substantiated by the 1910 Census of Beaver County, Pa., which indicates that she was born “at sea.”
    Frederick Knepp – as his name usually appears in English-language records – appears to have immigrated with a close relative – probably a brother – named Conrad.  The men combined their assets to purchase 130 acres in North Sewickley Township on Sept. 2, 1837.  They then divided the property. (4)
    Frederick appears in records for other townships but that probably reflects the creation of new townships rather than migration because his name doesn’t appear in many land records in Beaver County.  Frederick Knapp Sr. is listed as paying taxes in Marion Township, Beaver County, in 1846 to 1848. (5) 
    The 1850 Census lists Frederick Knepp Sr. as a farmer in Franklin Township, Beaver County, who owned property valued at $1,000.  His household contained his wife Catharine and children, Henry, 21, and Elizabeth, 17.
    The 1860 Census of Franklin Township lists Fred Knoepp Sr. as a farmer who owned real estate valued at $2,010 and personal property valued at $400.  Catharine was the only other person listed in his household.  However, it appears that Frederick’s daughter Elizabetha and her husband, Abraham Moyer, lived on the Knoepp’s property.  The Moyers appear next to the Knoepps but are not listed as owning any real estate.
    The 1870 Census of Franklin Township lists Fredk Knepp Sr. as a farmer who owned real estate valued at $4,000 and personal property valued at $800.  However, there appear to be a number of discrepancies in this listing.  For example, it lists Frederick’s wife as Sophia, his after as 67 – instead of 70 – and his birthplace as Bavaria.  Once again, Abraham Moyer appears to have been living on the Knoepps’ property.  However, his wife is listed as Kate.  Judging from these discrepancies, it seems likely that the census taker was either very inattentive or the Knoepps spoke with frustratingly think accents – or both.
    Frederick died May 4 or 9, 1874. (6)  Catherine died July 23, 1888.  They are buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Jackson Township, Butler County. (7)
    (1) From death record in “St. Paul’s German Lutheran and Reformed Church, Zelienople, Butler County, Pennsylvania,” transcribed by Gertrude Mohlin Ziegler, Page 180.  The record actually says “Grand Duchy of Hesse,” which is another name for Hesse-Darmstadt.  However, I favor this source only because it was kept by German-speakers.  It should be noted that U.S. Census records offer different information.  The 1850 Census of Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa., says that Frederick and his wife were born in Germany.  The township’s 1860 census indicates that they were born in Hesse-Cassel, which was north of Hesse-Darmstadt.  And the township’s 1870 census says they were born in Bavaria.  (2) St. Paul’s death records, page 180.  (3) Elizabeth is listed in St. Paul’s baptismal records, page 35. Both Elizabeth Moyer and Henry Knepp received land at Frederick’s death, according to Beaver County Will Book 82, page 489.  A Frederick Jr. is listed as living beside our Frederick in the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Franklin Township, Beaver County, Pa.   However, this is almost certainly the son of Conrad who was born Aug. 18, 1826, according to St. Paul’s confirmation records, page 12.  At the time, it was common for people of the same name in the same community to be nicknamed “Jr.” and “Sr.” even though they were not father and son.  Also, it must be remember that Conrad and Frederick Sr. combined their assets to buy a property and later divided it.  Frederick Jr. obviously inherited Conrad’s portion upon his death in 1848.  This seems to be confirmed by the fact that a 54-year-old woman named Catharine – apparently Conrad’s widow – was living in his household a the time of the 1850 Census.  (4) Beaver County Deed Book R, page 50.  Conrad was born in November 1795 and was the husband of Catharine Zehner, according to his death record at St. Paul’s, Page 161.  (5) “Tax Records 1841-1850, Beaver County, Pennsylvania,” by Helen G. Clear and Mae H. Winne, page 2.  (6) May 4 comes from the Beaver County Register’s Docket 3, page 26.  However, the St. Paul’s death record lists May 9. (7) “Butler County Cemetery Inventory Vol. (not provided),” page 10.