Important Warning - Please read:
Do not add Elijah Knapp as a son or brother of Thomas Knapp in your genealogies at this time. This is only a presentation of the evidence for the idea and needs to be researched, "peer reviewed" and debated to see how the theory holds up. I once gave a theory in an email to a genealogy website about 20 years ago and people started publishing it as fact. It was everything I could do to reign it back in and I'm still fighting it to this day. Let's see where further research leads us before we commit it to our genealogies. Thank you. --Wyatt--
WHAT IS THE TRUE ANCESTRY OF
ELIJAH KNAPP (BORN ABT. 1772), HUSBAND OF CURRANCE BARNES ?
SPOILER: Update 17MAR2021 - DNA testing has provided the proof that Elijah Knapp (husband of Currance Barnes) and his decendants, are NOT descended from the Nicholas Knapp line. Following is much of the research that led to this revelation. --Wyatt R. Knapp--
For many years I spent countless hours of research trying to figure out how the Elijah Knapp who appears with our Thomas Knapp in the early census records was related to our family. Also, I had been trying to track him down after he left Fabius, New York in 1820. Recent information from a more thorough look at the census and biographical information has provided some interesting conclusions about this old problem. It's led me to the discovery that our Elijah Knapp is actually Elijah Knapp, b. abt. 1772 in Connecticut who married Currance Barnes. My research over the years provides the following sketch for this Elijah Knapp (hereafter referred to as "Elijah_1772").
Elijah_1772 lived in Connecticut where, as stated before, he married Currance Barnes. In 1801 they had a son and they named him "Thomas." According to a sketch of this son Thomas in the 1897 History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, it was just after the birth of Thomas in 1801 that the family moved to the state of New York. It isn't until 1820 that the family appears in the New York census for Erwin (formerly "Painted Post") in Steuben County, New York. The family is still there in 1830 and living next door or near Elijah_1772 are his sons Thomas, Abraham, and Shadrack.
About 1838, Elijah_1772 was killed by a rolling log. Some of the rest of his family settled just across the border from Steuben County in Lawrence, Tioga County, Pennsylvania.
It's very compelling how the details above for Elijah_1772 match those for our Elijah Knapp who lived next door to our Thomas Knapp in Norfolk, Connecticut and Fabius, Onondaga County, New York. Below is a chart that compares our Thomas and Elijah Knapp with Elijah_1772 who married Currance Barnes. Summary comments follow the chart.
A COMPARISON OF OUR THOMAS AND ELIJAH KNAPP
ELIJAH KNAPP WHO WAS BORN 1772 AND WHO MARRIED CURRANCE BARNES.
Thomas Knapp of Norfolk, Conn. & Fabius, New York (born between 1740 - 1760)
Thomas Knapp is listed in the 1800 census for Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. His neighbors are Scoville, Morehouse, Barns, Dean, Beach and various Knapps including Elijah Knapp.
Thomas Knapp's daughter Hannah marries her neighbor, Eli Morehouse. Not long after her marriage they follow Thomas to Fabius, Onondaga County, New York.
Thomas Knapp is listed in the census for Fabius, Onondaga County, New York. Living next door is Eli Morehouse and Hannah Knapp Morehouse. Elijah Knapp is also there.
The census shows Thomas Knapp is still in Fabius, New York. His son Nathan Knapp lives next door and another son, Jacob Knapp, lives two doors down. Nathan had a son born in February of 1820. He named him "Elijah."
Thomas Knapp has died and his wife Martha and two of his sons (Jacob & Nathan) are listed in a deed where they are selling his property in Fabius. Thomas' daughter Hannah and her husband Eli Morehouse are also selling property from the same section and lot.
The census shows that Thomas Knapp's son Jacob is the last of the family left in Fabius. Nathan Knapp and the others have all left for elsewhere. Jacob will leave shortly as well as they plan to move to Ohio with the Bensons.
Thomas Knapp's son Nathan has moved just across the state line from Steuben County and is living in Farmington, Tioga County, Pennsylvania and is listed in the census there. He later moved to McKean Co., Pennsylvania by 1850 and not long after that census he moved to Berrien County, Michigan.
Elijah Knapp of Norfolk, Conn. & Fabius, New York (born between 1764 - 1784)
Elijah Knapp is listed as living next door to our Thomas Knapp in the 1800 census for Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Elijah's next door neighbors are the family of Aaron Barns.
Elijah is listed in the census for Fabius, Onondaga County, New York. The families of Aaron & Gideon Barnes live in Fabius also.
Elijah and his family are no longer listed in the census for Fabius, New York. It seems they have moved. The trail appears to end (unless he is Elijah_1772 ).
Elijah_1772 : Current published info on Elijah Knapp, b.1772, d.1838 (logging accident)
Elijah_1772 is living somewhere in Connecticut and is married to Currance Barnes.
Elijah_1772's wife (Currance Barnes Knapp) gives birth to a son in Connecticut. They name him "Thomas." Not long after the birth of Thomas, Elijah_1772 moves his family to somewhere in New York.
Based on the birth place information of his children, Elijah_1772 has moved his family to somewhere in New York. A son was born to him before 1810. They named him "Jacob."
Elijah_1772 appears for the first time in the census for Erwin (Painted Post), Steuben County, New York. Living two doors down from them is Aaron Barnes.
The census for Erwin, Steuben County, New York shows that Elijah_1772 is still there. Living next door are the families of his children, Thomas, Abraham, and Shadrack. Also living nearby is a Nathan Knapp.
Elijah_1772 dies as the result of a logging accident. He was crushed when a log rolled over him.
According to a published sketch. Elijah_1772's son Thomas moved to Tioga County by this time. I haven't been able to find him in the census indexes in 1840. He is in Lawrence Twp. in Tioga County, Pennsylvania in 1850.
That our Elijah lives next door to Aaron Barnes in Norfolk, and Elijah_1772 is married to a Currance Barnes, is the first clue that we may be talking about the same person in both instances. The evidence continues all the way down the chart and it really only seems to make sense to me in light of the idea that the two Elijah Knapps are one and the same person.
Our Elijah was born between 1764 and 1784. Elijah_1772 was born about 1772.
According to the 1897 History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, Elijah_1772 leaves Connecticut just after 1801 to live in New York. Our Elijah leaves Norfolk, Connecticut just after 1801 to live in Fabius, Onondaga County, New York.
I haven't been able to find Elijah_1772 in the census for 1810 unless he's our Elijah who is in the Fabius, New York census for 1810 living near our Thomas Knapp. By the way, also living in Fabius at this time is Aaron Barnes.
In 1820 our Elijah is no longer listed in the census for Fabius, New York. In 1820 Elijah_1772 appears for the first time in Erwin (formerly "Painted Post"), Steuben County, New York. Aaron Barnes is gone from the census in Fabius in 1820. He now appears in the 1820 census for Erwin, Steuben County living two doors down from Elijah_1772.
Our Elijah lived next door or near Aaron Barnes in Norfolk, Ct. in 1800 and in Fabius, NY in 1810. Elijah_1772 lived near Aaron Barnes in Steuben County, NY in 1820 and is married to a woman named Currance Barnes.
In 1830 our Thomas Knapp's son Nathan is gone from the census in Fabius. In 1830 there is a Nathan Knapp who appears for the first time in Steuben County, New York living near Elijah_1772 . They must be the same Nathan Knapp. By the way, our Nathan Knapp named one of his sons "Elijah."
I had been thrown off for years because Elijah_1772 was always referred to as a descendant of Nicholas Knapp. This was ultimately based on information from the Nicholas Knapp genealogy by A. A. Knapp. So I didn't think he could be our Elijah. But this new research set me onto a new way of looking at the problem. Namely, what if the Nicholas Knapp Genealogy by A.A. Knapp was wrong. Based on the above research, and the DNA evidence discussed later here, I think it's quite fair to conclude that our Elijah and Elijah _1772 are one and the same person. So for the sake of clarity from here on I'll just refer to him as "Elijah."
The evidence shows that Elijah is strongly connected with our Thomas Knapp. He lived next door to Thomas back in Norfolk. He made the move to Fabius with Thomas after 1801 and is shown in the census there in 1810. Thomas Knapp's son Nathan lived near Elijah in Steuben County and named one of his sons after him. But just what would the relationship be?
The first theory that comes to mind is that Elijah is the big brother of Jacob and Nathan Knapp and therefore a son of our Thomas Knapp -- quite possibly the oldest son. Consider:
Born about 1772, Elijah is the right age to fit as a son of Thomas who was born between 1740 and 1755. His behavior as a close neighbor who follows Thomas Knapp to new places to settle fits exactly the pattern we see with fathers and sons all the time in genealogy. Look at Elijah and his sons in Steuben County, Thomas and his sons in Fabius, Jacob and his sons in Delaware, Morrow, and Williams Counties in Ohio. Jacob and Nathan are there in Fabius, New York with their father Thomas and so is Elijah.
Elijah named his first born son "Thomas" which would be after his father if this theory is right. (He named another son "Jacob" which would have been after his brother.) Elijah as a son of Thomas Knapp is the simplest explanation that makes sense. But it's not without problems.
The various Internet genealogies give Elijah's parents as Amos Knapp and Phebe Nelson. Try as I might the only source I can find for this claim is the original reference in the Nicholas Knapp Genealogy and no source for where the information came from was given there. It's clear the Nicholas Knapp Genealogy is where the internet genealogies got their information. We know (especially after this instance) there are ancestral lines where Nicholas Knapp Genealogy is mixed up and people have been making corrections to the lines for years -- especially lately. Also, I haven't found any census where Elijah ever lived near any of Amos Knapp's children. He was always with our Thomas Knapp. And why did Elijah name one of his sons "Thomas?" The name doesn't appear in the family or ancestry of Amos Knapp. Now I know that a son can be named anything but isn't it pretty strong circumstantial evidence when Elijah names his first born son "Thomas?"
I guess I could be forced to accept that Elijah was the son of Amos Knapp if someone offered me an ancient bible record, or a will, or some source like that which clearly stated it. But then given the close connection of our Thomas to Elijah I would have to say that our Thomas Knapp is somehow related to Amos Knapp. We might be able to squeeze Thomas in as a previously unknown child of Amos Knapp and Phebe Nelson which would make him a brother of Elijah. In any event, a familial connection to our Thomas Knapp would mean that the Amos Knapp line would have to have been incorrectly attached somewhere back there to the Nicholas Knapp line because our Thomas Knapp, and several descendants of Elijah Knapp have DNA test results that clearly show they are not descended from the Nicholas Knapp line.
A final thought about the DNA results. My father and I are DNA matches to several descendants of Elijah Knapp and Currance Barnes. Although descendants of Elijah and Thomas Knapp match each other, neither of the two lines match those who are descended from the immigrant Nicholas Knapp.
It's a crazy puzzle but I feel we're tantalizingly close to a breakthough. With more research, and the concerted effort of their descendants, we could finally reveal the true ancestry Elijah and Thomas Knapp of Norfolk, Connecticut and Fabius, New York.
BACK TO THE HOMEPAGE FOR ROGER KNAPP
HOME PAGE FOR JACOB KNAPP & MARTHA BENSON
You can E-mail Wyatt R. Knapp at