James Harrison Knapp was born in Indiana on the 30th of November in 1861. His mother died the following May, and his father joined the Union Army and left to fight in the Civil War in July of 1863, leaving James and his older sister Elvira in the care of neighbors.
James married Myrtie Sylvesta Fike in Indiana in 1890 and they moved up to Michigan and started their family. They would have 4 children, two of whom did not survive childhood. Their daughter, Alta Mae, born in 1893, married a farmer and lived across the field from her parents here on the road where I live now. On Valentines day in 1948, Alta, her husband and their teenage daughter went to a basketball game at the high school about 7 miles from their house. They were driving home when they crashed their car. Alta died that night, Myla Beth, aged 17, died the next day, and Benjamin, Alta’s husband, held on until the 18th. They’re all buried down the road from me, including their two sons who weren’t in the car when it crashed: Kenneth was married and lived in Grand Rapids with his wife, and Maynard had enlisted in the military in 1943.
James and Myrtie’s only son, Hazen Harold Knapp, married Zelma Wright in 1925 and lived in a farm house north of the cemetery, on land that was donated by the Knapp family to the township. Hazen and Zelma had two sons, born in 1926 and 1928, then Zelma died of the flu in Feb. 1931. Hazen, a farmer, found another wife right away, marrying Luella Bell in November. They would go on to have 6 children together, raising them in the farmhouse that is still in the family today. All up and down my road are Knapps; grandchildren, great grandchildren and 2nd and 3rd great grandchildren of James and Myrtie.
James died in June of 1946 and is buried within sight of the house where Hazen raised his family.