John Le Grand Knox
John Le Grand Knox

Information on this page is fromHistory of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

JOHN LE GRAND KNOX was born at Norwalk, Conn., Nov. 15, 1803. His grandfather, Rev. Hugh Knox, deceased, was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, where he was liberally educated and became a minister of the Scottish Kirk. He had a strong, well-trained mind, accomplished literary powers, rare ability in the pulpit, and was the author of several works, of which "Sermons," in two volumes, Glasgow, 1776, and "Essays," in two volumes, of later date, are the most valuable. For many years prior to 1800 he was settled as a minister of the gospel at Bass End, Santa Cruz, W. I., and there married a Danish lady, the daughter of the governor of the Danish West Indies. At this time he became acquainted with Alexander Hamilton, then a boy in a counting house at Bass End, and discovering his remarkably bright intellect, both taught and aided him, and finally sent him to a friend in New Jersey for the promotion of his education and future welfare. This gentleman procured him a situation in a lawyer's office, and secured his admission into Columbia (then King's) College, which wee the preliminary steps in the history of one of the greatest men of the age.

Dr. Knox died in the island of his adoption, about the year 1800. By reason of the insurrection of the negroes in Santa Cruz, in 1802, the family was obliged to leave the country. In their hasty flight they left behind their estate, property, and records, and sailed for Scotland. Hugh Knox, son of Dr. Knox, was born at Santa Cruz, in 1780; he was sent to Norwalk, Conn., at the age of eight years, and places under the tutorship of his father's friend, Rev. Matthias Burnett, D. D. Here he grew up, and was graduated from Yale College in the same class with the late Samuel B. Huntington, of Troy, Roger M. Sherman, of Connecticut, and others. He married Henrietta, daughter of Samuel Cannon, of Norwalk, Conn., and sister of Le Grand Cannon, of Troy, N. Y. He was a lawyer by profession, yet on account of feeble health never practiced much. His wife died in Norwalk, in 1812, but he subsequently married Martha Keeler, daughter of Stephen Keeler, of Norwalk, and moved to Troy about 1840. He died in Troy, in 1858, aged seventy-eight.

John Le Grand Knox was the only son of Hugh and Henrietta (Cannon) Knox. In early life he received a good education and such practical training as develops a large and honorable type of manhood. In 1816 he was sent to Troy to the school of Dr. Stoddard, and march 9, 1820, began business life as clerk in the dry gods house of Southwick, Cannon & Warren, where he became conversant with every detail of that business. After seven years spent in this house he embarked in trade for himself, and for many years was familiarly known to the citizens of Troy as a prominent dry goods merchant, retaining (by the strict integrity and good judgment manifested in all his business operations) the full confidence of the business public. He had associated with him at different times Francis Morgan, John H. Whitlock, and Gould Rockwell.

After his retirement from mercantile trade he assumed a position of trust in the extensive manufacturing and commercial interest of Troy Iron and Nail Factor of H. Burden & Sons, which position he retained from 1857 to 1876, when he retired from the active duties of life.

Mr. Knox early became impressed with the principles of the old Federalists, a party with which his father was connected in its early history; he was subsequently a member of the Whig party, and during the latter years of his life he cast his vote with the Republicans, although taking an independent position in politics.

He was never active in politics or solicitous of political preferment, but always interested in all questions pertaining t local or national legislation. Upon the whole, there have been few men in the community who, for so long a term of years, have gone in and out on terms of confidence and intimacy among the most influential, cultivated, and worthy people of the city as Mr. Knox, who was a marked gentleman in deportment and at heart, amiable and kindly in every feeling towards others, and deeply interested in every true interest of his fellow citizens.

Mr. Knox was twice married: first, to Mary M., daughter of the late Stephen Warren, of Troy, N. Y. She died without issue. His second wife, Elizabeth Carter, daughter of Charles and Jane (Carter) Sigourney , of Hartford, Conn., was born Aug. 6, 1813. She is a lineal descendant of Andrew Sigourney, who lived in Rochelle, in France, when the edict of Nantes was revoked, Oct. 22, 1685, and who came to Boston with other Huguenot emigrants in the winter of 1686, where he died April 16, 1727, aged eighty-nine.

The children of Mrs. and Mrs. Knox have been the following: Mary E., wife of C. E. Dudley Tibbits, of Troy (deceased); Chas. Sigourney, assistant master in St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H.; John Hugh, merchant in Troy, N. Y.,; Stephen Warren (deceased); James Carter, assistant master in St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H.; and Henry Cannon (deceased).

John Le Grand Knox died at Troy, N. Y., August 21, 1879, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

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