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Loren M. Knowles family papers

 Collection — Box: AV USB 1
Identifier: Midwest-MS-Knowles Family

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection largely consists of correspondence, personal documents and ephemera, genealogical research material, and photographs related to the history of the Knowles family and their relatives. Correspondence generally dates from the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and details day-to-day family life. Family documents include government records, estate and financial documents, and news clippings and obituaries, as well as documents of personal significance. Genealogical research material was compiled by Loren Michell Knowles, and traces the lineage of the extended Knowles family. His oldest daughter, Carol Ann Knowles, assisted him with the decades-long project in his later years and subsequent to his passing in 2004. Photographs include portraits of many family members in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries as well as candid shots of family life and photographs of family gravestones.


  • Creation: 1784-2015
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1811-1961



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Loren M. Knowles family papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Loren M. Knowles family papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of the Knowles Family

Ohio and Michigan family; descendants of Asa Adgate, a prominent New York citizen and a member of the United States House of Representatives (1815-1817).

Asa Adgate (1767-1832) was a farmer and iron manufacturer in New York who served as both a state representative in Albany and as a representative of New York’s 12th District in the Fourteenth Congress of the United States (1815-1817), in addition to holding numerous other local political posts. He was a Free Mason and a lieutenant of Infantry, Clinton County, New York Militia from 1796 to 1799. Asa married Annar Julia Allen (1773-1813) in 1798 and they had four children: Julia Frances (1800-1865); Theodore Adgate (1799-1837); Eunice Baldwin (1803-1864); and Asa (1805-1805). In 1819 Asa married Anna Waterman (1790-1837) and they had one child: Catharine Warner (1821-1891).

Julia Frances Adgate married Julius Caesar Knowles (1798-1872) in 1822. Julius began working on Asa Adgate’s farm in 1824, becoming a partner in the estate in 1827. He also ran his own cloth carding and weaving business in Chesterfield, NY - it was destroyed in a fire around 1825. In the 1830s he and Julia moved to Ohio, purchasing 40 acres of farm land in Licking County, OH near Etna. In Etna, Julius was a farmer, county surveyor, and land agent, as well as an elder in the Presbyterian Church (though he left the church during the Civil War due to conflict provoked by the war). Julia was one of the first members of the South Fork Presbyterian Church in 1837. The couple moved to Ottawa, OH in 1864 and both were buried in Pomeroy Cemetery there.

Julia and Julius had five children: Eunice Adgate (1825-1885); Urania L. (1827-?); Marietta (1830-1845); Ermina Lyman (1833-?); and Hannibal Fletcher Knowles (1823-1898). Hannibal attended Marietta College in Ohio and worked for the American Tract Society from 1849-1864. In 1851 he married Sarah E. Clark (1824-1892). In 1856 they moved from Ohio to Covington, KY but returned to Ohio, purchasing land in Etna, in 1864. In Etna he worked as a lawyer, surveyor, farmer, and land agent as well as sold insurance and served as a trustee of the Ottawa Cemetery Association. After his wife Sarah passed away, Hannibal married Elizabeth Carnahan in 1898 - he died two months later.

Hannibal and Sarah had five children: Marietta “Etta” Lockridge (1853-1926); Alice Urania (1857-1920); Sarah Clark (1864-?); Julia Adgate, twin of Sarah (1864-1948); and Julius James (1861-1902). Julius married Ella Permelia Jackson (1860-1945) in 1888. They moved between Missouri, Toledo, OH (where they opened the People’s Hand Laundry) and Chicago, where Julius worked as a subscription salesman for the Chicago Tribune until his death.

Julius and Ella had two children: Marvin Fletcher (1889-1889) and Murray Jackson (1889-1972). Murray worked a variety of office jobs in Toledo and Cleveland, also as a traveling salesman when he met Beatrice Maud Michell (1891-1978). They married in 1915. They moved to Detroit in 1927 and founded the Blue Ridge Coal Company, a successful mine-to-customer wholesale business, the following year. They were forced to sell the business in 1943 due to lifelong complications he suffered from treatment for a life-threatening illness, and then sold surplus war machinery and electrodes until 1968.

Murray’s wife Beatrice was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the ninth and youngest child of David Thomas Michell (1851-1926) and Caroline “Kate” Hoyal (1853-1929), both natives of England. In 1910 Beatrice married Frederick W. Cook and in 1912 they divorced. Following her marriage to Murray Jackson Knowles, the couple moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1927 and by the 1930s she became very politically active. Beatrice founded an organization known as “American Mothers," a conservative group devoted to keeping the United States out of World War II, as well as to exposing Communism and corrupt politicians. Following the United States’ entrance into WWII, the group worked to improve conditions for the military, to defend the United States government against its perceived threats, and to achieve a quick end to the war. American Mothers was one of many similar mothers’ groups that were active during this period. Beatrice was its president and national chair, and was very prominent within the wider movement. She addressed Congress during the war on behalf of the group’s interests and fought stridently for the accurate representation of the movement, which she felt faced libelous claims and spurious accusations of subversive activity.

Murray and Beatrice had two children: Murray Jackson Jr. (1921-1983) and Loren Michell (1922-2004). Loren received Bachelor's degrees in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics from the University of Detroit and pursued graduate study at the University of Wisconsin before teaching at Wayne State University and Lawrence Institute of Technology, where he was Chair of the Chemistry Department from 1957-1967. He worked as a research chemist, metallurgist, and engineer and served in the Medical Corps during World War II following his registration as a conscientious objector. Loren was also an early motion picture sports photographer, one of the first 12 hired by NFL Films when it was formed in 1956. He also filmed the Kentucky Derby and National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, university games, and other sports events.

Loren married Betty Lorraine Kauffman (1923-2015) in 1946 and they had three children: Carol Ann (1947-); Loren “Mike” Michell (1949-1995); and Christina “Tina” Lynn (1954-). Loren and Betty divorced in 1976 and Loren then married Betty Jean (Weber) Goen.

Betty (Kauffman) was descended from the Balzhäuser and Kauffman families and many documents in the collection relate to those families. Her parents were Benjamin “Mike” Harrison Kauffman (1890-1975) and Anna Charlotte Balzhiser (1891-1984) and they had one other child, Marian “Dorothy” Bruniare (1924-1928). Anna (commonly known as Charlotte) was the eighth child of Andreas “Andrew” Balzhäuser (1844-1915) and Henriet Bruniare (1851-1932), who were married in 1872. (Balzhäuser had several alternate spellings, with Balzhiser being the most common.) The other children were: Katherine “Kate” (1873-1971); Harriet “Hattie” (1875-1957); Elizabeth (1877-1963); Mary Ellen “Ella” (1880-1960); Fannette “Fanny” or “Fannie” (1882-1961); Jessie May (1885-1974); and Andrew Jacob Jr. (1888-1960). Andreas was a German native who immigrated to the U.S. as a minor and then fought in the Civil War, serving as a member of the 89th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry and taking part in both the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga and General Sherman’s 1864 March to the Sea.

Betty was an accomplished pianist and received her Bachelor’s degree in Music from Miami University in 1946. Following her divorce from Loren Michell Knowles, Betty married Ralph F. Kaechle (1921-1997) in 1980. He was the son of Frank. C. Kaechle (1898-?) and Emma Pohl (1896?-?) and he fought in World War II as a corporal in the South Pacific and then worked briefly for Chrysler as a junior accountant before taking over his father’s dairy delivery service, which he ran until he retired in 1976.

It was Loren Michell Knowles’s interest in genealogy that led to the research and compilation of this collection, and through it Loren became a member of the Mayflower Society, having proved lineage ties with passenger William Brewster in 1960. His daughter Carol Ann Knowles became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Regarding spelling of certain family names, The Library of Congress has established authorized name spellings in order to pull together personal and family names from various collections nationwide. In a couple of cases, they differ from the names researched and established by Loren M. Knowles. Specifically, Library of Congress spells "Michell family" as "Michel family," and "Weigand family" as "Weygand family." The Library of Congress variations are displayed only in the Names list in the finding aid, and everywhere else they are displayed as the preferred "Michell" and "Weigand" spellings, respectively. Further information about variant family name spellings is available in the documents linked to this finding aid.


6.3 Linear Feet (9 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Correspondence and transcriptions thereof, account and estate documents, government records (such as birth, marriage, and death certificates, documents, and letters), news clippings, genealogical research material, photographs, and compilation of information concerning the Knowles family and the related Adgate, Balzhäuser, Brewster, Christian, Cokenhour, Helvig, Hoyal, Hyde, Jackson, Kauffman, Klauder, Lamson, Michell, Oliger, Weigand, and other extended families, located primarily in New York, Ohio, and Michigan.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Correspondence, 1796-2000
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Family Documents, 1791-2015
Boxes 3-4
Series 3: Research Files, 1796-1994
Box 5
Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1784-1943
Box 5
Series 5: Photographs, 1841-2015
Boxes 6-9
Series 6: Oversize, 1797-1967
Box 10

Collection Stack Location

1 38 5, 1 30 3


Gift of Carol Ann Knowles and John Brian Everlove, 2015.

Processed by

Mariana Brandman, 2016.

Inventory of the Loren M. Knowles family papers, 1784-2015, bulk 1811-1961
Mariana Brandman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States