Friday, January 29, 2016

The Basic Story of the Knoch Family

In the spirit of celebrating the retooling and renewed focus of this blog, how about a bird's eye view of what is known of the Knoch family history so far? This will be a very broad portrait of the family, with many blanks intentionally left unfilled (and in most cases, unexplored) until subsequent posts.

Joseph Knoch (b. 1795, Germany), his wife Eva Justine (b. 1801, Germany) and their children Christian Gottlieb, Joseph, John Frederick Ernst, and Christiane, arrived at the Port of New York from Hamburg aboard the bark Nord America on 16 August 1850. Their last legal residence, as it appears on the ship's passenger manifest, appears to be Treba. Unfortunately, Treba is not a municipality of any sort but is the name of a river in the state of Saxony. This, then, presents a major brick wall. I'll have much more on my thoughts regarding Treba in a later post.

The bark Nord America
On 26 August 1850, less than two weeks after arriving in America, Joseph purchases 42.25 acres of land in Detroit, Michigan, from Alexander Dix. The land was located south of present day Michigan Avenue and west of present day Lonyo street. On the 1860 land ownership map for Wayne County, Joseph's land - bisected by the Michigan Central Railroad  - with the dwelling located on what is now Dix Avenue. I see no other Knoch landowners in the immediate vicinity, though it's obvious from the haste in which Joseph acquires the land that Detroit was his intended destination when leaving Germany.

An 1856 deed concerning a portion of this property refers to Eva Justine as the widow of Joseph Knoch, leading me to believe that he died sometime between 1850 and 1856. A death record for Joseph has yet to be found. Eventually, Joseph's original purchase of land would be divided among his children before ultimately being consolidated again under Christian's ownership in 1876.

Detail of the 1860 Wayne County land ownership map
showing the Joseph Knoch property
Meanwhile, in 1859, Joseph's youngest son John Frederick Ernst (John F.E.) married Emilie Rosalia Zeuner - also of German birth. The couple made their home in Springwells and raised twelve children - including my great-grandfather Frederich.

Frederich Knoch, born in 1869, married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ochs around 1898. The couple would live in various locations in and around Detroit, raising a family of five children. One, Arthur, I would eventually know as my grandfather.

So there you have it. Short and sweet. Much, much more detail will be contained in later posts but, for now, I wanted to get the basics out there as a point of reference. Cheers!

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