KNOWLES, Esq. (1737 - 1814)
Pioneer in Greene Co., New York
Knowles Progenitor -
Connecticut #07 (New Haven Co.)
based on articles from
History of Greene County, New York
and Knowles research by Robert Foran, Robert B. Noles, et al.
Eleazer Knowles (1737 - 1814)
s/o Samuel Knowles (1691 - 1772)
s/o Eleazer Knowles (c 1646 - 1731)
s/o Thomas Knowles (c 1620 - 1648)
Knowles Progenitor -
Thomas Knowles (b c 1620)
Connecticut #03 (Litchfield)
Biographical sketch based on
excerpts available from:
History of Greene County, New York, J. B. Beers & Co., 1884, 482 pages
Benjamin Spees, Edward Lake and Eleazer KNOWLES were among the first settlers
in the vicinity of Greenville Village (in Greene Co., New York). In the
summer of 1781, these three men left their homes in Woodbury, New Haven County,
Connecticut on horseback, crossed the river at Hudson, and made their perilous
way through the forest to where the village of Greenville now stands (in 1884).
Locating their lands, they returned to their homes in Woodbury. The
following winter, they bade adieu to their loved ones, and came with their
families and the few others who were induced to join them, and began
preparations for homes in Greenville region, which at time was the far West.
These men were the sons of hardy New Englanders, and they had been taught the
economy and industry which had enabled their fathers to thrive among the rocks
and hills of their native country. In the exercise of that independent,
self-reliant spirit, inherited from their sires, they had left their paternal
homes to make a settlement in the untamed wilderness.
Eleazer KNOWLES built his cabin on the east brow of Budd's Hill, where he
purchased 600 acres of land. A portion of this land still remains in the
possession of the Knowles family (in 1884). Benjamin Spees purchased
an equal quantity to the north of the village, a portion of that now (in 1884)
owned by Samuel Spees, and moved into a log cabin a short distance to the west
of the old residence of Robert F. Spees.
Next to Father Hotchkin, there was no man in this new settlement whose influence
was greater and more beneficent than Eleazer KNOWLES, Esq. Of
Puritan stock, his ancestors emigrated from the south of England in 1640, and
settled in Southbury (New Haven County), Connecticut, where Eleazer was born in
1737. From there he removed to Greenville with his four sons, Ell,
Liberty, John and Eleazer, Jr. (Eazer).
Esquire Knowles was a man of great force of character,
remarkably venerable in his personal appearance, "associated in my mine," writes
a correspondent who well remembers him, "with prophets and apostles, and the
veneration with which I looked on him was deepened by the text of his funeral
sermon: 'Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is
Another quote from 1884: "The late Rev. Charles J.
Knowles (1804 - 1850) of Long Island, one of the most cultivated gentlemen, able
scholars, and estimable characters that Greenville has ever given to the world,
was a grandson of the old chieftan. And it is not too much to say
that his descendants, some of whom are with us today, while others are scattered
abroad through the land, are not unworthy of their noble ancestor."