Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thomas Elliott Knox Obituary

Finding the obituary for an ancestor often provides invaluable information about the person and the life that they lead. Such is the case with my wife, Ellen's great grandfather Thomas Elliott Knox (pictured above during a visit to Orillia, Ontario on the far right along with Edward Latimer, Amy Squires Knox, his wife, and granddaughter, Tess Latimer in 1923) whose date of death had been a hard piece of information to find. Thanks to the Livermore Herald newspaper though, not only did I learn his date of death (January 30, 1938) but much more about the man, a prominent citizen in the Livermore and Oakland areas of California. Here is what the Herald reported about his death:

"Death claimed a former Livermorean, prominent in political affairs of Alameda county for more than fifty years, as Thomas E. Knox passed away at providence hospital in Oakland Sunday night."

"A resident of Oakland for the past several years, Knox had spent the greater part of his life here, actively engaged in business and public office. He leaves hundreds of friends to mourn his death."

"Knox was a native of Seaforth, Ontario, but he went to Berkely as a young man and there started his long career of public service, acting as town marshal and tax collector before the incorporation of the city."

"In 1882 he resigned his position and came to Livermore where he engaged in viticulture and later conducted a cement contracting business. For two lengthy periods he was a member of the city council, first being elected in 1900, serving for ten years, and returning to the board in 1916 to serve six additional years. He was Mayor of Livermore from 1903 to 1910, and from 1918 to 1922."

"Appointed postmaster in 1903, he served in that position for thirteen years, followed by a five-year period, 1916-21 during which he was a deputy county tax collector."

"Following the death of D. J. Murphy in 1921, Knox was appointed by Governor William D. Stephens to serve the unexpired portion of his term. Knox served jointly as mayor of Livermore and Alameda County Supervisor from his appointment to the latter position in October, 1921, until his resignation from the city office in January, 1922. He defeated John G. Mattos for the supervisorial post in the campaign of 1922 but lost to the late Ralph V. Richmond in the election of 1924."

Knox was an outstanding figure in the civic and social life of the community during his long residence here. Among other activities, he was one of the organizers and for many years president of the Pines Club which established the famous Livermore mountain property. He was a member of the Livermore Lions Club during his residence here, and was a member of the advisory council of the Livermore branch of the Bank of America. He had formerly been secretary of the Livermore Mutual Building and Loan Association."

"Funeral services, attended by many friends from this city, were held from the Grant D. Miller Mortuary in Oakland Tuesday afternoon. The city flag was at half mast during the day as a mark of final respect."

"Knox leaves his widow, Mrs. Amy Squires Knox, a son, Thomas E. Knox Jr., and a daughter, Mrs. E. A. Latimer of Ontario, Canada. He was the grandfather of Mrs. Myrna Davis, Miss Evelyn, Thomas, Jack, Richard and the late Arthur Knox, children of his late son, Arthur Knox, and four children of Mrs. Latimer."

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