Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Knox Children


Thomas Elliott Knox and his wife Amy Squires had three children - Mattie Diona Knox, born in 1884; Arthur Squires Knox, born in 1886; and, Thomas Elliott Knox, Jr., born in 1893. As the children of one of Livermore, California's more prominent citizens, their activities were often reported on by the local media, somewhat reminiscent of today's tabloids, minus the inferred scandal.

When she was just 13 years of age, the Livermore Herald newspaper reported that "Miss Mattie Knox is visiting friends in Berkely." Hardly earth shattering but apparently news worthy in 1897. In 1909, the same newspaper reported that young T. E. Knox, Jr, or Elliott as he was known, had killed a rattlesnake on the front lawn of his parents' home, almost in the same spot in which he had killed another smaller snake the week before. Arthur, too, made the news as reports of his heroic efforts at extinguishing a fire at St. Michael's Church in Livermore had resulted in his falling from the roof of a neighbouring home injuring his shoulder.

The Knox family in fact remained in the news long after Thomas Elliott Knox Sr.'s political career had come to an end. The benefit for me from a genealogical perspective is that these newspaper accounts continued into the 1950's and reported on the deaths of the family members.

Arthur passed away on February 29, 1928 at the rather young age of 42. The Herald reported that his death "ended a long period of illness which had been known to be serious for a number of years. Amy Knox, nee Squires, (pictured above left in a newspaper photograph) passed away in November 1943 and her death was reported as being "sudden and unexpected, as she had made good recovery from a serious illness of a year ago."

Sadly, T. E. Knox, Jr., who had picked up the nickname of 'Dude' somewhere during his lifetime was reported through a bold headline in November 1958 to have died of a "self inflicted rifle shot at his home at 300 Elwood Avenue, Oakland." Elliott, as the family had called him, was "a sufferer from an injury received in World War 1" and "had long been in ill health."

Although these newspaper accounts are correctly considered secondary sources of information, they nonetheless are invaluable in providing biographical sketches containing information that fills in and rounds out the story of the family.

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