Monroe County Biographical Sketches K

Monroe County, New York History

Rochester, New York in 1827

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Biographical Sketches of Monroe County Residents

The following biographical sketches were originally published in the History of Rochester and Monroe County New York From the Earliest Historic Times to the Beginning of 1907 by William F. PECK, The Pioneer Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1908.

See the indexes for a complete listing of all of the biographical sketches included in this two volume work.





Abram J. KATZ

page 504

Abram J. KATZ has figured prominently in mercantile and financial circles in Rochester for more than a quarter of a century. A native of this city, he was born in 1853 and is the son of Joseph KATZ, who in early life left Germany, his native land, and sought larger business opportunities in the new world. Settling in Rochester, he became connected with the oil business and spent his remaining days in this city, passing away in 1901.

Abram J. KATZ obtained his education in Rochester and entered commercial life in 1872 in connection with the clothiers' supply business, continuing in that line with constantly growing success until 1890, when the firm of STEIN, BLOCH & COMPANY was incorporated, with Mr. KATZ as treasurer. His ability in financing the concern was a salient feature in its success and he remained as treasurer of the corporation until the latter part of 1899. His advancement in the business world has been continuous and rapid and he has well earned for himself a place as a representative business man of Rochester. At every point in his career he seems to have accomplished the possibilities at that point and so successful has he been in management of his business affairs that his judgment in commercial and financial circles is considered thoroughly sound and reliable. In 1893 he assisted in organizing the ALLIANCE BANK, of which he has since been a director. He was also one of the organizers of the FIDELITY TRUST COMPANY and from the beginning has served as one of its trustees. Both of these institutions have been successful from the start and are now important factors in Rochester's financial circles.

In the fraternal life of the city Mr. KATZ is also active holding membership in Valley lodge, No. 109, A. F. & A.M., of which he is a past master. He is likewise a member of Hamilton chapter, R.A.M. and Doric council, R. & S. M. As one of the organizers of the Eureka Club he has taken an active part in its interests and for a number of years has been its popular president. Realizing fully individual obligation, Mr. KATZ has given considerable time and attention to charitable work and his efforts in that direction have been a tangible asset of several organizations. He is now president of the Jewish Orphan Asylum Association, organized for the purpose of caring for Jewish orphans of Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. He is likewise president of the United Jewish Charities, to the work of which he devotes considerable time, and in many ways he is most kindly remembered for his timely and generous assistance.

Mr. KATZ has built for himself a beautiful residence at No. 345 East avenue, where his large circle of friends always find a cordial welcome and generous hospitality. Mr. KATZ is a representative American of the type that contributes liberally of both time and money to the betterment of local interests. He has not selfishly concentrated his energies upon the building up of his own fortune to the exclusion of humanitarian interests, but on the contrary, with a heart easily touched by any tale of sorrow or distress, he has labored for the amelioration of hard conditions of life for others, and in social and charitable circles of the city is a well known figure.


pages 530-531

Mark Dean KNOWLTON, deceased, whose inventive genius and executive ability in business largely revolutionized the trade of paper box machinery, was born October 5, 1840, at Milford, New Hampshire, his parents being Samuel DEAN and Nancy J. (SHATTUCK) KNOWLTON. His father was a shoemaker and retail dealer in shoes. The son acquired his early education in the common schools of Milford and afterward attended the Milford Academy to the age of 16 years, when he put aside his text-books and went to Nashua, New Hampshire, to learn the trade of blacksmithing and carriage manufacturing.

Subsequently he had an opportunity to purchase a paper box manufactory, and while he was totally unacquainted with the business he availed himself of the chance offered and his ready adaptability, which was always one of his strong characteristics, enabled him soon to thoroughly acquaint himself with the business in principle and detail. This step was the initial one in the path of progress that eventually made him one of the best known paper manufacturers of the east. For a time he was located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in 1866 he disposed of his business interests in Nashua and removed westward to Chicago, where he continued in the paper box manufacturing business until the great Chicago fire, in which he lost practically all that he had. At a time when despair with many overshadowed courage and determination Mr. KNOWLTON with resolute spirit faced the situation and with notable energy set to work not only to retrieve his lost possessions but also to assist others. At that time he and his family were living at South Evanston, where, by the way, he held public office in his career - that of justice of the peace. While Mr. KNOWLTON'S business was consumed in the flames. his home still remained to him, and he did much toward assisting others who had lost their homes as well as their business interests. Following the fire he located on the west side, where he resumed operations in paper box manufacturing, but again he was burned out and once more practically lost all. Afterward he joined the W.C. RITCHIE COMPANY. He soon built up a good trade and success attended his efforts. While associated with that firm he gave much of his time toward completing the invention of his machine for the paper box manufacture, on which he had been working. At length he completed the machine and placed upon the market an invention which later revolutionized the entire trade.

In March, 1892, Mr. KNOWLTON disposed of his business interests in Chicago and came to Rochester, where, under the firm name of KNOWLTON & BEADE, he started the manufacture of machinery for making paper boxes. This connection continued until May, 1904, when Mr. KNOWLTON bought out his partner's interest and continued under the style of M.D. KNOWLTON COMPANY. Being a man of great inventive genius, he patented a number of appliances and machinery all used in paper box making, and was widely known as an inventor of great ability, largely giving his time to the business, which was later organized as a stock company. From the beginning it proved a profitable undertaking, reaching large and important proportions. His daughter, Miss Annie DEAN KNOWLTON, possesses remarkable business powers and executive ability and with her brother, Fred Kirk KNOWLTON, is now the vice president of the company. Mr. KNOWLTON was also the principle owner of the stock of the AUBURN BALL BEARING COMPANY. This still constitutes a part of the estate, and the business is practically managed by Miss KNOWLTON with her brother's assistance.

On the 5th of October, 1864, Mark D. KNOWLTON was married to Miss Abbie E. CURRIER, a daughter of Alfred and Abbie (WORCHESTER) CURRIER, of Massachusetts, her father being a railroad man. Unto Mr. and Mrs. KNOWLTON were born four daughters and a son: Annie Dean, Grace E., Hattie Gertrude, Fred Kirk and Ola. The son pursued his education at Purdue University and Columbia College, and married Elizabeth Kent STONE.

The officers of the company are now M.D. KNOWLTON, president; Fred Kirk KNOWLTON, vice president; Annie Dean KNOWLTON, secretary. The business has developed eightfold since it was organized in Rochester and employment is now furnished to over one hundred operatives in the factory. It has been marked by no decline since the death of the father, owing to the marked executive ability and keen business discernment of his daughter, who had been closely associated with him in its conduct.

Mr. KNOWLTON was a man of fine personal appearance, as well as of marked strength of character and intellectual ability. He was a republican but was never active in politics. He served as one of the trustees in the Central Presbyterian church, to which he belonged. Without special advantages at the outset of his career and in the face to two disastrous fires Mr. KNOWLTON as the architect of his own fortunes builded wisely and well, gaining not only success but also an honored name by reason of the straightforward business principles which he ever followed. The family are also members of the Central Presbyterian church. The mother and daughters reside at No. 6 Granger place, where they have a fine residence. Miss Annie Dean KNOWLTON greatly resembles her father in personal appearance as well as in the splendid business qualities which he displayed. Mr. KNOWLTON was very devoted to his family, being pre-eminently a home man, and while his loss was felt in business, church and social circles, it came with greatest force to the members of his own household, to whom he was ever a devoted husband and father.

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