Lyman E. Knapp

Biography of Col. Lyman E. Knapp

Lyman E. Knapp
Col. Lyman E. Knapp

KNAPP, COL. LYMAN E., was born in Somerset, Windham county, Vt., November 5, 1837, and was the fifth in a family of nine children. Cyrus Knapp, his grandfather, was born at Taunton, Mass., December 8, 1769, and when a young man came and settled in Dover, Windham county, Vt. He married Thankful Stearns, who was born in Chesterfield, N. H., February 4, 1770. They had a family of eight children, of whom Hiram Knapp, father of the colonel, was the fifth. He was born in Dover February 7, 1803. He married Elvira, daughter of Jonas and —— (Page) Stearns. The latter was born September 10, 1804, in Marlboro, Vt. Hiram Knapp was a farmer by occupation. He died at Stratton, Vt., September 18, 1859. His wife died in March, 1880.

Lyman E. Knapp, the subject of this sketch, lived until eighteen years of age at Stratton, and worked on his father’s farm while attending the district school of the place. He prepared for college by a three years’ attendance at Burr Seminary, Manchester, Vt. He entered Middlebury College in 1858 and was graduated with honors in 1862. The week after his graduation he enlisted as a private, but was soon elected captain of Company I, Sixteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers, a nine months’ regiment; employed the major portion of that time on guard duty in the defense of Washington, but near the close of the period of enlistment engaged in the three days’ battle of Gettysburg, and constituting a part of the Second Vermont Brigade, which rendered itself famous in repulsing the rebel charge under General Pickett on Cemetery Hill. He was wounded in this engagement, but remained on the field till the battle was ended, and was with the brigade in its pursuit of the enemy on the following day. Soon after this battle his regiment was mustered out and he was commissioned by the governor of Vermont to raise a company for the Seventeenth Vermont Volunteers. He raised Company F of that regiment in Windham county and went out as its captain. The regiment was assigned to the Ninth Army Corps, General A. E. Burnside commanding, in the Army of the Potomac. He was engaged in its thirteen battles, beginning with the battle of the Wilderness and ending with Lee’s surrender, in two of which–viz., Pegram House and at the capture of Petersburgh — was in command of his regiment. He was wounded in the battle of Spottsylvania Court-House and carried insensible from the field, having received a severe scalp wound from a rifle ball, but returned to his regiment the second day after. He was again wounded by a piece of shell at the assault before Petersburg, on the 2d of April, 1865; but recovering from this, and narrowly escaping as one of the five out of thirteen who remained uninjured by the explosion of a rebel bomb, he resumed command of his regiment and was at its head when the enemy’s lines were finally broken, for which gallant and meritorious conduct he was breveted by President Lincoln. He was promoted to major of the regiment November 1, 1864, and to the lieutenant-colonelship December 10 of the same year. He was mustered out with his regiment July 14, 1865. Four others from his family the Green Mountain State sent to the defense of her country, one of whom, C. H. Pitman Knapp, died from wounds received in the battle of Lee’s Mills, Va. On the first day of October, 1865, he became editor and publisher of the Middlebury Register, a position which he filled for thirteen years; but during this period of time he had taken up the study of law and was admitted as a member of the Addison county bar in 1876. In 1878 he drew out from the conduct of the paper, but retained his financial interest in the company until 1884. He was register of probate under Judge Samuel E. Cooke for several years, and was appointed to succeed that gentleman as judge of probate in 1879, since which time by successive elections he has continued to hold that office. He was first assistant clerk of the House of Representatives from 1872 to 1874, was chairman of the Republican County Committee for several years, and for the last sixteen years has served as trial justice of the peace in Middlebury and the county of Addison. He has been a member of the Congregational Churches at Stratton and Middlebury since he was fifteen years of age, and is now chairman of the prudential committee of the Middlebury Congregational Society. He has been for a number of years a member of the school board and treasurer of the Addison County Grammar School. These varied public positions and others which he has been called to fill abundantly attest the high estimation in which he is held by the citizens of his adopted place of residence. Colonel Lyman E. Knapp married Martha A., daughter of Ebenezer and Corcina (Jones) Severance, January 23, 1865, at Washington, D. C.



Addison County VT,

Smith, H. P. History of Addison County Vermont: With Illustrations And Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers. Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & co., 1886.

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