Snapshot of HIstory
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This week’s photo comes courtesy of the Diagonal Printing Museum and gives us a good look at the Knowlton Post Office and adjoining barber shop.
This building was located on the south side of Main Street (Ringgold County Road J23) and on the east side of town.
This photo appears to me to be from an amateur photographer as the quality is somewhat low and the shot is “tight,” meaning the surrounding landscape is not visible. Professional photography began to give way to amateur photography after World War I. So I believe this photo to be post-World War I.
I believe Henry Stahl was the first postmaster at Knowlton in 1890. He was followed by J. F. McGinty and Leander E. Yaryan. The next postmaster was Reverend George W. Ringler in 1903.
Rev. Ringler married Martha Jane Casner in 1885 and the reverend was reported to be pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church, but I don’t know where that was.
The Casners had a farm in Jefferson Township at this time. In 1890, Rev. G. W. Ringler raised enough money to erect a Free Will Baptist Church in Knowlton. In late 1894 he began preaching at other churches on a part time basis for reasons unknown.
Rev. Ringler was appointed Justice of the Peace for Jefferson Township in January 1899. He worked for the Chicago Great Western Railroad for some time and then he and his wife seemed to take turns running the post office.
From 1903 until 1909, both were named as postmaster and postmistress from time to time.
Mrs. Ringler died in 1911 and Rev. Ringler moved north.
George Butt became postmaster in 1909 and he was replaced by A. Turnbull in 1913. Mr. Turnbull was still postmaster in October 1921 when the post office was closed.
Knowlton had only one rural route and that route became the fifth rural route out of the Diagonal Post Office in April 1921.
The building in this week’s picture has the post office on the left and a barber pole in front of the right storefront. The last barber I know of in Knowlton was John Yaryan but I can’t tell you for certain who had this barber shop.
I’ve written about Knowlton many times but I never mentioned P. M. Clark because I didn’t know his role in Knowlton’s history.
In 1895 he is said to be “owner of the town plat.” I later learned he was an agent for the Chicago Great Western Railroad and represented that firm while buying land for the railroad’s right-of-way. Clark also bought and sold lots in Knowlton and Shannon City (also on the Chicago Great Western).
In later years, lots, previously owned by Clark, were sold on account of delinquent taxes.
It appears to me Knowlton was plated by the railroad and I didn’t know that before. The last graduating class at Knowlton High School was 1919.
Knowlton ceased to operate as an incorporated town in 1926 but Yaryan’s store stayed open into the 1930s. The bridge over the railroad tracks was built in 1940.