Loyal Edwin Knappen
Loyal Edwin Knappen, who retired in April, 1924, from the bench of the United States Circuit Court of the Sixth Circuit, is one of the legists and jurists who have lent distinction to the judiciary and bar of his native state of Michigan, in which he is a scion of a sterling pioneer family of Kalamazoo and Barry counties. Judge Knappen was born at Hastings, the county seat of Barry county, January 27, 1854, and is a son of the late Edwin and Sarah M. (Nevins) Knappen, both natives of Vermont and long residents of Barry county, where they established their home in the middle pioneer period of Michiganís history, the father having been engaged in the business of a stage line and general store at Hastings. The preliminary education of Judge Knappen was acquired in the public schools of Hastings, and in 1873, he was graduated in the University of Michigan, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, the university having conferred upon him in 1876 the degree of Master of Arts, and having given him in 1913 the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Judge Knappen studied law under effective preceptorship, and in 1875, in his native city of Hastings, he was admitted to the bar. There he continued in the successful practice of his profession until 1888, and he served as prosecuting attorney of Barry County during the period of 1879-83, and served as United States commissioner from 1880 until his removal to Grand Rapids in 1888. In Grand Rapids Judge Knappen became a member of the law firm of Taggart, Knappen & Denison, and later that of Wanty & Knappen. When his son, Stuart E., was admitted to partnership, the title of the firm was changed to Knappen, Kleinhans & Knappen, and this was retained until 1906, when Judge Knappen was appointed to the bench of the United States District Court of the Western District of Michigan, his service in this capacity having continued until 1910, when there came further recognition of his ability in his being chosen United States Circuit Judge of the Sixth Circuit, thus becoming ex-officio judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for that circuit. On the latter bench, he continued his characteristically able administration until 1924, when he retired from the bench. He has made a record of distinction both as a lawyer and as a jurist, and in all the relations of his signally active and distinguished career. Judge Knappen served in 1898-1900 as a member of the Grand Rapids Board of Education, and from 1904 to 1911, he was a member of the Board of Regents of his alma mater, the University of Michigan. In 1905-06, he was president of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and he is an honored member also of the Michigan State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. In his home community, he has membership in the Peninsular Club and the Kent Country Club. On October 23, 1876, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Knappen to Miss Amelia Isabelle Kenyon, of Hastings, and they have three children: Stuart E., who is a representative member of the Grand Rapids bar and is the subject of a personal sketch on other pages of this work; Frederick M., who is secretary of the Grand Rapids Veneer works, and Florence, who is the wife of Arthur D. Perry, of Grand Rapids.
Pages 203-204, History of Kent County
Transcriber: Mary Huizen
Created: 7 February 2003