George Knell, who resides on a farm adjoining the village of Shabbona, was born in the county of Kent, England, December 17, 1828, and has therefore passed the seventy-eighth milestone on life’s journey. His father, Mathew Knell, was born in England, where he followed the occupation of farming, but was never a landowner. He died at the early age of thirty-four years, while his wife passed away at the very advanced age of ninety-four years, about six years ago. She bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Reynolds and was also a native of County Kent, England. After losing her first husband she became the wife of Austin. By her second marriage there were two daughters, who are also residents of England, while another daughter and son are deceased.
George Knell spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native country, residing in England until he was twenty-four years of age. He was married on the 19th of October, 1852, to Miss Harriet Hooper, whose birth occurred in County Kent in 1826. Her father, William Hooper, was also born in that county and followed the occupation of farming as his life work. He died at the age of eighty-one years. His wife, Elizabeth May Hooper, was born in County Kent and her death occurred when she had reached the age of eight-four years. They had a large family but all are now deceased with the exception of one daughter who is still living in England and Mrs. Knell.
Following their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Knell started for the United States and were six weeks and three days on the water as passengers on the sailing vessel Prince Albert. They landed at New York City and with a friend went to Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Knell worked on a farm in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, for sixteen months and in the fall of 1854 drove across country with a team to Illinois. He located in Paw Paw Township, DeKalb County, near the Grove, and rented a small tract of land. In the fall of 1857, he rented a part of Pierpont Edwards’ farm, whereon he lived for a year, and in 1858 rented another farm, upon which he lived for two years. On the expiration of that period, he purchased forty acres in the same neighborhood and also bought the house upon Mr. Edwards’ farm, which he had removed to his own tract of land. There he lived until the spring of 1856, when he sold that property and took up his abode in Shabbona Township. He owns one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 32 and devoted his time and energies to its cultivation for eleven years, after which he established his home on his present farm, adjoining the village of Shabbona. He has become one of the extensive landowners of the county, possessing eight hundred and thirty-three acres of land, which he purchased from time to time. This is very valuable and he is now the largest taxpayer in the township.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Knell was born on daughter, Elizabeth, who’s birth occurred in Ohio in 1853 and who is now the wife of George Lovering, a merchant of Shabbona. He was born in Boone County, Illinois in 1851 and since 1876 has been engaged in business in Shabbona. Unto him and his wife have been born two children, Mrs. W.J. Olmstead, of Shabbona Township; and William K., sixteen years of age.
Mr. and Mrs. Knell were reared in the Episcopal faith, but have attended different churches since coming to DeKalb County. Mr. Knell’s early political allegiance was given the republican party and he afterward became a supporter of the greenback party, the principles of which he still advocates. For several years, however, he has not voted or taken any active part in political interests. He never aspired to office and has filled no position save that of school director. He has displayed good business qualities, is far-sighted, has made judicious investments and has become a large property holder.
Source: Past and Present of DeKalb County Illinois; by Prof. Lewis M. Gross 1907