Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 632] one of New Castle's most enterprising citizens, and prominently connected with many of the large manufacturing interests, is the president of the Lawrence Glass Co., and secretary and treasurer of the Shenango Glass Co., both of New Castle, which are among the largest producers of glass in the United States, and have established an excellent reputation, which is of the best in the trade.

Our subject is a native of the Keystone State, and was born in the city of Pittsburg, Pa., Sept. 20, 1846, and is a son of George and Mary (Shubley) Knox, also natives of Pittsburg. Our subject's father passed his early life in his native city, engaged as a contractor and builder, but at length tiring of city life, and desiring to raise his family in the country, he bought a farm at Marietta, Ohio, and made his home at that place for many years, coming to be widely known throughout his own county as a leading and progressive farmer, whose methods of agriculture were sure to be practical, and whose efforts were invariably crowned with success. After a long life, spent in honest toil, he retired from the active work incident to his occupation, and at present lives at Smithton, Mo., at the age of seventy-three. His wife died when about sixty-seven years of age. They became the parents of ten children, of whom all are living but three; the record is: Henry, who was killed at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., in 1862; John W.; Mary; George E.; Elizabeth; Edward; Charles; twin brothers, Samuel and Fred (the latter of whom died when an infant, and Samuel at the age of ten); and William. Our subject's father was a Democrat in his early life, but was never a man who cared for or aspired to any political preferment.

John W. assisted his father in the work of the farm during the years of his boyhood, and in the school of experience, and from instruction imparted to him by his respected parent, he acquired those excellent business principles which have contributed so much toward making him a successful man. In 1864 he enlisted in Co. F, 100th Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf., and served through the remainder of the war, passing through many engagements in front of Petersburg and Richmond, Va., and received an honorable discharge upon the mustering out of the regiment. At the close of the war he took up his residence in New Castle, and became clerk for his uncle, John Knox, who was proprietor of the Knox House, and remained with him until 1871, when he leased the property, bought the furniture and fixtures, and conducted the establishment until 1873, when the building was destroyed by fire; on its site has since been erected the Knox Block. Then Mr. Knox bought and ran the hotel, now known as the Fountain Inn, making many improvements in its arrangements and conveniences, and catering to a very desirable class of patrons. In 1874 he sold his hotel property, and entered the real estate business with Mr. Harbison, under the firm name of Harbison & Knox, which has lately been changed to Knox & Morehead. In 1877, with W. S. Foltz and Forbes Holton, he leased the Croton Glass Works and manufactured window glass until 1881, when he sold his interest, and, with W. S. Foltz, bought the Lawrence Agricultural Implements Factory, and remodeled it into a window glass manufactory, and produced glass under the firm name of Knox & Foltz, Limited, with W. S. Foltz as president and John W. Knox as secretary and treasurer. In 1893 the company was reorganized and incorporated as the Shenango Glass Co., Messrs. Foltz and Knox retaining the same positions as in the former concern. In 1893 the factory burned down, and they immediately rebuilt on the most generous plan, utilizing five acres of ground for the various structures. The factory includes the following buildings: A main factory building, 90x204; flattenning house, 90x146; cutting house, 62x112; packing house, 40x60; pot and clay house, 40x60, with an ell, 30x60; stock house, 27x70; two warehouses, one 40x100, and the other 40x180; a boiler house, 120x30; blacksmith shop, 24x24; box factory, 52x60; storage house, 40x60; ice house, 16x24; stable, 30x60; two private side-tracks that give the factory the service of the Pennsylvania R. R.; and an elegant office. Thus the equipment and means for the getting out of a large product are of the best; the firm has about three hundred men on its pay-rolls. In 1879, with N. W. Taylor of Cleveland, Ohio, I. W. Pope of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, R. S. and W. S. Foltz of New Castle, Mr. Knox bought the plant known as the Neshannock Paper Co. Immediately on assuming charge of their new holdings the company remodeled the buildings then in use, secured more space, extended their works in every direction, and built the necessary new structures, introducing the latest and most approved types of machinery. They, now have one of the largest and most modern plants of the kind in the country, manufacturing paper under the firm name of the New Castle Paper Co., with J. W. Knox as president and I. W. Pope as secretary and treasurer. Besides having full charge of the Shenango Glass Co.'s work and being so deeply interested in the manufacture of paper, Mr. Knox is president of the Lawrence Manufacturing Co., an active member of the important insurance and real estate firm of Knox & Morehead, a stockholder in the New Castle Steel and Tin Plate Co., and in the Clinton Coal Co., a director of the First National Bank of New Castle, and a leading figure in many other enterprises of a commercial nature with which he has been connected. He deserves to rank among the first of New Castle's citizens, and is entitled to the high esteem in which he is held, for his success is of the solid, substantial kind, and has been achieved by his own unaided efforts. His splendid business career, which we have every reason to think has but just begun, is an example of what may be done by American citizens, and offers an incentive to young men, just entering a business career, to strive for the best and highest point.

Mr. Knox married Sue G. McClary, daughter of Joseph McClary of Philadelphia, Pa. His finely appointed residence is located at 117 North Mercer Street, and was built after his own plans. In politics he is a Republican, and although he has never sought any office whatever, he has served seven years as a member of the city council. In 1880 the Lawrence County Agricultural and Horticultural Society was organized, with D. H. Wallace, president; S. D. Long, treasurer; and J. W. Knox, secretary.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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