From the Historian: A place called Knappville

Bill Poray

There is not much evidence that a place called Knappville ever existed. But it did, and the presence of Knapps Circle and the four homes with addresses there are a contemporary reminder of what once stood at the site. The tiny street is located just south of the canal on Lyndon Road in eastern Perinton. 

Early 1900s view of Knappville, looking to the south.

The earliest reference to the name Knapp in Perinton town records is found in 1814, in the person of Jonah Knapp. He served his young community in various positions, including fence viewer and overseer of highways. Other early Knapps in the town included Peter, referenced in an 1824 document, and Nathan, found in 1832 records; however, it was Lauren Knapp (1816-83), whose farm and canalside grocery likely gave Knappville its name. 

Monroe County maps from the years 1852 and 1858 confirm the location of Lauren Knapp’s grocery on the south side of the canal, just west of Lyndon Road. In those days, canal bridges were constructed of wood and town records indicate they were often in need of repair. In the spring of 1867, a local farmer named Myron Bosworth (1820-76), accompanied by his 6-year-old son, drove his team and wagon loaded with wood along Lyndon Road. As the wagon crossed the canal, the 14-year-old bridge failed. The horses, wagon, along with father and son, all fell through the collapsed timbers to the canal bed below. Myron Bosworth suffered serious injuries, and worse, his young son died. Newspapers recorded the location of the catastrophe as Knappville. 

Like many other places that dot our early maps, after a few years, references to Knappville faded away; however, the Knapp family persevered. Many will fondly remember Albert Henry Knapp (1912-2004), who served as trustee and mayor of Fairport for many years. One of the founders of the Perinton Chamber of Commerce, Albert Knapp also served the Fairport Rotary for more than 60 years. 

More than 200 years after the name Knapp first appeared in Perinton town records, Albert’s son, Warren, and wife Pat Knapp have also contributed to their community in ways too numerous to count. Pat’s energy and dedication served her constituents well in her decades-long role as an elected public servant in both village and town government. Warren has also been a leader, both as an educator in the classrooms of East Rochester, as well as with Fairport Rotary. 

Although the obscure Perinton canal community once called Knappville is no longer on the map, members of the Knapp family still do their part to make our community a wonderful place to live. 

Bill Poray serves as Perinton town historian.