British Loyalist


of Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan

Benjamin Knapp was born about 1761 in America. According to records of the Old United Empire Loyalists, he enlisted from the state of New York. These "Returns", which have only recently been translated from French to English, are of great assistance in tracing the Knapp family through Old Ontario, Canada.

The earliest record of the Knapp family is found in Norman K. Crowder’s book, “Early Ontario Settlers: A Source Book,” written in 1993. Benjamin Knapp is listed on the November 30, 1783 Niagara Return as a Loyalist who served in Lt. Col Butler’s Company in the Corps of Rangers. Benjamin, age twenty-two, along with his wife and two children, Rachel and Daniel, are enumerated in TenBroeck’s District which was primarily Niagara Township located west of Niagara Falls on the Ontario side of Lake Erie. The July 20, 1784 enumeration lists Benjamin Napp as still residing in the Niagara area.

By October 1, 1787, Benjamin Knapp had removed to land west of Ten Broeck’s District to an area, “...on the North Side of Lake Erie from a Creek four Miles from the Mouth of the River Detroit to a small Creek about a Mile and a half beyond Cedar River--Detroit.” This area, still in Western Ontario, is closer to present day Detroit, Michigan. The Knapp home was located on Lot #66 and there were three children listed.

The Return of January 10, 1789 lists Benjamin’s homeland as America. The Knapp’s are still residing on Lot #66 and there are five family members. The area where they are settled is now described as, “...the first concession on the North Side of lake Erie from Marsh Creek four miles from the mouth of the River Detroit to Mill Brook about a mile and a half beyond Ceder River.”

At the Council Chamber in Quebec on November 9, 1789 it was decided to award land to “...the Sons of the Loyalists, on their coming of full Age and that it was the wish to put a Marke of Honor upon the families who had adhered to the United of the Empire, and joined the Royal Standard in America before the Treaty of Separation in the year 1783.” Among those listed is Benjamin Knapp who served as a soldier in Butler’s Rangers and was, at that time, residing in the Western District. The Western District, located in Ontario, Canada comprised all of the land from a line drawn north from the tip of Long Point on Lake Erie.

The final Canadian record of the Benjamin Knapp family is found in a book, “Ontario People: 1796-1803” by E. Keith Fitzgerald which was written in 1993. He is listed on page 218 as a resident in the “New Settlement on Lake Erie.”

By 1820, Benjamin Knapp had removed to the Detroit, Michigan area. Two sons and a daughter were still living at home and his married son, John Knapp was living nearby. The date when the Knapp’s left Canada is still unknown.

Benjamin Knapp died in 1823 in Detroit, Michigan. His will lists his widow, Katherine and sons: Daniel, Benjamin, Isaac, John, Walter, and James as his executors.

Known children of Benjamin and Katherine Knapp:

  1. Rachel Knapp born 1781 in Ontario, Canada
  2. Daniel Knapp born August 1783 in Ontario, Canada
  3. Benjamin Knapp born in Ontario, Canada
  4. Isaac Knapp born 1795 in Ontario, Canada died April 17, 1874 in Fremont, Ohio
  5. John Knapp born about 1796 in Ontario, Canada
  6. WALTER KNAPP born about 1798 in Ontario, Canada died after 1877 probably in Sandusky County, Ohio married CATHERINE Unknown about 1839.
  7. James Knapp born in Ontario, Canada
  8. Unknown Female Knapp born 1800 Ontario, Canada.


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