Notes:Knox Avenue

From Pittsburgh Streets

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Jeremiah Knox, the circuit riding pastor, who turned wine grower and made a fortune on the slopes south of the Monongahela River; his son, William, who turned the Knox farm into a center for lavish social functions, and William's daughter, Virginia, who married an Italian count, all will be recalled this week by the older residents.

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The story begins with Jeremiah Knox, a native of Brownsville, Pa., sent out by the American Bible Association of Baltimore to carry the gospel. Through Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio the young preacher carried his message. It was on one of these trips he met the girl who was to become his wife.

Auburn-haired Amanda Beltzhoover Bausman, a young widow, was the girl young Jeremiah married. And on the farm her father, Jacob Beltzhoover, son of Captain John Beltzhoover, first of the family in this district, gave as dower, they settled down to farm.

The tract young Rev. Knox took was at that time a tobacco plantation. He joined the little houses of the plantation workers into one large one, and covered the hillsides with grape, raspberry, blackberry and strawberry plants. Bumper crops made the family rich.

Resembling more his mother was William W. Knox, a dreamer and poet rather than farmer. He turned the farm into a country home, and Pittsburgh society flocked there to enjoy his hospitality.

The Panic of '77, old residents recall, "about finished" the Knox farm, and the following year the Knox heirs—the Knoxville Land Improvement Company—decided to dispose of it.

James F. Grimes, who had served as Jeremiah Knox's secretary during the latter years of the pioneer's life, was made president of the company, and it was under his guidance that streets were planned for the modern Knoxville.

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Dr. Frederick Bausman and his wife, Sarah Beltzhoover, had four sons and two daughters: Pressley Neville, Henry, Jacob Beltzhoover, Frederick, Sarah and Virginia. After the death of Dr. Bausman, his widow Sarah married Jeremiah Knox, a traveling preacher. The couple lived after their marriage in a mansion house at the corner of Grimes and Rochelle Streets. Knox took over the management of the farm his wife had inherited, operating it as an orchard. Grapes and strawberries from the Knox farm were of the highest quality. The Knox farm became the principal part of the Borough of Knoxville incorporated in 1877 and now the 30th ward. The Knoxville Land Improvement Company, formed in 1880 by Frederick Bausman, W. W. Knox, Jr., and A. K. Mathews, was responsible for developing the new borough. Few modern residents realize that it was once part of the Beltzhoover farm. An adjacent 80-acre farm owned by E. P. Swift, who had married Emma Giffen, also became part of Knoxville in 1897. Present Giffen Street [in Mount Oliver Borough] preserves the name of his wife's family. The Swift mansion house on Brownsville Road was used for many years as the clubhouse of the Knoxville Elks.

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Source:Boehmig, p. 53: "Knoxville was named after Jeremiah Knox's 1,250-acre fruit farm."