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Saturday, July 18, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #30: Carl Johan Knock, Musician and Professor

   Carl Johan (or John) Knock was my husband's mother's father, his maternal grandfather. My mother-in-law, Eloise Margaret Knock Negley, said that he had a Ph.D in music and was a music professor.  I have found this isn't quite correct. His Ph.D was in Psychology and Education but his thesis was on training someone to have perfect pitch.  He was a professor of Psychology, Mathematics and Education but he started and directed the First Swedish Lutheran Church Choir in 1906. He is written up for singing a solo in a choir and for playing the Captain in the H.M.S. Pinafore. So he was quite musical.

     Carl was born on 14 Sep 1878 on a farm in Clay township, Webster, Iowa. He was the third child and first son of Carl Gustaf Knock and Anna Louise Lindquist.  There were 10 children in all, five boys and five girls.  Carl's father died in 1893 when Carl was 15 and the youngest child in the family was only 13 months old.  Anna raised them on her own, moving to St. Peter, Minnesota by 1910, Iowa City, Iowa in 1915 and to St. Paul, Minnesota where she died in 1925.

     Carl went to the local school in Gowrie, Iowa and Tobin College.  He entered the Iowa State Teachers College in 1901 and graduated with a B. Di degree (Bachelor of Didactics, which is the science of teaching) in 1904.  He then spent a year being the principal of schools in Mitchell, Iowa.  He entered Gustavus Adolphus College in about 1906, graduating with an A.B. (same as our B.A.) in 1908. At that time he also taught music and directed the Glee Clubs. He then went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia from 1909-1910 earning a Masters in Education.  In the 1910 Federal Census, he appears twice.  Once in St. Peter with his mother and again in Philadelphia as a boarder attending school.  During the summers of 1908 and 1911 he did graduate work at the University of Chicago.  In the Fall of 1911 he returned to Gustavus Adolphus as the chair of the Education and Psychology Department. It was here he met Huldah Mallgren who was the College librarian.  They were married in about 1914 (I still haven't found the exact date).

     Carl and Huldah moved to Iowa City, Iowa where he was appointed fellow in Psychology at the State University of Iowa 1914-1915 and assistant in research 1915-1916.  In 1916 his daughter, Eloise Margaret, was born.  By 1917 he was the head of the Department of Education at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He was there on 12 Sept 1918 when he filled out his WW I draft card.  This describes him as medium height, medium build, gray eyes and blonde hair.  By 1920, though, he was in Wahoo, Nebraska where he was the Principal of the Normal Department at Luther College. The Normal Department taught students how to be teachers.

     Unfortunately by 1922 Carl was quite ill and died on 23 Jan 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He appears to have been quite a brilliant young man.  Some of his other accomplishments include: in 1904 he appeared in H.M.S. Pinafore in Cedar Falls, Iowa and "acquitted himself creditably", in 1906 he spent the summer travelling with a quartet where he received praise for his fine tenor voice.  In 1908 he won an oratorical contest.  In 1913 he appeared with the male chorus of Gustavus Adolphus and sang "Temples on the Adrian Sea", "delightfully".  But the achievement of which he was most proud was the starting of the First Swedish Lutheran Church Choir in 1906 in St. Peter. He seems to have had a combination of academic interests and musical ones.  His daughter remembered him as a Music Professor and treasured his baton which he used to direct his choir.

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