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Name: KNAPP, William Porter (Rev.)

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Birth Date: 25.11.1868 Danbury, Connecticut

Death Date: 14.2.1940 Kiambui

First Date: 1899

Profession: Missionary, with his wife, with the Gospel Missionary Society, an American Society of Baptist origin centred at Kambui 20 miles north of Kikuyu. Federated with the Church of Scotland Mission in 1945

Area: Kambui, Ruiru, 1930 Kiambu. Hut has P.W. Knapp 1919 Njoro?, Thembigwa

Married: Myrtle Isabella Ingersoll b. 28.8.1869 Sherman, Connecticut, d. 5.8.1941 Kiambui

Children: son (1899-1899); Alta Ingersoll (Macpherson) (6.5.1905, Kiambu-19.3.1942 Tumutumu))

Book Reference: Scotland, Tignor, Land 1903, EAHB 1905, KAD, Red 31, Hut, Drumkey, Grasshoppers, Land, EAHB 1906, North, EAHB 1904, EAHB 1907, Beck, Red Book 1912

General Information:

Land Grant 1903 - W.P. Knapp - Agricultural, about 31.66 acres - Kambui Hill - May 1st - Freehold
North - Issued with Bird Shooting Licence 31/7/1901; Land Grant application 1/5/1902 Kiambu Hill
Drumkey 1909 - African Inland Mission, 1906 - Rev. & Mrs Wm P. Knapp at Kambi, Kikuyu
Grasshoppers - The smell of death hung over Thembigwa River when the Knapps arrived early in 1899. The famine that halved the Wakamba struck the Kikuyu too and was just subsiding when a new epidemic of smallpox broke out. ……..
In August 1902 William Knapp moved to the new plot at Kambui, where he lodged in a Kikuyu home while building his own. ……. Myrtle's personality differed greatly from her husband's. While he was quiet, enexcitable and stolid, she was lively, talkative and hospitable. Resolution and dedication characterized both. William as evangelist and advisor never gave orders or ranted. Myrtle, as faithful a hostess as any Kukuyu, welcomed all to her table …….
Initially the Knapps had reached East Africa as members of the small, New England based, Gospel Missionary Society (a child of the Moody awakening).
Hurlburt's genius for establishing good relations drew them into the family of AIM along with other GMS folk and held them until 1915 when 'Hearing and Doing' announced that 'The Gospel Missionary Society, which has had a friendly alliance with our work for years, will now work independently. As usual in that era, discretion prevented the magazine from giving the reason but the 1912 Constitution would have made it inevitable. It stated that the Home Councils would direct the mission's work and hold the mission's properties. In contrast, Knapp and his colleagues not only insisted that leadership be Africa based but went much further, placing it firmly in the hands of Africans themselves.
The Knapps possessed the greatest of missionary skills - the ability to develop leaders. They nurtured a succession of pastors abnd church leaders. Early they baptized Waruhiu Kungu, who later became Senior Chief. They gave Harry Thuku a home with them for 4 years before he became Kenya's first major politician. They served the Kikuyu for 40 years. Soon after their deaths the church leaders invited the Presbyterian Church to take over their congregations.
Land 1909 - Rev. W.P. Knapp - Agricultural, 31.66 acres - Ruiro - 19/5/03 - Freehold - Registered 2/8/09
Chogoria - Revd. and Mrs William P. Knapp who were the pioneer missionaries of the Gospel Missionary Society of America at Kambui in Kiambu District
EAHB 1904 - Masai-Land District Residents - Knapp, W.P. - A.I. Mission, Ruveru, Kikuyu
Anderson Church - Mr Knapp was quiet; he rarely expressed his opinion. This was fortunate, since his opinion might have been accepted on the authority of his status as senior missionary. Mrs Knapp expressed herself freely, but since she was a woman, no one accepted it without thorough discussion.
Red Book 1912 - W.P. Knapp - Kyambu
Red Book 1912 - Africa Inland Mission - Superintendent at Kambui with Mrs Knapp
EAHB 1905 - at Kambui with his wife
See Evanson N. Wamagatta, The Presbyterian Church of East Africa, 2009, for establishment of mission.

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