Samuel Posgate Knowles [Obituary]

Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1889, Vol XXI, pp.70-71.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The obituary was read at the Association’s July 1889 Tavistock meeting. A great deal of information about the Knowles family and in particular about Samuel Posgate Knowles is presented at the Old Ashburton website. According to familyaearch.org Samuel Posgate Knowles married Elizabeth Whitear at St. Giles, Camberwell, Surrey, on July 30th 1808. The British Postal Museum and Archive hold many records for the appointment of employees of the Post Office from early Victorian times until to 1956. Among them, in POST 58/39, are the records for deputy postmasters. When William Lloyd resigned in December 1833, Samuel Posgate Knowles took up the post. The 1841 census shows Samuel and his wife Elizabeth living in East Street, Ashburton with their daughter, Harriet. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Samuel Posgate Knowles, of Park Hill, Highweek, Newton Abbot, became a member of the Association in 1884. Although born near London, he had spent a large portion of his life in Devonshire, and for more than thirty years past dwelt at Highweek, enthusiastic in his love of gardening, and rejoicing in the beauties of the neighbourhood. He belonged to a family which had done good service to their country in connection with the Royal Navy, one member of which, Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Knowles, was in 1765 created a baronet for distinguished naval services, and in 1770 became chief president of the Russian admiralty. Another member of the same family, the late John Knowles, Esq., F.R.S., an uncle of Mr. Knowles, published a work On the Preservation of the Navy, which, before the days of steamships, was of much service, when men, interested in the welfare of the "wooden walls" of old England, studied with pleasure methods of preserving timber from decay. Proofs of appreciation of this work of his relative, in the shape of gold snuff-boxes, &c., from sundry crowned heads of Europe, were in Mr. Knowles's possession, and which he took pleasure in showing to his friends.

Mr. Knowles was, by descent and property, connected with Ashburton, being descended on his mother's side from an old Devonshire family of Whitheare, whose remains rest in an ancient tomb in the churchyard of that parish.

With ample means, and a beneficent disposition, Mr. Knowles was ever ready to help the needy and to promote the welfare of those around him; and he left a further proof of his kindness in giving, by his will, £25 to the poor of his parish. He died at his residence, Park Hill, on May 6th, 1889, aged 77 years.