Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson


Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 26, 1902)

Headstone of Joseph Knowlton Jr
Joseph Knowlton Jr.
Pioneer Cemetery, Watsonville

Trial of Joseph Knowlton Begins
Accused of Embezzling Coin while Employed as Cashier

Joseph Knowlton’s trial on a charge of embezzlement was begun Monday in Judge Graham’s court. Major Knowlton was assistant manager and cashier at the St. Nicholas Hotel for some years. It has been alleged that he misappropriated amounts aggregating about $21,000 while in charge of the hotel funds. He is at present on trial for embezzling one of these amounts, $120, from the Ira R. & J. H. Doolittle Hotel Company, which conducted the St. Nicholas.

James H. Doolittle took the stand as the principle witness for the prosecution yesterday, and many entries in the hotel accounts were read. In evidence while he was testifying, Doolittle and Knowlton were brothers in law. Mrs. Knowlton, Doolittle’s sister obtained a divorce after Knowlton was arrested. -Chronicle.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 10, 1902)

One More Accident Interrupts the Knowlton Trial
Singular Series of Fatalities Follow in the Wake of Alleged Embezzler

There seems to be no end to the accidents and fatalities that beset the trial of Joseph Knowlton (of Watsonville), Monday another adjournment was forced upon Judge Graham by the Illness of one of the jurors sworn to try Knowlton for embezzlement.

When court convened after a recess of almost a week a special messenger appeared with a notice to the effect that Juror D.J. Sullivan had injured a foot and was confined to his bed at his residence, 24 Washington avenue. The messenger could not say when Sullivan would be able to leave his home ; and to permit that fact to be ascertained Judge Graham ordered an adjournment until Wednesday.

Since Knowlton has been placed under arrest his sister has died, and George D. Collins, his attorney, has lost his wife, a brother and two children. The wife of Myer Jacobs, attorney for the prosecution, died after he entered the case, and since the trial began the mother of the janitor in Judge Graham’s courtroom has passed away. Two jurymen, C.C. Darling and S.P. Sjovall were taken ill the first week of the trial and now the illness of Juror Sullivan further adds to the ill fortune attending the case.

Knowlton is accused of stealing from the funds of the St. Nicholas Hotel. He was manager of the hotel for many years, and is said to have been delinquent in his accounts since 1900. He was arrested more than a year ago and since has been through practically all the courts in the city.---S.F. Bulletin.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 13, 1904)

Knowlton Case Dismissed

Because of the failure of the District Attorney’s office in San Francisco to appear and prosecute the charge of embezzlement against Joseph Knowlton, former cashier of the Hotel St. Nicholas, who for the last two years has rested under a charge of appropriating more than $25,000 belonging to his employers, the action has been dismissed and Knowlton is free. The dismissal was ordered Wednesday by Judge Graham on motion of the attorneys for Knowlton, who held that the action should be dismissed because the prosecution had not appeared within sixty days after the last trial of the case, which resulted in a disagreement of the jury, and renewed the prosecution or taken steps to retry the case. A dismissal of prosecution under such conditions is provided for in section 1382 of the Penal Code, and this section was cited by Knowlton’s attorneys when the motion for a dismissal was made.

Joseph Knowlton is well known in this county, having grown up to manhood in Watsonville.

Watsonville Pajaronian (October 7, 1906)

Death Intervenes and Brings Relief
After Long-Suffering Major Joseph Knowlton is called from Life's Duties

Major Joseph Knowlton, who for more than two years had been suffering from the effects of a cancer, died last evening at 9 o'clock at the home of his sister, Mrs. Lucy Card, on Upper Main street. For several days he had been suffering intensely, but he bore his affliction patiently. No word of complaint passed from his lips. He realized that the end was approaching, but he would not discuss his condition lest he bring unnecessary worry to those who were so kindly administering to his every want. His passing was so quiet, so free from apparent pain, that it resembled restful sleep that comes to one who is extremely weary.

The deceased was born in Augusta Maine, sixty years ago, and in the year 1862 he came to California on a vessel by way of the Isthmus to join his father who was a California forty-niner. He came to Pajaro valley and resided her for a few years and then went to San Juan where he accepted the position of agent for one of the big stage companies. He followed this work at Gilroy, San Jose and other places until the stages were taken off and then went to San Francisco and entered the employ of the Southern Pacific, acting for a time in the capacity of traveling auditor for the company. He left the railroad service for a time and filled an important position in the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, but later re entered the employ of the railroad company. Later he successfully conducted a hotel business in the metropolis.

On Nov. 17 1864 deceased enlisted with Company A, Eighth California Volunteer Infantry serving with the company as Second Sergeant. In Feb. 1865, while the company was at Cape Disappointment, deceased worked almost constantly in the Adjutant's office. He was honorably discharged at Ft. Point on Oct. 24, 1865.

He was also a charter member and officer in the George H. Thomas Post, G.A.R. of San Francisco. This is the oldest, richest and most prominent army post on the coast. Major Knowlton was also Captain for many years of the Veteran Guard of San Francisco, an organization composed of one of the best-drilled bodies of men in the United States. Its membership comprised discharged soldiers who had a great deal of experience and were thoroughly trained and disciplined.

About five years ago deceased came to Watsonville and has resided her continuously since. He was a man of genial personality, well read, an interesting conversationalist, a keen observer and withal a faithful friend. No matter what line he was following he always looked neat. He followed the fashions closely and was extremely exacting in all walks of life. during the years that he enjoyed his health he took great pleasure in hunting, fishing, camping, etc.

During his residence in this valley Major Knowlton made many warm friends to whom his demise will bring deepest regret. He was a man of high ambitions and during his career he was brought prominently before the public in military and political affairs.

Deceased is survived by two daughters, both of whom reside at Sausalito, and also leaves three sisters as follows; Mr. Lucy Card, and Mrs. B. A. Osborn of this city and Mrs. A.M. Peterson of Santa Cruz. To all of these bereaved relatives sympathy is extended.

Deceased had been a member of the Masonic order in Salinas for number of years and the Master of that lodge and several members will come here tomorrow afternoon to take part in the funeral services, which will be under the auspices of Pajaro Lodge No 110 F & AM. the funeral will take place at 2 P.M. from the home of B.A. Osborn on Maple Avenue.

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