Knott House Museum
Backstory and Context
The Knott House Museum is a 175-year old historical house that is located in Tallahassee, Florida and is an attraction for many in the Tallahassee area and that of the state of Florida. Constructed in the year 1843 by a man that went by the name George Procter, who was a free African-American builder. Though the house is named after the residents, the house's first residents were Thomas Hagner, an attorney and Catherine Gamble, Hagner's wife. This historic house was also used as a headquarters after the Civil war by General Edward M. McCook, where on May 20 in the year 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was declared setting all those enslaved in the region of Tallahassee free. Later in 1928, William Knott and his wife Luella had obtained the Knott house where they had it renovated to have it look as it does today and lived there until 1985.
With the history behind this historical house comes the history of how it got its name, The Knott House. However, before it got its actual title of what it is called now, it once housed a few residences before that of the Knott’s, such as Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook. This is the history behind that of Edward M. McCook, one of the first well known people that took residence in The Knott House before it got its name and he used it as a headquarters after the Civil War that took place in America in 1861 and ended in 1865. Edward McCook was born on June 13, 1833 in Steubenville, Ohio and was the eldest son of John James McCook and Sheldon McCook. He was locally educated and afterwards in 1849, he moved to Kansas where he studied and practice law. Later in 1859, after moving from Gregory Gulch to Central City, he had become an eminent lawyer. In the same year, he was elected as first delegate under the control of the Kansas Legislature. Promptly prior to that of the Civil War that was taking place in American during this period, McCook was a secret agent in Washington D.C. while serving the federal government. Due to the eruption of hostilities, McCook was commissioned as a cavalry lieutenant in the regular army on May 8, 1861. Soon thereafter, he joined the volunteer army as a captain with the 2nd Regiment Indiana Volunteer Cavalry (https://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=877). During the year 1865 on May 13, the last of the mobile troop of the state of Florida under Colonel George Washington Scott was surrendered to McCook, and one week afterwards, during a ceremony in Tallahassee, McCook had perused Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, that had begun the official ending of those enslaved in Florida. Afterwards when the American Civil War came to an end, McCook mustered out of the volunteer army and returned to duty with the regular army (https://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=877). This was the history behind that of Edward M. McCook, one of the first residence that took residence in The Knott House before it got its name and he used it as a headquarters after the Civil War that took place in America in 1861 and ended in 1865.
Many years later in 1928, the Knott family had acquired the house, and with some small renovations towards it as well as adding some large columns in front, which gives the appearance of what is seen present time. After the renovations and the acquiring of the home. They have lived here until the year 1985. The man of the house, William Knott, had served approximately forty or more years in the State of Florida as tax auditor, comptroller, and state treasurer. However, his wife, Luella, on the other hand had been a musician, as well as wrote her own poetry, and was a social causes advocate. With the historical house being known today as The Knott House, the house had become known as “The House That Rhymes” due to the adorned of her poems with that of old fashion Victoria-era decor and furnishing, this is what helped blended history and moral lessons with charm and wit (Explorer’s Guide North America & the Panhandle). In 1985, the Knott’s had lost their son Charles, shortly after the house went under extensive renovations and beneficiary came from the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board. After the renovations were complete the Knott House Museum was presentable and opened in 1992 to the public. Its administration was transferred to the Museum of Florida History in 1997 (http://museumoffloridahistory.com/about/sites/).
An interesting fact about The Knott House is also the area in which it is located in Tallahassee. Two other famous historical housings are located just a block away from the house and they share history due to being in the same area. Not only are they neighbors with history behind them, it also gives the history of the residence that own the homes. Another resident has shared the history of The Knott House and his family was neighbors of the house itself. Back in 1883 Dr. George Betton was a prominent local physician that had acquired the house where he had used it to maintain an office for himself. However, the Betton residence, those of one of the two houses near The Knott House, was in the neighbor house on 133 N. Gadsden and another residence lived in the other house on 125 N. Gadsden.
"Edward Moody McCook," Ohio Civil War Central, 2018, Ohio Civil War Central. 3 Oct 2018 <http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=877>
Friend, Sandra and Keatley, John. Explorer's Guide North Florida & the Panhandle (Third Edition) (Explorer's Complete). The Countryman Press, Mar 30, 2018.
The Museum of Florida History. The Knott House http://museumoffloridahistory.com/about/sites/. Accessed 3 October 2018.