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A Reminiscence Of The Late Elder Jacob Knapp

A Reminiscence Of The Late Elder Jacob Knapp image
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Notices of the death and character o Eider Jacob Kuapp; lately published, re cali a characteristic incident which oc curred before he entered on his professional career. In the summer of 1820 a private grammar school was taught by Rev. Levi Collins, at Oilbertsville, in the town of Butternuts, Otsego county, N. T , and quite extensively known as the " Butternut's Academy." This school attracted to it many young men ffom neighboring towns Some carne to prepare for college ; others to qualify themselves for teachers, or for other occupations. To gratify the scholars, and give eclat to the school, it was proposed to close the term about inidsuininer with a grand exhibition. The prograraine of exercises was made out soraewhat after that of college commencements. There was to be a Latin Salutatory, orations anl declamations, valedictory, &c. The scheme included also a " play" in which ono of the charBCters represented was that of a rustic boor or clown. Master Collins had difficulty in finding anyone who could satisfactorily personate the charüter, and on this account the parts had been more than once recast. Shortly before this, a young man by the name of Knapp came into the school and commenced the study of Latin. I recollect him as a sbdrt, stout, light complexioned young man, with a pleasant expression of countenance, but whose opportunities for culture and education had evidently been limited. The parts in the exhibition had been assigned to young men who had been longer in the school, and Knapp had been left out. ' At one of the rehears&ls of the play, Mr. Collins, who was asharp critic.found a good deal of fault with the performance of the clown ; thereupon Knay.p stepped forward and very modestly asked permission to "try that part." Mr. Collins readily consented, and Knapp soon committed enough of the dialogue to enaUe him togive his idea of the proper interpretation of the character. When the time for his "entry" arrived he carne shuffling on the stage, and either by accident or design stumbled, and feil sprawing on the floor in the most ludicrous manner imaginable. This particular formance had not been set down in the play, but was ín perfect keeping with the charaoter represented, and "brought down the house," Master Collins included, with shouts of laughter and applause. After this exhibition of his quality, there was no longer any hesitation about the proper man for clown. Master C. had tho right man in the right place. It is needless to add, that when the exhibition carne off at the Presbyterian meeting house on tho 4th of July, accompanied with military display and martial music, Knapp was the star of the occasion. The young men taking part in this mimic scène, and others at that time students in Butternut's Academy, have since been known in each of the learned professions, and in various other occupations in life. Most of them hftve passed away. Of the few who survive, one is now a Senator in Congress. But none have been more widely known, or acted a more conspicuous part on the broad theater of actual life, than Eider Jacob Knapp, the celebrated revivalist of the BaDtist Churoh.


Old News
Michigan Argus