Over the 160 plus years of it's existence, the gates to Greenwood have probably been photographed more times than any cemetery in the world. Though many superb photos exist, this simple snaphot taken as I approached it on Thursday afternoon, January 17, 2001 is the one I chose, because for me it captures the mixed feelings I had that day. So near, yet so far.....I had traveled a great distance to see the final resting places of the patriarch Knapp's, a family that never knew me nor I them, yet have been drawn to over the past year by forces I cannnot readily explain. So I paused here for a minute as if to give notice of my arrival and to recieve some type of permission to enter.
The guard at the gate handed me a large map (it is 468 acres) and showed me where the office was. Pre armed with both the section & burial plot numbers obtained from the Greenwood internet site, I saw no need to stop at the office and set out on my way. According to the map the Knapp's were way in the back of the place and I slowly snaked my way through the maze of twisting roads, while taking in as much as I could all along the way. The place has been around since 1838 and was a leading tourist attraction by the 1850's according to some of what I had read about it. In the 1860's the New York Times wrote " It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the 5th Avenue, to take his airings in Central Park and to sleep with his fathers at Greenwood. I do not know if that was Joseph F. Knapp's ambition, as his father is not buried there with him, his mother however is, With the exception of his little known first born son Francis who died as an infant, his other son Joseph Palmer who would rise to even greater heights in the world than his father, lies elsewhere in North Carolina. But do not pity Mr. J. F. Knapp, as he has a good deal of company here within his family circle.
The section I was looking for was not to difficult to find using the Greenwood Map. I parked and got out thinking I would not have any trouble. I knew there were at least a half dozen Knapp's buried here so I thought there would be a large marker easily spotted. Well after 40 minutes of combing the section I realised I better drive back down to the main gate and office if I wanted to find the gravesite before dark.
On the drive back down I thought about how far the hearse had to travel from Williamsburg in 1891. Mentioning to the office clerk where the Knapp's lived, he estimated it would of taken the procession a half a day to arrive back then. After a few minutes of searching his records he told me why I couldn't find it. The internet site (which has an accuracy disclaimer) listed the wrong section. He added that by looking at his map he could tell by the size of the plot I would not have any trouble seeing it. He gave me a print out of it and I could see it was indeed a very large circular plot.
When I got back to the proper area the clerks words rang very true.
was associated with the Knapp Banking interests