The German element in our national civilization is an important one. The citizens who have come to America from the fatherland possess in a large measure the power of assimilation that enables them to adopt the manners and customs, as well as the language, of the people in the new world. They are industrious, conduct business interests on broad principles and attain success as easily as any other class. Mr. Knudsen is by no means an exception to the rule. He belongs rather to the large majority whose progressive and intelligent industry is having an influence more and more marked on our general prosperity as we enter upon the new century.
Mr. Knudsen was born in Germany on the 18th of September, 1854, his parents being Nils and Anna Maria (Thygesdatter) Knudsen, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father was a prominent businessman in his locality and was a very highly respected citizen. In religious faith he was a Protestant. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Knudsen were seven children, five of whom are living. The subject of this review is now the only one in California. He acquired an excellent education in his native land, including the mastery of several languages. Subsequently he traveled in different parts of the world, thus gaining a comprehensive knowledge of men and customs in other countries. He was also practically trained in different lines of work and was taught to have a regard for the opinions and feelings of others and entertain respect for those older than himself. Thus an excellent character foundation was laid, while his education prepared him for life’s practical and responsible duties.
In 1877 he came to America, bringing with him considerable capital with which his father had provided him in order to enable him to gain a good start in the new world. He arrived in Chicago, traveled all over the country and in 1887 took up his abode in Los Angeles, California. He was for some time in San Francisco and Sacramento, and also resided in Amador County. After coming to Tuolumne County he served for four years as a bookkeeper for the Rawhide Mining Company. In 1895 he purchased a lumber business in Sonora from George W. Hale, and also became the owner of a sawmill. He at once began to make improvements in the plant and from the beginning of his connection with the enterprise his trade has steadily increased in volume and importance. He engages both in the manufacture and sale of lumber and is at the head of one of the leading industries of the state. In his yards he keeps a large supply of all kinds of lumber, and he also deals in grain. Among his buildings are good offices and store rooms, and he has an extensive planing-mill supplied with all the needed machinery for prosecuting his work in a first-class manner. There is also a well equipped blacksmith shop, containing an apparatus in which refractory horses can be easily shod. Sixty-two horses are utilized in hauling the lumber from his mill and he employs fifty skilled workmen. He employs only experts and pays to them good wages, thus commanding the best service. His mill has a capacity of twenty-five thousand feet of lumber per day, and, on account of the excellence of its quality, his reasonable prices and his honorable dealings, he has secured a very liberal and constantly growing patronage. On his grounds are also large stables and corrals for the shelter and protection of his horses, both at the mill and in Sonora. He is a man of excellent business ability and executive force, and his practical knowledge of the best methods of the manufacture of lumber enables him capably to direct the efforts of the workmen and thus secure excellent results.
Socially Mr. Knudsen is an active and valued member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge chapter, council and commandery. He has served as the senior warden in the blue lodge and junior warden in the commandery, and has been Royal Arch captain in the chapter. In politics he is a staunch Republican, and in 1900 was elected a member of the board of trustees of Sonora, where his efforts toward the upbuilding and improvement of the city are very efficient. He was married January 17, 1894, to Miss Olive Sarah Hale, a daughter of George W. Hale, the former owner of the lumber and sawmill business of which Mr. Knudsen is now the head. They have a large and beautiful residence in Sonora and their home is blessed with the presence of two little children, Hale and Anna Maria. Their home is celebrated for its charming hospitality, which is widely extended to their many friends. They are popular people, of sterling worth, and enjoy the warm regard of all with whom they have been brought in contact. The record of Mr. Knudsen is that of a man, who has, by his own efforts, worked his way upward to a position of affluence, whose life has been one of industry, perseverance and systematic and honorable business methods; and this, together with his diligence and ability, has won him the patronage and confidence of many. He is now numbered among the most prominent and influential men of this portion of the state, and his native genius, keen discernment and unfaltering application are the stepping-stones on which he has mounted.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.