Knowlton, Paul Holland

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Knowlton, Paul Holland

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Son of Silas Knowlton (1764-1843) and Sarah Lucinda Holbrook (1763-1800), Paul Holland Knowlton (1787-1863) was born on September 17, 1787, in Newfane, Vermont. He grew up alongside his brothers Luke Holland (1795-1870) and Samuel Willard (1800-?), as well as his sister Samantha (1797-?). He was the grandson of the Hon. Luke Knowlton (1738-1810), former justice of the Vermont Supreme Court. Due to their support for the Loyalists, the British government granted Paul's grandfather virgin land in Lower Canada. Too old to manage his own land, two of his sons, Silas, and Luke Jr. (1775-1855), accepted the concessions. In 1798, Silas Knowlton and his family settled in Stukely in the Eastern Townships. In 1800, after his mother's death, Paul returned to Newfane to complete his education under the guidance of his grandfather and uncle. He later returned to Lower Canada in 1807.

Paul H. Knowlton married Laura Moss (1789-1868), a schoolteacher from Bridport, Vermont, on September 22, 1808. The couple had no children, but they adopted three children from Luke Holland Knowlton: Sarah (1822-1905), Amanda (1828-1852) and Thomas Anson (1843-1906).

In 1827, he assumed the role of agent to sell the lands of non-resident landowners in Brome County and he emerged as one of the most important landowners in the area. In 1834, Paul H. Knowlton settled permanently in the hamlet of Coldbrook, which became the Village of Knowlton, renamed to honor him in 1851. He played a significant role in the region's economy, spearheading the development of commercial and industrial structures within the village. These included a general store, saw and grist mills, distillery, and potash factory.

Paul H. Knowlton's role in the social development of the community cannot be overlooked. He is the founding president of the Shefford (1834) and Brome (1856) county agricultural societies. In 1834, he took on the role of correspondent for the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, representing the Eastern Townships. Through personal donations of both land and money, Paul H. Knowlton played an active role in the construction of the village's first high school, the Knowlton Academy, in 1854, and Brome County's first courthouse in 1858.

Paul H. Knowlton had an active and varied political career. From October 26, 1830, to October 9, 1834, he served as a member of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada for Shefford County. Though initially sympathetic to the Patriots, he later aligned with the Bureaucratic Party and voted against the 92 Resolutions in 1832. Promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Shefford Battalion during the 1837-1838 uprising, he led the detachment that captured one of the Patriot leaders, Wolfred Nelson (1791-1863). In recognition of his loyalty, Governor John Colborne appointed him to the Special Council of Lower Canada twice, from April 2 to June 1, 1838, and again from November 2, 1838, to February 10, 1841. Later, he is appointed to the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada on June 9, 1841. During the last two decades of his life, he served on various commissions, held the position of mayor of Brome Township, and was elected warden of Brome County from 1855 to 1862. Paul H. Knowlton passed away at his home in Knowlton on August 28, 1863.

Sources :

ASSEMBLÉE NATIONALE DU QUÉBEC, « Paul Holland KNOWLTON », consulté le 20 sept. 2023,

DAY, Catherine Mathilda. History of the Eastern Townships, Province of Quebec, Dominion of Canada, Civil and Descriptive. Mika Publishing Compagny, Belleville, Ontario, 1869, 475 p.

GOUVERNEMENT DU QUÉBEC. List of Lands Granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec, from 1763 to 31st December 1890. Imprimeur de la Reine Charles-François Langlois, Québec, 1891, 1920 p.

Marion Louise Phelps, « KNOWLTON, PAUL HOLLAND », dans Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, vol. 9, Université Laval/University of Toronto, 2003, consulté le 20 sept. 2023,

STOCKING. Charles H. W. The History and Genealogy of the Knowltons of England and America. Knickerbocker Press, New-York, 1897, 682 p.


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creation : 2016
Revision : 2 october 2023




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