Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Farwell Knapp was born in Bridgeport on November 28, 1893, a son, grandson and great grandson of lawyers of distinction. Educated in the public schools and the Taft School in Watertown, he was graduated from Yale in 1916, a leader in his class and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and of the senior honor society Skull and Bones. In 1917 Knapp left the Harvard Law School to enlist in the Army. Precluded by a back injury from admission to an officers' training school, he rose rapidly to become the highest ranking non-commissioned officer in his regiment - the 302nd Field Artillery - and served at Camp Devens and in the American Expeditionary Forces in France. On his discharge Knapp returned to the Law School to graduate in 1921. Admitted to the Connecticut Bar in 1922, he commenced the practice of the law in Hartford in the office of Shipman & Goodwin. In 1925 he was appointed assistant tax commissioner of the state of Connecticut in charge of the inheritance tax division and continued in this office until 1937, when he became a partner in the firm of Marsh, Stoddard & Day. In 1941 he returned to Hartford to become a trust officer in the Phoenix State Bank & Trust Company, but soon thereafter a heart condition, which for some years he had borne with great patience and fortitude, compelled his retirement from active life, and in September, 1942, Knapp died, young in spirit, mature in mind, steadfast and majestic in his courage. His wife, Helen Bayne, whom he married in South Manchester in 1923, and two children, Emily Perkins and Elizabeth Cheney, survive him.
As a tax commissioner Knapp won early recognition not only within his own state but throughout the nation. His scholarly mind, his judicial attitude, his innate fairness brought to the administration of the tax laws and their fast growing intricacies a background and learning philosophical and deep-seated in its nature. Knapp never sought to press a doubtful point upon the taxpayer, nor did he permit the state to suffer at the hands of one versed in the gentle art of loophole escape. His knowledge and judgment won the respect and admiration of all lawyers with whom he came in contact. Frequently he appeared in tax litigation before the Supreme Court of Errors and as Connecticut's advocate he prepared and argued important cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. A member and official of the National Tax Association, Knapp took a leading part in its deliberations, serving on its executive committee and as chairman of various subcommittees. His scholarly articles on tax questions were epitomes of legal learning and his advice and counsel in matters relating to the refinements of tax procedure and administration were sought for by authorities in our sister states.
With the founding of the Hartford College of Law, Knapp became one of its instructors. As a teacher of young men he was abundantly successful. His great patience, his tolerance, his quiet strength were an inspiration to students, and his conscientious preparation, his wide knowledge and cultural appreciation instilled in them a broad outlook upon life. As a member of its board of trustees, as dean, as vice president and finally as president, Knapp was influential and instrumental in the growth of the School and in the standing and recognition which it achieved.
Knapp's splendid physique and carriage marked him as a leader. His intellectual capacity was in proportion thereto. His wit, humor and good cheer lightened the burdens of all who knew him, and despite his own physical suffering there were none before whom he would condescend to be otherwise than happy. Strong, gentle, sympathetic, he was beloved by his friends and respected by all - a servant of the state in whose life we as members of the legal profession may take an everlasting pride.