Henry W. Knauff, Sr., was born in New York in 1812 [1880 Census], and was probably apprenticed to one of the New York organ builders such as Henry Erben. He began building organs in Philadelphia in about 1840 and went into partnership with his son, Henry W. Knauff, Jr., in 1864. The firm went bankrupt in 1892. Knauff's work shows considerable New York influence although the standard of workmanship is inferior to Erben's.
One of Knauff's earliest and best-preserved was built for St. John's Episcopal Church, Compass, Pennsylvania in 1848 [date from an opus list discovered by Dr. Stephen L. Pinel.] The photograph shows the organ in its original location, before it was moved during a remodeling of the church. For three quarters of a century the organ was blown by the Sexton, Jacob Thompson, who died at the ripe old age of 96. The Rector threw out the organ and replaced it with an electronic substitute in around 1980 and it was for many years in storage at the workshop of R. J. Brunner & Co. in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The stoplist, kindly supplied by Raymond J. Brunner, is as follows:
Manual C-f 3, 54 notes:
8' Open Diapason, 54 pipes, 1-17 open wood, tubed off at rear of organ
8' Stopped Diapason, 54 pipes
4' Principal, 54 pipes
4' Flute, 37 pipes
2' Fifteenth, 54 pipes
The metal pipes were made by Peter Schenkel of Philadelphia. The original Fifteenth had been replaced by a string, but Raymond Brunner restored the 2 ft. with original Schenkel pipes that matched perfectly, even down to fitting the original rackboard holes.
In 2010 Raymond Brunner sold the organ to a private collector in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and it is currently undergoing restoration.
An interesting, though tragic story was told about the instrument in its original home. The Rev. Edward Purden Wright (1826-1910) was Rector of the St. John's Church from 1855 to 1856 and subsequently became Archdeacon of Milwaukee. He had a stepdaughter named Adelaide Corryell who was 20 in 1855, when the firm of Haldy & Hazazer of Philadelphia was employed to repaint the interior of the church. Adelaide Corryell was wont to practice the organ and thus met and fell in love with the young Joseph Hazazer while he was working in the church. Since her mother was vehemently opposed to the match, the couple eloped and were married at a nearby Presbyterian Church on June 26, 1855. They escaped to Ohio, where Adelaide gave birth to a son. Shortly after, they were foolish enough to return to Pennsylvania. The child was forcibly taken by Mrs. Wright; neither of his parents ever knew what became of him, and they were too poor to do anything about it. Adelaide died a few weeks after on May 8, 1856. Her tombstone at St. John's first read "Adelaide Corryell" but Joseph Hazazer had it overcut "Hazazer", whereupon the Wright family had it overcut again, since when it has simply read "Adelaide." Mr. Hazazer fared rather better than his late wife. On July 29, 1876 he married a Miss Kate Hunt of Philadelphia, moved to Montreal, raised another family and made a fortune.