Northwood New Hampshire Teacher and Attorney, Ella Louise Knowles (1860-1911)

Mrs. Ella Knowles, from New Hampshire Women, A Collection of Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Daughters and Residents of the Granite State, page 115

Ella L. Knowles, from New Hampshire Women, A Collection of Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Daughters and Residents of the Granite State, page 115

Ella Louise Knowles, daughter of David and Louise (Bigelow) Knowles was born 31 July 1860 in Northwood, New Hampshire.

She graduated from Northwood Seminary followed by three years of teaching school to earn money for her higher education. During that time she studied Latin and Greek. She graduated magna cum laude from Bates College in Lewiston Maine in June of 1884.

The General Catalogue of Officers and Graduates of Bates College…1863-1891 states for Class of 1884: “ELLA LOUISE KNOWLES, A.M. Daughter of David and Louisa (Bigelow) Knowles, b. Northwood Ridge, N.H., July 31, 1860. Fitted for college at Northwood Sem. Teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Helena, Mont. Attorney at law in Helena, Mont. 1888–. Notary public. Sec. and Treas. of the Rocky Mountain Lumber Co., Helena, Mont. Her practice amounts to between $5,000 and $6,000 a year.”

She procured law books and studied under Burnham & Brown of Manchester New Hampshire. She then accepted a professorship of rhetoric and elocution in Western Normal College in Iowa. She removed to Helena Montana to work as a teacher in the Helena Central High School, where she became principal. She resigned this work to again study law.

She was the first woman admitted to practice law by the Supreme Court of the State of Montana (on 1 January 1890). She was also the first woman in Montana to receive the appointment of Notary Public.  She opened her law office in 1891, and prevailed in her first case (suing a restaurant owner in justice of the peace court on behalf of a client who had been employed but felt cheated out of $5 of back wages).

In 1892 she became the first woman to run for a major political party for state attorney general. She campaigned for Attorney General as a member of the Populist Party, and lost to Hon. Henri J. Haskell. He appointed her Assistant Attorney General of the state of Montana in 1893. [Remember that this all happened before Montana women had the right to vote].

She married May 1895 to Henri J. Haskell (as his second wife), to whom she had lost the election for Attorney General of Montana in 1892.  He was born 20 July 1843 in Palmyra, Somerset Co, Maine, son of Aretas and Sophia (Hathorn) Haskell. In 1897 she divorced her husband, returned to using her maiden name, and moved to Butte, Montana.

In 1896 she was chosen president of the Montana Women Suffrage Association. She became an expert in mining law, corporate law and property law. In 1906 she was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

On a personal note, one biography states, “Miss Knowles finds recreation in riding horseback and driving. She has a fine library and office in the Masonic Temple…”  She died in Butte, Montana 27 January 1911, from an infection, at the age of fifty.


-Biography and Photograph: Ella Knowles (PDF)-

-Wikipedia: Ella L. Knowles Haskell

Original story and photograph

Seacoast Women: Ella Louise Knowles Haskell

Encyclopedia of the Great Plains


John Knowles, was b. abt 1624 in England and d. 5 Dec 1705 in Hampton, Rockingham Co NH. He m. 10 July 1660 in Hampton NH to Jemima Austin/Asten, dau of Francis & Isabella (Bland aka Smith) Asten/Austin. She b. abt 1635 in Hampton NH, and baptized 24 Jan 1641, and d. 5 Dec 1705 in Hampton NH. John Knowles was a mariner, called a seaman in 1667. On 25 March 1666 he bought from Giles Fifield “one dwelling-house and house-lot” of 10 acres and 6 acres of marsh in Hampton NH. This homestead remained in the Knowles family at least through the 7th generation (to Eldredge A. Knowles). He took the oath of allegiance December 1678. During the last ten years of his life John Knowles was blind. His will was proved 31 Dec 1705. This John Knowles parentage has not been conclusively proven.
Children of John & Jemima (Austin) Knowles [from “History of Hampton NH, pp 778+]:
1. +John Knowles, b. 6 Feb 1661 Hampton, Rockingham Co NH
2. Ezekiel Knowles, b. 19 Aug 1663 Hampton NH; d. 11 Dec 1666
3. James Knowles, b. 20 Nov 1665 Hampton NH, d. 1 Feb 1682
4. Simon Knowles, b. 22 Nov 1667 Hampton NH, m1) Rachel –; m2) Rachel Joy
5. Joseph Knowles, b. 11 June 1672 Hampton NH, prob. d.y. as not mentioned in father’s will
6. Sarah Knowles, b. 17 Apr 1676 Hampton NH; d. 8 June 1742; m. Robert Drake
7. Hannah Knowles, b. 18 Apr 1678 Hampton NH, d. 12 Sep 1769, m. William Locke

John Knowles, son of John & Jemima (Austin) Knowles, was b. 6 Feb 1661 in Hampton, Rockingham Co NH and d. abt 1733/34. He m abt 1686 in Hampton NH to Susanna Lawrence, dau of John & Susanna (Bachelder) Lawrence. She b. 3 July 1663/1667 in Groton, England and d. 17 Oct 1745, age 82 years in Hampton NH. His will was proved 4 Jan 1733/34.
Children of John & Susanna (Lawrence) Knowles [from History of Hampton NH]:
1. John Knowles, b. 14 May 1686 Hampton, Rockingham Co NH; m. Tryphena Locke
2. +Ezekial Knowles, b. 29 June 1687 in Hampton, NH
3. Amos Knowles, b. 1689 Hampton NH; d. 24 Feb 1746, m. Abigail Dowst
4. Reuben/Rueben Knowles, b. 1691 Hampton NH
5. Abigail Knowles, b. 3 Dec 1695 Hampton NH; d. 22 Jan 1727; m. Ephraim Marston

Ezekial Knowles, son of John & Susanna (Lawrence) Knowles was b. 29 June 1687 in Hampton, Rockingham Co NH. He m. 31 Jan 1712 in Hampton NH to Mary Wedgewood, dau of David & Hannah (Hobbs) Wedgewood. She b. 5 Apr 1694 in Hampton NH. He resided at Hampton and Rye NH.
Children of Ezekial & Mary (Wedgewood) Knowles [from History of Hampton NH]:
1. Hannah Knowles, b. 1 March 1713 Rye, Rockingham Co NH
2. Nathan Knowles, bap. 27 May 1716 Rye NH; m. Hannah Clifford [or Mary dau of John Lane in one source]
3. Mary Knowles, b. 2 Nov 1718 Rye NH, d. 1787; m. John Lane
4. Amos Knowles, b. 4 Nov 1722 Rye, Rockingham Co NH [not mentioned in History of Hampton NH, but IS mentioned in History of Rye NH; m. 11 Oct 1744 Libby —. Had issue Nathan, Lydia, Ezekiel, Isaac, Amos, Elizabeth, John, ELizabeth 2nd, David and Seth.
5. +David Knowles, b. 1 Sep 1725 in Rye, Rockingham Co NH

David Knowles, son of Ezekial & Mary (Wedgewood) Knowles was b. 1 Sep 1725 in Rye, Rockingham Co. NH and d. 10 March 1806 in Northwood, Rockingham Co NH. He m. bef 1752 to Deborah Palmer, prob. dau of William Palmer. She was b. 1 Oct 1729 in North Hampton, NH, and d. 1799 in Northwood NH. They lived in No. Hampton NH near Knowles Pond.
Children of David & Deborah (Palmer) Knowles:
1. +David Knowles, b. 23 Aug 1753 in Northampton NH
2. Simeon Knowles, b. 20 Dec 1754 in Northampton, Rockingham Co. NH
3. Ezekial Knowles, b. 16 Apr 1758 Northampton NH
4. Hannah Knowles, b. 3 Oct 1760 Northampton NH
5. Samuel Knowles, b 17 May 1763 Northampton NH
6. Deborah Knowles, b. 15 Aug 1767 Northampton NH
7. Nathan Knowles, b. 9 March 1770 in Northampton NH

David Knowles, son of David & Deborah (Palmer) Knowles, was b. 23 Aug 1751/53 in Northampton, Rockingham Co. NH. He m. 5 Sep 1776 to Mary Hobbs of North Hampton NH who was born there 29 March 1755.  He was a soldier in the American Revolution, a private in Captain Enoch Page’s company, Colonel Senter’s regiment, in the fall of 1777, in the “Roadisand” (Rhode Island) campaign.
Children of David & Mary (Hobbs) Knowles:
1. Morris Knowles, b. 7 Jan 1690, d. 28 Nov 1834; m. 8 Dec 1801 Mary “Polly” Caverley. She b. in Strafford NH. Children: David C., Charles, Morris, Jefferson, Caverly, William, Smith, Mary Jane, and William.
2. David Knowles, b. 8 Aug 1783 and d. 30 Aug 1865. He m. 11 Jan 1807 to Sally Bachelder, dau of Samuel & Nancy (Low) Bachelder. She b. 9 March 1783 and d. 30 Dec 1867. Had ch: Lydia, Jacob L., Mary, Sarah B., Catherine, Caroline, Harrison, Sophronia and Samuel.
3. Jonathan Knowles, b. 10 Nov 1789 in North Hampton NH and d. 14 June 1864. He m. Mary P. Pillsbury, dau of James & Rhoda (Smart) Pillsbury. Had children: Mary C., Elizabeth Jane, Charles H., Hannah C., James J., George W., and Jefferson.
4. +Jesse Knowles, b. 3 Feb 1798

Jesse Knowles, son of David & Mary (Hobbs) Knowles, was b. 3 Feb 1798 and d. 12 Jan 1856 in Northwood NH. He married 2 Sep 1825 to Eliza Smart Pillsbury, dau of James & Rhoda (Smart) Pillsbury of Northwood NH. She was born 5 Sep 1805 in Northwood NH, and d. 6 Dec 1861.
Children of Jesse & Eliza Smart (Pillsbury) Knowles:
1. +David Knowles, b. Dec 1827 in Northwood NH, a shoemaker in 1850 census
2. James Harrison Knowles, b. 6 Sep 1830 in Northwood NH, died 4 Aug 1863
3. Jesse M. Knowles, b. 3 Feb 1846 in Northwood NH; Union soldier during Civil war, serving in Company B, 18th Infantry Regiment, New Hampshire, enlisted 5 Sep 1864 at the age of 18, mustered out 10 June 1865.

David Knowles, son of Jesse & Eliza J. Smart (Pillsbury) Knowles was b Dec 1827 in Northwood, Rockingham Co. NH, and d. abt 1922. He m1st) before 1854 to Mary A. Bachelder. She b abt 1829 and died 28 March 1857 in Northwood NH of consumption.   He married 2d) 23 May 1859 in Manchester NH to Louisa/Louise Bigelow, dau of Rufus & Sally (Pillsbury) Bigelow. She b. 14 Aug 1830 in Wheelock, Caledonia Co. Vermont, and d. 6 June 1871. He m3rd) 11 April 1880 in Northwood NH to Mary Jane (Drew) Langley, a widow, daughter of Timothy & Sophia (Caverly) Drew . She b. 14 Dec 1838 in Strafford NH and died 8 April 1923 in Northwood NH. In 1850 census his occupation is listed as shoemaker.
U.S. Census > 1850 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Northwood
Jesse Knowles 52 M Farmer 1200 NH
Eliza J. Knowles 44 F NH
David Knowles 22 M Shoemaker NH [b abt 1828]
Harrison Knowles 20 M Carpenter NH [b abt 1830]
Jesse M. Knowles 4 M NH
—living next door–
Jefferson Knowles 37 M Farmer 1000 NH [b abt 1813]
Abigail Knowles 31 F NH
Emily F. Knowles 9 F NH
Mary E. Knowles 6 F NH
—living next door—
Mary Knowles 71 F NH [b abt 1779]
Mary J. Knowles 29 F NH [b abt 1821]
—living nearby—-
Jonathan Knowles 60 M 1500 NH [b abt 1790]
Mary P. Knowles 53 F NH [b abt 1797]
James Knowles 24 M Laborer NH
George H. Knowles 20 M Shoemaker NH
Jefferson Knowles 17 M Farmer NH
Census > U.S. Census > 1870 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Northwood
Knowles, David 42 M W Farmer 3000/800 NH [b abt 1828]
Knowles, Louisa B. 38 F W keeping House Vermont [b abt 1832]
Knowles, Etta M. 14 F W Student NH
Knowles, Ella C. 10 F W Student NH
—-living nearby—-
Knowles, Levi 73 M W Farmer 200/600 NH
Knowles, Mary 69 F W Keeping HOuse NH
—-living nearby—–
Knowles George W. 40 M W Farmer 2500 830 NH
Knowles Martha F. 34 F W Keeping House NH
Knowles Myra P. 1-9/12 F W NH
U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Northwood > District 221
Knowles, David W M 53 NH NH NH
Knowles, Mary J. W F 43 wife Keeping House
Knowles, Ella L. W F 19 daughter Teaching School NH NH NH
U.S. Census > 1900 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Northwood > District 203
Knowles, David Head W M Dec 1827 72 married 20 years NH NH NH
Knowles, Mary J. wife W F Dec 1836 63 married 20 yrs 2 ch 2 living NH NH NH [m. abt 1880]
—living nearby—-
Knowles, James J. Head W M March 1826 74 married 24 yrs NH NH NH Farmer
Knowles, Loraine, wife W F Feb 1844 55 married 24 years NH NH NH
Helena, Montana Directories, 1889-91
Name: Miss Ella L Knowles
Location 1: Masonic block
City: Helena
State: MT
Occupation: attorney
Year: 1889
Location 2: b 668 N Rodney
Child of David & Mary Jane (Bachelder) Knowles:
1. Henrietta “Etta” M. Knowles, b. 20 September 1854 in Northwood NH and d. 9 May 1927 in Epsom NH. She m1) 18 Oct 1874 in Manchester NH to G. Frank Harris, son of Solomon H. & Tabitha (?) Harris. He was born abt 1852 in Franconia NH; she m2nd) 22 Aug 1914 in Northwood NH to George H. Piper, son of Gardiner W. & Mariah H. (Dustin) Piper. He b. 6 June 1843 in Allenstown NH and d. 22 Apr 1923 in Epsom NH.
Child of David & Louisa (Bigelow) Knowles:
2. Ella L. Knowles, b.  31 July 1860 in Northwood, New Hampshire.  She married May 1895 to Henri J. Haskell (as his second wife), to whom she had lost the election for Attorney General of Montana in 1892.  He was born 20 July 1843 in Palmyra, Somerset Co, Maine, son of Aretas and Sophia (Hathorn) Haskell. In 1897 she divorced her husband and moved to Butte, Montana.  She died in Butte, Montana 27 January 1911, from an infection, at the age of fifty. [See her biography at the top of this page and view the additional links to learn more about her professional life]

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