Updated October 2005


Once again I've learned a lesson...you cannot assume anything about this Knapp family. The only wife of Joseph F. Knapp (1892-1952) nickname Dodi, I have ever read about or thought I read about , was a woman named Marion most likely with her maiden name being H-------? Her name appears on the deed in 1940 as a witness to the sale of the mansion as Marion E. Knapp but in all other references including Dodi's obit as Marion H. and Metropolitan Life Insurance's archives as Marion (H?)....in my brief converstion with Dodi's grand niece two years ago, she mentioned that when Dodi died (she was around 6 years old) that she did not know what became of Marion. Well my research turned up that by July of 1954 she re married a man named Stanley L. Conley in NYC and sold the Knapp home "Cove Point" in Hampton Bays


Actually I unkowingly first read about Dodi's FIRST wife last August when I first saw the 1930 census on him taken at Gramercy Place (near 23rd St and Park Ave) in NYC.


When I saw the name Gertrude I assumed that the census taker made a mistake (they do especially in spelling) and listed servant Gertrude Pressley's name twice...



and what has led me to that conclusion you ask ?

This little black book that I recently came into possession of






The Social Register has been published non stop since the 1870's. It's a who's who of "prominent society" However inclusion in it seems to be arbitrary by the editors or whatever. Although his father Joseph Palmer Knapp appears almost year by year from the 1920's and probably earlier with his first two wives, until he died in 1951, finding anything on Dodi has been scarce to say the least.


According to the 1930 census it says he was married at 36 years of age which would of placed it around the year 1928. A 1928 Social Register lookup shows him as still single and using his father's North Carolina address. The one NY Times society piece from August of 1932, I have refers to a Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Knapp of Mastic spending time at the Chatham Hotel in NYC.



This 1936 Directory has opened a whole other can of worms if you will? Some I'm sure that perhaps both his nieces may of not known about as they were just little girls in the mid 1930's and I certainly profess no knowledge of how close his sister Claire (their mother) and Dodi remained after she moved off the Mastic estate in 1925. But now I realize that the NYC census taker in 1930 made no mistake........for on page 441 of the 1007 page little 1936 directory these entries appear. BTW notice the Lisa B. Kneeland (at Chatam) entry also.



There she is


The First Mrs. Joseph Fairchild Knapp

Now who was she? And what happened to the marriage is not known yet. However the time line 1928- circa '36 or later leads me to believe Gertrude O'Brien was indeed the Mrs. J. F. Knapp aboard the original Storm King when it was moored in Mastic in 1931 and Bimini when the Ernest Hemingway incident occurred in June of 1935.

Researching the name O'Brien is not going to be easy. But perhaps easier than Marion E. H. Knapp Conley, whom I do know was deceased by the time of Stan Conley's death in October of 1987.



Although this directory shows them as getting married in 1935 I think their answer on the 1930 census is closer to the truth...In fact I now have evidence to support they were married as early as 1925-26. BTW guess who was Dodi & Gertude's neighbor in NYC in 1930?

Henry Cabot Lodge the future VP running mate to Richard Nixon in 1960

I do have these few facts about Gertrude O'Brien Knapp. She was listed in the 1930 census as being 33 years old when she married Dodi. That would put her birthdate circa 1894-95......... and her mother and father were listed as being from New York....I'm going to start with a check of the 1920 Federal census...... stay tuned! And as always anyone who may know anything I would welcome their e mail

Since this page was originaly posted I have found evidence of Gertrude & Joseph Knapp being married as early as 1926 .... for details see "Exhibit A"


In October of 2005 while browsing the microfilm archives

of The Patchogue Advance in The Patchogue Medford Library I Found This!

So now we know when Joseph F. Knapp married Gertrude O'Brien,

We Also Know


In his Mastic Beach Mansion

They divorced in 1938 & Gertrude moved to New Orleans. She passed away in 1959

In November Of 2010 I Was Contacted By Dr Jolie Harris A Member Of Her Family

Who Supplied me with her birth certificate Sept 13, 1894 and this fantastic photo of her home in Mastic circa 1929