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August 30, 2007

Comments

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Terry Downey

Greetings! The basket you write about was made by my great-grandfather! I live in southern Vermont and would be happy to fill in your blanks and correct some errors about my family and it's rich basket making history. Did you know that my great-grandfather also has baskets in the Smithsonian? Please contact me I would welcome the chance to talk with you further! Joe did not live alone, my great-grandmother was blind. He was the Chief of the tribe in Nova Scotia and I am willing to be your basket bears that special mark on the bottom. My grandmother came to live with them after her own mother passed away, and they had an elder son(Harold) who also lived there. In fact, although Grandpa Knockwoods home has since been torn down, his grandson(Harolds son) lives just before the property, right there in Kingfield.

Terry Downey

I almost forgot! He was and we are proud Mic Mac or MikMaw from Nova Scotia. The baskets were indeed made from ash and please treasure yours and treat it with care! I have been unable to weedle one from my relatives and have none of his handywork. Please keep it as the heirloom it is!

Rich Messeder

I grew up in New Vineyard, Maine. Joe Knockwood used to come to our property to get the ash that he used. Dad always said that the Indians were here before we were and they were entitled to the wood. It seems that there was an area on our property where the ash grew with nice long straight sections that Joe like. I have one of his baskets, and always wanted to know a bit more about Joe. I have been looking for information about him, including writing to Native American groups, but have not received any replies. If someone could put me in touch with Terry Downey, I'd appreciate it. I am 1/8 Native American on Mom's side, but I have no idea to whom I might be related.

Kind regards,
Rich Messeder

Maggie Nerney

Joe Knockwood is my great grandfather. He actually didn't live alone. He lived with his wife Marie and their children. His daughter Rita is my grandmother. We were very close before her death in 2003. We are Mi'kmaq people who are part of the larger group of Maine tribes referred to as Wabanaki. Abenaki is one tribe and is actually not officially considered Wabanaki. The basket is in fact made of ash. He didn't use anything else. He cut and split the trees himself. In fact, that is how he lost two fingers. His son Earl carried on the art of basket making but has long since passed. Earl's son Herald still lives in Jay, Maine and has many of the family tools. I am so thrilled to hear how treasured his basket is to your family. Thank you for sharing.

Annie Guyon

Thanks for contacting me, Maggie! I really appreciate your info and insights. I wonder if you saw the other comments and if you're in touch with Terry Downey, who wrote the first one and who is also Joe Knockwood's great granddaughter. What an amazing heritage you have and what a wonderful man your great grandfather was who touched so many lives!

Best regards,

Annie

Raymond Meldrum

I was surprised by all the postings. I have several of Joe's baskets and a pack basket made by Earl.Harold,Earls son was on my highschool basket ball team. Joe also made great ax handles. My father would cut him a brown ash in trade for ax handles. Joe would"pound" the ash into workable stips for his baskets.

Rosemary Cole Campbell

As a child I remembered going with my father to see Earl Knockwood. My father worked in the woods and always used a packbasket made by the Knockwoods (Joe and later Earl) to carry his axe and tools in. The baskets would wear out and he would go to Earl for a new one. The basket had to be "ordered" and it could take several weeks or months before the new one was ready. These baskets are long gone now but my husband was able to buy one from a local person in Kingfield and we cherish it. We would be interested in any other information and articles about the Knockwoods.

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