John Reily Knox

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John Reily Knox (May 20, 1820 – February 7, 1898) was an American attorney who was the principal founder of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Miami University in 1839.

Knox was born on a farm between Millville, Ohio and Venice, Ohio and graduated from Miami University "first rank in his class" and president of the Union Literary Society. In Beta Theta Pi, he is referred to as "Pater" in acknowledgment of his role in the origin and design of the fraternity.

He taught school in Mississippi, 1841–42 and was admitted to the bar and practiced at Greenville, Ohio, 1843–52; Dayton, Ohio, 1852–56; and Greenville again 1856–98. He was a partner in Greenville-based law firm of Knox, Martz and Rupe. A Whig until formation of Republican Party, he was an Ohio Presidential Elector in 1860 and cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln. Knox was the president of Greenville Law Library, president of Darke County, Ohio Bar Association, vestryman of St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church and a member of the Miami University Board of Trustees, 1869–98.

He is buried in Greenville Cemetery, Greenville, Ohio.

He was married November 27, 1845 to Isabel S. Briggs. They had four children.[1]

See also[edit]

List of Beta Theta Pi members


  1. ^ A Biographical history of Darke County, Ohio: compendium of national biography. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. 1900. pp. 375–378. 
  • Brown, James T., ed., Catalogue of Beta Theta Pi, New York: 1917.

External links[edit]