Jean Knott was born in St. Louis, Missouri on June 15, 1883, and was educated in St. Louis public schools, according to Who Was Who Among North American Authors, 1921-1939 (1976). He has not been found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.
Who Was Who said Knott was on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff from 1903 to 1916. According to the 1930 census, he married when he was 23 years old, which was in 1906 or 1907. He and wife, Bettie, lived with her parents and three siblings in St. Louis at 3314 Shenandoah Avenue, as recorded in the 1910 census. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Cartoons Magazine, April 1916, reported Knott's new comics panel.
His Luck May Change
Gene (sic) Knott, sports cartoonist on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been drawing a series of poker cartoons entitled "Penny Ante." They have the earmarks, it is said, of having been inspired by one who knows, and according to an unidentified rumor, Knott is contemplating submitting to his business office at the end of each week an expense account to cover losses while engaged in getting raw material.
Three months later Cartoons, July 1916, reported his new contract.
Hearst Signs Jean Knott
Jean Knott, comic artist of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been graduated into the big-league newspaper class through signing a contract with William Randolph Hearst to work for the Hearst newspaper syndicate.
His salary will be $12,000 a year, of considerably more than double his present salary. He began on the Post-Dispatch as a counter clerk at $10 a week. His work recently attracted attention of Hearst, who signed him to a two-year contract.
For several years Knott divided his time between St. Louis and New York City. Columnist O.O. McIntyre said, on July 18, 1937, "He lived for several years on Riverside Drive, where a penny ante poker game, from which he got so much of this material, was in full blast almost every evening." Another strip by Knott was That Family Next Door, which was, later, renamed Mamma's Boy. He signed his World War I draft card on September 11, 1918. His occupation was cartoonist for the International Feature Service, and description was tall height, medium build, and brown eyes and hair. He named his wife as his nearest relative; their address was in St. Louis at 3129 Shenandoah Avenue. They soon divorced.
World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 2/3/1918
Knott and second wife, Elizabeth, lived in St. Louis at 6300 Enright Avenue, according to the 1920 census, which was enumerated in January. She had a nine-year-old daughter. He was a newspaper cartoonist. The Kansas City Star (Missouri) published news, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, of his wife's divorce suit on May 22, 1920. Who Was Who said Knott married Winifred Wall on February 21, 1921.
In 1930 the couple lived with his mother and sister in St. Louis at 3129 Shenandoah Avenue. He continued as a newspaper cartoonist. On July 18, 1937 O.O. McIntyre said, "Later, he went to his country home near St. Louis and dropped his cartoon idea for an advent in commercial drawing." Knott passed away on June 5, 1937 in St. Louis. Two days later the New York Times published the Associated Press item.
GENE [sic] KNOTT
Artist and Cartoonist Succumbs in Hospital in St. Louis at 54
St. Louis, June 6 (AP).—Gene [sic] Knott, artist and creator of the "Penny Ante" cartoons, died at a hospital here yesterday after a brief illness. His age was 54.
He formerly resided in New York, where he was employed by a syndicate service, but recently had been doing commercial advertising illustrations.