Joseph Knowland (October 8, 1833 – November 13, 1912) was an American success story: an orphan who worked his way up from laborer at a clipper ship service firm to co-own the Knowland and Doe Lumber Company, and then went on to many diverse investments and leadership positions in both lumber and mining businesses throughout California and Oregon. 

On May 13, 1863, Joseph Knowland married Hannah Bailey Russell, and the couple went on to have four children; Sadie E. Knowland (1864 - 1905), Lucille K. Knowland (1870 - 1926), Hollis Russell Knowland (died in infancy), and Joseph Russell Knowland (August 5, 1873 - February 1, 1966).

Although Knowland lived in San Francisco and Alameda, he had many business connections with Oakland, including investments with Egbert Judson of Judson Manufacturing Company, with facilities in Oakland and Emeryville.  Daughters Sadie and Lucy attended the private Snell Seminary for Women in Oakland, and his son Joseph also went to school in Oakland, at the Hopkins Academy.

His  son went on to become U.S. Congressmen Joseph Russell Knowland, with Joseph Knowland getting out of his death bed eight days before he died in order to vote for his son on November 5, 1912.  Knowland's grandson was elected U.S. Senator William Fife Knowland (June 26, 1908 - February 23, 1974), and his great grandson is Joseph William "Joe" Knowland (July 26, 1930) who at times has been both a newspaper publisher and an actor. 

Knowland was an active member in a number of fraternal organizations and secret societies, many if not all of which probably met in Oakland, including the Free and Accepted Masons, the Knights Templar, the Royal Arch Masons, the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Following his death at the family home in Alameda, Joseph Knowland was cremated at the Chapel of Memories in Oakland.  He and wife Hannah, along with their daughter Lucille Knowland Hill are interred there in Verbena Section, Tier 2 Number 6.