My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

JOHN W. SNYDER, the efficient Supervisor of Mason Township, is one of the prominent farmers of the township, and with such care and perseverance has he attended to his adopted avocation that at the present time he is classed among the substantial men of the county. He was born near New Berlin, Union County (now Snyder), Pa., February 5, 1835, and his father, John K. Snyder, was born in the same county, April 9, 1800. The paternal grandfather, John Snyder, was also a native of the Keystone State, and was born in York County, not far from the town of York, February 22, 1776. His father, also John, was born in Germany and came to America early in 1700. He settled in York County, Pa., following the trade of weaver, and died at the age of eighty-eight years. He was a brother of Simeon Snyder, who raised a regiment of old men to defend the capital, Harrisburg, from the attacks of the English during the Revolutionary War. The latter was three times Governor of the State of Pennsylvania, and in the last convention that nominated him there was but one vote cast against him. He was one of the foremost men of his day, and was honored by all for his integrity and sterling worth. Snyder County was named in his honor. A number of years ago the Legislature made an appropriation to erect a monument to his memory, and it now stands in Silard’s Grove, a just tribute to a great and good man.

The grandfather of our subject was a man of more than ordinary prominence. In his early life he was a successful tiller of the soil, and was also engaged as a teamster, hauling goods from Philadelphia to the interior of the State, where he distributed them among the merchants. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and subsequently became a prominent business man, owning and operating an oil and grist mill. His death occurred in his native State in 1872, at the advanced age of ninety-six years. He was the father of ten children, nine daughters and one son, John K. This son, the father of our subject, was a self-educated man, and for more than thirty-five years was a preacher in the United Brethren Church. It is said that he preached more funeral sermons than any other preacher in the State, numbering not far from a thousand, and principally in Union and Snyder Counties, over which his circuit extended. He also took a deep interest in other matters, was County Commissioner for some time, also Colonel of Volunteers in Union County, and accumulated a fortune of not far from $30,000. He owned nearly eight hundred acres of land. On the farm where he had lived for more than half a century, in the year 1882, when eighty-two years of age, occurred the death of this exemplary and worthy man.

The mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Phoebe Womer, was a native of Union County, Pa., born in 1801, and was the daughter of Daniel Womer, who was born in Lehigh County, that State, and who married Miss Mary Berkstrater, both being of German descent. Mr. Womer was a blacksmith by trade, but was also engaged as an agriculturist, clearing up and carrying on a large farm. He and his wife died in Union County, the mother in 1840, when seventy years of age, and the father seven years later. Aside from these brief facts little further is known of them. The mother of our subject had four brothers; two were shoemakers, one was a carpenter, and the other a farmer. All were good, honorable, hard-working men. Mrs. Snyder died m her native State in 1867.

John W. Snyder was one of a family of seven children, and was fifth in order of birth. The eldest child died young; Mary, who married John McConnell, is deceased; Elizabeth died when but thirteen years of age; Susan is the wife of George Hockenbrough; Daniel married Miss Elizabeth Whipkee; and Henry W. married Miss G. Graybell. The latter resides on his father’s old homestead in Pennsylvania. This has been in the possession of the Snyder family for more than a century, and the barn now standing on it was built in 1777 by George Snyder, who was the brother of the grandfather of our subject. He was killed by being thrown from his horse. Henry Snyder’s eldest son is editor of the local paper in his native county.

Our subject attained his growth on his father’s farm, and like most country boys attended school in the winter and assisted with the farm work during the summer seasons. He secured a very fair education and remained with his father until twenty-one years of age, when he began teaching school. In the spring of 1857 he left the store where he had been clerking and came West to Michigan, locating in Mt. Clemens, where he worked in a sawmill for some time. The following September he married Miss Cidelia Moser, daughter of Charles Moser, who was born in France and was of Jewish extraction. Mrs. Snyder was born in Pennsylvania, whither her father had moved, February 25, 1835.

After his marriage Mr. Snyder with his bride returned to Pennsylvania and remained on his father’s place until 1865. In May of that year he returned to Michigan and remained in Mt. Clemens until 1866, when he came to Mason Township, in Cass County. He purchased the farm where he now lives, and on this his wife died in 1883, leaving two sons: Charles A., now in Chicago, and William H., a grain merchant at Gettysburg, Potter County, S. Dak., where he owns a large elevator. November 23, 1886, Mr. Snyder married his present wife, whose maiden name was Emma Cramer. She was born in Snyder County, Pa., and is a most worthy and accomplished lady. Mr. and Mrs. Snyder are members of the United Brethren Church and are both great workers in the same. He has helped build two churches since he came to Mason Township, and was one of the building committee of the Adamsville church, in which he has been Superintendent of the Sunday-school and Steward. Socially, he is a prominent Mason, being a member of St. Peter’s Lodge of Edwardsburgh, and he is also a strong temperance man. In politics, he comes from old-line Democratic stock and has always adhered to that party, casting his first Presidential vote for Buchanan, and his last for Cleveland. Mr. Snyder has held the office of Justice of the Peace, and in 1883 he was elected Supervisor of his township, holding the latter office three terms, and was again elected to that position in 1893. He is a Director in the schools and one of the leading citizens of his township.

* * * *

This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.