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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  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.

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SAMUEL H. SNYDER. From 1795 to 1799 inclusive there was upon the tax list of Frankford township as freeman a man named Conrad Snyder. In September, 1801, he bought of Henry Lepard ten acres of land, and in May, 1806, of the guardians of the minor children of William Campbell, fifty acres of land, both tracts being in Frankford township. The records show that Conrad Snyder continued to live in that part of the county until his death, which occurred in the summer of 1823.

Conrad Snyder and Susannah, his wife, had children as follows: Catharine, who married William Mell and died in Frankford township, her husband afterward dying in Altoona; John H.; Mary, who married Henry Boor and died in Ohio; Susan, who married William Smith and died in the State of Indiana; Jonathan, who married Sarah Paul and died in West Pennsboro township; Eva, who married Jacob Sowers and removed to Kansas, where both she and her husband died; Elizabeth, who married Daniel Low and with her venerable husband is still living in West Pennsboro; and Nancy, who married George Lehman and died in Mifflin township.

John H. Snyder, the second child and eldest son of this family, married a Miss Heiser, by whom he had the following children: George, who died at Mechanicsburg, at the age of thirty-two years, leaving two sons and one daughter; Samuel H., the especial subject of this sketch; and Sylvester, who with his family is living in Louisville, Ky. Mrs. Snyder died, and John H. Snyder afterward married Nancy Alexander, who bore him the following children: Jeremiah, who is living in West Pennsboro township; and John, who lives in Carlisle.

Samuel H. Snyder, the second son of John H. Snyder, was born in Frankford township, March 9, 1837, and received his education in the public schools of West Pennsboro. At the age of twenty he went to learn the milling trade at the Henderson Mill, on the Harrisburg turnpike, near Carlisle, where, as apprentice and journeyman, he remained from 1858 to 1863. In the after part of the summer of 1864 he enlisted in Company F, 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, was mounted at Washington, and joined the regiment at Winchester, just after the famous battle at that place. His regiment was detailed to carry orders, and Mr. Snyder was a member of the detachment which acted as an escort to Gen. Sheridan when he made his famous ride from Winchester to Cedar Creek. On the day before that event the detachment was sent to meet the General at Harper’s Ferry, on his return from a mission to Washington, and escorted him to Winchester. Early on the following morning cannonading was heard in the direction of Cedar Creek, which, while it did not alarm, was yet notice that Sheridan’s presence was wanted at the front. At seven o’clock the General, accompanied by some members of his staff and the escort, which consisted of about thirty-five men, started down the “good broad highway” at a rapid gait. An hour and a half later they met fleeing stragglers, the true condition of affairs at the front became manifest, and the ride which Thomas Buchanan Read immortalized in verse began in dead earnest. That story, however, properly belongs to general history and does not lie within the province of this modest biography.

In 1861 Samuel H. Snyder married Marilla Sponsler, daughter of George and Sarah (Cover) Sponsler. When Mrs. Snyder was born her parents lived in the eastern part of Ohio, but they were natives of Pennsylvania and subsequently returned to Cumberland county and lived for many years in the vicinity of Carlisle. They both died at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Snyder in West Pennsboro.

Mr. Snyder was mustered out of the army at Cloud’s Mills, Va., in June, 1865. On his return home he began farming in Middlesex township, on a farm he then owned, and continued farming there until 1871, when he purchased a farm in the upper part of West Pennsboro township, and moved to it. Here he lived for nine years. In the spring of 1881 he bought what is popularly known as “the old Diller farm,” also lying in the upper part of West Pennsboro, upon which he has lived ever since. The place consists of 176 acres of land, and he has remodeled and repaired the buildings and otherwise improved the place, making of it one of the most beautiful and desirable farm properties in that delightful part of the county.

Samuel H. and Marilla (Sponsler) Snyder are the parents of eighteen children, all of whom at this writing are living and in good health. They were born in the following order: Minnie married Edward Heberlig and is now living in Dauphin county, Pa. Alice married Walter Dunkleberger, and is living in Newville, Pa.; they have had two children. Sallie married Scott Neibert, and is living in West Pennsboro township. Edward, who is unmarried, is living in Harrisburg. Annie married John Mourer, and is living in Philadelphia; to Mr. and Mrs. Mourer two children have been born. Emma married Emerson Bowers and is living in West Pennsboro township; to them one child has been born. Sylvester, who is unmarried, is living in North Middleton township. Then come John, Katie and Lulu, in the order named, who are unmarried and living at home. Elizabeth, who married Nadall Z. Nell, is living in Washington, D. C. Luther is unmarried and at home. Webster resides in Illinois. Bertha, Chester, Samuel, Lillie and Amy all as yet help to make up that part of the family that remains under the parental roof. The family belong to the Big Spring Presbyterian Church at Newville, and for many years sat under the ministrations of the venerable Dr. Erskine, whose precepts and memory they cherish and revere. They are modest, quiet people, but intelligent and progressive and much respected by all who know them.

Mr. and Mrs. Snyder are a living illustration of the maxim of the great Roman of old, that Providence has bestowed on man no gift that is so dear to him as his children. The sight of their assembled offspring moved their joy and pride as nothing else on earth can, and they have had the entire family photographed that they may have them always present and be in their midst. The fond parents form the center of the remarkable group, the large friendly house-dog poses conspicuously in the foreground, and the picture as a whole is both an interesting study and a masterpiece of art. Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

View additional Cumberland County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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