San Francisco County
ANDREW JACKSON SNYDER
ANDREW JACKSON SNYDER.-- George Snyder, grandfather of A. J., was a Revolutionary soldier, being a Sergeant at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. A native of Holland, he came to America about the age of nineteen years, in company with two older brothers, Charles and Simon. The last-named was killed while serving in the Revolutionary army. He was married in Holland, and his descendants are settled mostly in Franklin county, Pennsylvania. Charles settled in New York after the war, and was married in this country. George Snyder married Christina Hager, of Hagerstown, Maryland, from whose ancestry that place was named. The children were George, Catherine and John. Their parents lived to an advanced age, the father dying at the age of ninety-nine years to a day, and the mother at ninety-seven. The father was a Dunkard preacher and one of the early settlers of Dayton, Ohio. He was a pensioner of the Indian war, and he served in the army also during the last year of the war of 1812-‘14, just after his arrival in Ohio. He died in 1864, at the age of eighty-eight years, and his wife died in 1856, in Elkhart, Indiana. The grandmother Davis left Rebecca (mother of the subject of this sketch), Hephzibah, Eliza and Daniel. The father, John Snyder, a stone mason, builder and farmer, was brought up at Hagerstown and moved to Baltimore, where he erected a great many buildings, mostly residences. He was married in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, to Rebecca Davis, who was born in that county, of Welsh parentage. He moved to Dayton, Ohio, two years after his father, manufactured brick and built many houses, and owned a farm across the river from Dayton. David Davis, the grandfather, a college graduate, had an office in the British army and resigned just before our Revolutionary war. He died at the age of sixty-eight years. His brother George, a civil engineer; was also in this country and sided with the American party. He afterward became a Government surveyor, engaging largely in the survey of the Northwest Territory. The grandmother Davis, nee Jones, died young.
Our present subject, Mr. A. J. Snyder was born in Dayton, December 22, 1824, and brought up on his father’s farm until about seventeen years of age, when he went to learn the trade of manufacturing edged tools at the shop of D. W. Kyler, who married his sister, Christina, when he was twenty years old. Mr. Kyler died, and Mr. Snyder obtained a contract to put in the iron works of the locks on the canal between Cincinnati and Toledo, via Dayton. One Dr. Smith, Clerk of the Court under a Democratic administration, obtained the contract for him. He obtained his iron from David Stout, a dealer at Dayton.
Mr. Snyder moved to Benton, Elkhart county, Indiana, and engaged in general blacksmithing. Afterward he returned to the vicinity of Xenia, Greene county, Ohio, and carried on blacksmithing there. Again, in Dayton, in 1848, he started a finishing shop for edged tools.
He was married October 1, 1849, in Dayton, to Ann Maria Carson, a native of New Jersey. Her father, William Caron, was a farmer near Dayton, and her mother, whose name before marriage was Ann Maria Robinson, was a native of New Jersey. They were married in New Jersey and moved, when Mrs. Snyder was two years old, to the vicinity of Dayton, purchasing the farm owned by John Snyder, the father of the subject of this sketch. Her father died about 1885, when about seventy years old, on the old homestead where the subject of this sketch was born, and her mother died during the year they moved to Montgomery county, Illinois.
Three weeks after his marriage Mr. A. J. Snyder started with his wife for California, bur first stopped a year in Illinois, and a while in Burlington, Iowa, following his trade, in order to raise the means necessary for the trip. He left the latter place April 25, 1852, with a wagon made by himself and four horses. At Kanesville, now Council Bluffs, he refitted for the journey, and joined a train of about thirty wagons. While crossing the plains they had a little trouble with the Pawnee Indians, at the Loup Fork of the Platte river. Mr. Snyder came on by way of Fort Hall to the Dalles, Oregon. On the Columbia river he built and ran a steam paddle-wheel boat, on which he carried passengers and made money between the Dalles and the Cascades. Then he followed mining at Rich Gulch near Jacksonville, in southern Oregon. Provisions were scarce and he suffered much privation. He took in a partner because he had a bellows, anvil and a few tools, costing him about $3,000, which in the East would be worth only about $65. While there he was Alcalde for the miners, under miners’ law. He followed blacksmithing until the fall of 1853, when he left there with $1,600 for San Francisco, by way of the Crescent City. From that city he went East again by way of the Isthmus, and remained at Dayton, Ohio, until June, 1854, when he again left for California, this time locating at Marysville, Yuba county, and opening a blacksmith shop. Within a year he was running three shops, employing nine men; he also bought and sold iron. During the year he was in Marysville he made about $20,000.
Closing then that business he, in partnership, opened a store in Oroville, under the firm name of Snyder & Hafley; but a year afterward he sold out interest to Mr. Downing and returned to Marysville.
In 1856 he purchased a ranch of about 190 acres, bottom land; but, finding the title defective, he moved to San Francisco and began to operate in real estate. A short time afterward, however, in 1857, he went again to Marysville, bought property, built a shop and ran it till 1860, meanwhile investing in mines. At one time he owned a controlling interest in the Jefferson mine, in Brown’s valley, twelve miles from Marysville, which yielded large profits.
In 1861 he was appointed Registrar of the United States Land Office for the Marysville district, and served in that position until 1865, when he resigned. During that period, probably in 1864, he was called to Washington, District of Columbia, to consult on the timber interests of California. Coming again to San Francisco, he resumed real estate operations. In 1867 he purchased a farm of fifty acres just out of Oakland, beyond what is now Golden Gate, and since then that has been his home. His real-estate business he continued until 1886, being alone excepting the last two years of that period, when the firm was A. J. Snyder & Son. This son, Sherman E., carried it on alone until he died, February 28, 1889, when his father resumed the business. Mr. Snyder built the Snyder block, 150 feet on South Ninth street; and he has also built many houses, for sale. He has been a member of the Masonic order for forty years, being now a member of Live Oak Lodge.
His children are: Desdemona, who was born three weeks before he left Burlington, Iowa, for California, and died nine months afterward; Byron, born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1854, and is now a contractor in Oakland, is married and has one daughter; Emma, born in Marysville, California, in 1857, and is now Mrs. Joseph Reinhart; Alice Kate, born also in Marysville, and is an artist, living with her parents; Sherman E., born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1864, named by telegraph, married and died as before mentioned, leaving one child, Edna, born in 1887. His wife, before marriage Miss Carrie Fross, is a daughter of Dr. Fross, and an elocutionist. Dr. Fross died aged about thirty eight years, and his wife is still living, now aged fifty-five years. The next child of Mr. and Mrs. Snyder is Bebecca, who was born in Oakland township and is now married to Myron L. Wurts, of the firm of Dusenberry & Wurts, and she has one child, Myron L., Jr.; and Lilly, the last born, is living at her paternal home.
Transcribed by Elaine Sturdevant.
© 2006 Elaine Sturdevant.