MARK D SNYDER
This gentleman is a well-known agriculturist of Atchison county, living in Benton township, where he owns a fine farm of two hundred acres, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation. Its well tilled fields, excellent improvements and substantial buildings all indicate the careful supervision of the owner and class him among the practical and progressive farmers of this section of the state.
Mr. Snyder is one of the native sons of the county, born November 2, 1858. His father was Hon. S. J. H. Snyder, who through the early period of Kansas' development was a leading actor in the events which form the history of the commonwealth. He was born in Washington county, Maryland, February 7, 1812, and died in Monrovia, Atchison county, November 28, 1873,. at the age of sixty-one years and nine months. In 1820 he accompanied his father on the removal to Tuscarawas county, Ohio, where he pursued his education. He spent three months during three winters in the district schools and about two weeks in a graded school in Canton, Ohio, making nine months and a half in all; but broad experiences in the affairs of life, an observing eye and a retentive memory made him a well informed man. Between 1830 and 1833, almost entirely unaided he cleared a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of heavily timbered land. In 1838 he married Susan Winkelpleck, purchased a tract of timber land and continued its cultivation until 1848. On the morning of the thirty-sixth anniversary of his birth his wife died, leaving him with three small children. To escape from his crushing grief he sold all he had, placed his children with families in the neighborhood and traveled four thousand miles, mostly on foot. Later he secured a helpmeet for himself and a mother for his children through his marriage to Eliza Fisher. He followed nine of his children to the grave, while seven survived him, and thus his lot was one intermingled with sadness. In 1852 he removed to Indiana and in 1854 took up his abode at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
From that time until his death Mr. Snyder was a resident of the Sunflower state and experienced all the trials, hardships and dangers shared by those who opposed the introduction of slavery into the territory. On the morning of the 4th of May, 1854, he made the first legal claim ever entered in Kansas, comprising the land upon which the southern part of the city of Leavenworth now stands, and then returned to Indiana for his family. When he again arrived in this state he found his claim gone and the border ruffians in possession of the entire country! He was driven from the polls at the first election held in the territory on account of his free-soil principles. Two other claims which he bought were wrested from him by a pro-slavery squatter court, his life was threatened and he sought refuge in an unsettled part of the state, where the town of Monrovia is now locate?. He was elected to the first "free-state" legislature, but was indicted for treason and taken captive by the South Carolinians. It was a time when no man with free-state views could secure justice, but as the years passed law and order resumed their reign and justice was once more enthroned. In 1862 Mr. Snyder was elected to the legislature and subsequently served for two terms in the house and one in the senate, filling the positions with distinction and leaving the impress of his strong character and love of right upon the legislation of the state.
Mr. Snyder was a devoted Christian and was one of the organizers of the first Lutheran church organization in the state, -- at Monrovia, -- of which he remained a faithful member until his death. He was enthusiastic in the Sunday school cause and his love for children caused him to have great influence over them in leading them to a knowledge of truth and of Christianity. He wrote two very interesting Sunday school books, -- "The Lost Children" and "Scenes in the Far West," and at the time of his death was engaged in the preparation of a work entitled "The Evidences of Christianity." His influence was ever in behalf of the betterment of mankind and his Christianity was of that practical kind which introduces helpfulness, kindness and forbearance into our daily lives. To his family he left the priceless heritage of an untarnished name. The children who survived him were: Mrs. Anna Berndt, now of Mexico; John H., who is engaged in the real estate business in San Diego, California; Sarah, the wife of D. H. Dunn, of Atchison county; Marcus D.; Cora E. Shiflet, of Atchison county; Susan, deceased wife of A. Reck, her death having occurred in Trinidad, Colorado; and Mrs. Angie Conley, who died in Leavenworth, Kansas. Mrs. Snyder died August 30, 1895, at the age of sixty-seven years. She was a member of the Lutheran church and a most estimable lady.
M. D. Snyder, whose name introduces this review, was born, reared and educated in Atchison county. He was only fifteen years of age at the time of his father's death, after which he remained with his mother, assisting in the work of the farm. He was married November 30, 1881, to Miss Helen M. Maxfield, of Atchison, who was born in Henry county, Illinois, a daughter of David and Anna (Freeze) Maxfield. Her mother died when Mrs. Snyder was only nine years of age, leaving seven children. Her father now resides in Kansas City, Kansas. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Snyder have been born four children, namely: Elsie Ann, who is now a student in the high school; John H., Mark B. and Mildred Auburn, who are also in school.
The family resides upon one of the fine farms of Atchison county and the property has been acquired entirely through the efforts of Mr. Snyder, whose life has been a busy and useful one and whose success in business is the merited reward of his own labors. He gives his political support to the Republican party, but has never been an aspirant for office. He and his family attend the services of the Lutheran church and he is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.