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James T. Snider


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/5/2001 at 18:49:40

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
James T. Snider, veterinary surgeon of Lebanon Iowa, was born in Jefferson County Indiana, November 2, 1828. He traces his ancestry back through several generations to a Mr. Snider, a gentleman of Scottish birth, who left his native land in the early part of the eighteenth century and, braving the dangers of an ocean voyage, came to America. He was the great-grandfather of our subject, and in the Revolutionary War he took an active part as a member of the Colonial forces, while his son John, the grandfather of our subject served in the War of 1812. Since the landing of the progenitor of the family in America, his descendants have been numbered among Virginia’s citizens. In 1894, in that State, John Snider, father of the Doctor, was born. He was reared to manhood in Virginia, where he followed farming and shoemaking in pursuit of fortune for some years. In 1826, he married Jane Walker, who was born in Ohio, in 1812, and was a daughter of David Walker, a native of Ireland. They became the parents of nine children, of whom seven are yet living, as follows: James T., of this sketch; Francis M, a resident of Elk Horn County Nebraska; Silas A., who is living in Wayne County Iowa; Samuel of Grand County Colorado; Elizabeth C, widow of emery Glass, of Sumner County Kansas; Cynthia, wife of Isaac Babb, a resident of the Indian Territory; Jane, wife of Israel Salters, whose home is in Appanoose County, Iowa. With his family Mr. Snider emigrated westward in 1843. He chose the Territory of Iowa as the scene of his future labors, and located in Van Buren County. He took an active interest in the political affairs of the community, supporting the Republican Party, and was accounted one of the leading citizens of the neighborhood.
In the usual manner of farmer lads, James T. Snider spent his boyhood days in which no event of special importance occurred. As the schools in a new settlement are not of a very advanced grade, the educational advantages he received, were limited. The summer of 1846, he spent in the western wilds of Iowa and Nebraska, making his home among the Indians, until 1850, when he crossed the plains, following the army of gold hunters en route to California. Such a journey was not unattended by great risk and peril, and the train to which Mr. Snider belonged encountered the Comanche Indians in two very severe engagements, in which several of the white men were wounded. The Indians suffered considerable loss, and only gave up the fight at the killing of their chief, who fell at the hands of our subject. At length the party reached Hangtown California, and Mr. Snider made a location in Diamond Spring, Placer County, where he engaged in the grocery business with good success, and also followed mining for eighteen months. He then returned to Iowa somewhat richer that when he started. The return journey was made by way of the Isthmus of Panama, during which he spent some time in sightseeing on the Isthmus and on the Island of Haiti. In December, he landed at New York City, and continued his journey homeward, where he at length arrived, after having traveled across the entire country, and around it. Mr. Snider then engaged in buying and selling horses until 1856, when en embarked in the mercantile business in Lebanon, in which line he continued until 1860, when he began traveling over the country as a peddler. Later he engaged in the hotel business, but in the spring of 1864, he laid aside business pursuits, feeling that his country needed his services.
On January 4, 1864, he enlisted in Company G, Third Iowa Cavalry, serving under Captain John Stiger, while Col. J.W. Noble commanded the regiment. After participating in the battle of Memphis, Mr. Snider was placed in detached duty and stationed at Little Rock Arkansas. His two brothers Frank and Silas were also in the service, being members of Company G, Thirty-Sixth Iowa Infantry. At the close of the war he was mustered out, and received his discharge August 19, 1865, after which he returned to his home in Iowa. He then took up his present profession, that of veterinary surgery, which he has since continued. He ahs gained a wide reputation in the line of his present business, and his large practice yields him a good income. He has a host of friends won by his honest dealings and fair treatment and ability.
In 1854, Mr. Snider was united in marriage with Elizabeth a. Wilson, a native of Ohio, who died in 1872, leaving one child, a daughter, Mary Jane, who died in 1887. Mr. snider was again married in 1874, his second union being with Martha Jane Harris, daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth Purcell Harris, who are numbered among the pioneer settlers of Van Buren County of 1836. The father was born September 3, 1799, in Pennsylvania and his marriage was celebrated May 31, 1827. Twelve children were born to this union, but only three are now living. The father died February 4, 1847, and the mother passed away December 19, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Snider have no children of their own, but are rearing an adopted daughter Elizabeth Kellar.
In his political affiliations, Dr. Snider is a supporter of the Democracy. He has held several local offices of trust, was Constable for a number of years, two years filled the position of Justice of the Peace, after which he acted as Assessor, and is now Township Commissioner. He is also President of the Lebanon Cemetery Association, Past Master of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 9, A.F. & A.M. and a Trustee in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has witnessed almost the entire growth of Van Buren County, an on the list of its honored early settlers his name is enrolled.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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