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SNODGRASS FAMILY
HISTORY

[Hand written on the inside of the front cover page is:]

History written by Gertie — Tribe of Tom in early 1970's

[Gertie would be Gertrude Alice (Snodgrass) Harney]


SNODGRASS HISTORY

My father's father was born January 9, 1818 the son of Hannah Snodgrass. His father did not choose to give him his name so John went through life with his mother's maiden name. He loved Hannah Snodgrass and her sisters, Julie and Jane. There is very little we know of his early life.

It was 13 years later that the Kirby family arrived in Ohio, after a trek of several hundred miles from Pennsylvania. I think the friend's name was Buckles. The Buckles home was small so the Kirby family slept in their covered wagon and on December 3, 1831 Elizabeth Amy was born in that covered wagon. She was destined to become our grandmother.

Elizabeth Amy loved the outdoors and spent much time among those wonderful trees -- red maple, white maple, oak, elm, most any tree you could think of. She liked herbs. She liked to gather wild herbs and studied about them.

Somewhere along the line she met and married John Snodgrass. Their first child was my father, Thomas Eldrige Snodgrass. By 1872 the family numbered nine children.

In August the family boarded the train for Nebraska City, Nebraska and their future home near Johnson, Nebraska. There was Thomas, Laura, Hannah (named for her grandmother), Price, Molly, John, Jennie, Ed and Edith. The tenth child "Errol" was born in Nebraska.

The train was on the Burlington line one of the first railroads. I have heard grandmother tell how she heated the twins (Edith and Ed) milk on the pot-bellied stove in the coach.

The Burlington Railroad had built a stub from Paynes Junction, Iowa to a location on the east side of the Missouri River across the river from Nebraska City, Nebraska since there was no bridge across the river. They were ferried across the river to the west side where they were met by a Mr. Freidenburg who had agreed to rent them a tenant house while they were looking for something to buy.

Mr. Freidenburg was one of the first commercial orchardist in Nebraska so they lived there a year then bought their home south and east of Johnson, Nebraska. They must have built the one room cottage with an attic that I remember. By the time I can remember there were lean tos on the north and on the west but the old house still stands there. It must be more than 100 years old. John died December 17, 1885. Brother Roy was a baby. Tom and family were living in a dugout near Colby, Kansas on a tree claim. John Snodgrass was 57. That was 6 years before I was born so I only remember what I have heard of my father's father. Elizabeth Amy was a tall rawboned woman who walked with a stride and loved the outdoors. She taught her daughters to cook and sew and do all the things required of a woman in that day. Grandmother loved her yard and made a thing of beauty of it. The road came in on the east of the yard. On the south and east corner of the yard was the well and windmill. Nearby was the rockery. A rockery was a flowerbed made by forming a circle or square of rocks. This rockery was 10 or 12 feet in diameter and about 14 inches high. The bottom was filled with sand and gravel for drainage and rich dirt. This rockery was made of beautiful red rocks called boulders. That was where grandma raised her prize flowers, geranium, phlox, larkspur, pansies and many more. There was a border of oxalis around the edge that wintered in the ground and came up to bloom all summer.

Across the yard from them was the summer kitchen where meals were prepared in the hot summer then carried via a walk of stepping stones to the dining room where some of the youngsters were elected to operate a branch off a tree to keep the flies off the food.

In the summer kitchen the rafters (the walls were not plastered) were hung to dry all the herbs she had gathered to make teas, salves, etc. that she used in her doctoring for she was a midwife and doctored far and wide in the neighborhood.

On the other side west of the kitchen was the garden. One of the vegetables growing there that I would like a taste of now were the winter radish. They grew in a corner and came up volunteer every spring. They were large and round, pretty colors (red, yellow, gray, green) had a mild flavor. Very tasty. Were packed in sand in the cave for winter.

She grew her own seed. In the fall she selected her finest head of cabbage which she saved. In the spring she planted that head of cabbage which sent up a stock that bloomed and bore seed. Many other vegetables bore seed in the same way, turnips, parsnips, and others.

They dried many things; corn applies, and peaches. In the winter they butchered a beef. Grandma dried lengths of beef, salted. In the summer when father came home after a trip to grandmothers he usually brought a piece of dried beef. We all gathered round while brother Roy shaved off slivers of that beef. Someone always grabbed each piece. I wonder if Roy ever got a piece.

Grandma was a devout Baptist, a pillar of the little church in Johnson, Nebraska where Aunt Edith sang in the choir and Aunt Jennie played the organ or piano whichever it happened to be.

Grandma drove a team to a carriage. A carriage was a two-seated vehicle with a top. When the weather was bad there were curtains that buttoned on to the sides to keep the rain or snow out.

We lived 3 miles northwest of Johnson, Nebraska and often met at the church and went to grandmothers in the carriage after church.

There was a field of virgin prairie. Grandma always stopped the horses and asked we grandchildren to get out and pick a bouquet of wild flowers. They began in the spring with violets and sweet william and went through the summer with indian paintbrush, etc. and goldenrod and others in the autumn. So she took home a bouquet of wild flowers. She very likely had taken a bouquet of her flowers to church.

She didn't have a very prominent place in the church service but she was always there neatly dressed and tidy greeting her neighbors and friends when church service was over.

After the death of John, Elizabeth and her family carried on. Part of her family were married by that time and beginning to scatter.

It's too bad that John had to go through life with a name that was not his own. But I am glad the name he gave us was "Snodgrass". It's a grand old name. The descendants of John and Amy have made it a name to be proud of. They were kind hearted people for the most part they were perfectionists. Anything they did they did well. If anyone was in need they did what they could to help. So I am glad my name is Snodgrass. I have had lots of good times under that name.

As we look around and see the many ways the descendants of John and Amy Snodgrass served the country and the communities in which they lived. They served in World War I, World War II and Korea (not all boys, some girls). It is a grand old name. We are proud of it.

It was December 3, 1916 that Elizabeth Amy celebrated her 86th birthday. She was tired and that winter she was failing. She was bedfast that last two months of her life. Her room was continually decorated with flowers, potted plants and bouquets. As fast as one wilted another took its place. Her ten children were still alive. They all came home and stayed to the end.

On March 31, 1917 Elizabeth Amy Kirby Snodgrass breathed her last. She was buried in the Johnson Cemetery beside her husband where a large stone marks the spot.

I am Gertrude Alice Snodgrass, age 88, daughter of Thomas E. Snodgrass and Emma Francis Starr. These are mostly memories. I'm sure there may be many mistakes.

 

SNODGRASS FAMILIES

There was a baby born after the Snodgrass family came to Nebraska. They named him Errol. He made the family number 5 boys and 5 girls. It was some feat to raise a family of that number in that day.

My father was the oldest. They named him Thomas Eldrige. He was 21 when they came to Nebraska. It seems he liked to travel. At one time he sold books (the Bible) in Arkansas. He went to California and always said it was there he learned to love trees. He worked for Philip Starr. There he met and married Emma Starr. They were the parents of ten children, one died in infancy. Tom was very witty. Always had an answer at the end of his tongue, as did all Snodgrass. Tom claimed he was Irish. I believe they were. He had a clear voice that could be heard distinctly in a large auditorium before megaphones. He was something of an orator. He worked out instructions on orchard spraying, and pruning. Was invited to give his lectures at the Nebraska University. His lectures can be found in the yearbook of the university. His first investment was land. Possibly a 160 acre tract where the town of Odel, Nebraska now stands. He kept it a short time and sold it. Soon afterward the railroad came through and built a depot on that property. Lots were sold and the town of Odel was started but that was too late for Tommy.

There is a story of eight brothers who came from Ireland to the colonies. In the record in Washington, D.C. of members of SAR and DAR a long list of Snodgrass names many serving in the Revolution but we do not know which might be Hannah Snodgrass's father.

The second child was a daughter they named Laura. She was a little woman. She was engaged to marry John Bright who was cutting bands on bundles of grain in a thresher when his glove was caught in the machinery and he lost an arm about two inches below the elbow. He tried to break the engagement but Laura insisted on marrying him. John worked at most any chore that came up. He hung a pail on that stub and picked fruit or milked a cow faster than anyone. He taught singing in schools near and far. They were parents of five children: Essie, Ralph, twins (Guy and Glen) and Spurgeon. They are all deceased.

Molly was the third daughter. She was a pretty girl. She studied at Peru and taught school. She married Harvey Miller. Their only child was a girl who died. They were always doing things for other children. Many a Christmas would have been very slim it is were not for them and Aunt Edith. Harvey usually had a general store, first in Roggan, Colorado and then in the mountains. Both are deceased.

Hannah, named for her father's mother, was the third child. She was a very neat precise woman. She attended college at a Methodist College at Peru, Nebraska, now the Peru State Normal. Laura, Molly and Tom all attended that college founded by a Rev. Burch and later became Peru Normal. All three girls taught school in pioneer days. Hannah married Leslie Burch, son Rev. Burch. They farmed in South Dakota where their children were born. Their children were Walter, Rob, Oliva, Irwin, Hall, Ruth and Florence. The Burches bought land near Lander, Wyoming about the early 1900's. Ruth and Florence were Nebraska University students and spent Christmas vacations with our family.

Oliva (we always called her Va) married a man in Salt Lake City. I think they are all deceased.

Ruth lost her only son in a plane crash during World War II, about the same time Blanch lost her son in a plane crash. The two mothers kept in close touch but we have not heard from Ruth for several years.

Price was the different one. He was quiet and it seems he lived with my parents. Our farm joined the Naylor farm. Uncle Price married Clara Naylor. Their first home was a one room cottage built in father's alfalfa field. Later Uncle Price and Aunt Clara bought land in the Cherry Grove District north of us and built a home there. They had one son, Ward. Aunt Clara was an immaculate housekeeper. She loved flowers and many unusual blossoms were in her garden. I remember the red rambler rose that covered one gable end of their two-story house. Ward served as lineman often running lines in no mans land during battles. He came home shell-shocked. From Nebraska they moved first to Idaho and then to Oregon where Uncle Price died and is buried. Aunt Clara came back to Colorado to help care for her aged father but she died before he did. Her stone is in the Johnson Cemetery.

John was a fine looking man. He farmed for grandmother along with Ed and Errol. He married a beautiful girl, Laura Moren. They started housekeeping near Johnson, Nebraska and then lived on farms near Tecumseh, Ohioway and Geneva. Their family numbered six: Mira, Willa, Burton, Howard, Lucile, and Russell. Only Lucile and Russell are left. Aunt Laura and John lived near Geneva. Lucile married Ronald Fox. Russell was a county officer living a Fairbury, Nebraska where he still resides.

Jennie married a brother of Laura Moren named Grant Moren. Their two daughters, Margery and Erma, grew up in Goodland, Kansas where their father was an employee of the Roundhouse. Both married and had families but I have lost track of their families. Grant, Jennie, Margery and Erma are deceased.

Ed's first wife was Mary Kimler who was musical and loved to sing with and accompany Ed who had a good base voice. Mary became tubercular and died after they had moved to southern Kansas. Later Ed married Susan Harper and they were parents of two children, a daughter named Elizabeth Amy for his mother, and one son, Philip, who now lives on their farm. His wife Mary teaches. Ed and Aunt Sue are deceased.

Edith, the other twin gave up her life to stay with her mother Elizabeth Amy. In fact she helped anyone in that town and country around who might need help. She had a soprano voice. In fact she had a 4 octave voice. They had a mixed quartet: Errol was tenor; Edith, soprano; Jennie, alto; and Ed, base. They were organized and trained by John Bright who had watched their voices carefully during the teen years. After her brothers were married Edith and her mother moved to a home in Johnson, Nebraska. They rented the farm to Uncle Errol and 80 acres north of Johnson was farmed by Ed.

Errol was not too much older than my brothers. He was always the life of our parties. He married Alice Dominey, a very pretty little girl. They were parents of two children, Varro and Mabel. After about five years Alice was suffering terribly with what I think may have been rheumatoid arthritis. It took her life. They were farming grandma's farm south of Johnson, Nebraska. Uncle Errol gave up farming and lived with Aunt Edith and grandmother. Aunt Edith took care of the two children after Elizabeth Amy's death. Uncle Errol had bought a farm in southern Kansas. Aunt Edith went with Errol to that farm. She trained the children to manage the housekeeping and married her girlhood sweetheart, Brint Hikes, who took her to his home in Oregon. She was in her late 40's and completed her life and is buried there.


[The following notes were typed on the back three pages of a copy of the above history. I have no idea who typed them or where this particular copy came from. - Omer L. Snodgrass II Feb 2000.]

Walter Burch told John Snodgrass' Mother was Hannah Bascom.

Father's Name, Not known.

John Snodgrass, born Jan 9, 1818, in Dolphin Co., Pennsylvania

died Dec 17, 1885, at Johnson, Nebraska

married Elizabeth Amy Kirby on March 6, 1851

Elizabeth Amy Kirby was born Dec 3, 1830, Champaign County, Ohio

died March 31, 1917 in Johnson, Nebraska

Her father was Joel Kirby, who lived with the Snodgrass' in Ohio

She had three sisters:

Nancy, who died in her youth

Charlotte had 2 boys -- Jim and Jack

Olevia married Robert Buckles

Their children were Ward and Jimmy

Ward Buckles was Baptist preacher in Nebraska

 

John Snodgrass had three sisters:

Julia, died at Charlotte's

Jane, maiden ladies home

Mary Todd, lived in Ohio.

This Mary had two boys and a girl and lived in Ohio.

One son was Jim and one died young.

The girl, Charlotte, lived in Chattanooga, Tenn.

**************************************

John Snodgrass and Elizabeth Amy Kirby had the following children:

  1. Thomas Eldridge, born Feb 15, 1852, in Champaign Co. O.
    Died May 14, 1934
    Married to Emma Starr, Feb 24, 1881

  2. Laura Almeda, born Feb 18, 1854, Champaign Co., Ohio
    Died March 13, 1941
    Married to John Bright on Sept 29, 1881

  3. Sarah Hannah, born May 12, 1856, Shelby Co, Ohio
    Died Oct 14, 1930
    Married to Leslie Burch, April 26, 1882

  4. Price Lafaette, born Jan 18, 1859, Shelby Co, Ohio
    Died Dec 3, 1921
    Married to Clara Nayl on Dec 10, 1884

  5. Mary Olivia (Molly), born Aug 6, 1861 in Shelby Co, Ohio
    Died Sept 23, 1922
    Married to Harvey Miller, May 9, 1883

  6. John Grant, born Nov 3, 1864, Logan Co., Ohio
    Died Feb 22, 1940
    Married to Laura Moren, March 14, 1894

  7. Julia Jane (Jennie), born Nov 8, 1866 in Logan Co., Ohio
    Died May 1, 1953
    Married to Grant Moren, June 27, 1894

  8. Edwin Forest, born Aug 18, 1871, in Logan Co.., Ohio
    Died Dec 3, 1941
    Married to Mary Kimler, Nov 12, 1902, died ______
    Married to Susie Harper, Feb 18, 1914

  9. Edith L, born Aug 18, 1871, in Logan Co., Ohio
    Died April 6, 1934
    Married to Brent Heikes, Aug 18, 1918

  10. Erroll K, born May 2, 1874 in Nemaha Co., Nebr
    Died April 17, 1945
    Married to Alice Dominey, May 2, 1900

 

Laura Moren died April 6, 1943

Brenton Heikes died July 10, 1947

Susie Snodgrass died July 30, 1973

 

**************************************

In the summer of 1950, Susie Snodgrass and her daughter Elizabeth Amy visited Aunt Jennie Moren who was living in a dugout type room in the back yard of either Margery or Emma whose husband worked for the railroad. The Snodgrass' spoke of Tribes or branches of the family.

Tribe of Hannah

  1. Walter

  2. Irwin Leslie
    Killed in Casper, Wyo.

  3. Harold
    Had mountain ranch, killed about 1947

  4. Florence -Daily- died years ago
    Florence died in 1949
    Married and had a boy, John - 10 yrs old

  5. Ruth Barnes
    1 boy killed in WWII in training

  6. Mary Olevia
    Married last summer
    Her husband mentally ill in Sanitorium, shell shocked WWI

  7. Robert Burch
    Lander, Wyoming
    Wife died in child birth

Tribe of Tom

  1. Omer
  2. Roy
  3. Elsie Waller
  4. Gertie Harney Easterling
  5. Blanche
  6. Esther (Henry) Jenkins
  7. Arthur
  8. Wilber
  9. Wayne
  10. Floyd

Tribe of John

  1. Howard
  2. Burton
  3. Myra
  4. Willa
  5. Lucile
  6. Russel

Tribe of Price

  1. Ward

Jennie (Grant) Moren

  1. Margery
  2. Erma

Tribe of Errol

  1. Varro
  2. Mable

Tribe of Edwin

  1. Philip, Dec 8, 1915-Oct 2, 1989
  2. Elizabeth Amy, Nov 23, 1917-

Tribe of Laura Bright

  1. Essie
  2. Ralph
  3. Guy and Glen
  4. Spurgeon

Tribe of Mary Olivia (Molly)

  • Married Harvey Miller

Tribe of Edith L. Heikes