The North American, Philadelphia, Sunday, July 14, 1912
Old Philadelphia Families
by Frank Willing Leach
The Snowdens came to America from Nottinghamshire, though, previously, they had been seated for many generations in Yorkshire. At a still more remote period, they were to be found, it is said, in Scotland, the family name being derived from "Snowdoun," the ancient name of Stirling Castle.
Sir Walter Scott tells us, in his "Lady of the Lake," that King James, during his disguise, called himself James Fitz-James, Knight of Snowdoun, and when it was revealed that "Snowdoun's Knight was Scotland's King" he defended himself to Ellen Douglas, as follows:
Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray
In life's more low but happier way,
'Tis under name which veils my power.
Nor falsely veils-for Stirling's tower
Of yore the name of Snowdoun claims
And Normans, call me James Fitz-James.
As an American institution, the Snowdens antedate most of the "Old Philadelphia Families" whose names are familiar to us. Indeed, the statement can safely be ventured, as an historical verity, that the first of the name in America was one of the few Europeans, of English antecedents, who were present to welcome the "Welcome". With William Penn and his compatriots on board, when that famous little craft dropped anchor in the Delaware, at the close of October in 1682.
Between 1676 and 1682 a number of English vestles, borne in mind; had ascended the Delaware River, and disembarked their animate cargos. These emigrants it is true, had landed on the eastern side of the river, first, near the present town of Salem, and later, on the site of the thriving city of Burlington. But not a few of those colonists after tarrying awhile in West New Jersey, had drifted across the Delaware, and established themselves in the domain of the Duke of York. Before the exception, March 4, 1681, by Charles II of the "Great Charter" to William Penn, which created a new Commonwealth.
Thus came the Ridgways, the Mifflins, then the Paschalis and others to Penn's Province, before he himself had arrived in the new world, before, indeed, he had acquired title to the wonderful territory which afterwards bore his name.
Thus, likewise, came the Snowdens.
The founding of the sister province of West New Jersey may be said to have resulted from the signing and promulgation of the "Concessions and Agreements of the Proprietors, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the Province of West New Jersey" March 3, 1676.
In the following year, by deed dated July 7, 1677, executed by Richard Mow, of Ratclif, County Middlesex, England, William Snowden, yeoman-the ancient term for "farmer"-of Edwinsboro, County of Nottingham, and John Hooten, of Skegby, of the same county, purchased one-sixth of a share or interest in West Jersey.
So far as the present writer has knowledge, William Snowden-like others of the early land owners in West New Jersey- never came to the new world. Indeed, he did not survive the date of his purchase many years, he having been an aged man, with adult children, at the time.
We have record of another conveyance dated four or five years later, which throws light upon the movement of the family in the interim. By this deed executed February 6, 1681-82, the granters, Hannah Salter of Tacony, Philadelphia, widow, John Hooten, of Mansfield, West Jersey, and John Snowden, son of William Snowden, of Edwinsboro, County Nottingham, "deceased," conveyed one-half of the above- mentioned one-sixth of a share to John Cripps of Burlington.
Thus, it will be observed William Snowden, of Edwinsboro, had died in the meanwhile, and his son John Snowden had established himself in the new world.
The exact date of his arrival is unknown. Nor do we know the year precisely. Yet it is quite clear that it was shortly after his father's purchase, in conjunction with John Hooten of a one-sixth share from Richard Mew, in 1677. Arriving in Burlington County in the latter year or more probably, a year later, he evidently did not tarry long in West New Jersey, as, under date of March 13, 1678-79, he received a grant of one hundred acres on the other side of the Delaware, as we learn from the records of Upland Court.
GOVERNMENT AT UPLAND
For the benefit of the uninitiated, it may be stated that the seat of government of that portion of the territoryunder the jurisdiction of the Duke of York, subsequently-in 1681-granted to William Penn, was at Upland, at the modern city of Chester was then denominated.
Just where, on the west bank, John Snowden at first located, does not seem to be entirely clear. Possibly, it was within the limits of the present city of Philadelphia, among the Swedes, as by deed dated April 26, 1681, Lawrence Cock and John Snowden conveyed to Alexander Bankson a tract in Passyunk, in the territory occupied by the Swedes; both Cock and Bankson having been prominant representatives of the early Swedish colonists, who preceded Penn's comming to the Delaware by two score years.
If, as has been suggested, he had been living, in the meanwhile, within the limits of what was soon to become the Province of Pennsylvania, he evidently returned to Burlington County, West New Jersey, shortly before the above-mentioned conveyance to Bankson, as in Revell's "Book of Surveys" we find too "return of survey," both dated November 16, 1680 to John Snowden, covering property in Burlington County; one survey embrassing 100 acres "at the hilltop" on "Delaware River," on the road between land already belonging to Snowden, on the one hand, and John Hooten and William Beard, on the other hand; the second survey comprising four acres of "hard land" in a swamp, and six acres of meadow on the marsh" of Crosswick Creek.
In the following year October 21, 1681, Snowden purchased of George Hutcheson one-thirty-second of a share in the First Tenth, excepting thereout certain "town lots" on Burlington Island. A year later, by deed dated August 28, 1682, he bought of John Hooten a tract embrassing one-half one-sixteenth of a share which the latter August 12, 1678 had purchased of George Hutcheson. One hundred acres of this latter tract, Snowden, by deed bearing date October 17-18, 1683, sold to Henry Stacy.
John Snowden's place of residence we find definately stated in a "return of survey," of June 1884, of one hundred and twelve acres adjoining his one hundred acre lot, "whereon he now dwells".
Some years after this-just when we do not know-he again moved across the Delaware, settling in Bucks County, as we find him set down as a resident of that county in a deed of December 9, 1696 wherein he conveys to Richard Allison a plantation of 210 acres, called "White Hill" on the Delaware, above the supassings inland, including the tracts of 6 and 4 acres respectively, mentioned in one of the surveys November 16, 1680 referred to above.
He is likewise spoken of as a resident of Bucks County in a deed of September 26, 1698 wherein he conveys to Robert Pearson two tracts, one of 302 acres in "Yorkshire Tenth," Burlington County, and the other of 10 1/2 acres, near the larger tract.
His holdings in Bucks County included also a property comprising 416 2-3 acres, which he had bought March 9, 1697.
From the various citations given, it is clear that Snowden was an extensive land owner, and per consequence, a man of substance and influence in the several communities in which he resided.
As a signer of the "Concessions," heretofore mentioned, and his ownership of certain shares or property interests in the Province, John Snowden was one of the "Proprietors of West New Jersey" whose organisation, two and a quarter centuries old is still in existance.
He was even more prominant in Pennsylvania than in New Jersey. In 1712 he was chosen as a member of the Assembly for Bucks County, and was commissioned a Justice of the Peace December 15, 1715, again, September 10, 1717, and once more, September 6, 1718.
Shortly prior to his last commission as Justice he removed to Philadelphia, where he was admitted freeman May 27, 1717.
He had been one of the founders of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia- the first of this denomination in Pennsylvania- whose original ediface was built in 1704-5 on the south side of High or Market Street, between Second and Third streets This meeting-house, surrounded by some fine sycamore trees, was styled the "Buttonwood Church." Of this John Snowden was one of the three Elders first chosen. He was also a member of the Presbyterian Synod for the years 1717- 27
Originally, before becoming a Presbyterian, John Snowden had been a Quaker, and as such participated in the strenous Keithian controversy of 1692 and thereafter Snowden attended the yearly meeting at Burlington. September 4-7, 1692 and was one of those who signed a vigorous proclamation issued by that body upon the subject indicated.
Like nearly all his contemporaries John Snowden had been a husbandman, scarcely any other occupation being open to the pioneer of that or any other period. Furthermore he had felled timber
utilizing a portion of it in the construction of his various farmhouses, and auxilary buildings, while the surplus he had disposed of to such of his neighbors as had been less fortunate in the extent of their holdings of timber-land. In addition, he had conducted extensive tanneries in Bucks County, which, aside from his other sources of revenue, had brought him large returns. Thus, at the time of his decease, he was possessed of a considerable estate.
John Snowden, the first of the name, was twice married, first, to Anne Barrett, who was living as late as September 26, 1698, as she is named in the deed of that date, previously mentioned, he married, secondly, August 11, 1718, Elizabeth Swift, of "Penneypack Creek." The latter was probably closely related to John Swift, a noted Bucks County settler, who, for almost forty years represented, first that county, and , later, Philadelphia in the provincial Assembly.
The founder of the Snowden Family died May, 1736 in Philadelphia. What his exact age was, we do not know; 104 years according to some, who give 1632 as the year of his birth. If born in that year, he would have been fifty years old at the time of his first marriage, and four score years when he was chosen an American Assemblyman.
His will, dated March 3, 1736, was proved June 1, 1736. He names therein five children, and mentions grandchildren and great-grandchildren, without naming them.
So far as known, John Snowden, the founder, had only the five children named in his will, all by his first wife, as follows: Anne, Margaret, John, William, and Mary.
Of the three daughters, Anne probably died single. Margaret married, January 5, 1813-14, John Priestly. Mary, became the wife, August 3, 1736, of Benjamin Wright. Of the two female lines the writer possesses no knowledge.
Of the two sons, William, probably the younger, married, April 12, 1711, Abigail Woolley. Concerning his offspring, if any, the present chronicler has no definite information.
It is with the other son, alone, John Snowden, with whom we have to deal, as the ancestor of the Snowdens of today.
Of John Snowden, the younger, we have less detailed information than of his father, the colonist. He was born in 1685, probably at "White Hill," the Snowden homestead, in Burlington County, West New Jersy, or, according to another authority, in Falls township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The son removed to Philadelphia from Bucks County before his father. Like the latter, he was identified with the First Presbyterian Church for many Years.
He established his home on Second Street-old number 141- below Walnut, his property extending from Second Street to Dock Creek. He had purchased it, March 19, 1705 of Edward Shippen, who, in turn, October 24, 1701, had bought it of William Penn. John Snowden devised the property to his son Isaac Snowden, and the latter, in turn, left it to his son of the same name, Isaac Snowden, Jr., who retained the ownership of it for many years. Indeed, for considerably over a century it remained in the Snowden family.
A younger son of the first Isaac Snowden, Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, who was born in the old house in 1770, left, in his diary, a very interesting description of the place. He wrote of the beautiful stream-Dock Creek-that flowed behind his fathers garden, with grand old trees on both sides, and recalled with fond memories his boyhood days, when he and his brothers went fishing in Dock Creek, and gathered quantities of fine blackberries that grew behind the stream.
Like his father, John Snowden was twice married, first, November 10, 1709, at the First Presbyterian Church, to Mary Taylor, who died January 27, 1720. He remained a widower less than a year, apparently, marrying, October 4, 1720, at Princeton, New Jersey, Mrs. Ruth Harrison, Nee Fitz Randolph, widow of Edward Harrison, and daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (nee Dennis) Fitz Randolph.
By this union, the Snowdens became identified with another Nottinghamshire family. Edward Fitz Randolph of that County, became a member of the Leyden Congregation, and was among the early emigrants to Massachusetts, he being mentioned as the owner of a house at Scituate in 1634.
Having married Elizabeth Blossom, May 10, 1637, he removed, a third of a century or more thereafter, to East New Jersey, settling at Piscataway.
Their youngest son, Benjamin Fitz Randolph, born at Barnstable, Massachusetts, in 1663, accompanied his parents to Piscataway, and, in 1696, removed to Princeton, in the same Province, where he purchased one hundred acres of land of Richard Stockton. A son of his, Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, by deed dated January 25, 1750, presented four and a half acres of the above-mentioned tract, upon which Nassau Hall or Princeton University of the present day, was located.
In a separate article hereafter, a more detailed history of the Randolph family-for so the name is generally known today-will be given.
Ruth Fitz Randolph, above-named, a sister of Nathaniel Fitz Randolph, the patron of Princeton University, was born April 8, 1695. She was twice married as previously indicated, first, February 6, 1713, to Edward Harrison, who died November 30, 1715, and secondly, October 4, 1720, to John Snowden. She died September 24, 1780, and was buried at Maidenhead, New Jersey. John Snowden died in Philadelphia twenty-nine years previously- March 24, 1751.
His will, dated February 5 1750/51, mentions his wife, Ruth, and five children, James, John, Jedidiah, Isaac, and Mary (Keen). He was, however, the father of nine children-by his first wife, Mary Taylor, five, to wit: James, Rebekah, Mary, Ann, and John: by the second, Ruth Fitz Randolph, four: Benjamin, Jedidiah, Isaac and Rachel. The baptisims of all nine of these children are found upon the records of the First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.
The two elder daughters of John Snowden both married. Rebekah or Rebecca, born February 13, 1713, became the wife of Charles Edgar, September 22, 1730, while Mary, born in October 1715, married, first November 19, 1735, David Murray, and secondly, Matthias Keen. No attempt will be made to trace these female lines. The other daughter of John Snowden by his first wife, Ana Snowden, baptized July 23, 1717, died in infancy, as did also Rachel Snowden, the youngest child by the second wife, who was born January 22, 1734/35. Benjamin Snowden, the eldest son by the second wife, baptized September 17, 1721, is believed to have died single about 1748. The remaining sons, two by the first wife and two by the second, married and left issue.
The eldest of the four, James Snowden the first child by the first wife, was born March 18, 1711, and married, September 10 1730, Katherine North, daughter of Caleb North, by whom he had at least eight children-there may have been others-as follows; John, Ann, James, Elizabeth, William, a second William, Samuel and Joseph.
Of the eight John Snowden, the eldest, born January 4, 1732/33, was a lieutenant in the Continental Army. No further knowledge concerning him is in the possession of the present writer.
The elder of the two sisters Ann Snowden, born in 1734, married, July 16, 1768, Laughlin McNeil. Among their descendants may be mentioned Charles M. Lea, Devon; Arthur Henry Lea, 2004 Walnut Street, and George Henry Lea, 345 South 19th street, also, Mrs. Thomas C. Harris nee Jaudon 2304 De Lancey Street.
The second William Snowden-the first died in infancy-born June 19, 1741, also served in the revolution in the Naval branch of the service, he having been a sea-captain-a popular avocation, at that time, with the sons of men of wealth and position. He was captured by the British and was cofined in the famous, not to say infamous, "Sugar House" prison, New York, where like some other American prisoners, he died of the cruel treatment he received from his captors. According to tradition, he was killed by ground glass placed in his food. Like most traditions this is probably not correct, though the barbarities practiced upon the American captives in New York were almost as brutal as that which is said to have terminated the life of William Snowden.
The latter married, December 31, 1767, Ann Maugridge, and had a number of children, one of whom, John Maugridge Snowden, born January 13, 1776, became a man of considerable distinction. First learning the printer's trade whith the celebrated Matthew Carey, he removed to Chambersburg, where he established a newspaper. In 1798 he founded The Farmer's Register, at Greensburg, the second paper in Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Gazette having been the first. In 1811 he removed to the last mentioned city, and purchased The Commonwealth, the name of which he changed to The Mercury. He also published a number of valuable works and had a large bookstore. "By reason of the press, his bookstore, his energy, and social position,"says a writer " he became widely known as one of the leading citizens of the State."
He became a director of the Bank of Pittsburgh: was mayor of the city 1825, '26 '27; served as recorder of Deeds and in 1830 was appointed Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, which latter position he held for six years.
The previously quoted author thus comments:
His intelligence, business habits, varied experience, and broad common sense eminently fitted him for the position. He exhibited also remarkable knowledge of the law. On more than on occasion, he differed with the President Judge as to the law, and so expressed himself to the jury, as he had an undoubted right to do. He had the entire respect and confidence of the bar. The counsel concerned in one of the most difficult and important ever tried in this county agreed that it should be tried before him as Associate Judge. During the progress of the trail a member of the bar remarked to Mr. Walter Forward, "Strange sight to see an Associate Judge trying such an important case!" "Ah!" replied Mr. Forward, "that layman knows twice as much law, and has three times as much sense, as some President Law Judges."
Judge Snowden married, November 24, 1801, Elizabeth Moor, daughter of Judge John and Elizabeth (nee Parr) Moor. She was born February 6, 1782, and died December 2, 1860. Her husband died at his residence, Elm Cottage, South Avenue, Allegheny City, April 2, 1845. They were parents of twelve children, all now deceased. Among their grandchildren are the following: James Oliver Snowden, Omaha Neb.; Francis Laird Snowden, 5215 Center Avenue, Pittsburgh; Miss Caroline Snowden, 6324 Marchland Street Pittsburgh; Mrs. George Frederick Denniston, 4711 Maripoe Avenue, Pittsburgh; Mrs. Morrison Foster, Bellevue Apartments, Bellevue; Mrs. Azel Backus, 39 South Washington Street, Rochester, New York; Mrs. Tasswill Edmund Harrison, and Miss Harriet K. Ogden, 270 St. James Place, Brooklyn, New York; Miss Emma K. M. Ogden, Detroit, Becker County, Minn.; Misses Mary and Elizabeth M. Robb, Hotel Dorset, Pittsburgh; Mrs. David Borland, Westminster Place, Shady Side, Pittsburgh; William O. Snowden, Beaver; John M. Snowden, Milwaukee, Wis.; the Misses Alice and Selma Snowden, 244 Highland Avenue, E. E. Pittsburgh, ect.
DESCENDANTS OF JUDGE SNOWDEN
There are numerous surviving great-grandchildren of Judge Snowden. among others: Ogden Russell, Miss Caroline O'Falion Russell and James McPherson Russell, Highfield Road and Reyton Lane, Pittsburgh; John Maugridge Snowden Allison, 424 Shady Avenue. Pittsburgh; Mrs. W. W. Titus and Mrs. Charles Richardson, Sewickley; Alexander Graff Borland and the Misses Borland, Westminister Place, Shady Side, Pittsburgh; Joseph H. Borland, 139 Camp Avenue, Braddock, ect.
Returning to the immediate family of James Snowden, eldest son of the second John Snowden, mention should be made of another son, Samuel Snowden, born in 1743, who, like his two elder brothers, served in the Revolution, as Master of the armed sloop, General Gates, and the brigantine-of-war, General Montgomery. He lost his life in action. He married at Christ Church, October 12, 1771, Hannah Gum.
Still another son, the Youngest, was Joseph Snowden, who survived the War, and remained an honored citizen of Philadelphia for many years. He was born in 1749 and married July 8, 1776, Rebecca Sibbald, daughter of John and Rebecca (nee Thornhill) Sibbald, who was born June 2, 1754, and died October 18, 1832. The death of her husband occurred twenty years previously-October 28, 1812.
Joseph Snowden was prominent in business, in politics, in social life and in religious affairs. By action of the Congress, August 8, 1778, he was designated one of the signers of the Continental Currency, recently authorized in 1791, according to Scharf and Westcott's History of Philadelphia, he was chairman of a committee of citizens, who memorialized Congress to exempt apprentices and minors from military duty in the United States Militia. From 1803 to 1809 he was a vestryman of Christ Church. Both he and his wife, and several children as well, were buried at St. Peters Church, originally under the jurisdiction of Christ Church Vestry.
Among their children was Joseph Samuel Snowden, who was born March 14, 1792, and died July 17, 1849. He was elected a member of the famous "State in Schuylkill," October 4, 1826. He was twice married and left issue.
John Snowden, the next younger son of the second John Snowden, baptized October 19, 1718, married, August 21, 1740, Rachel Hendrick, and died in 1772. Precise information concerning this branch is not possessed by the writer, aside from the fact that two sons were born to this couple, John, August 13, 1743, and Edward, June 27, 1745.
The above-mentioned John Snowden son of John and Rachel (nee Hendrick) Snowden, who was born August 13, 1743, was probably the John Snowden, who by his wife Mary, was the father of three children, George, Thomas and Mary, who were baptized at the 2nd Presbyterian Church June 21, 1771. And the elder of the two sons, George Snowden, was almost certainly the George Snowden who, July 8, 1788 married Sophia Ritter, at the 1st Baptist Church and who was buried at the 2nd Presbyterian Church November 27, 1811?.
A number of children resulted from the latter marriage, one of whom was Thomas Snowden, born January 24, 1799. The latter was a prominent citizen of Philadelphia for many years, having, for a third of a century, been associated in business with John Wiegand- President of the Western Saving Fund-in the manufacture and importation of surgical instruments. This firm was one of the earliest in the United States engaged in that line of business.
Thomas Snowden was also an active participant in public affairs, having represented the old "South Mulberry" Ward in Common and Select Council for many years, and having, from 1847 to 1853, presided over the former body. Thomas Snowden died January 26, 1875.
By his wife Sarah McKay, he was the father of nine children, of whom three survive, Miss Ann Kemble Snowden, East Leverington Street, Roxborough, Henry Clay Snowden, Media, and William Snowden, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The eldest of the nine children, John Wiegand Snowden, born April 22, 1823, graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1844, and settled in Camden County New Jersey, where he practiced medicine for many years, attaining wide distinction in his profession. He was twice president of the Camden County Medical Society in 1882, and a member of various kindred associations. He died May 28, 1888. Frank Snowden, Chester, is a son of the latter.
Rebecca Snowden, born January 28, 1796, a sister of Thomas Snowden, and a daughter of George and Sophia (nee Ritter) Snowden, became the wife of Robert Piggot, a noted American engraver of a century ago, who was born May 20, 1795. Though highly successful in that field, he abandoned it for theology, and was ordained to holy orders in the Protestant Episcopal Church, November 30, 1828. He attained eminence in the pulpit, and received a degree of D. D. At the time of his death, which took place July 23, 1887, he was the rector of the Holy Trinity Parish, Sykesville, Maryland, where he had been located for eighteen years.
Two of the three sons of the second John Snowden, by his second wife, Ruth Fitz Randolph, seem to have attained a larger measure of distinction than their half-brothers. Indeed both of them were men of wide influence in their day, which embraced the Revolutionary period. These were Jedidiah and Isaac Snowden.
The elder of the two, Jedidiah Snowden, was born September 24 (or 21), 1724, and was baptized at the first Presbyterian Church, October 18, of the same year. Upon reaching manhood he established himself in business, and became, in time, one of Philadelphia's most substantial citizens. Under date of March 17, 1777, he was chosen by the Assembly of the State "board and timber measurer" for Philadelphia. He was selected by Congress, August 8, 1778, a Signer of Continental Currency, and was designated to perform a similar office, February 23, 1779.
In 1778 was organized in Philadelphia the Patriotic Association, to foster, by material methods, the cause of th Revolutionists, and of this organization Jedidiah Snowden became an aggressive member.
This period was a critical one in the history of the young Republic, and in Philadelphia, the seat of government, the situation was especially desperate, owing to the scarcity of money, other than the Continental Currency, which many refused to accept. Poverty prevailed, and riotous demonstrations ensued.
The Above-mentioned Patriotic Association was established to relieve existing conditions. So, too followed the movement to prevent the hoarding of the necessaries of life. On December 5, 1778, was presented to the Assembly a petition praying for relief.
Jedidiah Snowden was one of the signers, as was, also, his younger brother, Isaac Snowden. Five days later, when a committee was named to prevent "forestalling," the elder of the Snowden brothers was placed upon it. The Committee utilized militant methods, breaking into storehouses, when necessary, and compelling the shop-keepers to dispose of their supplies at reasonable prices, thus appeasing the clamor of the populace, and reducing the prevailing distress as far as possible. "Trusts," "corners," and "combinations in restraint of trade" were quite as unpopular then as now; and the methods employed in their suppression were more prompt, more drastic and more effective than those resorted to in modern times.
In 1781 Jedidiah Snowden was Collector of Taxes for Chestnut Ward. Walnut Ward and Lower Delaware Ward, of the City of Philadelphia.
He was also a member of various social organizations of his day, among others the celebrated Fishing Company of Fort St. David's, established about 1753.
Mr Snowden's death occurred April 16, 1799.
He married first, at Christ Church, January 18, 1753, Mary Bell, who was born July 13 1736, and died May 1, 1765. He married, secondly, in 1781, Ann English, who died October 20, 1824. His children, all by his first wife, were eight in number, as follows: Benjamin, Isaac, William, Lettice, Sarah, Charlotte, William and Jedidiah. of whom seven died young, or so far as the writer has knowledge, unmarried.
The only one who was known to have left issue was Sarah Snowden, who was born August 23, 1760, and died September 7, 1821, having married, February 22, 1787, Alexander Henry, a noted Philadelphia merchant of that day, Grandfather of Alexander Henry, Mayor of Philadelphia in 1860-65?, and of the late Thomas Charlton Henry, whose sons, besides the late Charles Wolcott Henry, are Bayard Henry, West Walnut Lane, Germantown; Rev. Alexander Henry, D. D. 6745 Green Street Germantown, and John J. Henry, Chestnut Hill. Another grandson of Alexander and Sarah (nee Snowden) Henry is Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, 1534 Walnut Street, the eminent physician and litteratour. The latters sons, Dr John Kearsley Mitchell 1730 Spruce Street, and Langdon Elwyn Mitchell 2230 De Lancey Place, and his nephew, J. Kearsley Mitchell, 3d, 227 East Rittenhouse Square, represent the next generation; as do, also, Alexander Henry Carver, and Charles Carver, Jr., "Carolton," Harverford.
From the youngest of the sons of John and Ruth (nee Fitz Randolph) Snowden, namely, Isaac Snowden, who was born April 14, 1732, are descended the best-known representatives of the founder of the family now living in Philadelphia, bearing the Snowden name. He seems to have been the most aggressive, most prominent, and most successful of the Snowden brothers of his generation.
We first encounter the name of Isaac Snowden in the relation to public affairs in Philadelphia as that of one of the Signers to a celebrated petition, presented to the British King and his Ministers, protesting against the exposed condition of the frontiers, in view of the existing war with the French and Indians; also remonstrating against the course of the Quaker-dominated Assembly, which refused to appropriate public moneys for defense. This notable document, which was considered by the Lords of Trade, February 26, 1754, was signed by many of the prominent citizens of Philadelphia of that day other than the Quakers.
Three years later, following the victory over the French on the Heights of Abraham, September 13, 1758, Isaac Snowden's name comes before us in the following interesting receipt, which has been handed down to the present time:
Received Jany 27th, 1759, of Richard Hockley forty-five shillings in full for 45 Pains of Glass put into the Windows of the House belonging to my Mother and John Snowden 16 whereof belonged to her part and 29 to my brother Johns broke on the rejoicing night for the reduction of Louisbourgh and hired for the use of the Honourable the Proprietaries-
L 5. 6
The "Honourable the Proprietaries" seem to have permitted their jubilation, upon the occasion in question, to take on a rather demonstrative form.
During the Revolution Isaac Snowden was conspicuous in his advocacy and support of all measures for the advancement of the cause of the colonists. Following the news brought by Paul Revere of the happenings in Massachusetts, in the spring of 1775, the Philadelphia Associators were organized, for the defense of the Province and Snowden was commissioned Quartermaster of the Fourth Battalion, commanded by Thomas McKean, afterwards a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Governor of Pennsylvania.
In 1778 he was an active member of the Patriotic Association, as already indicated.
July 27th, of the same year, he was chosen by the Continental Congress, one of the inspectors of the presses for printing bills of credit, bills of exchange, and load office certificates, and, November 28, Congress ordered that he be paid $594 for his services in that connection.
At this time, also, he was one of the three Commissioners for Taxes and Levies of the County of Philadelphia. From the minutes of the Supreme Executive Council, July 21, 1778, it is observed that his two colleagues, John Williams and Jacob Bright, had fallen into the hands of the British, and the Council was compelled to select two new men to take their places.
During the British occupancy, 1777-78, he was one of the heaviest sufferers from the depredations of the enemy's troops. According to the original assessment of losses, made by the various ward and township assessors, and now on file at the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the amount awarded to Isaac Snowden was L 1006. 5. 0. He was then a resident of what was known as the Dock ward-now the Fifth-north part.
Toward the close of the Revolution Snowden was chosen Treasurer of the city and county of Philadelphia, and held that post from 1781 to 1790. Jacob Hiltzheimer, in his invaluable diary, makes several references to Isaac Snowden in his official capacity, one of which is worth quoting. Under date of January 19, 1786, he writes:
Last night the Delaware froze fast. When with my colleagues, the Street Commissioners, to Isaac Snowden, Esq., our treasurer, to settle our last years accounts with him, The following gentlemen dined with him: Jedidiah Snowden, Gunning Bedford, Samuel McLane, Nathaniel Boys, Andrew Geyer, William Richards, Peter Kraft, John Purdon, and George Hovey.
A suggestion in favor of a return to the 18th century custom, followed by public officers, of giving semiofficial dinners and paying for the same out of their private purses would scarcely prove popular among the present-day politicians.
Both before and after the Revolution Isaac Snowden was a member of City Councils.
From 1782 to 1808 he was a trustee of what is now Princeton University, the site of which had been, as previously indicated, a gift of his maternal uncle, Nathaniel Fitz Randolph. At this institution, moreover, five of his sons graduated, a remarkable occurrence for that early period, or, for that matter, for any other.
Like his father and grandfather, Isaac Snowden was a leading member of the Presbyterian denomination. As they, in 1704-05, had aided in the building of the First Presbyterian Church, on Market Street, so Isaac Snowden early identified himself with the Second Presbyterian, or "New Lights," as they were then called, the first pastor of which was the celebrated Gilbert Tennent; "Hell-fire Tennent," as he was denominated in those days. Their first edifice, at Third and Arch Streets, was built about 1750. The Church itself was not incorporated till 1772. In the charter Isaac Snowden was named one of the trustees, as was, also, his brother, Jedidiah Snowden. The former was, moreover, an Elder of the Church.
Isaac Snowden's prominence in the Presbyterian denomination was not restricted to local limits. He was the first Treasurer of the United Synods of Philadelphia and New York; Treasurer of the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, and a member of the Commission which prepared the form of government of that sect in the new world, Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon being the chairman.
In all particulars Isaac Snowden may be said to have been a man of great force of character, of the highest order of integrity and of the widest influence among his contemporaries; a dominating factor in the various developments of his time.
He was, like his father and grandfather, twice married, first, March 7, 1750, to Mary Parker, and secondly, March 17, 1763, to Mary McCall, nee Cox, widow of Samuel McCall, She was born about 1735, and died at Cranbury, N. J., June 30, 1806. Mr. Snowden died three years later, at Chester, Delaware County, December 26, 1809.
Poulson's American Daily Advertiser, July 7, 1806, referring to Mrs. Snowden's decease says:
Her bible was the book which, of late years, she almost exclusively read, and which always afforded her abundant consolation under all the pains and afflictions inseparable from humanity.
A Sermon was preached in the Church of Cranberry, at her funeral by the Rev. Dr. Samuel S. Smith of Princeton, from Cor. 3d Chapter, 22d and 23d verses.
Dr. Smith was president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) at the time.
The same newspaper, in its issue of December 29, 1809, thus refers to Mr. Snowden, upon the occasion of his death:
Through a long life of activity, enterprise, and various fortune, his manly mind encountered calamity without suffering depression; faced danger without dismay, and enjoyed prosperity without ostentation, in hospitable kindness and liberality. Ardent in his attachments, zealous in public spirit and honorable exertions during our revolutionary war, he was excelled by none in his amor patriae, or true love to the Liberties and Independence of his Native Country. At length, worn down by old age and bodily infirmities, which he bore with Christian fortitude and resignation, without a groan or struggle, he yielded up his soul to God who gave it, quite calm, comfortable in his mind and triumphantly in full confidence of receiving through the merits of his Savior, the rewards of a well spent life.
MEN OF ABILITY
Isaac Snowden had, by his first Marriage, two children, Benjamin Parker and Mary; and by the second, seven, Isaac, Gilbert Tennent, Samuel Finley, Nathaniel Randolph, Charles Jeffry, Mary and William. Both Marys died in infancy. The youngest child, William, also died young. All the other children were men of ability, who made their impress upon contemporaneous events, though some of them died in early manhood.
The eldest of the sons, and the only one by the first wife, Benjamin Parker Snowden, was born February 3, 1760. He graduated from Princeton University-as it is now called: originally it was Nassau Hall, and later, the College of New Jersey-in 1776. Subsequently he studied medicine, it is said, and then embarked for Europe, probably with a view to the completion of his professional education. The vessel upon which he sailed was lost at sea, and no tidings were ever received concerning it or its passengers.
The next son, Isaac Snowden Jr., was born February 6, 1764. Like his father, he was prominent in the commercial life of his native city, Philadelphia, in the cause of education and in the religious world. From 1788 to 1791 he was Treasurer of the College of New Jersey. He was also an elder in the second Presbyterian Church, in which a memorial window was placed by his youngest daughter, Rebecca Snowden. We find him, likewise, active and influential in all charitable movements of his day, he having been a manager of the Philadelphia Dispensary, Secretary of the Humane Society, and officially connected with other organizations of a kindred nature, devoted to the uplift of his fellow-men. His death took place December 4, 1835.
Isaac Snowden Jr., married Cornelia Clarkson, daughter of Dr. Gerdus Clarkson, a distinguished Quaker City physician of that period, by his wife Mary Flower. She was born June 23, 1769, and died February 16, 1834. They had issue as follows: Isaac Clarkson, Mary, Cornelia, Ann Finley, Benjamin, and Rebecca. Of these the youngest child was the last survivor: Rebecca Snowden, who died unmarried, in 1876. Three others died young, Gerardus Clarkson, Ann Finley and Benjamin. The remaining three reached maturity and married.
The eldest of these children, Isaac Clarkson Snowden, born December 31, 1791, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1811, and from the Medical Department in 1815. He was for many years a successful physician in Philadelphia. He was also a man of literary attainments. In 1828 he was chosen a Counselor of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; and for two years, 1827 and 1828, he issued a publication called The Philadelphia Monthly Magazine. Following his decease, July 21, 1828, this periodical stated editorially:
July 21, 1828, of pulmonary consumption, in the 37th year of his age, Dr. Isaac Clarkson Snowden, late Editor and Proprietor of " The Philadelphia Monthly Magazine," in whom the public has lost a scholar, zealous in the cause of American Literature; his family and acquaintance a friend whose loss cannot be readily supplied, and whose virtues cannot easily be forgotten.
The next issue of the magazine contained a lengthy obituary notice of Dr. Snowden.
He married, April 8, 1819, Maria Mearns, a daughter of Robert Mearns. Mrs. Snowden's death occurred November 8, 1843. They had three sons who died in infancy, Robert, Horace and Llewellyn, and one who reached maturity, Benjamin Clarkson.
This son, Benjamin Clarkson Snowden, was born in Bucks County September 14, 1822, graduated from Princeton University in 1841, and from Jefferson Medical College in 1845. He enlisted himself in practice at Huntingdon valley, Montgomery County, and for over a quarter of a century was one of the foremost physicians of his time in that section of Pennsylvania. He is spoken of as "sacrificing his health to his patients, and is still remembered with great respect and admiration." Later in life he removed to Philadelphia, and died January 19, 1890. Having married December 4, 1845, Sarah Throckmorton Weyckoff, whose death took place September 13, 1902. To them were born three children, all surviving, as follows, Miss Ida Throckmorton Snowden: Mrs. Charles W. Neely,443 Hansberry street, Germantown, and Llewellen Snowden, Melrose Park.
Mary Snowden, eldest daughter of Isaac Snowden Jr., by his wife Cornelia Clarkson, was born July 6, 1795, and married April 27, 1815, Rev. Samuel Blanchard How D. D., an eminent clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1811. he was pastor of churches at Solebury, Pa., Trenton and New Brunswick N. J., Savannah, Ga. and New York City. In 1830-32 he was President of Dickinson College. For a period of thirty-five years, 1833-68, he was a trustee of Rutgers College. Dr How, who was born October 14, 1790, died February 29, 1868.
Mrs. How's sister Cornelia Snowden, born July 2, 1797, became the wife of Dr. Hayes but died without issue.
Gilbert Tennent Snowden, the second of the sons of Isaac Snowden, the elder, by his second wife, Mary Cox, was born April 25, 1766. He graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1783, studied theology, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. On the 24th of November, 1799, he was transferred to the Presbytery of New Brunswick, and was ordained and installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Cranbury, N. J., to which he had been called September 21, 1790.
Previous to entering the ministry it is said that he began the study of law. But, on one occasion, while attending the funeral of an eminent lawyer, "he was so deeply impressed with the vanity of the fame, wealth, and honours of the world. that he resolved to renounce his former purpose, and devote himself to the Gospel Ministry."
For a short period, 1785-87, he was located at the College of New Jersey, as a librarian, and also as a tutor.
His ministry, a brief one , was terminated by his early death, February 20, 1797. Clayton's History of Union and Middlesex Counties thus speaks of him:
Mr Snowden was a man of more than ordinary abilities and piety. He devoted himself with great zeal and diligence to promote the interests of his Church..... indefatigable worker as he was, Mr. Snowden's race was soon run. In November 1796, he last met his session, when he was zealously engaged in promoting the comfort of Rev. Mr. Smiths family. Soon after, having occasion to visit New York, he returned ill with Yellow Fever, which spread great consternation. He was faithfully cared for, as well as the case would admit, by his servants, and by them carried to his last resting place. February 20, 1797. He too, rests among the people who he spent the whole of his ministerial life. A sermon was preached by the Dr. S. S. Smith from Rev. xiv. 13, and his congregation paid every tribute of respect to his memory which a grateful people could pay to the memory of a faithful pastor.
In the funeral sermon preached by Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith, then President of the College of New Jersey, the learned divine asserted; "The best eulogy of Gilbert Tennent Snowden would be a faithful history of his life"
By his wife Ruth Lot, he left issue, one child being a daughter, Mary, who was born January 9, 1790. There was at least one other child whose name is unknown to the writer.
Samuel Finley Snowden, another of the sons of Isaac Snowden, by his second wife, Mary Cox, was born November 6, 1767. He also, was a graduate of the College of New Jersey, in the class of 1786. He followed his next older brother into the ministry, studying under Presidents Witherspoon and Smith. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, April 24, 1794, and was ordained and installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Princeton, November 25, 1794, which charge he held until his resignation, April 24, 1801, because of ill health. He afterward settled successively at Whitesboro, New Hartford, and Sackett's Harbor, in the state of New York, at which latter place he was installed March 17, 1817. His pastorate there continued until March 1826. He was next called to Brownville in the same state, and remained there until July 5, 1839, on which date he was dismissed to the Presbyterian Church at Nashville, Tenn. He died May 1845.
The Rev. Samuel Finley Snowden married Susan Bayard Breese, of distinguished New Jersey ancestry, and to them a number of children were born. Some of the sons went South, and the Snowdens of South Carolina and Tennessee are of this line, as are certain of the Snowdens of New York and Western Pennsylvania.
Passing, for a moment, the next younger brother, Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, we have the fifth of the sons of Isaac and Mary (nee Cox) Snowden, namely, Charles Jeffry Snowden, who was born February 1, 1772. Like his brothers he entered the College of New Jersey, and graduated in 1789. He was for a short time, a tutor in the institution-this was in 1793-and, in the meanwhile, prosecuted in the study of theology; taking also, in 1795 his Masters degree. Alexander's "Princeton College During th 18th Century" says of young Snowden;
"He was licensed to preach, and delivered very eloquent and pathetic sermon, and that was all"
No details are furnished concerning his withdrawal from the ministry, but such a course was pursued by him, and he removed to New York, where he entered journalism, becoming the proprietor of a newspaper in that city. He subsequently returned to Pennsylvania, and engaged in the development of a coal property which he owned, and in the holding of a canal. Nothing further concerning him is known to the present chronicler.
He married Frances Malcolm, who is said to be the daughter of General William Malcolm, of New York. They left no sons, but descendants of the female lines are living in New York and elsewhere.
Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, fourth of the sons of Isaac and Mary (nee Cox) Snowden, was, like his brothers born in Philadelphia, January 17, 1770, and, like at least four of them, was graduated from the College of New Jersey, in 1787. Being licensed by the Presbytery of Carlisle, Pa., In 1794, he became pastor of the congregations of Harrisburg, Paxton and Derry, which combined charge he resigned after three years. Then, for some years, he supplied the Monaghan and Petersburg congregations. In 1818 he organized the Millerstown Presbyterian Church, and shortly afterward was installed pastor of the united congregations of Millerstown, Liverpool and Buffalo.
In 1790 he received the degree of D. D. from Dickinson College.
Dr. Snowden's death occurred November 2, 1851, at the home of a son, Charles Gustine Snowden, M.D., Freeport, Armstrong County.
He married, May 21, 1792, Sarah Gustine, daughter of Lemuel and Susannah (nee Smith) Gustine, the alliance proving a notable one, by reason of the distinguished ancestry of Mrs. Snowden.
Her father, Dr. Lemuel Gustine, a physician of wide experience, passed through the horrors of the "Wyoming Massacre," in northeast Pennsylvania, he having been an aide to Colonel Dennison. Mrs. Snowden, then a miss of three years, was at Forty Fort at the time of the surrender, and escaped with her father, down the Susquehanna river, during the night.
Mrs. Snowden's maternal grandfather, Dr. William Hooker Smith, was a surgeon in the Revolution, and was, later, a Judge in Luzerne County.
Among others in Mrs. Snowden's ancestors may be mentioned the following: Thomas Hooker, 1586-1647, "the Great Puritan Preacher." friend and associate of John Cotten, John Eliot, ect., and one of the founders of Connecticut; John Browne, 1584-1662, one of the founders of Plymouth Colony; Thomas Willett, 1605-74, one of the early Plymouth colonists, but later, the first English Mayor of New York City; Thomas Makepeace, 1592-1667, who arrived in America in 1636, settled in Dorchester, and became, in 1638, a member of the historic military command now known as the Ancient and Honourable Company of Artillery of Boston: William Leete, 1603-83, a founder of Gullford, Connecticut. In 1639, and Governor of that Colony for many years, etc., etc.
Mrs. Snowden-Sarah Gustine- was born June 2, 1775, and died April 2, 1856, having survived her husband four and a half years.
Seven children were born to them, as follows; Isaac Wayne, Charles Gustine, Lemuel Gustine, Mary Parker, Nathaniel Duffield, Samuel and James Ross, of whom all but one, Samuel, reached maturity.
The eldest of the seven Isaac Wayne Snowden, was born May 1, 1794, studied medicine, and was appointed, February 19, 1817, surgeon's mate in the 7th Infantry, United States Army. He resigned the following year, October 8, 1818, having, in the meanwhile, served in the campaign against the Seminole Indians of Florida.
Upon leaving the army Dr. Snowden engaged in private practice in Mifilin County, but removed subsequently to Hagerstown, in the Cumberland Valley, where he became not only on of the most successful practitioners, but one of the most prominent and influential of citizens. For many years he was an elder of the Hagerstown Presbyterian Church. "Dr. Snowden" says a writer, "was the type of a Christian gentleman, and died respected and loved by all who knew him."
He married December 6, 1832, Margary Bines Loudon, daughter of Archibald and Margaret (nee Bines) Loudon, who was born September 29, 1808, and died January 25, 1888. Her husband pre-deceased her thirty-eight years, his death having occurred June 15, 1850.
They had issue, five children, two sons and three daughters. Nathaniel Randolph, Archibald Loudon, Margaret, Sarah Gustine, and Maude Loudon, of whom three now survive-a son and two daughters. The latter are Mrs. Thomas H. Stewart, Youngstown, Ohio, and Miss Maude Loudon Snowden, 1812 Spruce Street.
The only surviving son is Col. A. Loudon Snowden, 1812 Spruce Street, one of the Quaker City's most eminent citizens at the present time. His distinguished career is well known to all, as Postmaster of the city, Superintendent of the United States Mint, minister to Greece Roumania and Servia, Minister to Spain, President of the Park Commission, etc., all of which posts he has filled with unsurpassed ability. Few latter-day Philadelphians are as highly respected, or have wielded so large an influence, in public affairs, as Colonel Snowden. His children are: Mrs. Stuyvesant Wainwright, "Kirklawn," Rye, New York; Mrs. Frank Samel, southeast corner of 22nd and Locust streets, and Charles Randolph Snowden, Bryn Mawr.
Mary Parker Snowden, the only daughter of Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, was born October 16, 1801, and died March 5, 1889, having married James Thompson,who was born at Middlesex, Butler County, October 1, 1806, and became an eminent lawyer, and one of Pennsylvania's most distinguished jurists. He was elected an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, October 13, 1857, and became Chief Justice ten years later, filling that office with pronounced ability until the expiration of his term in 1872. He had previously been a member of the Legislature, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Congress. He died January 27, 1874, while arguing a case before the Supreme Court, over whose deliberations he had so recently presided.
Judge Thompson's children by his wife Mary Parker Snowden, were six in number, to wit: Sarah Gustine, James Ross, Snowden, Samuel Gustine, Clara, and William Eldred, of whom the last-named, of 1630 Spruce street, is the only survivor. The elder of the two sisters, Sarah Gustine Thompson, became the wife of Samuel Robb, but left no issue.
The eldest of the brothers, James Ross Thompson, who was born December 6, 1832, and died June 28, 1910, was for many years a leading member of the bar of Erie County, and an aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Packer, and Colonel of the 10th Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard.
Another brother, Samuel Gustine Thompson, who was born in 1836, and died September 10, 1909, was admitted to the Philadelphia bar January 19, 1861, attained a position of distinction as a practitioner, and was twice appointed an Associate Justice of The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the first time in 1893 and again in 1903.
Nathaniel Duffield Snowden, fourth of the sons of Nathaniel Randolph and Sarah (nee Gustine) Snowden, was born at Harrisburg, November 28, 1803, studied medicine, and then migrated to Western Pennsylvania, settling in Venango County, where he practiced his profession for many years. Of him, a writer has said;
An all around practitioner of the old school, he treated small-pox or amputated a limb with equal confidence and success, following all the lines laid down for medical men in this country. His knowledge of botany and the meteria medica was noted and scientific, and his diagnosis, that most obscure, difficult and important branch to apprehend, was clear, accurate, unexcelled.
Gentle in manner,he was firm and resolute; if necessary in his judgement, heroic. There was no branch of his beloved profession, that he did not know, and know well. In which he was not eminent. In the long course of a varied and extensive practice, often visiting patients, he said, not so ill as he was himself, he deserved and obtained the whole confidence of the entire community.
He filled a number of offices in Venango County, among others, those of Coroner, Recorder of Deeds, School Trustee, etc.
Dr. Snowden died September 30, 1864, having married April 27, 1833, Jane McClelland, daughter of George and Nancy (nee Seaton) McClelland, who was born February 28, 1804, and died February 6, 1867.
Mrs. Snowden's father George McClelland, was a man of much prominence in Western Pennsylvania, he having been the first Burgess of Franklin, Venango County, Treasurer, etc.
Nine children were born to Nathaniel Duffield and Jane (nee McCelland) Snowden, of whom six died in infancy or early youth. The others were: Samuel Gustine, George Randolph and Jane Bredin.
The eldest of the three, Samuel Gustine Snowden, was born December 21, 1837, graduated, in 1859, from Philadelphia College of Medicine, and practiced his profession at Franklin, until his death, which occurred in Asheville, N. C., August 22, 1884. Following his decease the Venango Spectator thus spoke of him:
As a physician, and particularly as a surgeon of rare skill and nerve, a long and successful career is his best eulogy. He no superior and few equals in Western Pennsylvania. His knowledge of classical and contemporary literature marked him as a man of extensive reading and profound thought....... Boy and man, he was the soul of honor, frank, open and independant. Death found him in the vigor of his intellectual growth, with much work before him that would have added to his already fine reputation and would have placed his name high upon the roll of the great physicians of his time. He has gone to his rest beloved by his kindred, and esteemed by all who knew him.
Dr. Snowden married Mary Judson, by whom he had only one child, a son, who died in infancy.
His sister, Jane Bredin Snowden, was born Febuary 7, 1843 and died July 7, 1873, having married James Woodburn, a leading merchant of Franklin. She left two children, Gustine Randolph Woodburn and Mrs. J. Maurice Crosby, the latter of Bradford Pa.
George Randolph Snowden, of 1118 Pine street, the only surviving child of Dr. Nathaniel Snowden, is so well-known to present-day Philadelphians, that Any detailed biographical data concerning him may be deemed almost superfluous.
Born at Franklin, February 12, 1841, he was admitted to the bar of Venango County in April 1862, and to the Philadelphia bar, February 2, 1874. He saw active service during two years of the Civil War, 1862-64, leaving with the rank of Captain, in the 142 Regiment Infantry Pennsylvania Volunteers. He participated in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and won public commendation for his gallantry in action.
In his connection with the National Guard of Pennsylvania, no man exercised a wider influence, or received a larger share of commendation, from superior officers and the public as well. As colonel of the 3rd Regiment, he served with credit through the Pittsburgh riots of 1877, and subsequently, in 1878, upon reorganization of the Guard, was commissioned Brigadier General in command of the First Brigade. Twelve years later, in August, 1890, he succeeded Major-General John F. Hartranft as commandant of the entire Guard.
His services in quelling the Homestead riots and restoring order, in July, 1892, without bloodshed, elicited universal applause.
In 1880 he was the Democratic nominee for congress in the first district of Philadelphia, and the following year, was chosen a member of the Select Council from the Seventh Ward, then, as now, strongly Republican in his politics. General Snowden is at present a Real Estate Assessor.
James Ross Snowden, the youngest of the seven children of Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden D. D., was born December 9, 1809. Unlike his father and uncles, who were chiefly clergymen, and his brothers, all of whom were physicians, he adopted the legal profession, being admitted to the bar ex gratia at the early age of nineteen years. He settled at Franklin, Venango County, where he quickly rose to prominence as an advocate.
He was appointed Deputy Attorney General for that county-a position equivalent to the office now known as District Attorney. Subsequently he was elected to the Legislature, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1842 and again in 1844. He was chosen State Treasurer in 1845 and was re-elected the following year. In 1847 President Polk appointed him Treasurer of the Mint and Assistant Treasurer of the United States. From 1853 to 1861 he was director of the Mint. In the last-mentioned year he was appointed Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
He was also interested in military affairs and was elected Colonel of a volunteer regiment in 1842; presided at the State Military Convention of 1845, and, at the outbreak of the Civil War, offered to the Federal Government the services of a regiment which he at the time commanded.
No phase of his public service, whether in civil or military capacity, was farther-reaching in its results or of greater significance to his native state, than in the course pursued by him, as Speaker of the House and as State Treasurer, in the establishment of the Commonwealth's credit, previously under a cloud. That he was a conspicuous factor in effecting this result was recognized by his contemporaries and later historians.
Colonel Snowden was a voluminous writer upon numismatics, and other subjects. Among the works of which he was the author may be mentioned the following; "Ancient and Modern Coins"; "Medals of Washington and National Medals"; "Coins and Money Terms of the Bible"; the "Cornplanter Memorial"; "Sketch of the Six Nations of Indians," etc. He also contributed to Bouvier's Law Dictionary the articles on the Coins of the United States and Foreign Nations.
In 1845 he received the degree of A. M. from Jefferson College. In 1872 that of LL. D. was conferred upon him by Washington and Jefferson College.
Colonel Snowden married September 13, 1848, Susan Engle Patterson, daughter of the celebrated General Robert Patterson, by his wife, Sarah Ann Engle. She was born October 19, 1823, and died February 11, 1897. The death of her husband occurred March 21, 1878. For many years prior to his decease he resided in Philadelphia, the home of his ancestors.
Their surviving children are Robert Patterson Snowden, Assistant Engineer Amboy Division, Pennsylvania Railroad Company, 908 Cooper street, Camden; Mrs., William Stansfield, The Drexel, Overbrook, and Mrs. S. P. Snowden Mitchell, and Miss Louise Horten Snowden, The Gladstone. The late Llewellyn Randolph Snowden, who died June 7, 1906, was another son.