JAMES C. SNYDER, a very well known citizen and leading stockman of Mercer County, in association with his son,
LeRoy Snyder, owns 230 acres of the best farming land in Washington township, consisting of 150 acres in the home
farm in section 13, and 80 acres in section 23. He was born at Lewisburg, Preble County, Ohio, March 9, 1846, and
is a son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Homan) Snyder.
The father of our subject was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and was a son of Peter Snyder, who came to
West Baltimore, Montgomery County, Ohio, when his son Joseph was 10 years of age and settled on land, which is
now the site of the thriving town of West Baltimore. When he was 12 years old, Joseph Snyder was apprenticed to
a blacksmith who had a shop and forge at Lewisburg, and married in that place and continued to work there at his
trade until his son James was four years old and then moved to West Baltimore, Ohio, where he opened a shop and
worked four years. He then sold his shop and worked as a journeyman blacksmith for several years. About 1858, he
bought a farm of 220 acres in Wells County, Indiana, which was still in its virgin state and heavily timbered.
This farm was mainly cleared through his own exertions as in a few years he was deprived of the assistance of James,
who was the eldest son, the military spirit having carried the boy away from the farm and into the army.
During the absence of James C. Snyder in the army, his father sold the farm in Indiana, and returned to Montgomery
County, Ohio, where he subsequently bought two pieces of land near West Baltimore. He was the owner of this land,
however, but a short time, selling it and moving to Palestine, Parke County, Ohio, where he bought a saw mill and
engaged in sawing lumber for many years. Finally he purchased a farm adjoining the corporate limits of Palestine,
where he spent some years farming and dealing in horses. His death occurred while he was living near Lynn, Indiana.
Joseph Snyder was married (first) to Elizabeth Homan, a daughter of Peter Homan, who was a shoemaker by trade.
Mrs. Snyder died in 1874, the mother of seven children. Mr. Snyder was married (second) to Rebecca Howard, of Greenville,
Ohio, and they had two children. His death took place on March 14, 1899, at the age of 74 years, 3 months and 8
Before our subject's years had extended over boyhood, he had won permission to become a soldier and was wearing
the army blue. In appearance he was a well developed youth, but his age was between 15 and 16 years and his weight
was but 94 pounds, when he succeeded, on August 6, 1863, in securing the enrollment of his name as a soldier in
the Union ranks. To the credit of the colonel of the Seventh Regiment, Indiana Vol. Cav., be it stated that he
opposed the admission of the youthful recruit, but the latter's fine horsemanship finally won his consent. A difficulty
arose about a uniform as none could be found small enough, but young Snyder devised expedients such as filling
his hat partly with paper and turning up his sleeves and making a few rolls in his pants, so that he was presentable
at roll call. In looking over the records of the Seventh Indiana of that period, there seems to be no mention of
the failure of this determined young soldier in any part of his hard duty; on the other hand there is proof that
he gallantly bore a part in the battles of Okolona, Guntown, Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, Verona, Egypt, Natchez River,
Hurricane Creek and Oxford, Mississippi; Independence, Big Blue and Little Osage, Missouri; Raleigh and Bolivar,
Tennessee; Mine Creek, Kansas; and Bastrop, Louisiana. He came through this particularly hard campaign without
injury, and, with the exception of about 3o days of illness when he was kept in a hospital at Memphis, Tennessee,
he was never absent from his regiment. His work was also of a dangerous character, as he was frequently employed
in the carrying of special messages. On several occasions, when he had to pass right through the enemy's lines,
only his excellent horsemanship and his tact and ingenuity saved him from capture and the army disaster, which
would have resulted had his dispatches fallen into the wrong hands. On one occasion, with two comrades, he carried
dispatches too miles. That his services were not unappreciated may be proved by the presentation of a document
which speaks for itself. It is as follows:
HEADQUARTERS 7TH IND. CAV., LA GRANGE, TENN., May 23, 1865. Issued to Corporal James C. Snyder, as a tribute of
respect to his qualities as a soldier, whose bravery, courage and dash won for him the respect of the officers
and his comrades at arms in the engagements at Okolona, Tishomingo and Hurricane Creek.
(Signed) LeRoy WOODS, 1st lieutenant, Company E.
Corporal Snyder was honorably discharged, by special order No. 4, on September 19, 1865, at Hempstead, Texas.
Upon his return from army service, Mr. Snyder went to his father's home in Darke County, where he lived until his
marriage in 1866, when he settled for several years near Palestine and then moved to Washington township, Mercer
County. Here Mr. Snyder bought a mill property and operated a sawmill for several years, doing a large amount of
business. He then decided to resume farming and returned to Darke County, where he lived some five years, after
which he went back to Washington township, repurchased the sawmill and continued to operate it for some five years.
During this interval he had purchased 160 acres of farm land, this being his present home property. A hamlet was
forming in the neighborhood at this time, and Mr. Snyder sold 10 acres of his farm, on which tract the town of
Erastus now stands. The purchase of this land was consummated by Mr. Snyder on August 21, 1880. On account of a
noble grove of walnut trees, he gave his property the name of "Walnut Grove Farm"; since he has entered
so largely into the stock business, it is known as the "Walnut Grove Stock Farm." It is situated just
north and adjoining the village of Erastus. In partnership with his son, who is also a very capable business man,
Mr. Snyder is largely interested in raising fine trotting horses. At present the firm owns 40 head of magnificent
animals. They have a half mile race track on the farm on which the horses are tried from colts. Mr. Snyder has
one of the best equipped modern barns in this part of the State, having erected it especially with the training
and care of his horses in view. In dimensions it is 100 feet east and west and 8o feet north and south, built with
an ell. There are 20 box stalls and accommodations for 5o head of horses. Other necessary buildings and sheds are
kept in fine sanitary condition, it being Mr. Snyder's policy to treat his horses in a way most beneficial in order
to reap the best results. An office with clerk in attendance is also on the place.
The comfortable farm home, also erected by Mr. Snyder, stands some 100 yards back from the highway in the beautiful
walnut grove mentioned.
On August 7, 1866, Mr. Snyder was married to Signorette Wilcox, a daughter of James Wilcox, and they have three
children, namely: Flora, who is the wife of Orville S. Ashcraft, a trustee of Washington township, who operates
our subject's 80 acre farm; Vernie, who is the wife of LeRoy Kester, and resides on the home farm of Mr. Snyder;
and LeRoy, who is associated with his father in the stock business.
Formerly Mr. Snyder was interested in some of the business enterprises, outside of his own, in his vicinity, and
for some five years was part owner of the tile mill at Erastus. With his family, Mr. Snyder belongs to the Methodist
History of Mercer County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
Edited & Compiled by: Hon. S. S. Scranton
Published by: Biographical Publishing Company
Mercer County, Ohio Biographies
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