Biography of Lewis Snyder

LEWIS SNYDER. – How many of the thriftiest and most enterprising of our leading citizens have been born in Germany, and having torn themselves from the ties that bound them to native land and friends, have chosen this land as their abiding place! They are a class of which we may well be proud, and among their numbers we are led to mention the esteemed and substantial citizen, whose name is at the head of this article, who was one of the early pioneers of Union county and wrought here for many years while it was still a wild country, displaying that energy, stability, pluck, and capability that will never be satisfied without winning the best of success.

In Gressen, Germany, Lewis Snyder was born on February 16, 1846, and until he was fourteen years of age lived there on a farm. He was privileged to attend the village school, and so had exceptional advantages for a good education, which are well improved. At the age mentioned he separated from the parental roof and came to the United States, settling in Warsaw, Illinois, and went to work on a farm for one year. At the expiration of this time he bound himself to a farmer for three years, that time being completed when he was eighteen years of age. Then, it being 1864, he was desirous of coming to the west, and as his old employer was about to make the trip, they traveled together, as far as Montana, then our subject turned toward Virginia City, where he fell in with an acquaintance from Illinois, and together they determined to visit the Grande Ronde valley, and arrived here in September of the same year. He at once went to work for Mechum Brothers, who were building a road over the Blue Mountains, and for three years he continued with them. Following that long service, he went to freighting from Umatilla Landing to Idaho, Silver and Boise cities, operating for another man. In January, 1870, he bought an outfit for himself and operated on his own account. Two years later he took a homestead, and was there during the time that he was not occupied with freighting, and in seven years he proved up and tilled it until 1883, when he bought two hundred and fifteen acres where he now resides, two miles east of one-half mile south from Island City. He immediately improved his newly acquired farm with good buildings, and has handled it in a skillful manner during the years subsequent thereto. He is occupied in raising the fruits of the field and in rearing stock, and owing to his wise management, care of details, and steady devotion to business, he ahs been crowned with abundant success. Mr. Snyder’s home is a picture of comfort and taste and his farm is one of the best kept in the county. He has a small orchard of mixed fruits.

In 1891 Mr. Snyder married Mrs. May E. Rochester, daughter of Granville E. and Rhoda (Ellis) Ashmead, residents of Oasis, Idaho. To this happy union there have been born two children: Georganna Rochester and Dora Louisa. Mrs. Snyder was born in Fremont, Iowa. Our subject has always taken the part of the intelligent citizen in politics, and is allied with the Democratic party while in church relations he is a member of the Lutheran denomination and his life is marked by uprightness, and his characteristics have always been industry, probity, integrity and sound principles.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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