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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
J. Augustus Snyder

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[This information is from pp. 275-276 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

J. Augustus Snyder, superintendent of the Foltz summer home at Cobleskill, N. Y., near Warnersville, was born in this town, October 6, 1844, son of William and Rebecca (Bouck) Snyder. He is of thrifty German ancestry, and a lineal descendant of one of the original settlers of this section of Schoharie County.

William Snyder, first, his great-great-grandfather, emigrated from Germany in Colonial times, and located on Helderberg Mountain, near Albany, N. Y., but prior to the Revolution he came to Cobleskill, where he took up a tract of wild land and began the improvement of a homestead. In the ensuing struggle for independence William Snyder took an active part, serving as a soldier in the army until the close of the war. The Lutheran church, which was built by him, contained a tablet bearing his name.

Peter W. Snyder, the grandfather of J. Augustus, was born on the old Snyder homestead, which later passed into his possession. He was an industrious, energetic worker, and added materially to the improvements on the estate, erecting the present comfortable set of buildings. He married Catherine Warner, a daughter of Nicholas Warner, who also was one of the earliest settlers of this part of Schoharie County, and formerly the owner of almost the whole of the present site of the village of Warnersville. A man of good understanding, interested in the cause of education, Peter W. Snyder had the distinction of being the first English school-teacher in this valley. For many years he served as Justice of the Peace; in 1826 and 1827 he was a member of the Assembly; and was also one of the first railway commissioners in this locality. He died at a ripe old age in 1850. Peter W. Snyder and his wife were members of the Lutheran church. Of their union seven children were born. Mrs. Catherine W. Snyder survived her husband a score or more of years, attaining the venerable age of ninety-three.

Their son, William Snyder, second, was born and reared on the old home farm, and eventually succeeded to its ownership. He carried it on successfully for many years, but later sold it, and, buying a farm near by, there spent his remaining days, dying at the age of seventy-six years. In addition to general farming he was extensively engaged in milling, and built the plant now known as Snyder's mills, a large mill having four runs of stone, which is now operated by one of his sons. He manufactured large quantities of flour and made a specialty of custom grinding, for years carrying on a lucrative business. He was an uncompromising Democrat, influential in local affairs, and held many public offices, being Supervisor five years, Excise Commissioner eighteen years, and Justice of the Peace a number of terms. He attended the Lutheran church, and gave generously toward its support. He was three times married. His first wife, whose maiden name was Diana Bouck, died at an early age, leaving two children — George W. and Margaret. George W. attended Franklin and Schoharie Academies and Union College, after which he entered West Point, where he was graduated at the head of his class in the engineer's department. In 1858 he was appointed Second Lieutenant, and he was afterward stationed at different points along the coast, including Boston, Pensacola, Key West, Charleston (S.C.), and Fort Moultrie. In 1861 he was ordered to Fort Sumter, and while there was twice promoted, first to the rank of First Lieutenant and then Captain. He was subsequently paroled for a time, and on returning to Washington was appointed as Aide de-camp to General Heintzelman, and was with him at the battle of Bull Run. Taken sick with typhoid fever just after the battle, he died November 17, 1861. He had been brevetted Lieutenant Colonel. As a soldier he was brave and courageous, faithful in the performance of every duty. The father's second wife, Lavina Bouck, lived but a few years. He subsequently married for his third wife Rebecca Bouck, who was born in Cobleskill, a daughter of David Bouck, and a lineal descendant of Governor Bouck. She bore him seven children, of whom three are now living; namely, J. Augustus, David B., and William. The mother died at the age of fifty-eight years.

J. Augustus Snyder lived with his parents until sixteen years old, when he began life for himself. While working with his father he had learned the miller's trade, and he subsequently operated for five years a grist-mill that his father bought in Hyndsville. He then went West, and at Saginaw, Mich., he engaged in railroad construction and lumbering six years. Returning home in 1875, he entered the mill now owned by his brother, David B., and this he operated a few years. After that he carried on a farm seven years, selling out at the end of this period and removing to Richmondville, where he was engaged as a retail grocer and marketman for five years. During the next six years Mr. Snyder kept a hotel, and shortly after selling that property he assumed his present responsible position as superintendent of the Foltz place. Under his efficient management marked improvements have been made on the estate. The grounds have been finely laid out and beautified, and the new house has been built, the homestead being now one of the most attractive in the vicinity.

On June 26, 1882, Mr. Snyder married Miss Mary O. Baker, who was born in Worcester, Otsego County, N. Y., one of the six children of Sherman S. Baker, a well-known cattle dealer of that town. Politically, Mr. Snyder is a straightforward Republican, interested in public matters, and while in Michigan served as Justice of the Peace. Fraternally, he is a thirty-second degree Mason, prominent in the order, and a member of Cobleskill Lodge, F. & A. M.; the John L. Lewis Chapter, Cobleskill; St. George's Commandery, K. T., of Schenectady; and Temple Consistory, No. 2, of Albany. He also belongs to Cobleskill Lodge, No. 500, I. O. O. F. In religious matters he is broad and liberal.

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