Robert G. Snodgrass
The Snodgrass family, originally of Virginia, domiciled at an early day in Kentucky. We first hear of Benjamin Snodgrass, who came from the old Dominion to the "Dark and Bloody Ground," there married Ursula Evans, of Pennsylvania, later migrated to Indiana and settled on a wild tract of land bought in Hancock county, near Palestine. Into a tumble-down old log cabin on this forbidding tract the pioneers moved with their meager belongings and set up housekeeping after the primitiave methods of those distant days. The family took possession 7 Oct 1827, and on 19 Sep 1829, the head of the house passed away, leaving a widow and five children. Napoleon Bonapart Snodgrass, one of the sons, was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, November 8, 1822, and was about six years old when the removal to Indiana occurred. His widowed mother, with the care of so many small children, had a hard struggle to make both ends meet. Napoleon, who possessed a mechanical turn, made her a hand-loom and she became so skillful in handling this pioneer instrument that her fame was spread broadcast. Even Governor Jennings and his wife were attracted and paid a visit to the cabin home of Mrs. Snodgrass to get her to weave for them one of her beautiful coverlets. In the course of time, this high type of pioneer woman sank to rest and left her growing family to struggle for themselves. Napoleon helped on the farm until he was twenty-one and then branched out as a carpenter and millwright. He followed this business until the winter of 1850, when he bought the old grist and lumber mill on Sugar creek, besides twenty acres of land in Moral township. He conducted this business until the going out of the dam compelled him to abandon it, when he turned his attention to farming. He kept buying land until at the time of his death, which occurred 4 Dec 1896, he owned 566 acres, mostly in Moral township. He improved his holdings by modern methods and eventually had the largest part of his land under a high state of cultivation, his crowning achievement being the building of a beautiful brick residence in 1874. He was a citizen of the highest order, the minister who attended to his funeral serveces and had known him long and intimately, declaring that Napoleon B. Snodgrass lived literally by the strictest interprettion of the "golden rule." This was the general opinion of all who knew him. February 17, 1850, he married Susannah, daughter of John A. and Lavina Leonard, and born in Davidson county, North Carolina, in 1828. There were eight children by this union: Loretta, who married D. McDougall, and resided in Hancock county, is deceased; Robert G.; Willard, died 7 Apr 1872; Sarah, deceased; Jennie, wife of Thaddeus L. Major, of Irvington, Indiana; Annie, wife of Dr. O. C. Neier, is also a resident of Irvington; John N. occupies the old homestead, and Clement died in youth. The mother died September 1, 1897, and was laid to rest by the side of her husband in the New Palestine cemetery.
Robert G. Snodgrass, second of his parents' children, was born in Moral township, Shelby county, Indiana July 3, 1853. As he grew up he assisted his father on the farm, but at an early age conceived an ambition to get a better education than was afforded by the district schools. On his own responsibility, he went to Shelbyville and attended the high school for some time, after which he spent fifteen years in teaching. His schools were in Moral township and after finishing the winter terms, his rule was to enter the fields in summer as a full-fledged farm laborer. In 1887, he bought 80 acres of land, to which he has since added until his holdings amount to 164 acres of the choice and productive soil which has given Moral township such high rank in the agricultural world. He has made many improvements, put up modern buildings and otherwise made his place one of the most valuable of its extent in the whole region around.
February 10, 1875, Mr. Snodgrass married Nancy Jane, daughter of Henry C. and Elizabeth Smith, citizens of high standing and members of one of the best known and oldest families of the township. This union has resulted in the birth of five children, Larue, who married Myrtle Short, is a telegrapher at Rushville, and has one child, Wilbur; Orris, who married Lillian Tucker, is a farmer in Moral Township; Emma is the wife of Claude Cole, a farmer in Van Buren township; Fairie E. and Earl are at home.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well
known local talent, B.F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, pages 970-971.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming