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Snare / Snair Family History


June 30, 1979 was a glorious day! On that day I married Stephanie Roxanne Snair. Also on that day I became a member of the Robert Delanson Snair Family. Bob, my father-in-law, had made some valiant but mostly fruitless attempts to search out his family heritage. With the information he had accumulated, and help from other far-flung family members we have been able to make significant progress. However, some important questions remain unanswered.

I would like to acknowledge assistance provided by Robert Kuhn who has shared years of research and Stephanie Smith who provided the scanned copy of Merwin and Ruth Snare's 1969 "Snare Family Records."

- Larry Vredenburgh March 2010.

Four Brothers from Germany

In the late 1960s there was considerable interest in trying to unravel the Snare family genealogy. In 1969 Merwin and Ruth Snare completed a 528 page report documenting the many of the descendants of Philip Schnerr. In January 1967 a bi-monthly news letter dubbed the Snareville Sun-Times, Telegraph, Tribune – News was inaugurated.

Merwin and Ruth’s report brought to light many obscure family documents. One of the most valuable was the remembrances of Nathan Snare. Nathan reported that Philip, John, Casper, and Henry Schnerr came to America from Germany prior to the Revolutionary War and settled in Virginia. They left Germany during the religious persecution by the Catholics, they being Lutherans.

Since Nathan was born in 1826, and his grandfather Philip died around 1829, I presume much of what he records must have been handed down from his father Joseph.

Nathan recorded the following concerning his ancestors,

Philip, John, Casper, and Henry Schnerr came to America from Germany prior to the Revolutionary War and settled in Virginia. They left Germany during the Religious persecution by the Catholics, they being Lutherans.

Philip, the eldest, was a millwright, building and tending mills. John was a ship-builder, but he got hurt when young, and was a humpback man, but could work at his trade while in Virginia. Casper was a locksmith. Henry went to Canada before the war, and was never heard from again. The Schnerrs were rough in manners but were well educated for their day. Phillip taught school in the old country. Jared, his nephew, was a great scholar in his day, a writing book of his being in the family many years, and judging from this must have been one of the best of his day. He was also a surveyor, and was employed to survey and measure the land which his Uncle Philip picked out and it was then deeded to him by the Government, and remained in our family until John P. Schnerr sold out, to move to Illinois.

Philip Schnerr, having lost two fingers in a mill accident, was not subject to military duty, but nevertheless served as a teamster, while in the army. He was married twice while living in Virginia. (We have, so far, been unable to learn the names of either). To the first marriage were born two boys and three girls; Allen, Daniel, Margaret (Philip Curfman), Elizabeth (Jocob Curfman), and Sarah, (Aunt Sally) who married Jacob Kepler. Sarah died in Johnson County, Iowa.

After moving from James River to Strausburg [Shenandoah County], Va. his first wife died, and some time later, he married again, (Wymer).

Only Philip and Casper can be found in the census with certainty. There is also a Henry in Shenandoah County, Virginia in 1785 and 1820, but I haven't been able to find John (our John is not John Christian Schnure - see biography below)

Philip's Schnerr's 1822 will mentions his (second) wife Lavina (or Savina, or Sabina) and nine children; Joseph, John, Margaret, Elizabeth, Sarah, Eve, Catherine, Magdelena, and Anne.

Egle, William Henry, 1880, An illustrated history of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, civil, political and military, from its earliest settlement to the present time (Philadelphia: E. M. Gardner) p. 775

The Borough of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania,1883


From family documents, it is clear that my wife descended from Peter Snare, born December 7, 1812 in Pennsylvania, and married Polly McKinley in Licking County, Ohio. Peter Snair (Snare) and his family first appears in the census in 1840 residing in McKean Township, Licking County, Ohio. Joseph Snair (Snare), who I assume is Philip’s son, is recorded in the census for McKean Township, Licking County, Ohio in 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850. In addition there is a Daniel Snair (Snare) born 1811 and his family in McKean Township recorded in the 1840 and 1850 census. In fact Daniel was living next door to Joseph. Though I have no document that proves it, I am fairly certain that Peter and Daniel are Joseph's sons.

Only one of Joseph’s siblings ventured west, John Phillip. In 1847 he moved his family from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania to settle in Penn Township, Stark County, Illinois.

The second generation - Philip Schnerr’s grand children - saw a number immigrate to Illinois and a few to Ohio. According to researcher, Keith Fisher (a descendant of Philip Schnerr / Snare),

In 1864 Joseph Snare Fisher [son of John C. Fisher] moved with his family from Newberg, Huntingdon Co to Stark Co, IL. According to Silas, his eldest son who was 11 at the time, they traveled with a party of Shoemakers, Snares, Crums and Kissingers, all from Huntingdon Co, PA. Silas related to his daughter, Eula Fisher, that they took the Pennsylvania Railroad from Huntingdon to Pittsburgh, then by steamboat they went down the Ohio River to Cairo, IL. They then went up the Mississippi to Hannibal, MO, then further north to Hamilton, IL where they stayed a few weeks. They then traveled overland by wagon northeast to Stark Co, IL where they founded the town of Snareville. In the spring of 1867, because land prices in Illinois were too high, Joseph S. Fisher and his family moved by wagon to Creighton, Cass Co, MO. In late summer they moved a few miles north to Madison Twp, Johnson Co, MO. By August 1870 they were in Holden, Chilhowie Twp, Johnson Co, MO, isolated from the family and lives they had left in Huntingdon Co, PA and Stark Co, IL.

And, while these hardy souls moved “west” a large number of Snares remained in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania – even to this day.

I would welcome your comments and questions and would gladly post your contributions here. BUT I would recommend using the rootsweb SNARE message board (see below) as a forum for discussion – since it allows more people to join in the fun.

Philip Schnerr, and his three brothers, Five Generations of Descendants (pdf)

Philip Schnerr (On my Ancestry.com Family Tree)

Snair Family Tree (extracted from my Ancestry.com Family Tree)

Arnold Snair, my wife's grandfather, in Chautauqua and Elk Counties, Kansas

The 1918 flu, sometimes known as the Spanish Flu, was a horrible scourage on the earth, but as this article notes, it was first described by a local physician Loring Miner, who lived in Haskell County, Kansas. The article continues:

"Several Haskell men who had been exposed to influenza went to Camp Funston, in central Kansas. Days later, on March 4, the first soldier known to have influenza reported ill. The huge Army base was training men for combat in World War I, and within two weeks 1,100 soldiers were admitted to the hospital, with thousands more sick in barracks. Thirty-eight died."

Significantly Arnold Snair, was at Fort Funston immediately following the outbreak. We're not sure how long he was there at basic training with the the other soldiers of Company H 353rd Infantry 89rd Division, but according to his diary, he left for France on May 26, 1918. Apparently he didn't catch the flu, but between September 12 through 16th during the Battle of St Mihiel, he was gassed, struck by a bullet, and knocked down by the concussion from a shell. Fortunately he made it out alive!!

Fort Funston, Kansas 1918

Photo Above: Company H 353rd Infantry 89rd Division, probably May 1918, camp Funston, Kansas - download for full resolution. Arnold is a little over half way on the right side, top row. There is a pencil arrow in the top margin of the photo. I wonder how many of these men carried the flu with them to Europe?

Message Boards

Rootsweb Message Boards

GenForum Message Boards

Merwin and Ruth Snare's 1969 "Snare Family Records" - Searchable pdf files.
(These scans were provided by Stephanie Smith - a descendant of Helen Gertrude Snare)

Various Documents

The John Christian Schnure Family (Not our Family)

County Histories

J. Simpson Africa, 1883, History of Huntingdon and Blair counties, Pennsylvania, (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts)

J. M. Runk & Company. Commemorative biographical encyclopedia of the Juniata Valley : comprising the counties of Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata and Perry, Pennsylvania. Containing sketches of prominent and representative citizens and many of the early settlers (1897)

Volume 1, Volume 2, History of that part of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, embraced in the counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" edited by F. Ellis and A. N. Hungerford. Published in 1886 by Everts, Peck and Richards, Philadelphia, Page

Excerpt about John Christian Schnure Excerpt about George Schnure from the above history

Stark County, Illinois History 1887

Licking County, Ohio History 1876

Licking County, Ohio. History 1909