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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Snell

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 818-819 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This is an old Mohawk Valley family with an honorable record in peace, and an enviable one in war. The family originally settled in Herkimer county, where the ancestor had a tract of three thousand acres of land granted him by King George or his representatives. Many of the family settled there, and in the early records the name is found spelled Schnele. There is a locality in the county called "Snell's Bush," which takes its name from the family. They were brave men and good fighters.

Nine of them went to their death at the battle of Oriskany, led by the gallant Herkimer. From Snell's Bush settlement there were five killed: Joseph, Jacob, Frederick, Sufferenus and Peter Snell. From StoneArabia, Montgomery county, four gave up their lives: John, George, John Jr., a fifer, and Jacob. It is from such an ancestry that the present generation descends. A branch of the family settled in Montgomery county, in the village of Stone Arabia. It is from this family that the family in Amsterdam spring.

(I) George Snell was born in Palatine, Montgomery county, New York, and died in Stone Arabia in 1882, at the age of seventy-five. He was of Dutch descent and a man of prominence. He was always called "Judge" Snell, which came from his office of justice of the peace. He married ———— Wagner, of the famed Wagner family of Montgomery county, prominent in civil and military life. She lived to a good old age and reared a large family.

(II) Dr. Jacob G., son of George and ———— (Wagner) Snell, was born in Stone Arabia, town of Palatine. He was educated in the schools of the town and at Fairfield Academy. Deciding on the profession of medicine, he read and studied, afterward attending Albany Medical College, where he received his degree of Doctor of Medicine. He practiced in Palatine several years, later settling at Port Jackson, now a part of the city of Amsterdam, where he had a large practice, covering a great deal of the surrounding country. He was a popular and proficient physician with a large circle of friends, such as only the country doctor of the olden time ever had or will have. He was a strikingly handsome man, stood over six feet, was perfectly proportioned, weighing two hundred and fifty pounds. He had a charming personality that won and kept friends. He was big in every way, big-minded, broad and liberal in his views, conceded every man his opinion, but held firmly to his own. He was a well-known figure in politics, a host in himself at elections, and a strong Democrat. He was a warm political and personal friend of State Senator Wagner. Dr. Snell married Mary Rickard, born in the town of Palatine, 1811, died February 10, 1900, daughter of an old Palatine family, the homestead that has stood over one hundred years having only recently been sold out of the family. She was a member of the Dutch Reformed church, and is buried in Green Hill cemetery. Of the children of Dr. Snell, Mary E. married Charles De Wolf (deceased), formerly cashier of the First National Bank of Amsterdam; she resides in Amsterdam and has a daughter Mary, who married Charles Benedict, manager of the Van Curler Opera House at Schenectady.

(III) James R., son of Dr. Jacob G. and Mary (Rickard) Snell, was born in Stone Arabia, Montgomery county, New York, December 5, 1841. He was an infant when his parents removed to Port Jackson, therefore his whole life has been practically passed in that city, with the exception of seven years in California. He was educated at the academy and has given the best years of his life to the service of the city; he was a member of assembly 1883. When the system of waterworks was inaugurated, twenty-five years ago, he was elected a member of the water board, after serving on the board for three years he was elected president, and has held that office until 1894, when he was made superintendent, which position he now holds. He has been an able, conscientious, faithful member, and to him is due some of the credit for the present favorable condition of the system. He was the first elective treasurer of the city, and in the public affairs has been an active, influential and beneficial factor. He is a lifelong Democrat; a member of Welcome Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, formerly of Artisan Lodge, No. 64; member of the Fort Johnson Club: the Elks, Antlers, and of the Montgomery County Historical Society. He married, in Amsterdam, Lucy S., born in Amsterdam, daughter of George W. and Mary Hannah (Smith) Stryker, and granddaughter of James and Mary (Horn) Stryker, of New York City. Children:

  1. Ella A., born 1873; married Harold S. Gilbert, of Brooklyn, New York; has a son, Donald Gilbert.
  2. Julia Ives, unmarried; a prominent member of the social world of Amsterdam.
  3. Florence May, unmarried; like her sisters, socially inclined. The family are members of the Episcopal church.

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