EDMOND S. SNOW is a Kansan of unusual experience, was through part of the Civil war as a Union soldier, identified himself early with the great West in the pioneer Trans-Continental Railways days, and has been in Kearny County, Kansas, for over thirty years. For a man nearing the three-quarter century mark, with all his participation in the strenuous activities of the war and the winning of the West, he is perfectly preserved in body and faculties and is still in business as a merchant at the county seat, Lakin.
In ancestry he represents some of those substantial families that went out of New England and peopled the great Western Reserve of Ohio. Mr. Snow was born at Austinburg in Ashtabula County, Ohio, January 25, 1845. His grandfather was Sparrow A. Snow, who died in Austinburg, Ohio, about 1865. He married a Miss Willis, and their children were Albert, Edward, Lorens, Samuel W., Rhoda, Betsy, Emily and Clara.
Samuel W. Snow father of Edmond S., spent his early childhood at Sandersfield, Massachusetts. He came with his parents from that state to Ohio when he was a boy. The family drove an ox team with a wagon over the country to Ashtabula County about 1840. Samuel W. Snow became identified with the farming life of the Western Reserve and was a factor in the conduct of the underground railway helping to run darkies across to Canada. He was also an old time abolitionist, a follower of Giddings and Wade and other famous characters of Northern Ohio. In religion he was a Unitarian and was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He also took a part in military affairs as a captain in the militia under General Miller. He was born July 27, 1816, and died in Sterling, Kansas, April 17, 1895. He married Ann J. Strong, whose father, Edmond Strong was a farmer who came to Ohio from Connecticut. Ann Strong was born August 15, 1819, and died April 6, 1895. Their children were: Edmond S.; Dr. Sparrow A., of North Branch, Michigan; Martha P., wife of Clinton Ransom, of Washington, D. C.; and Nell, the oldest daughter, who married Hamilton Irish and died in Sterling, Kansas.
Edmond S. Snow grew up on his father's farm and finished his education in the Grand River Institute at Austinburg, Ohio. While a student there he enlisted for the war, joining Company C of the Sixtieth Ohio Infantry under Captain Thomas B. Kyle and Colonel John McElroy. This regiment was organized at Camp Chase in March, 1864, going from there to Alexandria, Virginia. The first engagement in which Mr. Snow was under fire was the great battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. His regiment bore the brunt of much of the hard fighting that followed in Virginia until the close of the war. He was present in every engagement of his regiment except one. That his command did a valiant part is proved by the fact that of the 800 enlisted men the regiment lost 505, with seventeen missing. Mr. Snow was in many of the great battles from the Wilderness until the war closed at Appomattox, and when Lee surrendered the regiment was on the Jerusalem Plank Road, near Petersburg. On October 23, 1864, he was the only man of his company reported and accounted for while on dress parade. He was discharged at Cleveland, Ohio, in June, 1865. While he escaped all rebel bullets, he sustained a physical injury when a tree fell on him.
Following the war Mr. Snow went to Dearborn, Michigan, intending to study medicine with his father's brother. However, it was impossible to get his mind away from the scenes of military life and down to study and he therefore abandoned it and took a more active outdoor vocation as timekeeper for this uncle in the lumber woods. Later, he was with the firm of H. E. Downer & Company, printers, lithographers and engravers at Detroit. A few months later he went to Holly, Michigan, and set up in the grocery business for himself. He lost all his capital in that enterprise and pawned his watch for a "second class" ticket for Chicago. Near Chicago he hired out to a farmer to work for $17 a month. At the end of a year he went into the city and hired out to a grading outfit to work on the Union Pacific Railway then in process of construction across the great West. He was given free transportation, but soon after arriving at Wasatch, Utah, he transferred his services to the car repair shops of the company. His duties were attending switch on the "Z," and when that was completed he went as a railway brakeman. After a year he was made freight conductor and for ten years before coming to Kansas he was a passenger conductor from Cheyenne west over the different divisions, but chiefly between Laramie and Green River.
Mr. Snow went out to Wyoming in 1868, and was in that state, Utah and Idaho altogether for a period of 18 years. He assisted in building the Union Pacific from Evanston west to Promontory Point and was present when the eastern and western ends of the road were connected and witnessed the ceremony of the driving of gold and silver spikes.
Mr. Snow's home has been in Kearny County since November, 1885. Locating at Hartland, he established a lumber yard, and was there ten years, being also in the general merchandise business the latter half of that period. Much of the lumber which he sold for improving the claims was burned or moved away when nearly all the people left the country on account of dry and oppressive conditions. Mr. Snow had himself erected a number of buildings at Hartland, and on leaving there he moved five of his houses and business blocks to Lakin.
For ten years Mr. Snow was a general merchant at Lakin. He then sold out his store and engaged in the newspaper business, buying the Kearny County Advocate, of which he was editor and publisher two years. It was conducted as a weekly paper of republican politics. All the paper meant to him in a financial way was "free railway transportation." He again bought into a mercantile enterprise and soon discovered that a man in business and running a paper was not entitled to "transportation" and thus the last incentive to journalism was taken away and he accordingly sold the paper to the democrats. Since then Mr. Snow has been continuously engaged in the hardware, furniture, undertaking and coal business at Lakin.
While he has never been a county official he has exercised a more than average influence in politics as a republican. He frequented conventions in earlier years, being a delegate in the Great Bend Convention which nominated Victor Murdock for Congress the first time. He has always been interested in the old soldiers, has attended state encampments and occasional reunions and is a member of Lakin Post No. 420, G. A. R. He joined the Grand Army in Wyoming in 1883. In 1867, in Michigan, he joined the Good Templars but soon withdrew. He has been a member of the Masonic Order at Lakin since 1890, being affiliated with the Blue Lodge and Chapter of that town, the Commandery at Garden City and the Temple of the Shrine at Salina. He is also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at Hutchinson. Mrs. Snow is an active Presbyterian and Mr. Snow gives his support to the same church.
Besides the five buildings which Mr. Snow brought with him to Lakin from Hartland, he has in many other ways contributed toward the growth and upbuilding of the town. He erected his own business house, Snow's Theater, his residence and is owner of considerable other property here.
At Green River, Wyoming, February 24, 1876, Mr. Snow married Miss Margaret Collins. Mrs. Snow was born at Paynesville, Ohio, but came West from Warren, Illinois. Her father was Thomas Collins and her mother was Miss Norris, and Mrs. Snow is the third of their four children. Mr. and Mrs. Snow have no children.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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