William Smith Snyder

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III, pg. 114-115

WILLIAM SMITH SNYDER is a native of Martinsburg, and
was an active business man of the city for twenty years or
more, but now gives his time chiefly to the management of
his private property interests. He is member of one of the
substantial old families of the Eastern Panhandle.

Mr. Snyder was born at Martinsburg, January 28, 1858.
His grandfather, John Snyder, at one time was a resident of
Chillicothe, Ohio, and from there came to Virginia, lived for
a time in Jefferson County, and then established his perma-
nent home at Martinsburg. He was a hatter by trade, and
he served as a constable in Martinsburg. He had three
sons. Two of them, John and Daniel, were shoemakers at
a time when shoe making was a manual trade and all boots
and shoes were made to order. John Snyder continued the
business of custom shoemaker in Martinsburg for many
years, and was also a member of the official board of the
Methodist Church. All business houses of the city were
closed during his funeral. Daniel Snyder specialized in the
making of women’s shoes. His son removed to Baltimore
and for many years was in business in that city.

Samuel Snyder, father of William Smith Snyder, learned
the trade of carpenter and followed that occupation. He
was a Union sympathizer when the war broke out between
the states, removed to Pennsylvania and was soon stricken
with diphtheria, and died in May, 1861, soon after return-
ing home. He married Mary A. P. Legg, who was born at
Annapolis, Maryland. Her father was a farmer in Mary-
land, and on leaving the farm lived with her at Annapolis.
Mrs. Mary Snyder was left a widow with three small
children, named Clara W., who subsequently married Wil-
liam Rouark, Maggie O. and William Smith. William
Smith was only three years old when his father died. The
mother kept her children together and carefully reared and
educated them, and she died at the age of sixty-two. She
and her husband were active members of the First Methodist
Episcopal Church.

William Smith Snyder attended the city schools, and
early sought a useful occupation that would provide his self-
support. He learned the tinner’s trade at the age of
twenty, established himself in business as a tinsmith, and
that was the active business line he followed. Mr. Snyder
has made numerous investments in local real estate, and
his accumulating interests in this field give him property
that requires much of his time.

At the age of twenty-five he married Emma Susan
Shaffer, who was born at Martinsburg, daughter of Jacob
and Isabelle (Burnett) Shaffer. Her grandfather, John
Shaffer, was born in 1795 and was a son of Peter Shaffer,
a Pennsylvania soldier in the American Revolution. John
Shaffer was an early settler of Martinsburg, and a wagon
manufacturer whose place of business was at the corner of
West King and South Raleigh streets. He married Sally
Curtis. The father of Mrs. Snyder was the first superin-
tendent of the Martinsburg Water Works, and continued in
that official capacity for forty years. The maternal grand-
parents of Mrs. Snyder were Archibald and Eve Burnett.

Mr. and Mrs. Snyder, who are members of the First Meth-
odist Episcopal Church, reared five children. Edith May,
the oldest, is the wife of A. D. Darby and has two children,
named Ruth May and Albert D., Jr. Roland Shaffer, the
oldest son, entered the United States service in the World
war, was first stationed at Kelly Field, near San Antonio,
Texas, and was at Chanute Field, near Champaign, Illinois,
until the close of the war. The third child is Hattie Webb.
The fourth, Mary Isabella, is the wife of Roy Harrison and
has two children, Isabella and Margaret. William Stanley,
the younger son, also is an ex-service man, and was stationed
at Camp Lee until the close of the war. He attended
Washington and Lee University and West Virginia Uni-
versity, and is now a clerk in the office of the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad at Cumberland, Maryland.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook