Civil War Blog

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Was Sylvester Snyder, Buried at Berrysburg, a Civil War Veteran?

Posted By on October 2, 2017

Sylvester Snyder (1844-1891), son of Abraham Snyder (1814-1888) and Hannah Maria [Bordner} Snyder (1821-1900), is buried at the Old Methodist Cemetery, Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  Alongside his grave marker is a a G.A.R. Star-Flag Holder indicating that he was a veteran of the Civil War.  Initial efforts to locate his regiment and company of service were not successful as reported here on 26 April 2012:

Sylvester Snyder…is buried in Old Methodist Cemetery, Berrysburg.  There is a G.A.R. marker at his grave but to date, no military regiment has been identified for him.  There are at least two persons with this name in the Lykens Valley area and the records could be co-mingled.

According to information found in the database Death Notices of Members of Fraternal Orders, Kansas Historical Society, Sylvester Snyder was a member of the Knights of Pythias at Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, at the time of his death, 29 December 1891, which is the same date as on his grave marker.

Using this information, a search was made in Newspaper.com, which produced the following result from the Kansas City Gazette (Kansas), 29 December 1891:


Sylvester Snyder, Manager of the Chicago Lumber Company, a Victim of Pneumonia

Sylvester Snyder, manager of the Chicago Lumber Company, and a prominent and highly respected citizen, died suddenly at 2 o’clock this morning at his home, 516 Everett Avenue.

Mr. Snyder about a week ago received an attack of pneumonia, from which he suffered greatly.  Last night he was resting easily, when a relapse for the worse set in, and which caused his death early this morning.

Mr. Snyder came to this city about eight years ago and took charge of the Chicago Lumber Company in this city.  He was closely identified with several large enterprises.

The remains of Mr. Snyder will be shipped to his former home in Pennsylvania.  A sister of the deceased is on her way from Pennsylvania and will accompany the remains back.

In the obituary from the Kansas City Gazette, no mention was made of Civil War service.

Another obituary was found in the Wyandott Herald (Kansas City, Kansas) of 31 December 1891, which contained the following additional information, but it also did not indicate Civil War service:


Sylvester Snyder, business manager of the Chicago Lumber Company for the past seven and a half years, is dead.  He died at 1 o’clock a.m. on Tuesday, 29 December 1891, at his rooms at 506 Everett Street.  He was taken with la grippe on Tuesday, the 21st inst., which was followed by pneumonia and culminated in his death at the time above stated.

Mr. Snyder was born at Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, 14 August 1844.  His father died about six months ago at their home in Pennsylvania.  His mother, one brother and a sister reside in that state.  The sister is expected to arrive here today and will take the remains home with her for interment.

Mr. Snyder was highly esteemed by his acquaintances in this city.  He attended strictly to his own business never interfering or meddling with other people’s affairs.  He was very conscientious and honorable in all his dealings and no man speaks of him but in the most friendly manner.

He was a member of the Knights of Pythias and during his sickness had every care and attention possible to bestow.  He was a hale, hearty, robust man and his death was a great shock to his many friends.

Thus far, no Pennsylvania obituary has been located.

The Findagrave Memorial for Sylvester Snyder at the Old Methodist Cemetery, Berrysburg, has no specific information about Civil War service, although the G.A.R. Star-Flag Holder is pictured.

Two persons named Sylvester Snyder were located in the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File at the Pennsylvania Archives.

  1. Sylvester Snyder, 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, Private.  Age 29, an engineer at enrollment, and a resident of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania..  Mustered in on 11 April 1864.  Died of wounds on 10 May 1864.
  2. Sylvester W. Snyder, 138th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I, Corporal.  Age 31, a tobacconist at enrollment, and a resident of Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  Mustered in on 26 August 1862 and Mustered Out on 31 May 1865.

In the above two cases, the first one can be eliminated because of his death in the war, and the second can most likely be eliminated because of his age.  The second can also be eliminated because the pension records indicate that he was survived by a widow who collected benefits, therefore, unlikely a match due to neither obituary mentioning a widow as a survivor.

I the Fold3 records, there are seven Pension Index Cards for persons named Sylvester Snyder who served in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or New York regiments.  By eliminating the two above and by eliminating the others who have death dates and places that don’t match the Sylvester Snyder researched here, it can be stated with some degree of certainty that if the Sylvester Snyder buried at Berrysburg did serve in the war, he did not apply for a pension.

While this research has provided some new information about his place of death and resulted in two obituaries, the question still remains as to whether Sylvester Snyder who is buried at Berrysburg was actually a Civil War veteran and whether the G.A.R. marker is properly placed at his grave.

Readers are invited to comment.



One Response to “Was Sylvester Snyder, Buried at Berrysburg, a Civil War Veteran?”

  1. Beth Berger Chamberlain says:

    Sylvester Snyder
    1870 census living in Forreston, Ogle, Illinois age 24, born Pennsylvania Living in a hotel. Occupation listed as blacksmith. William T Hunter is also living in Forreston, Ogle, Illinois and also a blacksmith.

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