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The Snider Family - Descendants of Martin Snider Sr. (1748 or 1753-1828) United Empire Loyalist
Family History - Who Were These Schneiders?   

Family History

Who Were These Schneiders?

Our knowledge of Jacob and Maria Magdalena Schneider is limited. As Herbert Elgin Snider explained in his correspondence of 1979, the first new clue family researchers discovered was an Ontario Bureau of Archives report dated 1905, which contained details of claims for compensation made by United Empire Loyalists in Canada. When the Loyalists joined the British Forces at the time of the American Revolutionary War, the rebels confiscated their land and other property.

Peter and Elias Snyder, brothers of Martin Senior, gave evidence that their father owned 175 acres of land in Northampton County, Philadelphia (sic), which he had to sell to pay their jail fees while they were imprisoned by the American rebels.

From an exchange of letters with Thomas B. Wilson of Lambertville, New Jersey, Elgin Snider learned of the existence of N.J. Supreme Court records concerning the Snyder brothers. The report related an incident which occurred on the night of September 12–13, 1777, in which four Snyder brothers from Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, were apprehended:

" . . . A contingent of Pennsylvania men, from Northampton County with a few from upper Bucks County, crossed the Delaware River and joined up with a group of Tories in Sussex County (in that part which is now Warren County). Their aim was to go to Staten Island to join the New Jersey Volunteers. They headed southeastward into Hunterdon County to join a party there, waiting for them by pre-arrangement.

Just as they made their juncture, about midnight, they were detected by an officer of the militia who went quickly to gather his men. Warning was sent ahead to militia to the eastward. Apparently skirmishing broke out in Hunterdon County in the vicinity of Potterstown, but the Tories went off across the country heading for Perth Amboy in order to go over to Staten Island. After a final skirmish, they were stopped and rounded up in Piscataway Township, Middlesex Co., to the east of Bound Brook (‘Bawn Brook’ in the Ontario Archives Report page 271.)

The majority of the men were captured on 13 September 1777 and this included four Snyder brothers: Elias, Martin, Christian and Peter. . . .

"Ultimately the men were tried in Morristown in the middle of October 1777. Many of the men got off with only a misdemeanor charge, but 35 were tried for treason. The indictments read in part:


‘ . . . being armed and arrayed in a warlike and hostile manner . . . did wage a publick and cruel war . . . .’


"Merely intending to join the Army of the King of Great Britain was only a misdemeanor, but being armed in such an endeavour was high treason. The four Snyders were in this latter category and were sentenced to be hanged, the execution to take place on 2 December 1777.

"The Justices of the court, however, sent a list of the sentenced ones to Governor Livingston so that he ‘might better judge which ones were objects of mercy . . . . "Here is the entry for the Snyders:

Martin Snyder, Mount Bethel, Northampton, PA. age 23

Peter Snyder, Mount Bethel, Northampton, PA, age 18

Christian Snyder, Mount Bethel, Northampton, PA, age 20

Elias Snyder, Mount Bethel Northampton, PA, age 24, wife and one child.

"Petitioners, inhabitants of Pennsylvania (neighbours of the prisoners) moved by compassion for the parents and for the wife and children of Elias Snyder, pray for pardon. The father of good character . . . the sons always conducted themselves like prudent modest young men."

Signed by Capt. Patrick Campbell, Col. Jacob Stroud, Col. Abraham Miller, Robert Forsman, Elisha Barton, Jacob Emrich, and Lion Jones.

We know the four Snyder brothers were confined in prison, which were often wretched, cold cellars. Food was hard to come by and expensive, and prisoners were obliged to pay for their own food from their diminishing supplies of paper currency. Because of these harsh conditions, prisoners were weak and subject to infection. In some areas, cholera epidemics raged.

After their neighbors testified on their behalf and they were released from prison, Elias, who was ill, was allowed to go home. They were all forced to enlist in the Continental army.

At last they escaped from Pennsylvania and found their way to where the British forces were entrenched. Elias confirmed later that he spent twelve months hiding in the woods, before he was able to join the others in New Jersey. Mary, his wife, was forced to sell a horse and stocks of grain in order to feed her family.

Another New World (Family History continued)


Patricia Snider Armstrong © July 2000
Last modified: Wed Nov 19 09:46:51 2014
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