Snidow Early History and Lineage:

John Jacob and Mary Elizabeth HELM Snidow (Schneido).... The progenitors of our family migrated sometime between 1766 and 1769 from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to what would become Botetourt County, Virginia.   (That area of Botetourt County became Fincastle Co. in 1772...then Montgomery County in 1777 and finally Giles County, Virginia in 1806).

Our earliest documented evidence of John and Elizabeth is from the year 1749 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (We do not know where or when John was born). A long-held opinion was that John Jacob Snidow was a son of Christian and Susannah Schneider of Lancaster Co. PA who came to America on the ship Allen in about 1728.    But there is some controversy about this in the family. In 2000, documentation was uncovered which indicated that our ancestor John Jacob Snidow was not their son.  (Read the article by our former Historian Nat Clark here). However, DNA testing was begun in 2008 and as more testing is done in the future, perhaps it will show some relationship to the Christian and Susannah Schneider family. Proving John Jacob's parentage is an ongoing effort by Snidow descendants.

For another theory, see Possible Origin of Snidow Name and Family here.

It would appear that John died in or before 1771 since Elizabeth petitioned the court in October of 1771 so that she could administer his estate. (Also see his Estate Inventory.) In the Revolutionary War Pension Application of John & Elizabeth's son Jacob, Jacob states that he moved with his mother (Elizabeth Helm Snidow) in 1774 to Stony Creek, a tributary of New River, in (then) Montgomery Co. Va. There is some speculation as to where the family resided prior to that. The following account is based in part on Mary French Boswell's article in the Autumn 1997 Snidow Newsletter Vol. 20, No. 2 entitled The Great Wagon Road:

John & Elizabeth Helm Snidow and their 8 children followed the Great Wagon Road southward to migrate to Virginia. It is known that John visited the New River Valley in Virginia in 1765 or 1766 and staked out his land and notched the trees. He probably got it from the Loyal Land Co. (see Snidow Newsletter Spring 1981). The wagon train left Lancaster, probably with a number of families, in homemade wagons, in two-wheeled carts, many pack horses and some Conestoga wagons. From Lancaster they traveled to York (PA), to Gettysburg and into Maryland. Here we know the Jacob Prillaman family joined the train. (The wives of Prillaman and John Schneido were long thought to be sisters but DNA results in recent years showed that they were not. Their relationship remains to be proven.) There is a long-held theory that our John Schneido may have died enroute along the Great Wagon Road. But an old court record was found which showed that John Snidow Jr., son of John & Elizabeth Helm Snidow, was apprenticed in 1769 to a Mr. Campbell in Botetourt Co. (now Giles). So the family was apparently already settled in the area. Whether John (the father) was with them then or not, we do not know for sure.

Some believe that Elizabeth, on the trip south into Virginia from Pennsylvania, did not go immediately to New River but traveled on with the Prillaman family to Franklin County and remained there for nearly 3 years. While that may have happened, we do not have documented evidence of it. According to an old Snidow family manuscript, Elizabeth and her family removed to New River at Little Stony Creek in June 1774. But we do not know from where. It could have been from the Sinking Creek location. In the research papers of the late John Jacob Snidow Sr. (1887-1942), he wrote: "The Snidows (referring to Elizabeth Helm Snidow and her children) first settled near the mouth of Sinking Creek and helped to build the Snidow Fort on the Horseshoe Farm. After the massacres of Sunday morning, August 7, 1774, they probably wanted to get away from the vicinity of this place that had witnessed such a calamity to them. It is reasonable to believe that they figured the mouth of Stony Creek would give them more security from future invasions of the Indians. The Snidow Fort was almost as close and far more accessible; the country was more open, with no high bluffs close by for the Indians to spy from."

At any rate, for the Snidows, the Great Wagon Road led to a new home and for some 240 years since, the family has lived and prospered in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia.*

*Mary French Boswell's sources included: Biographical Annals of Lancaster Co., Pa., p. 109; Botetourt Co. Va. Court Order Book 1, Part 2, p. 402; Brumbaugh: Maryland Records, v. 2, p. 44; Jefferson-Fry Map of Virginia; PA Archives, Series II, v. 17, p. 18; PA Land Office, Book AA, v. 3, p. 136-137; Snidow Newsletter v. 4, No. 1, p. 2; Strassburger-Hinke PA German Pioneers, v. 1, p. 27-28; Rouse, Parke Jr. The Great Wagon Road, c. 1973.

See the map of The Great Wagon Road.

The children of John and Elizabeth, all born in Lancaster County, PA:
  1. Catherina Barbara (?) b. 10/28/1752 and m. Jacob Prillaman, Jr... See pg. 1 of our archived newsletter articles here. (About Catherine Barbara)   (There is some confusion about her name. Prillaman records refer to her as 'Barbara')
  2. Philip b. ca. 1756, d.10/28/1792 Montgomery Co. VA (m. Barbara Prillaman 1782 Henry Co. VA)  (About Philip)
  3. Christian 1760-1836 m. Mary Burk   (About Christian)
  4. Theophilus, d. ca. 1787 (About Theophilus)
  5. Jacob 1763-1847 Giles Co. VA  (3 marriages)   (About Jacob)
  6. John, Jr.   (About John)
  7. Daughter*
  8. Daughter*
image*The names and birth years of the two young daughters are unknown. But we do know that they were killed by Shawnee Indians in an attack on New River-Sunday, August 7, 1774. In one of Brackett Snidow's letters, he notes that the girls were buried inside the Snidow fort after being killed in the Indian raid. He no doubt heard this from Martha Walker Snidow, his grandmother, who lived with Col. Christian for a time.

Inventory of John Jacob Snidow - The inventory of his possessions was recorded in court records in 1772: 9 cattle, 9 hogs, 1 horse and colt, 2 wagons, 1 handsaw, 3 fawling axes, 2 mattocks, 4 cold plows, 1 cold plowsheir, 2 maul rings, 4 iron wedges, 1 broad ax, 2 hammers, 1 hogg trop, 1 pr. stylyards, 2 drawing knives, 1 dung fork, 1 cold prow, 4 sykels, 3 augers, 1 cooper adge and other tools, cold irons, 10 old gun and gunbarrel and lock. 1 white ceader brewing tubb, 1 cold iron kettle, jointer and board ax, 1 small plain saw, 1 curring knife and barking iron, 1 Byble and 1 Sermon Book, 2 spinning wheels, 3 frying pans, 1 flesh fork, 2 scales, 1 dripping pan, 1 pepper mill and box iron. Source: Giles County, VA History - Families, Vol. 1, pg. 2-3.   To see the complete inventory and a copy of the actual document, visit our Old Documents page or the Site Map page.

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