VALLEY OF HEART's DELIGHT
Surnames: FLEMING, FLAMONDE, BOWEN, GIRARD, BUNKER, ROSS, SCOTT, KIFER,
MARTIN, FOSS, HAMMOND, HAYNES, KENDALL
During August, 1901, John Snyder passed away, and Santa Clara County lost one of its largest and most successful ranchers and most energetic, capable and public-spirited pioneers. On February 11, 1828, in Harrison County, Ind., he was born, the son of Joseph K. and Sarah (Fleming) Snyder, the father, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and the mother born in France. Her name was originally Flamonde, but it was changed to Fleming after she and her sister Louise, afterwards Mrs. Harry Bowen, came with Stephen to Philadelphia, making their home with his family until they were married. The Snyder family had settled in Harrison County in 1821, when it was but a wilderness, and in the fall of 1839 removed to what is now Tipton, Cedar County, Iowa, where the
parents reared and educated their family of five daughters and three sons. In 1849, when John Snyder was twenty-one, he joined a small party in which were his father and brother-in-law, Moses Bunker, in a trip across the plains. The two wagons comprising their outfit, with ox teams
and provisions, traveled alone until reaching the Missouri River, when they were joined by others. The party underwent the usual hardship and danger incident to a trip across the plains in those early days, and arrived in California where Chico has since sprung into existence. The two older men soon returned to Iowa. The following winter was spent in the mines, and then Mr. Snyder went to Trinity County, and after joining the new camp became aware that the supply of provisions was running low, and volunteers were asked for to go in search of food to replenish the larder. Mr. Snyder was among the number chosen to go to Humboldt Bay for this purpose, and later he was one of a party to make a trail to the Salmon River from Trinity County. He then located in Weaverville. An expedition was organized by a man named Ross, who discovered the Scott River, but never received the credit for his discovery. Scott, after whom the river was named, met Mr. Ross and party when they were in pursuit of Pawnee Indians who had stolen their ponies, and from the
party learned of the location of the river. Turning his course in the direction of the river, Scott appropriated its discovery.
At a later period Mr. Snyder made another trip to Scott River and took out considerable gold, but on account of bad weather the party followed the course of the river to its head, then in the direction of Fort Jones, and to Shasta Butte and the Oregon Trail. Here the party broke
up, some going to Oregon and Mr. Synder and his friends going to Sacramento. For a short time he lived in the vicinity of San Jose, and after working in the redwoods a few weeks was employed on farms during the winter of 1850-51. Returning to Santa Clara County the following spring, he was taken ill with fever and was unable to do anything until 1852, when, in February, he returned to the redwoods. In 1855 he was again in Santa Clara County operating a farm and threshing machine, and his success led him to establish a home of his own, shortly after his marriage with Martha Kifer, in the fall of 1855. Mrs. Snyder also came from a pioneer family of the coast country, having been born at Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Ky., in which state her father, John Kifer,
had settled after his removal from Tennessee. The father was born in Pennsylvania, and in 1847 removed to Jackson County, Mo., where he engaged in farming, and from where he crossed the plains with his family in 1853. The train consisted of twenty wagons, and he had 150 head of cattle, and was selected captain of the train. Settling near Mountain View, he purchased government land and farmed for the balance of his life, his death occurring at the age of seventy-seven years. His wife, formerly Lucy Martin, was born in Tennessee, and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Snyder, at an advanced age.
Mr. Snyder continued to farm until the fall of 1859, when he bought a farm near Mountain View, and lived there until 1865. Meantime, in 1861, he had purchased the large tract of land on Permanente Creek, which originally consisted of 1160 acres. He bought the land on time, but he was fortunate with his crops and from the first year's yield was able to pay for one-half of it. His grain crop of 1862 was the first raised in this section of the county. His success inspired others and was an
incentive for his neighbors to plant their land to grain, and the section became famous for the quality and quantity of its grain output. He had about 500 acres under cultivation and twenty-five acres in orchard, principally French prunes, and sixteen acres in vineyard. He also owned eighty acres in the Collins school district in vineyard, and his farm near Mountain View of 160 acres in hay and grain. He also owned 300 acres in Monterey County, a part of a tract of 1200 acres he had
purchased with his brother-in-law, Mr. Kifer, in 1866, as well as valuable property in San Mateo and Fresno counties. Following Mr. Snyder's death, his widow occupied the home ranch of 700 acres. Mrs. Snyder proved an excellent manager, and an ideal mother, rearing a family of five children, all of whom reflect credit upon her teaching and example. She passed away in January, 1919, at the age of eighty-one. Her eldest daughter, Sarah Ann, is the widow of William F. Foss, of San
Jose; Arthur J. is a rancher of Mountain View; John H. passed away six years ago; Martha B. became the wife of Dr. W. H. Hammond; she passed away on their ranch near Mountain View, leaving one child, Muriel, who is the wife of Raymond Haynes; Letita became the wife of E. F. Kendall,
residing on a ranch called "Kendall Dell," five miles south of Mountain View. Mr. Snyder was a Democrat in politics, and fraternally was a Mason. He was respected and honored in his locality and contributed to its standard of manhood by a noble and upright life.
Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara
County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922.
SEE 1888 BIO FOR JOHN SNYDER