William D. Phillips

William D. Phillips

I subscribe to a magazine called Military Images. It primarily features photographs and articles about Civil War soldiers.  It occurred to me recently that I had not gotten an issue of this magazine for some time even though I had given this publication my new address when I moved earlier this year. So, I called the magazine last Saturday and left a message. I got an immediate call back from the editor, who I had actually met at the Ohio Civil War show in Mansfield several years ago. He graciously offered to send me the Spring 2015 issue which I had never received. Upon receiving that issue, I was skimming through it yesterday morning and I was flabbergasted to see a photo in the magazine of William D. Phillips, one of our ancestors.

We are related to the Phillips branch through Marion (Lucas) Snyder.

The photo was included in an  article which dealt with different types of   chevrons (stripes on a uniform designating the rank of a soldier) on Civil War Uniforms.

I had  seen this photo before  and immediately recognized it. I had previously done some research on William but had never finalized that research.  Given the large number of Civil War soldiers and the fact that there was nothing particularly distinguishing about William’s Civil War service, the odds of finding a photo of him in a Civil War publication are about the same as the odds of finding a needle in a haystack!

William D. Phillips was born in 1842 in Jackson, Ohio and died in 1900 in St. Louis County, Missouri. His parents were William L. Phillips and Hannah Henrietta Tomlinson.  He is buried in Woodland-Old City Cemetery, Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri. He married Josie Kerns in 1883.  He served in the Civil War  in the 27th Ohio Infantry, Company K.  He enlisted as a Musician Second Class and rose all the way to Captain. At the time the above photo was taken, he was  a First  Sergeant. The 27th Ohio saw extensive action in significant battles in the Western Theater, including battles at Corinth, Mississippi,  Resaca, Georgia, Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia,  Atlanta, and Bentonville, North Carolina.

I do not have a great deal of additional  information about William but the census record from 1870 indicates his occupation as “clergyman.”

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My  father,  J. Paul Snyder is the 10th of 13 children of Ora and Marion (Lucas) Snyder. He was born in Johnsville in 1934. The family moved to Lexington when Dad was very young and then moved to Bellville when he was seven years old. I always enjoyed hearing Dad’s stories about  his years growing up in Bellville. I recently asked Dad to put some of his memories down in writing and he agreed that I could share with you my “interview” of him.

Here is my interview of Dad:

BLS:  What memories do you have of living in Johnsville as a young boy?

JPS: U S Route 42 still went down thru Johnsville right in front of our house (funeral home)  , I would set right out on the berm and watch the  cars go by.

BLS: What memories do you have of living in Lexington?

JPS: We lived on Delaware Street (route 42) . I later learned that Dad rented the house from Dr.Milton Oakes.  There was a sunroom across the back of the house on the second floor and there were many beds in that sunroom where most of us kids slept. There was an old car sitting in the field behind our house and my neighbor friend , Harold Bachelder, and I would go out and play in that old car. We would push the starter pedal and make the car groan and move, we thought that was neat.

BLS: How old were you when the family moved to Bellville?

JPS: I  was seven years old.. I completed the first grade at Lexington and we moved to Bellville just in time for the Bellville Fair !

BLS: Your parents had 13 children.  I just can’t imagine that.   What was it like growing up in such a large family?

JPS: I wore mostly hand me down clothing. I didn’t realize it then but my older brothers, (Don Dave,Bob,Dick) had actually left home by the time we moved to Lexington.

BLS:  How did your mother manage to keep up with everything? Meals must have been a real challenge for your mother on a daily basis. What do you recall about that? What were some of your favorite meals that your mother made?

JPS: Mom always started out the meal preparation by peeling a big pot of potatoes and would generally add fried beefsteak and a vegetable. She  would make a big pan of mush before she went to bed and we would have fried mush for breakfast. As Pat and Janet got older, they took over a lot of the kitchen chores from mom.

BLS: Which of your siblings were you closest to growing up?

JPS: I  guess as a youngster, I looked up to Dick & Bob & Pete. I remember quite well when Dick & Bob would come home on furlough during  WWII.  I would look up to them and be very proud of them.

BLS: There was a big age difference between you and some of your older brothers and sisters. What was your relationship with your older siblings growing up and how did that change over the years?

JPS: Dad Snyder was 59 years old when I graduated from high school, and in the early 1950’s that was considered elderly. He never did any sports activities with us younger kids like he did with the older boys ( Don, Dave, Dick).  Dick in particular was more like a father to me. He  was 14 years older than me and we sorta did some things together.  I never recall living with Don & Dave as there was quite an age difference between myself and them, like 16 years.

BLS: What do you recall about growing up in a funeral home? Any particular memories or stories.?

JPS: All my memories of living in a funeral home were at the old Bellville funeral home  (1941-1953)   I would always be nearby and loved to listen to  “shop talk”  when Dick or Bob would come upstairs to have coffee while or after helping Dad on funeral work. I  guess that’s where I picked up my knowledge/history of the  background of the funeral home.  Many sad memories of  screaming sounds coming up to the apartment or living quarters when families would come in for their first viewing of their loved ones.

BLS: What were some of the tricks you played on your sisters when you were growing up?

JPS: Do  you mean like putting a dead mouse in their shoe? Or rigging up a tin can to rattle outside their bedroom window? How about  catching a bat during  the day time and planting it in their bedroom?

BLS: What are some of your best memories about growing up in Bellville

JPS: Mom & Dad never seemed to be concerned where we kids were.  We roamed all over Bellville. Dad would be upstairs in the living room watching  the Cleveland Indians on TV.  I would go out to the barn and jump in his big Buick Roadmaster and drive out to get Jim Hope and  bring him in for the Friday night football games. Pat & Janet were both cheerleaders. As a young kid , I worked up at the cemetery trimming grass around tombstones and made twelve cents an hour. I saved up my money and bought a Schwinn Deluxe coil action bicycle. I rode my bicycle  all over Bellville until I got my drivers license.  Then I would drive dad’s big Buicks, Chryslers, Mercury woodie station wagons all over Bellville.  I don’t think he ever knew it.

BLS: What was it like as a kid having the Bellville fair essentially in your front yard every September? How excited were you about that and do you have any particular memories about the fair while you were growing up?

JPS: Dad would give us a quarter to spend each night of the fair.  You have to remember French fries were a nickel and most rides were a nickel  So,  you could get pretty good mileage out of a quarter.  Then too I was probably a little more ‘flushed’ then my siblings, because I was Dad’s in- house car washer and he was always flipping me a quarter or half dollar for washing cars after school.

BLS: How would you describe your mother? Some of the younger grandchildren of Poppo Ora and Gong Gong do not have much recollection of them.

JPS: Mother had a very profound admiration of my Father. To say that she adored him would be a great understatement.  They truly enjoyed their get-a-ways from the funeral home. I often wonder how they endured family get-to-gathers with forty  grandchildren running loose around the house.  Mother’s  sudden death had a great impact on my father. Her  death.really aged him greatly and quickly. He  was a changed man after her death.

BLS: How would you describe your father?

JPS: To  me he was a very quiet person. He was a different person when my older brothers came around and would laugh and joke with them.

BLS: What are some of your most fond memories of your mother?

JPS: I did not realize this until after her death, but my mother battled with high blood pressure.  If one of us boys had a problem, we always went  to Mom with it. Pat & Janet had Dad wrapped around their little finger. She loved all her 13 children and she had no favorites. She  always  referred to my father as “daddy.”

BLS: What are some of your most fond memories of your father?

JPS: Mom and  Dad had a “thing” going on between them. They only needed to look at each other with a ‘wink’  or a twinkle in their eye and you knew they were communicating in a private way that none of us kids would understand, and they were both good at doing this sort of thing. Dad  liked to watch golf and baseball on TV, and he enjoyed going golfing with his golf buddies: Bill Castor, Art Kell and Harvey Fleck.

BLS: What do you recall about some of the first Snyder reunions?

JPS: Lots of good food !

BLS: As you think about the legacy or heritage of Ora and Marion Snyder and their children, is there anything that stands out to you?

JPS: I think that my Dad & Mom instilled a legacy in each us kids, that  gave us a desire to make them proud of us in whatever we did in  life, and I think we all pretty much accomplished that.  Mother let it be known to us that our father was an admired professional and  was revered as such in the community.

BLS: Are there any other stories or memories that you would like to share involving your parents, growing up in Bellville and/or your sisters or brothers?

JPS: My mother was an only child.. Her mother died when Mom was only six months old…And she strived to make each one of us thirteen kids feel  like we were her favorite, yet she did not favor any one of us over the other. She really made Christmas a special event in our lives and  I still cherish the family get-to-gathers at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We never,that I can recall, took a family vacation together but we were a very close family. One of our special times was sitting around the dining room table and enjoying the wonderful food that my mother would prepare. She was very much a ‘stay at home mom.” My folks essestially worked together all day, every day and I was never aware of them becoming cross or upset with each other.

BLS: What kinds of things did you do helping your father in the family business as you were growing up?

JPS: There was no trash service  or garbage disposals in those days in Bellville.  So once a month I would help Dad put an old casket shipping container in his 1937 Ford service car that he used for removals.and we would literally fill it up with garbage and trash and haul it up to the town dump. When Dad’s cars became dirty, I,  without being told would go out to the garage, (not heated in the winter) and wash the cars as needed, sometimes it would be two or three cars. Dad would come out to the garage and see what I was doing and often give me a half dollar coin, which in the 1940’s was no small sum of money. After Pete & Phil left home, I would help him on ambulance trips and death call home removals.

BLS: What recollections do you have of family get togethers in the 40’s and 50’s? Going to Mohican, etc?

JPS: We  seemed to have a lot of family get-to-gathers in the 40’s & 50’s,always with a great meal either at home, or a back yard picnic or a fish fry at Mohican state park. This seemed to change after the last of us kids got married  and left home but all of us would come  back for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

BLS: Any other memories you have of growing up in Bellville that you want to share?

JPS: It was always a special time when one of my older brothers, (Dave, Dick, & Bob), would be home on furlough from service during World War Two. I remember quite well one Christmas eve, when Mother read a letter from Dave describing how he & Dick got together in Paris, France and Dave put one of his officers uniform on Dick and took him into a USO festivity where they bumped into Dick’s commanding officer. I  also remember as a ten year old boy, working up in Bellville Cemetery trimming around tombstones, making twelve cents an hour and saving  up my money to buy a new monarch bicycle with white sidewall tires and twin knee action. It was the most prettiest bike in Bellville.

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William H.H. Cover Headstone-Bellville Cemetery

William H.H. Cover Headstone-Bellville Cemetery

A number of our ancestors were named after U.S. Presidents. One of them was William Henry Harrison Cover. He was born January 15, 1841 In Perry Township, Richland County, now part of Morrow County. He was the son of Daniel Cover and Lydia Stevenson.  His siblings included Thomas W. Cover, one of my favorite ancestors, and Mary Margaret Cover Biddle, mother of Martha Ellen Biddle Snyder (Mrs. Henry Albert Snyder). Like the other members of his family, William was reared on the family’s 80 acre farm in Perry Township. Between the ages of 15-25, he managed the family farm, his father having died.

During the Civil War, he enlisted in the 163rd Ohio Infantry, Company B, serving as a private for  four months. William married Mary Courson on December 28, 1865. For two years, William and his wife lived in Richland County before moving to a farm in Knox County. William was the first man in Knox County to engage in the business of breeding and dealing draft horses, a business that he continued for almost 25 years. In addition to his 215 acre farm in Knox County, he owned 60 acres in Richland County and had an interest in a farm in Morrow County. William and his wife had no children of their own but they reared an adopted daughter, Ola May Williams.

William and his wife moved to Bellville in 1901 to take care of his wife’s mother who died that same year. Unfortunately, William’s wife died one month later.

William was known as a staunch Republican and served as township trustee. His obituary indicated that he amassed considerable wealth in land holdings and he was the largest landowner in Richland County at the time of his death. His obituary described him as “a very successful farmer and stock raiser, his interests being largely centered in sheep.”  He traveled extensively in all parts of the country and, being a Civil War veteran, never missed a G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) encampment. He also took a great interest in “farmer institutes,” which he attended in Knox and  Richland counties.

He died on March 9, 1931 at the age of 90 at the home of his granddaughter in Lexington. His death certificate indicates that he died of influenza.  His body was removed to the old Cover homestead in Waterford. His funeral was held in the Methodist Episcopal church in Waterford.  His obituary indicates that “O.O. Snyder, Lexington funeral director, is in charge of arrangements. He is buried in Bellville Cemeterey.

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In trailer from left to right, Dennis, Brad and Randy Snyder. Joe Snyder on tractor.

In trailer from left to right, Dennis, Brad and Randy Snyder. Joe Snyder on tractor.

I am presently at my Dad’s house in Bellville, recuperating from an injury. I guess injuries never happen at a good time but the timing on this one was particularly bad as my Dad and I were going to take the “In Search of Tom Cover”  vacation to Montana next month. Since I can’t walk and will be looking at a long rehabilitation period, that vacation is being postponed until later in the year.   I was pleasantly surprised, however, this morning when my Aunt Helen Snyder and her son Joe stopped to see me. It was really good to see Joe as I had not seen him in some time. Joe has expressed an interest in joining us on the “In Search of Tom Cover” trip and I really hope that he is able to do so.

As always, I really enjoyed visiting with Helen and Joe. For the first 14 years of my life, I lived in Fredericktown and for almost all of those years, our family lived across the street from the Fredericktown Funeral Home. Hence, we had a very close relationship with Dick and Helen and their sons, Dan, Dennis and Joe. Perhaps more so than my younger brothers, my most fond memories of growing up are about my time in Fredericktown.  Dick and Helen were more than just my aunt and uncle. Quite frankly, they were more like another set of grandparents. In fact, I was much closer to them than either set of my grandparents.

My most vivid memories of Fredericktown  include countless hours playing basketball with Joe–there was a basketball hoop on the front of the barn behind the funeral home, listening to my Uncle Dick tell stories—–he had a real knack for telling a story and from time to time would not let the facts get in the way of a good story, playing pool with Dennis and Joe in their basement, watching Dennis and Joe play football for the Fredericktown Freddies football team (Joe was a tackle and wore #76 and Dennis was a quarterback and wore #24), going fishing with Joe, going camping with Dick and Helen’s family at Mohican and Pleasant Hill Lake, playing with their dog, “Duke,” an English Setter,  and generally spending time at Dick and Helen’s.   I can still remember the cars that Dennis and Joe had when I was growing up. Dennis had a red Mustang and Joe had a gold Plymouth Barracuda. Both cars would be worth a lot of money today.  Dan was a lot older than me and I do not have as many memories of doing things with him but I do remember how much fun it was to sneak into his bedroom and see his Marine Corps stuff.

Being the normal kid, my behavior was not always exemplary. Dick and Helen kept me in line by telling me that if I did not behave that I would be sent to the basement of the funeral home and have to see the “Columbus Man.”  I never actually had to go see the “Columbus Man” but I had no doubt that he lived in the basement and it was made very plain to me that he would deal very harshly with me if we had the occasion to meet. Years later, I learned that the origin of the “Columbus Man” legend had to do with the period of time when my grandfather, Ora Snyder, was living in Columbus during the week while going to embalming school—he would return to Johnsville on the weekends but my grandmother, Marion Snyder, would try to keep her three sons, Don, Dave and Dick, in line by telling them that if they did not behave that she would call the “Columbus Man.”

Those are just a few of the many great Fredericktown Memories that I have. Here are a few more photos.

Helen Snyder and boys

Helen Snyder and boys

From left to right, Joe, Dick, Helen and Dennis Snyder

From left to right, Joe, Dick, Helen and Dennis Snyder

Howard Fidler (neighbor) and Joe Snyder (Holding fish)

Howard Fidler (neighbor) and Joe Snyder (Holding fish)

Brad and Joe Snyder

Brad and Joe Snyder

Dennis and Joe Snyder

Dennis and Joe Snyder

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JPS             My Father, J. Paul Snyder, was recently recognized for his 60 years as a Mason. Here is a photo of Dad holding his 60 year membership award, which recognizes that he has “been a Master Mason and a member in good standing of the Masonic fraternity for sixty years.” He is also wearing the pin he was given to commemorate his 60 year anniversary of service.  Dad is a member of  Thrall Lodge, No. 0170, F. & A. M. in Fredericktown.  Dad was  Worshipful Master of the Fredericktown Lodge in 1961. (That same year he was also President of the Fredericktown Lions’ Club!) When he was installed as Worshipful Master, his father, Ora Snyder,  brothers, Bob, Dave and Dick, and brother-in-law, Larry Hoffman, participated in the installation service.

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Evergreen Cemetery-resting place of Perry D. Cover

Evergreen Cemetery-resting place of Perry D. Cover

I found the following information about Perry Cover on the website of the Evergreen Memorial Park and Mausoleum:

“While not a colonist himself, Perry D. Cover came to Riverside in the footsteps of his brother, Thomas W. Cover, the man who approached Dr. James P. Greves and John W. North to see if they were interested in the parcel of land that would become Riverside.
Born in Richland County, Maryland, Perry Cover served during the Civil War in the Eighty-seventh Ohio volunteers, Company D, and was on duty at Harper’s ferry during Robert E. Lee’s entry into Maryland in 1862. He was one of the troops who surrendered after the battles and after the war came west to San Francisco and then to the mining districts of California and Nevada. He was with his brother Thomas, when Thomas staked one of the first five claims, striking gold at Alder Gulch (later called Virginia City), Montana.
Perry Cover was a merchant in Fort Scott, Kansas (1868) where he married Mary E. Fowler, and Chicago (1874). His wife’s poor health led him to come to southern California in the spring of 1874, buying 20 acres south of Jurupa Avenue and establishing himself as an orange grower. In 1877, his wife Mary died. She is also buried at Evergreen. In 1882, he married Mary’s sister, Julia, and sold half his land.
In 1884, his brother, Thomas, disappeared. Bitten again by the bug that causes gold fever, Thomas believed that he could find the legendary lost gold mine of Peg Leg Smith, rumored to be somewhere northwest of Yuma. He and his companion separated and when their wagon holding the water supply overturned, the friend walked on to Indio. Thomas Cover was never found, lost forever in the Borrego Valley.
In 1886, Perry sold the balance of his land, building a house at the corner of Orange Street and University Avenue. He joined forces with J.D. Sebrell to open a drugstore on Main Street under the name Sebrell and Cover, until Sebrell bought him out in 1889.
Cover’s business dealings were widespread. He was a director of the Eighth Street Improvement Company, builder of the Arlington Hotel, was a founder and President of the Mound Land & Water Company which purchase 500 acres and founded a town that became Loma Linda. He was part of the business interests that piped irrigation water down from Bear Valley and built a $30,000 hotel. He was a director of the Citizens National Trust & Savings Bank, the bank that took over the liabilities and assets of the Orange Growers after it failed as a result of embezzling by Tom Hays.”

Evergreen Cemtery

Evergreen Cemtery

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Perry D. CoverPerry Daniel Cover was the son of Daniel Cover and Lydia Stevenson. He was born in 1843. He was the brother of Mary Margaret Cover, who was the mother of Martha Ellen (Biddle) Snyder. Notably, he was the younger brother of Tom Cover, the subject of recent posts. Perry served in the Civil War. Specifically he was a Private  in the 87th Ohio Infantry, Company B. He was taken prisoner on September 15, 1862 when the federal garrison at Harpers Ferry surrendered to Stonewall Jackson’s troops—–this was the biggest surrender of Federal forces during the Civil War as 12,000 federal troops surrendered.

The “Cover-Biddle Family History” indicates that following the Civil War that he crossed the continent westward on horseback, following a mule wagon train and finally reached San Francisco. He then went to Bozeman, Montana, where he hooked up with brother, Tom Cover and engaged in mining. While in Montana, he became a friend of the famous pioneer scout, Jim Bridger. Being a wandering soul, he then made his way to a number of different stops including Fort Benton in Montana, Kansas City, Fort Scott in Kansas, Chicago, South Bend and then to Riverside, California, where he hooked up not only with brother Tom but also his brother Josiah.  He later moved to Long Beach and then to Los Angeles. The “Cover-Biddle Family History” indicates that he was a close friend of William McKinley, later U.S. President, before he left for the West. He died in 1924 and is buried in Evergreen Memorial Park and Mausoleum.

I found the following profile of Perry in “An Illustrated History of Southern California-San Bernadino Biographies”:

“Perry D. Cover is one of Riverside’s early settlers, and has been associated with her various industries for the past fifteen years. He is a native of Richland County, Ohio, dating his birth in 1843. His parents were Daniel Cover, a native of Frederick County, Maryland, and Lydia Cover, nee Stevenson. Mr. Cover was reared to agricultural pursuits on his father’s farm until 1862. He then volunteered in the service of his country and en listed as a private soldier in Company D, Eighty-seventh Ohio Volunteers. His regiment was sent East, and after some time in camp at Baltimore, was placed on duty at Harper’s Ferry. During Lee’s invasion of Maryland, in 1862, he was on duty at various forts on the Potomac River. At the surrender of the Union forces at Harper’s Ferry, his regiment was so unfortunate as to be included in the surrendered troops. He was then paroled, and in October 1862, his term of service having expired, was discharged the service. The next year he decided to seek the Pacific Coast, and he came overland with a drove of horses belonging to Samuel Crine. Upon his arrival in California he located in San Francisco, where he stopped for nearly a year. He then went to the mining districts of Nevada and Montana, and was for about four years engaged in mining and other enterprises. In Montana, he was with his brother, Thomas W. Cover, at Alder’s Gulch. He was one of the pioneers of Bozeman, and was engaged in building the first house ever erected at that place. In 1868 Mr. Cover settled at Fort Scott, Kansas, and for the next four years he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1872 he established himself in Chicago, and was there engaged in the grocery business until 1874. At that time the health of his wife became so impaired that a complete change of climate was necessary, and he decided to make his home in Southern California, and in the spring of that year he came to Riverside. Upon his arrival here he purchased a twenty-acre tract of wild, uncultivated land on Jurupa Avenue, two miles south of Riverside and entered into horticultural pursuits. Mr. Cover was a successful horticulturist and built up the orange groves upon his land. In 1882 he sold ten acres of his tract, and in 1886 sold the balance and established his residence on the corner of Orange and Eighth streets. In 1885 he entered into the drug business on Main Street in partnership with J. D. Sebrell, under the name of Sebrell & Cover. He was in that business until April 1889, when Mr. Sebrell purchased his interest. He was also engaged in real-estate dealing and other enterprises. He was one of the incorporators and the president of the Eighth Street Improvement Company, and was at the head of that company during the time the magnificent Arlington Hotel, one of the company’s improvements, was erected. He was a member of the well known firm of Stewart, Chamberlain & Cover, and was an incorporator and president of the Mound City Land and Water Company. This company purchased 500 acres of land and founded Mound City, perfecting a fine irrigation system by piping water from Bear valley, built a $30,000 hotel, etc. Mr. Cover is quite largely interested in improving lands, planting orange groves, etc., at Mound City. He has a firm faith in the future wealth of the city of his creation. He is also the owner of valuable business property in Riverside, and never fails in his support of Riverside enterprises. His support of churches and schools is well known. He is a member of the Methodist Church, and was for many years a school trustee of the Arlington district. In politics he is a Republican, and has been called upon many times to serve as a delegate in county conventions. Of the fraternal societies, he is a member of Riverside Lodge, No. 282, I. O. O. F. Mr. Cover has been twice married: His first marriage was in 1869, when he wedded Miss Mary E. Fowler, a native of Indiana, the daughter of Colonel A. Fowler, a well-known citizen of that State, and a veteran of the Mexican and civil wars. She died in 1877. In 1882 he married Miss Julia E. Fowler, a sister of his deceased wife. Mr. Cover is the father of two children, viz.: Charles A. and Grace E.”

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