ORA SNYDER’S CARS AND AMBULANCE STORIES

6d72c9e0Some time ago, I sat down with my father, J. Paul Snyder, and talked  to him  about  the vehicles that his father, Ora Otis Snyder (“Poppo”) utilized  in the funeral business. It proved to be a very interesting conversation and I thought I would share it with you. Until about 1965, Snyder Funeral Homes provided ambulance services in each of their locations. Over all the years, all of Poppo’s ten (10) sons helped him on ambulance runs from time to time.

Poppo’s first car was likely the 1926 Ford Model T that he drove to and from embalming school in Columbus. He was initially a “Studebaker man.” He owned Studebaker hearses and sedans. Poppo had the first car in Johnsville with hydraulic brakes. After the Studebakers, he had a black  1928  Cadillac Sedan Ambulance that loaded from the side. Dave and Don Snyder drove this ambulance and Poppo also  used it as a family  funeral car.

Poppo  then had a black  1936 Flexible Buick combination vehicle that was manufactured in Loudonville. A “combination car” was built on a “professional car” chassis and  could be used as either a hearse or ambulance.  He then used that vehicle until he bought a black  1940 Flexible Buick combination car. Poppo had a black 1937 Ford service car. That car had a siren on it. My Dad recalls that one day he and his brother Phil were moving chairs back to Bellville after a church funeral. Phil was driving and had the siren on.  He went too fast around a curve and put the car into a ditch. The first person to stop and offer them assistance was a state trooper!  They declined assistance and were able to get the car out of the ditch. Fortunately, the car was not damaged. Dad does not think Poppo ever found out about that incident. The 1937 Ford Service car was traded in on a white  1948 Mercury  woody wagon that was used as a flower car.

Other flower cars included a medium brown 1951 Chrysler Windsor station wagon and a white 1957 Chevrolet Corvar Greenbriar station wagon that had a 4 cylinder engine and so little power that it “could barely pull itself out of a mud puddle.” Poppo had a gray 1939 LaSalle straight ambulance that was kept at Bellville. He also had a 1937 LaSalle combination, gray with black fenders, that was kept at Lexington.

My  dad recalls that one Sunday he, his brother, Phil, Poppo and Gong-Gong drove to a funeral home in  southern Ohio where Poppo purchased a used black 1940 Buick seven passenger limo to match the 1940 combination car. However, he found he could not use it on funerals because the rear brakes would lock up. Dad remembers his brother Pete crawling under the limo and beating the transmission with a hammer to try and get it to loosen up. Poppo had that car until 1948. His next vehicle was a blue 1948 Meteor Cadillac combination. He traded that in on a 1954 Meteor Cadillac combination. The Meteor vehicles were manufactured in Piqua, Ohio. Poppo also had a gray 1949 Meteor Cadillac combination that was used and/or kept at the Butler funeral home. At that point, the family funeral business had funeral homes in Bellville, Lexington and Butler.

Sometime before 1954, Poppo purchased a yellow 1950 straight Cadillac ambulance. My Dad recalls that one day he had just finished  washing  that ambulance at the Bellville funeral home and it started to rain. Cars were washed on one side of the garage and the ambulance was kept on the other side of the garage that was heated. As  he went to move the ambulance from one side of the garage to the other, he  backed the ambulance out into the alley and backed it into a 1937 Chevrolet being driven by his buddy, Zeke Ziegler. The impact was enough that Zeke was knocked unconscious. My dad pulled Zeke out of the car and laid him on the alley. Zeke recovered but it cost $400 to repair the ambulance.

Poppo had a black 1948 Buick combination that he kept at the Lexington funeral home. He traded the 1954 Superior in on a 1956 Superior Cadillac combination, white with a gray top, that was kept at Bellville. He later had a black 1959 Superior Cadillac combination with big tail fins and a matching black 1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. The funeral home also had a white 1966 Superior Pontiac combination that was kept at Fredericktown. During the 1960’s, the funeral home also had a 1965 Superior Cadillac combination, white with a black top. At about that same time, a white 1964 Cadillac combination was kept at the Mt. Gilead funeral home.

In 1951, my Dad and Phil were on an ambulance run on Route 13 north of Bellville. They were driving a blue 1948 Meteor combination with the lights and siren on. . Another car suddenly pulled out in front of them and they were unable to avoid striking that car in the rear, knocking it off the road.  They kept going on and reported the accident when they got back to the funeral home.  . Fortunately, the Meteor combination only sustained minor damage.

Another accident occurred when Poppo and Uncle Bob were at an accident scene south of Lexington on  Route 42 on an ambulance run. They were loading a lady into the ambulance when a tract0r-trailer came over the hill and struck the ambulance.

Another time, Poppo and Uncle Bob were in an ambulance taking a lady from Lexington to the Cleveland Clinic in the winter time. They were in a 1941 yellow Packard ambulance and were traveling north on Route 42 on Ashland Hill, just north of Mansfield. They had just crested a hill on a snowy day  and there sat a salt truck sideways in the road. They could not get stopped in time and could not avoid striking the salt truck, totaling the ambulance. Poppo had purchased the Packard ambulance in Bowling Green–Uncle Dave had found it there when he was attending college at Bowling Green State University.

The personal cars that Poppo had included a black 1941 Buick Super, a black 1946 Buick Roadmaster, a 1948 navy blue Buick Roadmaster, a 1951 dark green Chrysler Saratoga with a hemi engine, a gun metal gray 1952 Chrysler New Yorker, a blue 1953 Lincoln Capri, a charcoal gray 1957 Chrysler Imperial, a black 1959 Buick Electra, a white 1964 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, and a white 1970 Oldsmobile 98 with a black padded top.

During World War II , Poppo had to take the ambulance  west of  Lexington during a snowstorm to take someone from their residence  to the hospital. Poppo got the ambulance stuck in a snow drift in the driveway and it  took several hours to get the ambulance out of the snow drift  with the  assistance of a man from the residence. After they worked several hours to free the ambulance from the snow drift, Poppo asked “where is the man I need to take to the hospital?” The man who had been helping Poppo said, “well, that would be me!”

When Dick Snyder ran the Butler funeral home, he had a number of occasions where he made emergency runs to transport a pregnant mother and her doctor in the ambulance to the hospital. My Dad says that Dick “lost several races with the Stork,” with babies being born in the back of the ambulance before they arrived at the hospital. On one occasion, the happy mother named her newborn son after Dick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE BATTLE OF AIKEN–FEBRUARY 11, 1865

photo31012-235x300One of my favorite ancestors is Simon Poland, who served in the Civil War. Simon served as a corporal in the 10th Ohio Cavalry. Simon was my great great grandfather. He was the father of Cora Poland, who married Tommy Lucas. Tommy Lucas was the father of Marion Idella Lucas, who married Ora Otis Snyder, Sr.

As you may recall from my previous posts, Simon was captured at the Battle of Aiken in Aiken, South Carolina on February 11, 1865 and was held as a prisoner at the infamous Andersonville prison camp for the balance of the war. Fortunately for Simon, given the inhuman conditions at Andersonville, the Civil War only lasted for a few more months.

In the way of some background, the 10th Ohio Cavalry was attached to the army of General William Tecumseh Sherman on Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” after Sherman captured Atlanta. During Sherman’s March to the Sea, his army “lived off the land” and destroyed many military targets as well as industry, infrastructure and civilian property.  Sherman’s  March to the Sea ended on December 21, 1864 with the capture of the port city of Savannah, Georgia. Before embarking on his March to the Sea, General Sherman had informed General U.S. Grant that one of his stated goals was to “Make Georgia Howl” and he did just that, inflicting devastating damage on Georgia and the Confederacy.

Following the March to the Sea, Sherman’s Army continued north through Georgia and into the Carolinas. Prior to invading the Carolinas, General Sherman stated: “When I go through South Carolina, it will be one of the most horrible things in the history of the world. The devil himself couldn’t restrain my men in that state.”  His statement was an obvious reference to the fact that it was South Carolina that began the Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter and seceding from the Union.

By February 1, 1865, the invasion of the Carolinas had begun. Simon’s regiment, the 10th Ohio Cavalry, remained attached to Sherman’s army. Sherman’s cavalry commander was Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick. Interestingly, Kilpatrick is an ancestor of CNN commentator, Anderson Cooper.   Gen.  Kilpatrick reportedly spent $5,000 in Savannah for matches for his troopers. Kilpatrick, better known as “Kill Cav” for his rashness in battle that got his own men killed, was obnoxious, boastful, and a notorious womanizer. At Savannah, he told his corps, “In after years when travelers passing through South Carolina shall see chimney stacks without houses, and the country desolate, and shall ask who did this? Some Yankee will answer: Kilpatrick’s Cavalry!” His men would soon leave a scorched swath across South Carolina.

The 10th Ohio Cavalry was with the wing of Sherman’s Army that was apparently moving towards Augusta, Georgia. Sherman’s goal was to confuse the Confederates by making them think that his army was moving towards either Augusta, where the Confederacy’s gunpowder mills were located,  or Charleston, South Carolina, when his real objective was Columbia, South Carolina. Kilpatrick’s Cavalry, including the 10th Ohio Cavalry, approached Aiken, South Carolina. Kilpatrick’s objective was to destroy the railroad and government property in Aiken and any unheeded foray into Aiken almost certainly would have also involved destruction of civilian property as well.  Aiken is located in the southwestern part of South Carolina, about 20 miles from Augusta, Georgia. While Aiken now has a population of about 30,000, its population at the time of the Civil War was well less than 2,000. Notable residents of Aiken over the years have included South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond and the Perry brothers, William “Refrigerator” and Micahel Dean, both of whom played in the NFL.

As Kilpatrick’s Cavalry approached Aiken on February 11,  the residents of Aiken realized that their worst fears were coming true and began to flee the  town.  Confederate General Joseph Wheeler had approximately 4,500 cavalry in the vicinity of Aiken. Wheeler proceeded to set a trap for Kilpatrick in the town of Aiken.

Wheeler formed his Confederate cavalry in the shape of a ‘V’, with the bottom of the ‘V’ pointed west towards Augusta. The railroad and Park Avenue ran down the center of the ‘V’. A thin line of skirmishers was deployed between the top tips of the  ‘V.’ On the approach of Kilpatrick’s troops,  the line was to fall back. . It was hoped that Kilpatrick would be rash and would charge after the retreating Confederates into the ‘V’. Wheeler would then collapse the tops of the ‘V’ around Kilpatrick’s troops  and thus surround them.

Although Kilpatrick had been warned that Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry troops were occupying Aiken, the reckless Kilpatrick blindly ignored those warnings and  marched into the town.  Kilpatrick’s troops entered Aiken and proceeded into the awaiting ambush. The Confederate soldiers were hiding in ambush, waiting for the signal to attack.  As the 92d Illinois Mounted Infantry entered Aiken, the ladies of the town waved their handkerchiefs and smilingly invited the Union officers and troops into their homes. While that was not the customary welcome received by Union troops when they triumphantly entered a southern town, they  ignored this telltale warning, further facilitating the Confederate plan.   However, the Confederate plan plan fell apart when an Alabama trooper fired his gun prematurely, thus springing the trap too soon. The Confederate general, realizing that he must act quickly or lose the initiative, ordered all units to attack. The key engagement occurred  in front of the First  Baptist Church. The Union troops were soon surrounded and outnumbered but bravely fought their way out of the ambush and retreated in wild confusion  to the outskirts of town in the midst of wild, hand-to-hand fighting. Gen. Kilpatrick was almost captured himself in the confusion of this battle.

Just outside of town, Kilpatrick’s troops had established a line manned by the 1oth Ohio Cavalry, 9th Ohio Cavalry and the 9th Michigan Cavalry. Accounts of the battle indicate that when the Union troops were pushed out of town and into the second line of cavalry, including the  10th Ohio Cavalry, that the retreating  Union and pursuing  Confederate troops were so close that the second line Union troops dared not fire, noting that the Union and Confederate soldiers were pulling each other off their horses trying to claim prisoners. It was in this phase of the battle that Simon Poland was likely taken prisoner. Notably, Simon’s brother, Alexander Poland, a member of the 9th Ohio Cavalry also participated in this battle.

The Union and Confederate troops skirmished for the rest of the day and into the next morning. Ultimately, Kilpatrick sent out a flag of truce so that he could recover his dead and wounded. Kilpatrick ultimately withdrew and rejoined Sherman on his march to Columbia.

Commanders in their reports often overestimated their opponent’s casualties and downsized their own. Kilpatrick states that Wheeler lost 31 killed, 160 wounded and 60 taken prisoners, for a total of 251 Confederate casualties. Wheeler admitted losing only 50 killed and wounded. Wheeler also claimed that the Confederates attack resulted in 53 killed, 270 wounded and 172 captured, or 495 Union casualties in all. Kilpatrick admitted to losing 25 killed and wounded and less than 20 captured.

Therefore, total Federal casualties were between 45 and 495, while the Confederates lost between 50 and 251. What we do know is that our ancestor, Simon Poland, was captured and taken prisoner during the Battle of Aiken.

By almost any yardstick, the Battle of Aiken was a defeat for the Union troops and Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, their no-good scoundrel commander, whose rash and reckless conduct almost got a whole brigade of his 3rd Cavalry Division captured and destroyed.  Nevertheless, the Battle of Aiken, in the bigger view, was strategically important as it served to distract and divert key parts of the Confederate army and keep them out of the way of the main advance of Sherman’s army. The outcome of the Battle of Aiken was also vital for the citizens of Aiken as it prevented the ransacking and destruction of their town. Each year, the residents of Aiken reenact the Battle of Aiken and have a weekend of festivities to commemorate the battle. I am putting a visit to Aiken on my “bucket list.”

 

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MY DNA TEST RESULTS

I have had a subscription to ancestry.com for some time. It is a very helpful research tool for facilitating your family history research and organizing your results. My daughters and sons-in-law got me a neat birthday present this year. Specifically, they purchased a DNA test kit for me from ancestry.com. As you may have seen on TV, ancestry.com offers DNA testing and genetic analysis to help users discover, preserve and share their family history, including their ethnicity. Ancestry.com creates estimates for your genetic ethnicity by comparing your DNA to the DNA of other people who are native to a region. The Ancestry DNA reference panel contains 3,000 DNA samples from people in 26 global regions. Each panel member’s genealogy is documented so that ancestry.com can be confident that such panel member is representative of people who have lived in that region for hundreds of years.

Ancestry.com compares your DNA to the DNA of the people in the reference panel to determine which regions your DNA is most like. As a result of this comparison, they come up with an ethnicity estimate. In calculating your estimate for each ethnicity region, they run 40 separate analyses. Each of the 40 analyses gives an independent estimate of your ethnicity, and each one is done with randomly selected portions of your DNA. These 40 tests produce genetic ethnicity estimates and likely ranges for the same.

Each person’s DNA is unique to them. If my brothers were tested, their results would probably  look somewhat different. How is that possible? It comes down to the random nature of genetic test results. We each received a random 50% of each of our parents’ DNA. Because inheritance is random, a sibling typically will not inherit the same DNA as you unless he or she is an identical twin.

I received the DNA test kit in the mail. The instructions were very easy to follow. You spit in a little tube several times and  then screw another tube into that tube to release some liquid that will stabilize your sample. You then mail the sample to ancestry.com and await the results.

For the most part, the results of my DNA testing were not surprising. My research had revealed that most of my ancestors on both my fathers’ side (Snyder) and my mother’s side (Wolford) had come from Germany. The DNA testing confirmed that. My previous research had also revealed that one of my mother’s ancestors was a Queen in one of the Scandinavia countries. Yes, I am related to royalty.  The DNA testing was consistent with that research, showing that some of my DNA is most like that of people from Scandinavian countries.  My DNA testing showed that I have 0% DNA like that of Native American Indians, European Jewish people  or people from the Middle East,  Africa, East Europe, Northwest Russia,  or the Pacific Islands.

My results were as follows:

Europe West                    69%

Great Britain                      9%

Iberian Peninsula             8%

Italy/Greece                        7%

Scandinavia                        3%

Ireland                                  2%

Trace Regions                    2%

The Iberian Peninsula is interpreted as being essentially Spain and Portugal. Europe West is interpreted as being Germany, France, Netherlands,  Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium. Notably, I have much more “Europe West DNA” than the typical person living in Europe West.

I found the results of my DNA testing very interesting and thought I would share them with you. I guess I can officially celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  If anyone else in our family has had this DNA genetic testing, I would love to compare our results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BELLVILLE BLUE JAYS CHEERLEADERS

Janet (Snyder) Hope on left and Pat (Snyder) Hoffman on right

Janet (Snyder) Hope on left and Pat (Snyder) Hoffman on right

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ORA OTIS SNYDER, SR. OBITUARY

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August 27, 2016 · 8:30 pm

58th HENRY ALBERT AND MARTHA ELLEN SNYDER REUNION

Tony and Brittany Stoffer

Tony and Brittany Stoffer

Bruce Snyder, Bill Hope and Bob Robinson

Bruce Snyder, Bill Hope and Bob Robinson

Karen Hope

Karen Hope

Tess Snyder

Tess Snyder

Brittany Stoffer and Linda Snyder

Brittany Stoffer and Linda Snyder

Bruce and Gifta Snyder

Bruce and Gifta Snyder

Gifta Snyder

Gifta Snyder

Paul and Art Snyder

Paul and Art Snyder

The 58th annual Henry Albert and Martha Ellen Snyder reunion was held on Saturday, August 13 at the residence of Bill and Karen Hope outside of Bellville. Despite some rain, the 37 family members in attendance had an enjoyable time with great food and fellowship. Next year’s reunion will be held at Kim and Kyle Beveridge’s and it was decided, to try something different, that we will have a catered dinner. Here is hoping that the Hoffwong clan can join us from Colorado next year! Here are some photos that I took.

Joyce, Jerry and Art Snyder

Joyce, Jerry and Art Snyder

Connie and Bob Pore

Connie and Bob Pore

Lindsay Radkoski, Colter Radkoski, Randy Snyder and Leah Snyder

Lindsay Radkoski, Colter Radkoski, Randy Snyder and Leah Snyder

Paul and Art Snyder

Paul and Art Snyder

Tom Brumenschenkel and Janet Snyder

Tom Brumenschenkel and Janet Snyder

Debbie and Bob Robinson

Debbie and Bob Robinson

Hannah and Paul Snyder

Hannah and Paul Snyder

Adelaide and Lani Snyder

Adelaide and Lani Snyder

Todd Snyder and Bill Hope

Todd Snyder and Bill Hope

Randy and Tess Snyder

Randy and Tess Snyder

 

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MARION LUCAS SNYDER OBITUARY

timthumbTrent Snyder has recently posted some obituaries of older family members on the Snyder Funeral Homes website. Here is the obituary for Marion Lucas Snyder, my grandmother.


Marion was born in Shelby, Ohio on March 10, 1897, the daughter of Thomas Lucas  and Cora Poland Lucas  and later lived in Perry Township in Morrow County.

Mr. and Mrs. Snyder celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last February.

Marion was a licensed funeral director.  She had worked with her husband, Ora in funeral service in Johnsville, Lexington and Bellville for the past 44 years.

She was a past matron of the Bellville Chapter, Order of Eastern Star; a member of the Bellville Garden Club and the Mansfield Arts Study Club; and had been active in civic affairs in the Bellville community.  Marion was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bellville.

In addition to her husband Ora O. Snyder, she is survived by three daughters Mrs. Betty (William) Ritchie of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Mrs. Patricia (Larry) Hoffman also of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Mrs. Janet (Jim) Hope of Bellville, Ohio; and ten sons Donald L. (Virginia) Snyder of Mansfield, Ohio; David J. (Jean) Snyder of Pueblo, Colorado; Richard (Helen) and Paul (Shontell) Snyder all of Fredericktown, Ohio; Robert (Dorothy) and Arthur (Joyce) Snyder all of Lexington, Ohio; Ora O. “Pete” (Gifta) Snyder, Jr. and James (Pat) Snyder all of Bellville, Ohio; Philip C. (Madelyn) Snyder of Mount Gilead, Ohio; Arden Snyder of Denver, Colorado; and 40 grandchildren.

Funeral services were held in the Snyder Funeral Home in Bellville on Wednesday, August 31, at 11 am. by Rev. Glenn Strohl.  Burial followed in Bellville Cemetery.

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