Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of the SNODGRASS Family


         William SNODGRASS left Scotland in 1700 during one of the Scottish feuds and settled on Back Creek in Berkeley County, Virginia. He was a farmer and a Presbyterian and was buried in the Mount Zion Churchyard at Hedgesville.

         William Snodgrass II, the grandson of William Snodgrass I, married Nancy Fryall, a descendant of Archbishop Tillotson of Canterbury, England (note: some sources list her name and that of John Fryall Snodgrass as Fryatt). Her parents were wealthy in England and brought much silver plate and other valuables to America. William Snodgrass II owned a large estate in Berkeley County and most of the family was buried in their own burial grounds. The family were members of the Church of England.

         John Fryall Snodgrass, son of William II and Mary Snodgrass, was born March 2, 1804, in Berkeley County, and died in Parkersburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), June 5, 1854. As a young man, he moved to Parkersburg and began his practice of law. He built the house later used by the Blennerhassett Club House. Since there were no railroads, every summer he drove his own coach to White Sulphur Springs, where he and his family were social leaders. He was a Delegate to the State Constitutional Convention in 1850, which revised the Constitution for the State of Virginia. John F. Snodgrass was elected to the Thirty-third Congress as a Democrat.

         Another member of the family, Philip Snodgrass, left Derbyshire, England, in 1656, and with several young companions, emigrated to the New World in search of adventure. They landed at Jamestown, Virginia. Philip settled on the James River in the Piedmont section of Virginia and homesteaded land; in the course of time he became the owner of a large tobacco plantation, cultivated small grains in conjunction with that, and built a primitive mill for the purpose of grinding it, which was the first of its kind in that section. He built a house of logs and stones, placed a well in the center of it and was able to withstand all the sieges of the Indians, which were frequent. His descendants moved north and west and one locating in Berkeley County established the old Snodgrass homestead known as “Wheaton.” There, Elisha Kelly Snodgrass was born December 25, 1878. He studied civil engineering and when he was 12 years old, formed a partnership with Messrs. Hebard and Bailey under the firm name of the Albott Construction Company.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928

    Back to biographies

    Back to Berkeley County GenWeb