A Third Side in the American Civil War

Jacob Snider

Jacob Snider of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, was born June 10, 1826, in Bavaria. Jacob began life as a Lutheran but was a River Brethren for fifteen years, then a Dunkard until his death in 1900. His experience during the American Civil War shows that there was a third way of looking at things during this time in our country's history. I will let his grandson tell the story:

"Much more serious times were in store for the family however during the war, for when men come to a time when there is fighting between their own brethren, the political life is strained everywhere. Grandfather, on account of his religious belief would not enlist in the army, and, because he was a Democrat he was held in suspicion as a southern sympathizer, and in time was almost in danger of his life. He was drafted, but in view of his church position, was excused; again he was drafted and this time paid commutation money to avoid joining the army. These things aroused a feeling of enmity in the strong Republican locality, and one night, after a great amount of drinking, one worthless fellow was for mobbing grandfather at his home, and grandfather was advised to hide for a while till things quieted down. However nothing came of these drunken plannings, and he was never harmed in any material way."

Not all who risked their lives carried weapons.


Jacob Snider married my great grandmother's sister, Mary Ann Kiel, in her home town of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on February 6, 1849. They raised twelve children. Jacob and Mary Ann are buried together in Antietam, or Price's, Cemetery in Waynesboro.

This article was written for The Second American Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge, by Bill West at West in New England.


The quote is an excerpt from page 15 of Mary Ann Kiel, Reminiscences, by Jacob S Royer, an unpublished typescript, Dayton, Ohio, 1907. My thanks to a third cousin for the photo and the manuscript.

1880 Census Waynesborough, Franklin, Pennsylvania, NA Film Number T9-1132, Page Number 569A.

findagrave.com site for Jacob and Mary Ann Snider.

Marriage and Death Notices from Weekly Newspapers, 1818 - 1865, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume 1, Della Reagan Fischer, copier and compiler (McKeesport, PA, typescript, 1963), page 196, from the [Greensburg] Pennsylvania Argus of February 9, 1849.