I was born on a farm located quite centrally in the beautiful mountain bordered Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania, on the twenty-fourth day of November, 1859. My mother was a woman of restless energy, a lover of all that was grand and beautiful in nature and an influential representative of that which was most ennobling and uplifting in life; my father being of rather an easy-going nature, always jovial and possessing a trait of subtle humor that quickly made friends of all with whom he came in contact.

Until I was sixteen years of age I attended a country school situated about a mile from my home, then for a year, a 'selected school' in the nearby town of Greencastle. When seventeen years of age I attended at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a school preparatory for entrance to Dickinson College, situated in the same city, which college I entered in 1878 and from which I graduated in 1882 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts, obtaining from said institution in 1885 a degree of Master of Arts.

During the school year of 1882 and 1883 I taught in an academy in Path Valley, a narrow valley leading from the Cumberland Valley into the more mountainous regions of the state.

In the fall of 1883 I entered the law office of Benjamin Harris Brewster in Philadelphia, Mr. Brewster being at that time Attorney General of the United States in the cabinet of Chester A. Arthur and always during his professional life, one of Philadelphia's most brilliant and successful attorneys and at the same time I took a two year course of law in the University of Philadelphia graduating 1885, immediately after which I admitted to the Philadelphia Bar and the Bar of my home county of Franklin.


In the spring of 1886 I came to Duluth, landing here March twenty-first of that year and have been here ever since. Practicing law in partnership with Chas. P. Craig for about six years under the firm name of Snively and Craig. We somehow became separated in the financial massacre of 1893.



I then drifted into the farm land development business, having in 1900, together with J. L. Washburn and John G. Williams, purchased from the Northern Pacific Railway Company something over 200,000 acres of land in the counties of Carlton and St. Louis and for some years was engaged in the retail sale and settlement thereof.

After selling in a wholesale manner to certain colonizing companies some half dozen tracts of cut-over farm land lying along and back of the south shore of Lake Superior between Superior and Bayfield, aggregating some 150,000 acres, I interested myself to bring about the continuity of a roadway from one to the other of the above cities out of which developed the roadway now known as State Highway No. 2.

In the winter of 1921 I became a candidate for mayor of Duluth, was elected and am, per re-election, holding that position now.

This is a skeleton sketch of my life and for any curious enough to know more will say that I am of Swiss lineage, three of my ancestors coming to Pennsylvania during the time of William Penn, all being engineers and one acting as a land agent for the Penns. They acquired large landed holding divided first into plantations and later into farms as the family membership increased, that part of the original grant on which I was born having never passed from my name since secured from the Penns.

Four of my ancestors were in the Revolutionary War and my name and blood has been represented in every war conducted in behalf of the Union, my father and an uncle being in the Civil War from beginning to end.

My life here in Duluth, like that of many of my contemporaries, has had its successes and its disappointments but was always lived in support of measures I believed designed for the common good of this city and its people.


--S. F. Snively

August 5, 1931, Duluth, Minn.




History of Seven Bridges Road

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Web Pages © 1999 Mark Ryan. All color photographs by Mark Ryan. © 1998, 1999 Mark Ryan. Photographs credited to William Overland Collection or to Douglas Overland Collection are © William Overland, and © Douglas Overland, respectively.