Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Leonard Parks Residence: Part 2: The Snow Family

14417 Darley Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

Leonard Parks residence

In the first post in this series, I detailed the life of the Farwell family, including Benjamin Farwell, the carpenter perhaps responsible for the strongest visual element in this historic Cleveland house - the front doorway. Today, I will address the following owners of the property.

Leonard Parks map
From the 1858 Hopkins Map of Cuyahoga County. Used courtesy of Rails and Trails, original courtesy of the Bedford Historical Society.

Benjamin J. Farwell and Olive Farwell sold 16 acres of land to Almon A. Snow for $350. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 184405220004) It is illustrated here as being owned by L. Parks.

Almon A. Snow was born in about 1819, Massachusetts. He moved to Ohio, where he likely met and maried Amanda M. Snow. Amanda was born in Ohio, in 1816, 1823, or 1826, depending on whether we want to believe the 1850, 1860 or 1870 U.S. Federal Census.

By 1850, when they sold this parcel to Sheldon Parks for $700, Almon and Amanda Snow had moved to Eaton Township, Lorain County. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 185003120005) This sale, a doubling of the purchase price six years prior, has several implications. It suggests that that the price realized in 1844 was lower than it should have been. Perhaps the Farwells needed to sell the property quickly, or perhas the Farwells and the Snows were acquaintences. Alternately, we might assume that the Snows made some significant improvements to the land.

As of that year, the Snows had three children, Viola J. (born about 1845), Lexor B. (born about 1847), and Archie J. (born 1849). Their farming endeavors seem to have been more successful in Eaton Township - by 1860, the value of their land had gone from $900 to $3500. They had three more children while living on this farm - Forest (born about 1851), Ernest (born about 1853), and Alva (born about 1857). (U.S. Federal Census, 1850 and 1860)

Again, probably before 1866, the Snow family moved, this time to Vienna, Marshall County, Iowa. I suspect a pre-1866 date because in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, one additional child is listed, Lella Snow, born in about 1866, in Iowa. Their farming efforts seem to have been more financially successful here. The value of their land was listed at $8,000, while their personal property, at $1,700. Their farm was worth more than any of those nearby (plus or minus two pages in the 1870 U.S. Census. Most of the values clustered around $2,000 to $5,000.

As of 1880, Almon A. Snow remained in Marshall County, though none of the rest of his family was present. Curiously, the U.S. Census records for that year show that he was still married. It is unclear what happened to the rest of his family.

Why did the Snow family move west from here, and then move west again? Perhaps it was the lure of better land or better opportunity? What impact did they have on this land while they were here? At present, there simply isn't enough evidence to be sure of anything more than the knowledge that they were farmers who, at the very least, had the means to move onward.

In the next chapter in this series, I'll address the Parks family - the builders of the house presently on this location.

Christopher Busta-Peck is the founding editor of Cleveland Area History. Contact him by email.

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