Family History

The Snavely Family

A number of Snavelys and Snivelys are now working on the origins of the family in America. Most of our lines can be traced to Switzerland. Our ancestors were largely Mennonite and were being persecuted for their religious beliefs. They fled to the Alsace region and then to America in the 1700s. The original name was a variant of Schnebele. When they arrived, they changed their names to "Americanize" them. Some took SNAVELY and some took SNIVELY. Most settled in Pennsylvania and Maryland. If your name is Snavely or Snively, there is a very good chance we are related!

I am descended from Kasper Snavely, who came to America and settled at Eakle's Mills, Washington County Maryland. We know that he established a vineyard there and had six children.

One of those children (John) moved to settle near Sharpsburg, Maryland. There he built a farm on the banks of Antietam creek, at a place which was called "Snavely's Ford". He had 13 children, number 12 of which was Charles G. Snavely, my great grandfather. This farm was an important site in the Battle of Antietam in the Civil War. Visitors to the Battlefield can still take the trail to Snavely's Ford. In his memoirs, Guy E. Snavely (son of Charles G.) describes the story of a bloody battle near the farm and of Union troops turning the kitchen into a field hospital.  Click here to see the historical document describing the house at Snavely's Ford.

Charles G. had a son (my grandfather) named Guy. Dr. Guy E. Snavely was president and later chancellor of Birmingham Southern College. He also taught at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Author of several books and professor of romance languages, Guy's memoirs were published under the title, "A Search for Excellence."

One of Guy's three sons was Charles A. Snavely, who began as a John Deere farm equipment dealer in Baldwin, Maryland. In 1952, he moved his family to Peoria, Illinois, where he became the executive secretary of the Illinois Retail Farm Equipment Dealers' Association. "Chuck" was known as a great organizer, speaker, and motivator. He possessed a wonderful sense of humor, was a great story teller, and always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye.

Chuck's fourth son was Dr. William B. Snavely, a Management Professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. William Snavely also served Oxford as member of city council and mayor and is the author of this family history.

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