James Ross Snowden

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James Ross Snowden
Portrait of James Ross Snowden
Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Clarion and Venango Counties, Pennsylvania
In office
1838–1843
67th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
1842–1842
Preceded byWilliam A. Crabb
Succeeded byHendrick Bradley Wright
Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Clarion, Jefferson and Venango Counties, Pennsylvania
In office
1844–1844
67th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
1844–1844
Preceded byHendrick Bradley Wright
Succeeded byFindlay Patterson
Treasurer of Pennsylvania
In office
1845–1847
Preceded byJob Mann
Succeeded byArnold Plumber
Director of the United States Mint
In office
June 1853 – May 1861
Preceded byThomas M. Pettit
Succeeded byJames Pollock
Personal details
Born(1809-12-09)December 9, 1809
Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedMarch 21, 1878(1878-03-21) (aged 68)
Hulmeville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Resting placeLaurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

James Ross Snowden (December 9, 1809  – March 21, 1878 ) was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives representing Venango and Clarion counties from 1838 to 1843 and Venango, Jefferson and Clarion counties in 1844. He served as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1842 and again in 1844. He served as the Treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1847, as treasurer of the United States Mint from 1847 to 1850 and as director of the Mint from 1853 to 1861.

Early life and education[edit]

Snowden was born December 9, 1809, in Chester, Pennsylvania, to the Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden and Sarah (Gustine). He was educated at Dickinson College, received a Master of Arts degree from Jefferson College in 1845 and an honorary doctor of law degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1875. He studied law, settled in Franklin, Pennsylvania, and joined the Venango County bar in 1828.[1]

Career[edit]

He was made deputy attorney general and was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for Venango and Clarion counties from 1838 to 1843 and for Venango, Jefferson and Clarion counties in 1844.[2] He served as speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1842 and again in 1844.[3][4][5] As speaker, he signed legislation regarding state debt, regulation of insurance companies, setting election districts and establishing funding for the education of the poor.[1] He was state treasurer from 1845 until 1847,[4] and was also elected colonel in the state militia.[5]

Snowden developed an interest in numismatics during his work at the United States Mint,[5] and became a noted numismatist of his day. He contributed to such publications as Bouvier's Law Dictionary, as well as publishing several numismatic books of his own.[6] During his tenure as Mint director, he was noted for producing restrikes of older United States coins including the 1840s-1850s half cents, 1827 quarter, 1856 Flying Eagle cent and Gobrecht dollars of 1836-39, which he sold to collectors to finance the Mint's own collection.[7] He also oversaw the reconstruction of the Mint building and adding fireproofing.[8]

In 1850, he returned to the practice of law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and worked as a solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.[9]

In 1861, he became prothonotary of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.[1]

During the American Civil War, Snowden served as lieutenant colonel for the Philadelphia First Regiment of Home Guards but never saw active duty.[1]

He died on March 21, 1878, in Hulmeville, Pennsylvania[9] and was interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]

Family[edit]

He married Susan Engle Patterson in 1848[10] and together they had five children.[5] His great-grandfather, Nathanael Fitz Randolph, served in the American Revolutionary War, known as "Fighting Nat," and was presented with a sword by the legislature of New Jersey. He also started the first subscription paper for Princeton College, and gave the ground upon which Nassau Hall, the first edifice of that college, was built. His father was curator of Dickinson College from 1794 until 1827. His nephew A. Loudon Snowden became superintendent of the Philadelphia office of the United States Mint.[4]

Published works[edit]

He contributed articles on the coin of the United States to the National Almanac of 1873.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "House Speaker Biographies - James Ross Snowden". www.legis.state.pa.us. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  2. ^ "James Ross Snowden". www.archives.house.state.pa.us. Archives Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  3. ^ "View All Speakers". www.legis.state.pa.us. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1889). "Snowden, James Ross" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  5. ^ a b c d Jackson, Joseph (1935). "Snowden, James Ross". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  6. ^ Blanchard, Charles (1900). The Progressive Men of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Logansport, Indiana: A.W. Bowen & Co. pp. 587–589. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  7. ^ Julian, R. W. (March 1, 2022). "James Ross Snowden and the Mint Collection". Numismatic News. 71 (6): 20–24.
  8. ^ Nevin, Alfred (1876). Centennial Biography - Men of Mark of Cumberland Valley, PA. 1776-1876. Philadelphia: Fulton Publishing Company. pp. 356–358. ISBN 9780608336534. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Failor, Kenneth M.; Hayden, Eloenora (1972). Medals of the United States Mint. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 140–141. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  10. ^ Memorial Biographies of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society. 1907. p. 281. Retrieved August 25, 2022.

External links[edit]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Delaware County and Venango County
1838–1843
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William A. Crabb
67th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
1842–1842
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Delaware County, Jefferson County and Venango County
1844–1844
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Hendrick Bradley Wright
67th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
1844–1844
Succeeded by
Findlay Patterson
Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of Pennsylvania
1845–1847
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Director of the United States Mint
June 1853 – May 1861
Succeeded by