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Naming of Concordia, Kansas

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Naming of Concordia, Kansas Reply with quote

One of the enduring legends is that Concordia, Kansas is named after Concordia, Missouri, even though there are no apparent family connections between the two communities. The Wikipedia page for Concordia, KS (at,_Kansas) includes the following sentence:
“The name "Concordia" was chosen because a member of the early group of promoters ("Cap" Snyder) had once lived in Concordia, Missouri.”
This exact statement is replicated on numerous websites.

During the mid-1800s there were several Snyder families living in Freedom Township, MO. However, the census records do not show any Snyders that would match this family. However, their migration as detailed in a biography below was between census years.

I checked various Kansas histories to see if this story was documented in one of them. In general, one does not see many positive references to Missouri in the older Kansas history books. This is probably a result of the long-standing animosity between the two states resulting from the border wars during the Civil War era. (Some people feel that the bitter sports rivalries between schools from the two states is a continuation of this hostility.)

Frank Blackmar’s Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, Vol I, 1913 gives the following account:
“At a convention in Aug., 1869, at Saunders' sawmill, a half mile below the site of the proposed city, it was suggested that the delegates visit the site. This was done, the settlers from the south side of the river, who were in the majority, approved and H. C. Snyder called it Concordia.”

On page 154 of E.F. Hollibaugh’s Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas, 1903, the following twist on the story is given:
“The convention met in August, 1869, at Captain Sanders' saw mill, standing on the left bank of the river, half a mile below the town site. The delegates from the south side being a majority rode over the site and approved of it. To H.C. Snyder was voted the honor of naming the to-be great city, and this he did by saying, "In view of the harmony and unanimity prevailing, I name the future city 'Concordia,' " and the name was thereupon unaninously[sic] approved.”

In another section of this book, Hollibaugh notes that H.C. Snyder had also been the one of the founders of Glasco, KS several years earlier and served as its postmaster for a short while. Although he had named Concordia, it is not clear if he lived there. He spent his later years in Glasco.

Hollibaugh also gives a relatively detailed description of the Snyder family in his biography of H.C.’s wife Phoebe, who apparently was still living when the book was written.
“Mrs. Snyder was married to Captain H. C. Snyder in Frankfort, Indiana, December 24, 1854. He first enlisted in the Thirty-ninth Indiana Infantry, and was commissioned lieutenant of that company. In his second enlistment he was promoted to captain of the Eighth Indiana Cavalry. He was wounded twice and disabled for a short period each time, but served all through the war. When he entered the service Captain and Mrs. Snyder owned a residence and were living at Austin, Indiana, but during his absence Mrs. Snyder had traded the property and moved on to a farm. They sold the farm in 1866 and emigrated overland to Kansas with their family of five children. They were preceded by H. H. Spaulding, who wrote back telling his Indiana friends of the beautiful valley he had found, the "Eden of the world," its natural resources and great possibilities, which resulted in Captain Snyder and five other men with their families seeking homes on the boundless prairies of Kansas. Of this little company of emigrants Mrs. Snyder and her children are the only ones living in the community. A part of the band sought other places of residence, some became disheartened and returned to their former homes and some have gone to the unknown realms of the "great beyond." Captain Snyder homesteaded land one-half mile west of Glasco, now owned by Garrett Davidson, but still known as the Captain Snyder farm.”

Note that there is no mention of Missouri in this account. So did he actually live in Concordia, MO as the legend contends? There is a gap between when the family left Indiana and when they are known to have been living in Kansas. It is possible that they did stop in Missouri as they moved west. Whether they lived in the Concordia area for a short while or possibly stayed with relatives is a matter of speculation. However, the time period does fit with the time that Concordia, Missouri was first named. It is interesting that he realized that the name “Concordia” stood for harmony, the reasoning used by Pastor Biltz for the naming of Concordia, MO. So, at least, he may have been familiar with Concordia, MO and intrigued by the name.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:31 am    Post subject: Another version of the naming of Concordia, KS Reply with quote

Another story about the naming of Concordia, KS was recently brought to my attention. This was in a reprint of a Concordian article first published in 1906. (See below.)

According to this story, Cap. Henry C. Snyder, who is credited with the naming of Concordia, KS, was involved in Civil War action in the Concordia, MO area. As was pointed out in the article, there were no battles in the area other than the bushwhacker raids. The only two battles in Lafayette Co. were both in Lexington. Neither of them were Union victories.

Records of the Thirty-ninth Indiana Infantry and the 8th Regiment, Indiana Cavalry in which Snyder served during the Civil war do not show any action in Missouri.

So this story would appear to be a fabrication.

The Two Concordias (published in 1906)
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