Dr. John M. Snyder


John Marshall Snyder, born 1828, Charlestown, (West) Virginia

2nd Lt., 4th Kentucky Infantry, Mexican War, 1 year service.

1853, Professor of Surgery and Obstetrics, Georgetown College

1853, married Sophia C. Tayloe (1831-1906)

Small pox physician to paupers

Dr. Snyder, assisted by Dr. Hezekiah Magruder, performs surgery to remove a cancerous eye at the Georgetown Alms House. The patient exclaimed when he came to from the chloroform: “My poor eye!“ (Georgetown Advocate, April 12, 1853)

Commencement of the Medical Department of Georgetown College, address given by Dr. J. M. Snyder (Evening Star, March 16, 1855, p. 3)

Acting Asst. Surgeon, US Army

Dr. Snyder at Georgetown College, Oct 1 1862 (Lomax, Elizabeth Lindsay, Leaves from an Old Washington Diary 1854-1863, Dutton, 1943)

When DC slaves were emancipated in 1862 Dr. Snyder had his slave Betsy Ward locked up in Camlin’s Slave Pen, Pratt Street, Baltimore, to prevent her being freed. The pen was opened in July, 1863, and Ward was freed, by Capt. Birney, USA. (Berlin, Ira et al, Free at Last)

Acquires Greenwood, 1862: Conrad Schwarz, aged about 78, having no natural heir, placed his will in the hands of his physician, Dr. John M. Snyder, Sept 15, 1862. In it he devised his estate to Snyder. (As Snyder had a mansion on 31st Street, he may have intended to use Greenwood as a country house, or as a rental.)

Fatal accident.––We regret to announce the death of Dr. Snyder, of Georgetown, by a fall yesterday afternoon. It appears that while engaged in pruning a tree on his farm, he slipped from a ladder and fell to the ground, breaking his neck and dying almost instantly. (Star, August 4, 1863; History of the Washington Medical Society, p.253)


Portrait, History of Medicine in the District of Columbia, facing p. 64. There is a copy in Mitchell, Divided Town.

Dr. Snyder’s memorial page on FindAGrave:



 Carlton Fletcher

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