Mr. Snodgrass was born in Clinton county, Indiana, on a farm. He is a son of Thomas and Anna (Coffman) Snodgrass. The father was born in Bartholomew county, Indiana and the mother was a native of Tennessee. She died when our subject was three years old, and the following year the father passed away, so Joseph M. was brought up by an aunt until he was twelve years of age when he began the battle of life for himself. He managed to get some education in the country schools, which has been greatly supplemented in after life by wide and miscellaneous home reading and study. He worked as a farm hand until he was twenty-one years old, when he was married, November 11, 1886 to Josephine Holmes, a daughter of John W. and Rosanna (Calanbaugh) Holmes, of Franklin county, Indiana. To this union two sons and three daughters have been born, namely: Mary, Verne, Waldo, Carrie and May who are all at home.
After his marriage Mr. Snodgrass engaged in farming in Clinton county, Indiana for a period of eighteen years, then engaged in the nursery business in Clinton county for a period of ten years, building up a large and remunerative business. Meanwhile he gave his closest attention to the study of horticulture. While farming he experimented raising sugar beets and enjoys the distinction of being the first man in Indiana to make a successful demonstration of the practicability of the sugar beet. These experiments were under the instructions of the agricultural department of Purdue University. Mr. Snodgrass also experimented along horticultural lines while in the nursery business, especially in small fruits, berries and potatoes. His home and grounds near Kirklin, Indiana, were a delight to visitors, and were regarded as constituting the most beautiful country home in the state. It was visited by large numbers of people because of its combined natural and artificial beauty, the tastily kept grounds, artistically appointed residence and the panorama of the surrounding landscape being truly inspiring. While in the nursery business he also made a specialty of the hardy catalpa tree, and grew them by the millions, shipping them all over the United States. He carried a full and finely assorted line of all kinds of nursery stock, and became one of the most widely known men in this line of endeavor in the state.
In March, 1910, Mr. Snodgrass left Clinton county and bought a farm in Green township, Randolph county, where he lived one year, sold out and purchased his present valuable farm two miles south of Winchester. It consists of one hundred and sixty-six acres of well located and productive land, and it is Mr. Snodgrass' ambition to make this one of the model farms of this section of the state, and, judging from its present well-kept and attractive appearance and his past record there is no doubt but that he will succeed. It is his aim to specialize in dairy products. He has at this writing a fine herd of Jersey cows, one of the few registered herds in Randolph county. General farming will also claim much of his attention. He has long been regarded as one of the most influential and learned contributors to the agricultural and horticultural press of Indiana. His papers are always of high class workmanship from a literary standpoint and what he says on any subject is regarded as authority and his articles have been watched for and eagerly read for years. He was formerly a member of the Indiana Horticultural Society, and is a regular correspondent of the Farmer's Guide, published at Huntington, Indiana, recognized as being one of the best agricultural papers in the country.
Snodgrass is a Prohibitionist and has long been active in the affairs of
the party, and while a resident of Clinton county he was a candidate for county
offices. He is a member of the Masonic Order, also the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows. He is a member of the Randolph County Corn Growers' Association, and
is secretary of the County Farmers' Institute and is doing much to arouse
general interest in better methods of agriculture in this county. Religiously
he is a member of the Church of God. His wife and members of his family are
affiliated with the Missionary Baptist church.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson
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