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George Randolph Snowden
Born (1841-02-12)February 12, 1841
Died April 21, 1932(1932-04-21) (aged 91)
Place of birth Franklin, Pennsylvania
Place of death Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Buried at Franklin Cemetery
Franklin, Pennsylvania
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1862-1900
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Unit Pennsylvania Army National Guard
Commands held Company I, 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry
3rd Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard
1st Brigade, Pennsylvania National Guard Division
Pennsylvania National Guard Division

American Civil War

Other work Attorney

George R. Snowden (February 12, 1841 – April 21, 1932) was a Pennsylvania lawyer and military officer who served as commander of the organization now known as the 28th Infantry Division.

Early life[]

George Randolph Snowden was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania on February 12, 1841. He was educated locally, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1862.[1]

Civil War[]

In August 1862 Snowden enlisted in the unit which was later designated Company I, 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry. He was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in September, became the company commander in 1863, and took part in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He was a Captain when he was discharged in April 1864.[2][3]

Post-Civil War[]

Snowden practiced law in Franklin until relocating to Philadelphia in 1874, and was active in local businesses including the Franklin Gas Company. He also continued his military service as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.[4][5]

He served as commander of the 3rd Infantry Regiment with the rank of Colonel, and took part in the military response in Pittsburgh during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. In 1878 he was promoted to Brigadier General as commander of the 1st Brigade.[6][7]

Besides practicing law, Snowden also served in appointive offices, including Assistant Customs Appraiser for the Port of Philadelphia and Chief Clerk of Philadelphia’s United States Mint. When the federal government began to enact civil service reform, Snowden served on the board of examiners for the Philadelphia Customs office.[8][9][10] In 1880 he was an unsuccessful Democratic Party candidate for Congress, and he later served on Philadelphia's Select Council. (At the time, the city’s legislative functions were carried out by two bodies, the Select Council and the Common Council.)[11][12][13]

Later career[]

In 1890 he was promoted to Major General as commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard Division, succeeding John F. Hartranft. At the time, the division consisted of three brigades and various separate units.[14]

Snowden commanded the National Guard during the Homestead Strike in July, 1892. He sided with the Carnegie Steel owners over the striking union workers, saying “Pennsylvanians can hardly appreciate the actual communism of these people. They believe the works are theirs quite as much as Carnegie's."[15][16]

The militia’s efforts to curtail the activities of striking workers enabled the owners to reopen with non-union labor.[17]


Snowden retired from the military in 1900, and was succeeded as division commander by Charles Miller. In his later years Snowden was one of Philadelphia's Real Estate Assessors.[18][19] Snowden was active in the Grand Army of the Republic and Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He took part in numerous Union Army reunions, as well as the dedication of several monuments and memorials.[20][21][22][23][24]

He was also active in fraternal and civic organizations, including the Masons and the Sons of the American Revolution.[25][26][27]

Snowden wrote on military subjects and other topics, and was a popular public speaker. Some of his speeches were republished as articles or pamphlets.[28][29] In 1971 portions of his Civil War diary were published as Home to Franklin! Excerpts from the Civil War Diary of George Randolph Snowden.[30]

Snowden never married, and had no children.[31][32]

Death and burial[]

Snowden died in Philadelphia on April 21, 1932.[33][34] He was buried in Franklin Cemetery in the city of Franklin, Section D, Lot 19.[35] In 1869 Snowden had been an original incorporator of the cemetery.[36]


  1. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, 1892 entry for George R. Snowden, retrieved March 21, 2014
  2. Samuel P. Bates, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865, 1868, republished at, retrieved March 21, 2014
  3. Paul Kahan, The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American Industry, 2014, page 90
  4. William J. Campbell, The Bench and Bar of Philadelphia, 1893, page 31
  5. Brown, Runk & Co., History of Venango County, Pennsylvania, 1890, page 403
  6. The national Guardsman, The Great Strike, September 1, 1877, page 37
  7. C. B. Dougherty, Historical Souvenir of the Ninth Regiment Infantry, N. G. P, 1893, page 6
  8. Philadelphia Public Ledger, Public Ledger Almanacs, 1880, page 49
  9. Philadelphia Maritime Exchange, The Hand Book of the Lower Delaware River, 1895, page 94
  10. United States Civil Service Commission, Annual Report of the United States Civil Service Commission, Volume 3, 1886, page 99
  11. Congressional Quarterly, Inc., Guide to U.S. Elections, 2005, page 972
  12. City of Philadelphia, Journal of the Common Council, of the City of Philadelphia, Part 2, 1883, page 268
  13. Peter McCaffery, When Bosses Ruled Philadelphia, page 39
  14. Pennsylvania Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1898, page 202
  15. Myron R. Stowell, "Fort Frick"; Or, The Siege of Homestead, Volume 8, 1893, page 114
  16. David Montgomery, The Fall of the House of Labor, page 38
  17. Spencer C. Tucker, The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars, 2009, pages 289-290
  18. Pennsylvania Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1906, page 236
  19. Philadelphia Times, Philadelphia Times Almanac, 1902, page 20
  20. Fairmount Park Art Association, Unveiling of the Equestrian Statue of Major-General George Gordon Meade, Volume 3, 1887, page 4
  21. Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Circular, 1911, Donations page
  22. Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Biographical Sketches of the Contributors, 1991, page 275
  23. Horatio N. Warren, Two Reunions of the 142d Regiment, Pa. Vols., 1890, pages 7, 10-11, 48, 57, 80
  24. Reynolds Memorial Association, Unveiling of the statue of General John F. Reynolds, Philadelphia, September 18, 1884, 1884, pages 24, 27, 36
  25. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Abstract of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, 1883, page 174
  26. Royal Printing Company, Masonic Directory of the Pennsylvania, 1880, page 86
  27. Sons of the Revolution. Pennsylvania Society, Decennial Register of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution, 1898, page 418
  28. George R. Snowden, The United Service, The Battalion System for the National Guard, March 1885, page 294
  29. George R. Snowden, The Christian's Right to Bear Arms, 1911, title page
  30. Charles H.Ness, Home to Franklin Excerpts from the Civil War Diary of George Randolph Snowden, 1971, page 158
  31. U.S. Census, entries for George R. Snowden, 1860, 1880, 1910, 1930
  32. Oil City Derrick, Local Institutions get Bulk of Estate of Major (sic) George Snowden, May 9, 1932
  33. Lebanon Daily News, Maj-Gen. Geo. Snowden, Colorful Figure in Phila. Died Aged 91, April 22, 1932
  34. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oliver H. Bair Funeral Records Indexes, 1920-1980, 1932 entry for General George R. Snowden, retrieved March 21, 2014
  35. Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999, 1932 entry for George R. Snowden, retrieved March 21, 2014
  36. Brown, Runk & Co., History of Venango County, Pennsylvania, 1890, page 431

External links[]

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