See also

Family of Elisha Kelly SNODGRASS and Matilda Lucille MARSH

Husband: Elisha Kelly SNODGRASS

Wife: Matilda Lucille MARSH

Child 1: John Tabb SNODGRASS

  • Name:

  • John Tabb SNODGRASS

  • Sex:

  • Male

  • Spouse (1):

  • Charlotte Sanders HUBBARD (1907-1990)

  • Spouse (2):

  • Ruth WHEELWRIGHT (1908-1997)

  • Birth:

  • Dec 23, 1906

  • Paterson, Passiac County, NJ

  • Occupation:


  • Army Officer

  • Death:

  • Jun 6, 1966 (age 59)

  • Annapolis, Ann Arundal County, MD


  • John Tabb Snodgrass was born on Dec 23, 1906 in Patterson New Jersey. John went on to graduate from college at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1927, probably supported financially by the Marsh family. He majored in Industrial Engineering and earned an Army Reserve Commission as a Second Lieutenant through the ROTC program. He married twice, the first time to his college sweet heart, Charlotte Sanders Hubbard, on October 31, 1928 in Mt. Clements, MI. He was 23 and she was 22. Charlotte gave birth to their first child, John T. Snodgrass, Jr. on Feb 2, 1930 in East Orange, NJ. They were divorced a year later after Charlotte, according to my mother, took a greater interest in a young Naval officer. John and my mother, Ruth Wheelwright Snodgrass of Barry, MA, were married in March of 1937 in Boston. He was working as an industrial engineer for Western Electric Co. and they took an apartment in Manhattan near Columbia University, where they were living when I was born on Dec 19, 1937. He also served in the Army reserves and was called to active duty in the US Army Coast Artillery and assigned to Ft Tilden New York shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. He served in the Pacific throughout the war. By 1946 he had been promoted to the rank of Major and was serving on General Douglas Macarthur's staff when our family was finally reunited in Yokohama Japan in June 1947. My father's greatest interest, after work and family, was mechanics. He particularly loved fire engines, ships, and trains. He loved stopping by the firehouse on post to examine some new piece of equipment or to quiz the firemen about the technical aspects of fire fighting equipment. He was an avid photographer and could never pass a steam locomotive or a sea going vessel without pausing to take many photographs from several different angles. He developed his own photographs in a darkroom in our home; he showed me how to store and mix developing fluids, process negatives, and how to use a safelight and an enlarger to print photographs. He was an avid model railroader and built hundreds of HO gauge model trains from kits and from scratch. He installed large elaborate model railroading layouts in the basement of our Arlington VA home at 716 South Adams Street near Fort Meyer, in the early 1950's. He also had a large workshop in the basement that he maintained almost everywhere we moved to support his model-making and layout construction purposes. I learned how to use hand tools by watching him work. Many of the tools and the workbench in our home in Rhode Island were his. He enjoyed working on mechanical and electrical projects with his hands. For relaxation he enjoyed smoking cigars or a corncob pipe, packed with Bond Street tobacco. He read Mike Hammer and Agatha Christy detective stories and was a devoted fan of the early Patrick O'Brian novels about life aboard ships the Royal Navy during the time of Napoleon. He liked sandwiches that included several different ingredients of differing textures and temperatures. Hot dry toast, cold wet tomatoes with slippery mayonnaise, and warm crisp bacon for example. He swallowed raw eggs and Worchester sauce for breakfast without apparent enjoyment. He and his brother Pete both drank Jim Beam whiskey without noticeable effect until late in life, and he remained a loyal consumer of this brand until the day he died. John Tabb Snodgrass was a key officer in the development of air defense guided missiles for the US Army. He commanded "Task Force Snodgrass" an organization of soldiers and civilian technicians who conducted the first successful field trials of the Army's new Nike Air Defense Missile System in waters off the coast of Florida in the late1950's. He authored an article on the subject for the Encyclopedia Britannica. He was promoted to Brigadier General and became the Assistant Commandant of the US Army Air Defense Center and School in 1958. When he left Ft Bliss, for a staff assignment in Washington, he donated his extensive collection of HO gauge locomotives and passengers trains to El Paso Model Railroad Club. He was promoted to Major General in 1961 and assigned as the Commanding General, First Region, US Army Air Defense Command--an organization based where he started his career 20 years earlier at Fort Totten New York. His command was responsible for mounting an instantaneous missile defense against any Soviet bomber attack upon the US or Canada east of the Mississippi River. On a spring afternoon in 1964, the day of his final change of command ceremony and retirement parade, he took a child-like delight in playing the base drum as the troops at Fort Totten NY passed in review. To his great surprise, his wife Ruth filed for legal separation that same afternoon, forever changing the conditions of their marriage for the rest of their lives. He had been medically retired and suffered several bouts of jaundice stemming from surossis of the liver. To my knowledge, he had no other medical conditions. He always seemed healthy, happy, and confident prior to this period. He moved much less confidently into his unplanned retirement. He hoped for a Job as Fire Commissioned for the City of New York. It was not to happen. He was hospitalized again at St. Albans Medical Center in Queens, with jaundice. He recovered. He apparently gave up hope for a new career. He bought a Volkswagen mini-bus in June, 1965 and drove down to Annapolis Maryland to live near boats, the water and the Naval Academy which he always admired; and perhaps also to reestablished his friendship with Lt. Col. Ruth Satterfield, also a retired Army officer who he had doubtless met when they were both on Active Duty. When my sister Ruthie was called to Annapolis to attend to his estate, it was Ruth Satterfield who told her about our dad's final months. Over the years, he occasionally expressed his admiration for the hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church; and according to Ruth Satterfield, converted to Catholicism near the end of his life. He died alone in his rented Annapolis home on June 6, 1966 and was later buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Mac Snodgrass June 2007

  • Burial:

  • Jun, 1966

  • Arlington, Arlington County, VA

Child 2: Robert Marsh "Pete" SNODGRASS

  • Name:

  • Robert Marsh "Pete" SNODGRASS

  • Sex:

  • Male

  • Spouse:

  • Priscilla ( - )

  • Birth:

  • Sep 23, 1908

  • Patterson, NJ

  • Occupation:


  • Dog Breeder

  • Death:

  • 1979 (age 70-71)

  • Brockton, MA

  • Burial:

  • 1979

  • MA

Note on Husband: Elisha Kelly SNODGRASS

Elisha Kelly Snodgrass who was born in Martinsburg, WV December 25,

1878. Elisha was an engineer and was 27 at the time John was born.

Matilda Lucille Marsh, Elisha's wife, was 26. Their second and final

child, Robert Marsh "Pete" Snodgrass, was born two years later in

1908. Elisha Kelly Snodgrass was a military officer in the US Army

Corps of Engineers. Although he was my paternal grandfather, I have

never seen so much as a photo of him. Elisha died in France were he

serving with the US Army in World War I on July 31, 1918, of wounds to

his lungs sustained in a German mustard gas attack. He was 39. His

body was interred in August 1918 in France, at the U.S. National


Mac Snodgrass

June 2007

Note on Wife: Matilda Lucille MARSH

Matilda Lucille Marsh was 37 when Elisha was killed. John was a boy

not yet 12 at the time; and Pete his brother was 10. John and his

admiring younger brother attended schools together in Patterson New

Jersey and spent summers on the lakes racing a small sailboat they

built together. Pete called John "Skip" (short for skipper) because

according to my grandmother Matilda, dad always took the helm and Pete

worked the foredeck. Matilda apparently raised John and Pete by

herself. I remember her primarily as a staunch Episcopalian. Se was

not often in my life growing up, but on the few occasions she came for

a visit, she impressed me as a conservative, silent woman. To my

knowledge she never remarried, and rarely left Patterson, NJ where she

died in May 1966 at age 85. She too is a mystery.

Mac Snodgrass

June 2007