Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Snowden, James Ross

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SNOWDEN, James Ross, numismatist, b. in Old Chester, Pa., 9 Dec., 1809; d. in Hulmeville, Bucks co., Pa., 21 March, 1878. His great-grandfather, Nathanael Fitz Randolph, served in the Revolutionary war, being known as “Fighting Nat,” and was presented with a sword by the legislature of New Jersey. He also started the first subscription paper for Princeton college, and gave the ground upon which Nassau hall, the first edifice of that college, was built. This received its name in honor of William III., of the “illustrious house of Nassau.” It has been twice burned down. His father, Rev. Nathanael Randolph Snowden, was curator of Dickinson college from 1794 till 1827, where the son was educated. Subsequently he studied law, and, settling in Franklin, Pa., was made deputy attorney-general, elected to the legislature, and served as speaker in 1842-'4. He was state treasurer from 1845 till 1847, treasurer of the U.S. mint from 1847 till 1S50, and its director from 1853 till 1801. In addition to numerous addresses and pamphlets on numismatics and curcency, seven annual mint reports, and contributions to journals, he published “Descriptions of Coin in the U. S. Mint” (Philadelphia, 1860); “Description of the Medals of Washington, of National and Miscellaneous Medals, and of other Objects of Interest in the Museum of the Mint, with Biographical Notices of the Directors from 1792 to 1851” (1861); “The Mint at Philadelphia” (1861); “The Coins of the Bible, and its Money Terms” (1864); and “The Cornplanter Memorial” (Harrisburg, 1867); and contributed articles on the coin of the United States to the National almanac of 1873, and articles on numismatics to Bouvier's “Law Dictionary” (12th ed., Philadelphia, 1868).—His nephew, Archibald Loudon, b. in Cumberland county, Pa., 11 Aug., 1837, after graduation at Jefferson college in 1856 was made register of the U. S. mint on 7 May, 1857, became chief coiner on 1 Oct., 1866, and in 1877-'9 was postmaster of Philadelphia. In 1879-'85 he was superintendent of the mint, and in 1878 he declined the office of general director of all the mints in the United States. He has made improvements and inventions relating to coining-machinery, and has written articles on subjects relating to coinage, the great seal of the United States, and other subjects. Mr. Snowden was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of Pennsylvania volunteers in 1861, and was subsequently elected captain of the 1st city troop of Philadelphia, which is the oldest military organization in the United States. It was the bodyguard of Gen. Washington during the Revolution, and bore a conspicuous part in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, and the Brandywine. He has been identified with railroads, insurance companies, and other business interests.