The Governor Snyder Mansion
121 N. Market Street

An early-twentieth-century view of the Governor Snyder Mansion, from the Charles L. Fasold Photo Collection

→ Constructed in 1816 by Pennsylvania Governor SIMON SNYDER
  • Governor, 1808-1817
  • Party: Democratic Republican
  • Resident in Selinsgrove, 1785-1818
→ Style is FEDERAL or, more specifically, ADAM
  • Made of 18” limestone blocks
  • Semi-circular fanlight over front door
  • Cornices with decorative dentil moldings
  • Windows with double-hung sashes
→ Interior
  • Hall and parlor form with entrance on the left side and staircase behind second room
  • Right side has two rooms separated by a pocket door
  • Second floor layout same as the first
  • A fireplace in each room
  • Three floors connected by an elegant, curved staircase
  • Attic has an unusual wood cage

READ MORE

(1/5) Beginnings

Simon Snyder was born November 5, 1759 at Manheim in Lancaster County of German immigrants from the Palatinate region. When he was fifteen, his father died and Snyder moved to York, learning the tanning and currier trades. Ten years later he moved to the developing frontier in Penn Township, Northumberland County, which became Snyder County in 1855. In Selinsgrove, Snyder opened a store and the Isle of Que mills in partnership with his brother-in-law, Anthony Selin.

(2/5) Politics

Snyder’s reputation was made as a politician. He served as Justice of the Peace for Penn Township, was a delegate to the 1790 constitutional convention re-writing Pennsylvania’s founding document, and then was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1797, becoming speaker in 1802. He served in the House until 1808 when he was elected governor, an office to which he was reelected twice. He was governor during the War of 1812, serving his country faithfully by marshalling men and material from the Commonwealth to assure America’s independence from Great Britain. In politics Snyder is best described as a fore-runner of Jacksonian democracy, a form of politics identified with President Andrew Jackson who, as a nineteenth century liberal, defended the interests of average citizens against the powers of both the rich and the federal government. When he left the governor’s office, Snyder returned to Selinsgrove; in 1818 he was elected to the State Senate and served one year of his term before dying November 9, 1819. His burial place in the Old Lutheran Cemetery behind Sharon Lutheran Church is marked by a large bust dedicated in elaborate ceremonies in 1885.

(3/5) In the Family

The Snyder Mansion is, perhaps, the most historic of Selinsgrove’s structures. The great fire of 1874 in Selinsgrove burned off a side porch and dormers but the house survived, serving as a fire-brake for the north end of the town. The building has been drawn into local folklore with unverified stories that its basement was a stop on the Underground Railroad, featuring a cave running from the basement to nearby Penns Creek.

The Governor Snyder Mansion was in the Snyder family for three generations. When Simon Snyder died, ownership of the house fell to his son John who lived in it briefly. The house then was owned by John’s brother Henry from 1827 to 1852 and then willed to Henry’s brother Antes who was a West Point graduate, civil engineer and builder of railroad bridges. Antes had the house from 1852 until his estate sold it to George Zeigler in 1865. Although the Snyder family owned the house it seems likely that they often rented it to others:

(4/5) The Allemans

Samuel Alleman, a local lawyer, bought the house from George Zeigler in 1865. When Samuel Alleman died in 1881 his son Horace inherited the house and moved in with his family. Horace Alleman was a Civil War veteran, educated at the Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg, he studied for the law at Columbia College in Washington, D. C. His wife, Matilda “Tillie” Pierce Alleman, became a minor celebrity in 1888 when she penned and published her experiences during the Battle of Gettysburg which she witnessed as a thirteen-year old. The booklet was titled, At Gettysburg: What a Young Girl Saw, and slowly grew in significance until 1999 when a Hollywood production company made it into a movie, “Tillie Pierce at Gettysburg.”

(5/5) The Recent Past

When Horace Alleman died in 1907, Tillie Pierce Alleman continued to reside in the Mansion, until she moved to Philadelphia. Her estate sold the house in 1917 to J. P. Coryell who promptly sold it to his son, Harry, a local attorney who set up his law office in the front rooms of the house. When Harry died in 1950, his wife Pauline lived in the house until she died in 1970, and the house was willed to her son Pierce Allen Coryell who was a lawyer, as was his father, and had his offices in the Mansion. When he died in 1975, the Mansion was inherited by his sister, Esther Jane who also had artistic interests as an actress and a writer. And, when Esther Jane died, the house was inherited by David Coryell.

The Snyder Mansion then was purchased by Thomas and Ann McNabb who operated a selective gift shop in the top two floors of the building. In the basement, the McNabb’s daughter, Heather, and her husband Steve Leason operate the popular pub, the Selin’s Grove Brewing Company.