What's New

Photo of the Month

Minerd.com Blog


Reunion 2015


Cousin Voices

Honor Roll

In Lasting Memory

In the News

Our Mission and Values

Annual Review 2015

Favorite Links

Contact Us

Edward Jacob Van Horn

See a Memoir By Edward's Daughter

Edward Jacob Van Horn was born on Sept. 27, 1862, presumably in Wood County, OH, the son of Eli and Mary Ann (Kimberlin) Van Horn. He migrated to Southern California in the early years of the 20th century.

Edward's years as a young adult are not known, though he did suffer from epilepsy, which may have delayed his education. 

He was a teacher when in his 20s, perhaps in a grade school setting, and is said to have been "quite a math whiz."

As a 30-year-old bachelor in Ohio, Edward enrolled in the Commercial College of Ohio Normal University (today's Ohio Northern University) in Ada, Hardin County. 

One of his student identification cards is reproduced below, with the name of the university's president, H.S. Lehr, printed at the bottom. Edward's commencement speech was entitled "Ambition Necessary to Success."

A physician once told Edward that his medical condition would improve if he'd move to warmer climates. Thus, in about 1902, at the age of 40, he relocated to Southern California.

Because of his epilepsy, he and his future wife Lucy Melia Zimmerman (1869-1962), agreed not to get married for fear that they might pass along this trait to children. However, after an absence of many years, Lucy finally came from Ohio to join him in California in about 1909, and they were married later that year, on Oct. 25, 1909, in San Bernardino. He was age 47 at the time, and she was 40.

Edward's student ID card at Ohio Northern

They had one daughter, Ruth Genevieve Snyder. The family resided for many years in the Pasadena area, famed for its annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day.

On Christmas Day 1914, Edward's father Eli passed away back home in Ohio. The news was telegraphed to the Van Horns in California. Commenting later in life, daughter Ruth wrote: "I remember the telegram coming re: this tho' I was only 1 yr. 9 mos."

Famed New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena

Edward and Lucy are seen here with daughter Ruth and her future husband, Pasadena native Donald Glenn Snyder, at the news of the couple's engagement in December 1936. The wedding took place in Glendale on July 24, 1937.

The Van Horns were members of the Lake Avenue Congregational Church.

Edward passed away on July 27, 1942 in Pasadena. The Pasadena Star News noted in the obituary that Edward had "resided in Pasadena for the past 40 years."

Lucy outlived her husband by two decades. She died at age 93 on Jan. 6, 1962, in Alhambra, CA. They are buried at Mountain View Cemetery. 

~ Daughter Ruth Genevieve (Van Horn) Snyder ~

Daughter Ruth Genevieve Van Horn was born on March 19, 1913. She grew up in Pasadena, Los Angeles County. In the early 1930s, she attended the University of Redlands and became a teacher in a one-room school in Dagget, in the Mojave Desert. 

Ruth married Donald Glenn "Don" Snyder. They had two daughters, Sally Snyder and Carol McGann, and enjoyed "a normal suburban life" in Pasadena. 

At some point in time, Ruth wrote her memoirs about her parents and their early lives in Southern California. They are posted on Minerd.com.

Above: the Snyders in La Dorada --l-r: Carol, Ruth, Sally and Don, 1950s. Below, their hacienda in the jungle.

Don hunts butterflies in the jungle, armed with a net and a heavy-duty machete

Circa 1953-1955, the Snyders relocated to Colombia in South America, where Don helped manage a contract to construct a 500-mile section of railway lines. Their hacienda was in the town of La Dorada, in the jungles near the Pontoná River. 

Ruth later wrote a private memoir of that experience, entitled A Housewife in the Jungle: A 1950s Pasadena Family Goes to Colombia [McGann Publishing, Amazon Kindle ebook only].

According their daughter Carol McGann:

Don ... and his family, unaware of what they were getting into, traveled with him. Ruth labored for almost two years to create some semblance of a normal life for her suburban Pasadena family, cooking with balky primitive stoves that could squire black oil all over the kitchen without notice, searching outdoor markets, wrestling with generators, home-schooling her daughters and in a thousand other ways dealing with an entirely different world that challenged her ingenuity. All the while there were snakes, parrots, bulls, floods, voracious insects, and impassible roads that were often reduced to long stretches of mud. Still, Ruth, a veteran teacher who had taught in a one-room schoolhouse in the Mojave desert, faced it all with good humor and kept her family healthy and happy as she learned to adapt to her second home.

The project was not entirely completed by the time the Snyders departed back to the United States. They traveled to home on a semi-freighter through the Panama Canal en route to New York City.

Above: Don and the girls in an open-air butcher shop on La Dorada. Below: traveling home on a steamer, and going through the Panama Canal.


Ruth and Don enjoyed their remaining years together in Pasadena. He died in Pasadena on Aug. 30, 1984. 

Ruth survived her husband by 23 years, and endured the passing of her adult daughter Sally on June 18, 1994, in Long Beach. 

On Jan. 19, 2007, at the age of 93, Ruth died in Altadena, Los Angeles County, CA.

~ Granddaughter Carol (Snyder) McGann ~

Granddaughter Carol Snyder married Bill McGann. Their first date was a bike ride, and they say that "their lives are inextricably tied up with bicycles." Carol is a former college biology instructor and is an accomplished rider. Bill is a former Category 1 racer and has contributed articles to several cycling magazines and is widely acknowledged as an expert on road bikes and cycling history. 

In 1981, they founded Torelli Imports, a firm in Camarillo, CA that specializes in high-performance bicycles and related accessories. 

Today they own McGann Publishing, a small publisher of bicycling and bike racing books in North Central Arkansas, and maintain the BikeRaceInfo.com website. The website featured non-product content including race results database, Italian cycling trip diaries, oral history interviews, history of the Tour de France, and much more. 

Among the titles Carol and Bill have co-authored are The Story of the Tour De France (Volume 1: 1903-1964 and Volume 2: 1965-2007, published by Dog Ear Publishing) and The Story of the Giro d'Italia (Volume 1: 1909-1970, published by McGann Publishing).

Contact Carol for more information on this branch of our family.

Above: Carol and Bill McGann circa 1983 on the road from Monselice to Padua, near Venice, Italy. Below: titles authored by the McGanns: The Story of the Tour de France and The Story of the Giro d'Italia


Copyright © 2003, 2010, 2012 Mark A. Miner