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Biography of Frederick D. Schnebly

FREDERICK D. SCHNEBLY – Our subject was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1832, and was educated in the Franklin and Marshall College of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1854 he started for California by way of Nicaragua. In passing up the Pacific, the steamer, Star of the West, on which he had taken passage, took fire; but the horrors of a burning ship tragedy were avoided by the timely and effective labors of the crew and passengers.

After stopping for a time in San Francisco, he visited the Sandwich Islands, but, returning to the Golden state, spent two unsuccessful years in mining. While there, in 1855, he witnessed a bloody pitched battle between several hundred Kong Kong Chinamen and an equal number of their Canton countrymen. Later he became a trader and miner in Siskiyou county, but left that region for the new gold fields on the Frazer River. After much journeying, he settled where Dayton, Washington, now stands. With one exception, he was the first to build a business house there. This property he sold, and wandered from camp to camp among the mountains of Idaho and Montana.

In 1871 he reached Walla Walla, and in 1872 located a farm in the Kittitass valley near Ellensburgh, Washington Territory. In 1873 he started the first agricultural implement establishment in Yakima county, representing Hawley, Dodd & Co., and since 1855 continued the same business for Knapp, Burrell & Co. Mr. Schnebly’s political record is that of a Democrat; and in 1878 he was elected sheriff of Yakima county by a majority of one hundred and fifty out of a total vote of about six hundred. Two years later he became his own successor by a majority of fourteen, with two opponents in the field. During the years of his administration, it was a time when many desperate and lawless characters had located, rendering a position of sheriff, whose duty it often was to arrest them, an unenviable one, and a position calling for the exercise of coolness, judgment and nerve, which the subject of this sketch possessed in a marked degree. Mr. Schnebly was one of a party of five from the Kittitass valley who went as a volunteer into Chief Moses country to capture the Indians who had massacred the Perkins family. Later he hanged three of those who were captured. One of them was killed by his jailor, whom the prisoners attacked in an attempt to escape.

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