The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in located in a building that was once home to one of Mount Vernon and Ohio's most well-known sons. This was the home of the honorable Robert C. Kirk, state Senator, Lt. Governor of Ohio, and minister to the Argentine Republic. Dr. Kirk was born in Mount Pleasant, Ohio; graduated in medicine at the University of Philadelphia, and practiced in Illinois. Shifting to commerce he entered the dry goods business in Mount Vernon, first with T.W. Rodgers then with his father-in-law John Hogg. After several intervening years in real estate in Minnesota, he returned to Mount Vernon and was elected to the Ohio Senate. Chosen Lt. Governor in 1859, he served under Governor William Dennison. Three years later he was appointed to the position of Minister to the Republic of Argentina, by President Abraham Lincoln.
In four years he had settled all claims due to the United States Government from the Argentine government, totaling nearly half a million dollars. These claims originated in 1814. The previous minister had failed utterly in their attempts to collect these claims. After his duty was completed Dr. Kirk resigned the post and returned to Mount Vernon. President Ulysses S. Grant persuaded him to accept another appointment as Minister to Argentina but after two years he returned to Mount Vernon to stay. For his services, he was made collector of internal revenue of the thirteenth Ohio district. Dr. Kirk died in 1898.
The house itself is of the Italianate Villa style of home that was very popular among the well to do merchants and professional men of Mount Vernon that built "Monuments to themselves". This elegant old brick home was built in 1868 by Jonathan and Elizabeth (Updegraff) Weaver. Some of the interesting features are the large cupola, reminiscent of the towers in the Italian villas, twin chimney's, stone lintels, and originally the twin corbel cornice work and ornate two-story front verandah.
Mr. Weaver was born in East Greenwich, Rhode Island in 1816. He was active and successful in the dry goods business in Ashtabula, Worthington, Columbus, and Newark. He finally located in Mount Vernon and established, with Dr. M.W. Stamp, the wholesale grocery business under the firm name of J. Weaver and Co. He was involved in a number of dry goods and grocery businesses in Mount Vernon and Iowa during the remainder of his life. His partners in these businesses included James George; H.H. Curtis, and H. Hollister.
In 1846 he married Elizabeth the eldest daughter of Samuel J. Updegraff and raised a family of two sons and two daughters in this house. His youngest daughter Nellie was smitten by the lights of the Vaudeville stage and for years toured as a solo whistler. The house eventually passed to Percival Updegraff a relative of Mrs. Weaver and little is known of this family, even though they were one of the pioneer families of Knox county. The home passed to the honorable Dr. Robert C. Kirk in 1882. Kirk died in 1924 and his administrator John Griffith Ames sold the property to Harry Strodtbeck. Mr. Strodtbeck raised his family here and is fondly remembered by many in the community, as he was active in the contracting business and employed many residents that visited the property when it was Mr. Strodtbeck's home and office. There are also many good times remembered by friends of Mr. Strodtbeck's daughter, Anne, and days of horseback riding and evenings of parties and dancing.
In 1953 Paul K. And Hazel (Fishburn) Dowds acquired the property from Mr. Strodtbeck and converted it to the dual purpose of their residence and the Dowds Funeral Home. A two-story addition was made to the house on the southeast corner. It has since been operated as a funeral home. In 1965 Mr. Dowds' daughter Kay and her husband Paul H. Wiggins Jr. Joined the family firm and continued the operation of the funeral home after Mr. Dowds' death in 1983. In September of 1989, the Snyder family purchased the property and business and it is now operated as the Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home.
The Snyder family began in the funeral business in Johnsville, Ohio in 1922. The founders of the business were Ora 0. Snyder and his wife Marion (Lucas) Snyder. Their sons Richard A., Robert L., Philip C. And J. Paul Snyder have followed as well as grandsons Dennis L. Snyder, R. Dan Snyder, Trent A. Snyder, C. Clay Snyder, and J. Todd Snyder and now have been joined by the fourth generation if the family; great-grandsons Weston T. Snyder, Chad Snyder, Gideon Snyder, and great-granddaughter Hannah Snyder Wernecke. The Snyder family owns and operates funeral homes in Bellville; Mansfield; Galion; Mount Gilead; Marion; Ashley; Fredericktown; Sunbury; Marengo and Delaware as well as the Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home and the Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home both in Mount Vernon.
The Snyder family has been honored to serve the families of North-Central Ohio for nearly a century. Founded in 1922, four generations of Snyders have gone above and beyond to provide comfort while creating meaningful tributes to honor and celebrate each unique life lived. Of course, much has changed over the past 100 years—and the funeral industry continues to evolve. With the passing of each season, we strive to stay on the cutting-edge of our industry and offer the latest technology, while continuing to provide superior services at reasonable prices. We own and operate four crematories for control over every aspect of the cremation process. We invite you to visit one of our 13 beautiful facilities to discover what separates Snyder Funeral Homes from the rest.
To send flowers to Snyder Funeral Homes, Dowds Chapel please visit our sympathy store.