- On 4 Mar 1946 Bertha (Newens) Snouffer wrote a letter to her granddaughter Barbara Nelson about homesteading days in Colorado:
"It was Christmas 1909 (your mother [Blanche] was just a baby) when my [father's brother] Uncle Isaiah Newens came to Cedar Rapids to visit us. He had been living in Nome Alaska for many years.... Uncle Isaiah was my fathers brother, and another brother Uncle Dick [Richard Newens] and his wife came from southern Iowa, and a cousin [Charlie Newens] who was a son of another brother ["Uncle Ned" or Edward Newens] of theirs came from Chi[cago]..... Uncle Dick got all of us interested in going to Colorado to 'take up homestead land.' He told of land that the government was opening up to homesteaders. So Grandpa Newens, Aunt Lessie [Newens] (who was not married), Uncle Art [Snouffer] and your Grandpa Snouffer all decided they would go out [to Colorado] and investigate.
"They left here [Cedar Rapids, IA] in Jan. 1910 and were quite enthused about the prospects, so with the help of a cousin (Uncle Dick's son) who was already located there they picked out the land they would like to have, and then they went to the Government Land Office in Sterling Colo and filed a claim for their land; each one had 160 acres. Then they came home and we prepared to move. Grandpa and I had a nice home (which we had built and were married in, and your mother [Blanche] was born there also) which we sold. *** [Household belongings were shipped by railroad box car.] We were located about 10 miles from the town of Merino and with a team of work horses it took quite a while to drive that far.***
"*** Grandpa Snouffer was the carpenter, Great Grandpa Newens helped him, and Uncle Art made the trips back and forth to town for lumber, more of the household goods, groceries, etc.
"Great Grandma Newens, Aunt Lessie, Your mother [Blanche] (who was my little baby not two years old yet) and I stayed here in Iowa for about two weeks, then we decided we would go also.***
"[After surviving a prairie fire, our] house was soon finished and then we had the shelter we needed. ***
«tab»"We lived on the farm for three years, then proved up and got a Government Deed signed by Woodrow Wilson.... The land is still ours and has been farmed every year although we only lived there the three years.***"
"*** When we moved away [back to Iowa] we sold all the buildings and they were moved off the land. Uncle Bob [Snouffer] was born while we lived out there."
In another (undated) document, similar in content to the one above, Bertha commented further about the move back to Cedar Rapids: "School was 3 miles away and our daughter [Blanche] was almost 5 years old so we gave up our homesteading and went back to C.R. where my husband went back to work at the same place he had been working. The Torch Press."
The 1910 Colorado census shows that Blanche's extended family was living in Morgan County. Her father, William D. Snouffer, was listed as a 26-yr old farmer and head of a household consisting of his 25-yr old wife Bertha I. and 2-yr old daughter "Blanch N." [sic] The family was bracketed in the census by her maternal grandparents John and Ellen Newens on the one hand, and by her uncle and aunt, 21-year old Arthur J. Snouffer and 31-yr old Lessie Newens, on the other. 1910 U.S.Census, Prec. 12, Snyder, Morgan Cnty, CO (T 624, Roll 123, stamped p. 294).
The 1920 Iowa census reports that the family had returned to Iowa, living in Anamosa, Jones County. Blanche, 11 yrs old, lives with her father William, 35, mother Bertha, 35, and brothers Robert 8, and William, 6. 1920 U.S. Census, 4th Wd, Anamosa, Jones Cnty, IA (T 625, Roll 495, stamped p. 277).
The Coe College Cosmos [Cedar Rapids, IA], p. 1 (16 Feb 1928), reported:
"The Military Ball, the largest of the all-college dances of the social year, will be held tomorrow evening.... The dance is sponsored by the Coe unit of Scabbard and Blade, military fraternity....
"The grand march led by the company commanders and the coed sponsors will follow the fifth dance. Lieut-Col Albert Patience ... will lead the march followed by ... Capt. Francis Nelson and Blanche Snouffer, of Company C...."
The Coe College Cosmos [Cedar Rapids, IA], p. 1 (23 May 1929), reported:
"Blanche Snouffer will be presented in her senior recital by Prof. Laura Pearle Stewart of the department of speech this evening in the Little Theater.... She will read a miscellaneous program, including two one-act plays. ***
"Miss Snouffer is a popular student and will be crowned Queen of Coe on June 1 at the annual Campus Fete. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta, Zeta Phi Eta; the College Players and was on the First Cabinet of the YWCA...."
At the time of the 1930 census Blanche was a public school teacher. She is listed as "Blanch U" Snouffer, a 21-yr old teacher, living as a roomer in a boarding house in Perry Twsp, IA. 1930 U.S. Census, Perry Twsp, Buchanan Cnty, IA (T 626, Roll 644, stamped p. 120).
Cedar Rapids [IA] Gazette (?) (31 Jan 1936):
"Mrs. Francis E. Nelson of Rahway, N.J., and her daughter, Barbara Blanche, left Friday afternoon [31 Jan] for their home. They were called here by the death of Mrs. Nelson's father, the late W. D. Snouffer, Dec. 11. William Snouffer, a student at the United States military academy at West Point, N.Y., who was here for a short time, returned earlier."
Obituary, Home News Tribune [Woodbridge, NJ] (20 Feb 2003):
"Blanche Snouffer Nelson, 94, died Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, of heart failure at Presbyterian Health Center, West Chester, Pa.
"Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she taught high school drama and English in Jessup, Iowa, after graduating from Coe College. She lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., after her marriage, until moving to Rahway [NJ] in 1934.... Mrs. Nelson was a 68-year member of Second Presbyterian Church of Rahway, where she served as an elder and trustee. She was president of the United Presbyterian Women in the Elizabeth Presbytery; a trustee of Rahway Public Library, and a member in charge of Spiritual Life for the Ladies Benevolent Society of Springfield Presbyterian Church. She had been a member of the Delta Delta Delta Alumnae Association for 75 years.
"She was preceded in death by her daughter, Sandra Nelson Anthony, on July 30, 1975, and by her husband of 61 years, Francis E. Nelson, on Dec. 12, 1992. She is survived by her daughters, Dr. Barbara Nelson Pavan of Valley Forge, Pa., and Mrs. Judith Nelson McCracken of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
"Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.... Interment will follow ... at Hazelwood Cemetery ... Rahway."
An obituary, Cedar Rapids [IA] Gazette, p. 4 (21 Feb 2003), adds:
"***Blanche was born April 7, 1908, the daughter of William D. and Bertha Newens Snouffer, in Cedar Rapids. She graduated from old Washington High School and Coe College, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and Zeta Phi Eta and then taught school in Jessup. She married Francis E. Nelson June 30, 1931 in Cedar Rapids.***"