Simon Snyder, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1808-1817.
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Oil on canvas of Simon Snyder.

Credit: Courtesy of Capitol Preservation Committee, and John Rudy Photography,

The son of Moravian immigrants, Simon Snyder was educated in a Quaker school, then ran a store and gristmill in Selinsgrove before his election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1797. In 1805, Snyder made an unsuccessful run as the Jeffersonian candidate for governor against McKean. In 1808 he became the first person of German descent to win election as governor of Pennsylvania, an office he held until 1817. In the decades that followed, seven of Pennsylvania’s first fifteen governors would be of German descent.

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