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Mrs. Martha Elizabeth Snyder Root (1839-1904)
Born in Mexico, New York, and prominent womens' rights activist from Bay City, MI.

Apr. 3, 1904 death notice. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Mar., 2009)

The Bay City Tribune - April 3, 1904, Page 3



Answers Last Call Yesterday Morning

Was Prominent Woman in City and State Memory services Monday

Mrs. Martha Elizabeth Snyder-Root died at her home, 1209 Fifth avenue at 9:09 a.m. yesterday after a long illness.

Mrs. Root was exceedingly well-known throughout the entire state and in other states through her connection with women suffrage movements and the establishment of women’s clubs. She was a charter member of the Bay City Woman’s Club and for two terms its president. She was also a pioneer in the movement which resulted in the establishment of the State Federation of Woman’s Clubs and an active worker in the state federation as well as chairwoman on the Michigan Women’s Press association. For the years 1898-99, 1899-1900 and 1900-1901 she was president of the State Spiritualist association and for 1901-02 and 1902-03 president of the State Woman’s Suffrage association. Her ailment in each case caused her retirement from an office which the societies were desirous of retaining under her charge.

Memory services will be held Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the residence, 1209 Fifth avenue. Tuesday morning the remains will be carried to Detroit for cremation, pursuant to her long request.

The speakers will be Mrs. Mary L. Doe, Mrs. May S. Knaggs and Mrs. Belle M. Perry of Charlotte will conduct the services.

Apr. 5, 1904 - burial service. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Mar., 2009)

The Bay City Evening Times - April 5, 1904, Page 6



Simple Impressive Were The Services Held Yesterday Afternoon

Remains Taken to Detroit Today Where They Will Be Incinerated

Simplicity and impressiveness characterized the beautiful memory services conducted yesterday afternoon over the mortal remains of the late Mrs. Martha Elizabeth Snyder-Root, beloved wife of Melvin A. Root at the residence 1209 Fifth avenue.

The wishes of the deceased were respected in every detail there being no display of any kind. Those who conducted the last rites were of her own selection. Mrs. Mary L. Doe and Mrs. May S. Knaggs of this city and Mrs. Belle M. Perry of Charlotte, Mich. All of whom were her closest friends in companionship and in the advancement of womanhood. The usual scriptural reading was omitted but instead very beautiful tributes were paid to the memory of the departed. The body was encased in a rich plain gray casket, surrounded by sprays of flowers tastily and tenderly arranged.

The attendance was large; women and men from all parts of the city being present to pay their last respects to one whose lovable disposition and good deeds had endeared her to all. There were few dry eyes in the assemblage as the words of adoration fell from the lips of the speakers and it was with considerable emotion that the latter carried out the desires of their co-laborer in the cause of humanity.

Mrs. Doe spoke very feelingly of her departed friend. She said Mrs. Root’s intellectuality and ability made her a power for good and that this was enhanced by the depth of her affection. She reached the hearts of people because she felt their burdens. The abundance of her spiritual life was strength and she was rich in hope and faith. Her loss was more than it should be. Friends grieved because one more of their beloved ones has gone from their sight. She was summoned to the beyond amid life’s activity which she loved so dearly. While it was her desire to be remembered it was not her wish there should be mourning.

Mrs. Perry followed Mrs. Doe and with tears wetting her face gave a beautiful word picture of the charming and magnetic personality of Mrs. Root. She could not remember when they first met, but through Mrs. Root’s able efforts in behalf of justice for Anna Ella Carroll before government officials they became acquainted.

Her sincerity, her gift of language, her magnetic presence and with that her kindly spirit were a revelation to me of the gifted earnest ‘superior woman” said the speaker. “My whole heart went captive then in the discovery of this rare soul and impressions have strengthened and grown for many years in which it has been my inestimable privilege to meet her often and to know her intimately. I have been familiar with Mrs. Root’s work in our Equal Suffrage association, our Women’s Press association and in our State federation of Women’s clubs, in all of which she continually held some position of responsibility. She was recognized by her associates in all these organizations as a wise counselor and a self leader.

“The acquaintance of a few such souls has taught me that the most blessed personal compensation for outside work and especially outside reform work is the friendships which grow out of it. But for the women’s associations I never would have known Mrs. Root at whose feet it has been my precious privilege to sit. In some of those heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul talks which give a spiritual exaltation and joy which I think must be akin to the best heaven holds for any of us”.

Mrs. Root was the sympathetic companion and friend alike of youth and maturity. She understood without explanations. I visited her briefly in her home a few times –enough to know it was a haven of peace. Our promoted friend held the keys to usefulness of a high and varied order. Her heart was large enough and her vision broad enough to compass the extent of human need. And she could minister in so many ways I was impressed again and again with her gifts as a public speaker I have heard her speak on many occasions with preparation and on the inspiration of the moment, and hers was always the message for the hour”.

“But we know that in God’s economy there can be no real loss or waste and these splendid gifts must still have use, somehow, somewhere. And she will still live among us in that other way, one of those immortal dead who live again in minds made better by their presence, I think I have never known any one to whom immortality was more of a present reality, to whom continued usefulness and continued growth was more of a certainty . This helps to give us strength and courage to go on without her visible presence”.

Mrs. Knaggs referred eloquently to the life of her friend and neighbor. “No harder task could be taken” she said “than to epitomize the life of such a friend”. She said Mrs. Root always stood by her convictions and that peace and good will expressed her existence. None were so low or needy that she could not understand their needs. She loved every one and loved the approbation of others. She believed there is no evil that it is God’s way of bringing out the good. Her greatest gift was love and it will not be said that she is dead. She has gone away.

The closing remarks were made by Mrs. Doe, after which the assemblage viewed the remains and departed in tears.

1907 memorial biography. (Added Mar., 2009)

Historical Collections, Michigan Pioneer & Historical Society, 1907



Mrs. Martha E. Root, oldest daughter of Avery B. and Vienna H. Snyder was born in Mexico, New York, January 26, 1839. She was educated at Falley seminary in Fulton, and very early began teaching. The family moved to Humboldt, Iowa, which was the family home until 1889.

Going to Dansville, N. Y., to receive treatment for an injury resulting from a fall from a high swing, she met and married Melvin A. Root, in 1873. They made their home at Bay City for more than thirty years, and were identified with public matters and all altruistic work, and gained a wide acquaintance throughout the State. She was a ready writer and did quite an amount of editorial work. She was very prominent in the women's clubs organization, a great worker for the cause of temperance and woman suffrage. One of her closest interests was forestry and tree culture. She was an ordained minister and often performed marriage ceremonies, while great demand were made for her to officiate at funerals.

After long months of suffering, borne uncomplainingly and bravely, the release came April 2, 1904. Memorial services were held in her honor, and intimate friends, Mrs. Perry, Mrs. Doe and Mrs. Knaggs conducted the exercise. The body at her request was cremated. The many eulogies showed her strong personality, her power to make and retain warm friends, her interest in all the objects that work for the good of humanity, and her unbounded influence for the good of others.

Related Note & Pages

Mrs. Elizabeth Snyder Root

Related pages:
Bay City Woman's Club
MI Women Suffrage Assoc.
Armstrong, Sarah B. Dr.
Doe (Thompson), Mary L.
Knaggs (Stocking), May
People Referenced
Carroll, Anna Ella
Doe, Mary L. Mrs.
Knaggs, May S. Mrs.
Perry, Belle M. Mrs.
Root Snyder, Martha (subject)
Root, Melvin A. (husband)
Snyder, Avery B. (father)
Snyder, Vienn H. (mother)
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay City Woman's Club
Charlotte, MI
Danville, NY
Detroit, MI
Falley seminary
Fulton, NY
Humboldt, IW
Mexico, NY
MI Federation of Woman's Clubs
MI Women's Press Assoc.
MI Spiritualist Assoc.
Mi Woman's Suffrage Assoc.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.