|Birth: ||Jul. 21, 1898|
|Death: ||Mar. 17, 1985|
Burgess Snow, entered into Eternal Rest, Sunday, March 17, 1985
Burgess Snow, 86. of 7566 W. Ind. 45, died Sunday at the Hospitality House.
Born July 21. 1898, in Monroe County, he was the son of John J. and Rebecca (Graves) Snow. A member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Bloomfield, he had worked as a school bus driver, a blacksmith in the stone industry and in maintenance at the First National Bank in Bloomington.
Survivors include his wife, Viola (Page) Snow; two sons. Roger and John F. Snow, both of Bloomington; three daughters. Doris Inman of Bloomington, Wilma Chestnut of Brownsburg and Rebecca Voorhies of Griffith; two brothers, Frost and Elmer Snow, both of Bloomington; three stepsons, Lester E. Page of Indianapolis, Roy D. Page of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Junior Burge of Hartford. Ky.; three stepdaughters, Louise Byers of Bloomington. Lucille Murphy of Solsberry and Patty Hedrick of Bedford, and 13 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Florence (Payton) Snow; his second wife. Estelle (Burge) Snow; one daughter, Joan Stannard. two brothers. Emmett and Jewett Snow and one sister, Hattie Fowler.
Services will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at Allen Funeral Home in Bloomington with Pastor Arthur Wade officiating. Burial will be in Carmichael Cemetery in Greene County.
Blacksmith Snow forged to the top!
Blacksmiths. They shoe horses, don't they? In a day when most travel is done by automobile or jet plane, and tools are mass produced, the blacksmith and his shop are but symbols of a bygone era. Most people have forgotten how essential their trade once was.
For Burgess Snow, however, it hasn't been many years since he stood over a blazing forge, beating hot steel on an anvil. Although he did not shoe horses, Snow earned quite a reputation in the local stone Industry as a toolmaker and master of the blacksmithing art.
“BY LOOKING AT ME, You probably wouldn't guess that I was a strong, old blacksmith," Snow says with a chuckle. "But when I stood straight as an arrow, weighed more than 200 pounds and had an arm like a man's leg, I was about the strongest man in “Indian Creek Township.”
It's not hard to take Snow at his word. His face does not reveal his 78 years and he possesses a youthful vitality that is no doubt the envy of many of his contemporaries.
Snow began his blacksmithing career in 1925 at the 1718 Quarries owned by the Reed and Powers Cut Stone Company. In those early years, he, worked beside another, experienced blacksmith, picking up the trade by, as Snow says, "Mean strength and awkwardness."
In 1929, Reed and Powers decided to send Snow to Purdue University to take a course in heat treating and tempering. Snow, believes this opportunity gave him a significant advantage over other blacksmiths.
"YOU'VE GOT TO KNOW your steel and how to heat and process it,” Snow explains. “In this business you sharpen lots of drills and picks. If you sharpened it and then held it too long in the fire, it wouldn't last. You'd hit it a lick and it would break off. In that course I learned to warm the steel gradually so I could made a good point and not have it break."
To illustrate his point, Snow relates a story of the time he had sole responsibility of sharpening picks for a crew of specially-hired scabblers. Each of the 20 men had two picks, and Snow had to see that a sharp pick was always ready to go.
"During that time, they never had a pick to break on them," Snow says with emphasis. "One of the fellows on that crew told me he had scabbled stone in every state in the country and he had never met a blacksmith who could put a point on a pick the way I could. I take pride in my work," he adds with a broad smile.
THAT PRIDE STEMS NOT only from his confidence in a job well done, but also from the accomplishment of more creative tasks, as well. A black tool box the trunk of his car holds the “pretty work" Snow managed to turn out during his spare hours. The gleaming wood chisels, custom-made hammers, punches, axes and a unique meat tenderizer/cleaver it contains all display the craftsmanship-cum-artistry of this talented blacksmith.
"You know, I used to make these things up as gifts," Snow ex-plains. “Every once in a while, I’ll walk in some place and a guy will pull a chisel, or something I’ve made, out of his tool box. Some of them have been used for nearly 30 years. “Course, most of them need the 'touch of the master's hand' to get them back in shape again."
Born July 21, 1898, Snow has lived to see a great many changes in Monroe County and the stone industry. As a boy, he lived in a log cabin. Most of the roads in Indian Creek Township were of dirt. An eighth-grade diploma earned at a one-room school house, represents the extent of his formal education.
ACCORDING TO SNOW, very few stone quarries employ-their own blacksmiths anymore. Most of the tools and parts are new factory-made, and other work is contracted by the job as it is needed.
"It's not like it used to be," Snow reminisces. "The steel is better and it lasts a lot longer. In my day, I had to make and grind my own tools. But about all they need now is a tool grinder.”
Those changes brought an end to Snow's career as a blacksmith. His last mill job was with the Walker Brothers Stone Company in Bloomington. When the mill closed in 1955, he never tried to get another blacksmith job.
Since that time, he has been employed by the First National Bank as a "lock man." He makes keys and fixes locks on the bank's safety deposit boxes. In his spare time, he raises tomatoes and tunes pianos, a skill he picked 'up during the Depression.
THERE IS A POSSIBILITY, however, that Snow might return to the anvil. He was recently asked by the Sycamore Valley Gun Club to take part in a demonstration for the Bloomington Freedom Festival scheduled for early July. "I don't know if I'll be able to do anything that looks very real," admits Snow. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he adds, "But I'll do anything for fun – to have a good time with it!”
June 21, 1976
Frist National Bank, Bloomington, Indiana
BANK NOTES, June/July, 1980: "Close up"
Now you can call him a locksmith ... or you can call him a boilermaker. .. or a ship builder, or a woodman, or a blacksmith ...or gospel singer … but just be sure you know …
His name is Burgess Snow.
At the seasoned age of 81, Burgess was honored at the FNB Summer Picnic for 25 years of service. He graciously acknowledged the award by singing a song. Burgess officially began working for the bank on December 27, 1955, as a locksmith, but his association with FNB started much earlier.
During the early '40's, Burgess was an employee at Jimmy Jordan's Hardware Store, when Philip Hill (then FNB President) commissioned him to file out keys for the bank. That began a friendship which lasted many years, eventually leading to Burgess's permanent employment here.
Having a sound reputation as "the strongest man in the township" and "the best blacksmith in the stonebelt," Burgess often tackled many jobs and challenges considered to be too much of a burden for lesser men. He'll tell you stories about the time he once moved a rock out of the road which was too heavy for two other men, and about being a one-man piano mover during the Depression. While working at Bill Hoadley's quarries, Burgess recalls, ''I'd climb the tallest derricks and I was never afraid of height." Most of the time there he kept the "points up" on the stone cutters' picks.
Many of Burgess's skills are self-taught, however he did take a course at Purdue in heat treating and tempering. Making good use of this knowledge, Burgess is a fine tool maker, and some of the tools he uses at FNB are of his own creation.
Burgess and his wife Viola live on Highway 45 West near Stanford. Congratulations once again, Burgess, for your many years of valued service!
_ _Loren D. Inman
_ _George W. Voorhies
_ _Patricia Ann Inman
_ _Pamela J. Stannard
_ _Gus J. Stannard
_ _Linda Louise Snow Jergensen
_ _Thomas Lee Snow
You Can Let Go Now Daddy Lyrics
John Jackson Snow (1865 - 1955)
Rebecca Ellen Graves Snow (1869 - 1938)
Florence Nora Payton Snow (1898 - 1964)
Estella Snow (1903 - 1970)
Viola A Mundy Snow (1908 - 2003)
Roger Lee Snow (1922 - 2007)*
John Francis Snow (1922 - 2012)*
Hattie Joan Snow Stannard (1936 - 1980)*
Emmet Snow (1888 - 1978)*
Jewett M Snow (1893 - 1977)*
Hattie F Snow Fowler (1896 - 1976)*
Burgess Snow (1898 - 1985)
Frost Snow (1903 - 1995)*
Elmer Ice Snow (1907 - 1996)*
Maintained by: Hoosier
Originally Created by: Susan (Haldeman) Fowler
Record added: Nov 28, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16827989