Charles Edward Snook (February 19, 1863 – March 29, 1940) was a lawyer and businessman, serving on the board of the Security Bank and Trust of Oakland. He was the son of former council member William S. Snook.
At the age of 16, Charles worked as a grocery clerk, meanwhile reading for the law. He was admitted to the bar on February 1, 1886.
Charles married Jennie Wade (Snook) (January 14, 1863–November 8, 1947) on February 19, 1889, and they had three children: Charles Wade Snook, Preston Edward Snook, and Dr. Helen Jean Snook, MD (November 30, 1898–July 6, 1989).
In 1906, they lived at 402 Plymouth Avenue (which is now 34th Street) on Pill Hill.
From at least 1924 to 1939, they lived at 813 Rosemount Road in Trestle Glen.
After passing the bar in 1886, Snook worked for law firm Loewenthal & Sutter in San Francisco. 1 Then he became a partner for Sutter & Snook, until he was elected Justice of the Peace of Oakland from 1888 to 1892. Snook was district attorney of Oakland from 1893 to 1899.
From 1895 to 1911, Charles had a law firm with Lincoln S. Church, Snook & Church, with offices at 906 Broadway. Church had been his deputy district attorney.
In 1911, Snook was on the board of the Security Bank and Trust of Oakland.
Who's Who on the Pacific Coast, 1913 says he did legal work for: the Oakland and Antioch Railway, H. C. Capwell Company, Western Pacific Railway, Judson Manufacturing, and other notable firms. He also worked for the UC Regents, until then-Governor Gillett decided he didn't like Snook's politics. 4, 5
Less notably, he was lawyer for Principal Gulick of the Prescott School in 1909. Gulick was punishing some schoolboys when Otis F. Eaton intervened. Gulick had Eaton arrested, but charges were dropped, and Eaton sued Gulick. During the trial, Snook asked 9 year-old Manuel Samuels to demonstrate the punishment. Manuel stood on a chair, grabbed Snook's hair with both hands, and shook Snook's head back and forth vigorously. "Snook finally persuaded the lad to let go, and changed the subject." 3
The 1924 Polk directory for Oakland says he was part of the firm Snook & Brown (Everett J. Brown) with offices in the Bank of Italy Building at 1106 Broadway.
According to 1935 and 1939 Oakland directories, he was part of the firm Snook, Snook & Chase. Along with Charles E. was his son Charles Wade Snook, and Samuel J. Chase, with offices in the Central Bank Building at 436 - 14th Street.
Snook was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. 1 And of the Oakland Bar Association. And of the Blue Lodge Masons. 2
According to comments from Oakland dentist John Engs in the September 7, 1941 edition of “The Knave” local history column in the Oakland Tribune, Charles E. Snook was a regular visitor at Sunday lunch at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Classen at today’s Roberts Regional Park.
“For the sum of twenty-five cents Mrs. Closson (sic) served a bountiful luncheon of bread and butter, ham and eggs, and coffee. For those bringing their own food she would furnish hot tea or coffee. I used to ride to their place nearly every Sunday morning for several years following the (1906) earthquake.”
It is likely that the Classen house was at the site of the present Roberts Regional Park staff residence. The Classens kept a trail register for the many hikers and equestrians who came to visit.
John Engs continued: “A few years later I head that a group composed of (Classen’s) regular Sunday visitors, with Judge Snook at the head, organized an outing club and purchased the property, including the house. I think their intention was to develop the place as a sort of clubhouse. Unfortunately, fire destroyed the house soon after.”
Park district land acquisition records from 1934 and show a parcel owned by Capwell and Snook was located just north of Redwood Peak, encompassing part of the Redwood Bowl, the tallest trees, and today’s Redwood Bowmen archery range.
Records show that Charles E. and Jennie Wade Snook sold the property to EBMUD in 1937, and it was acquired by the park district a few years later.
Death and Burial
Charles died March 29, 1940. He and Jennie are buried in Plot 12 in Mountain View Cemetery, along with Charles Wade and Ruth.
Links and References
- Charles Edward Snook in The Bay of San Francisco Lewis Publishing, 1892
- Who's Who on the Pacific Coast, 1913
- Lawyer's Hair is Pulled by Youth San Francisco Call December 14, 1909
- Quotes Fate of Snook to Warn Bolters San Francisco Call June 11, 1908
- Gillette and His Guillotine San Francisco Call June 14, 1908
- Photo from family archives, courtesy of Velma Snook.