The Schnars

A Written Life
7 min readFeb 3, 2022

Since my completion of transcribing Gladys’ journals, I have struggled with feeling as though the story is half-finished. I have yearned to know more about Gladys, her Collins kin, Oscar, and his origins. I consider myself a decent sleuth and have extensive experience with genealogy tracing, however, these families remain an enigma.

The Collins family, in particular, have been incredibly hard to track down. While I continued to trace the Collins’, I shifted my focus to the Schnars family in the hopes of obtaining more information about Oscar.

Very little information is available on Oscar Daniel Schnars. Oscar was the last of 6 children born to Christian Schnars and Myrtle Wantland. Born on 18 June 1909, Oscar had only a few short months with his mother before she passed away on September 28th 1909. Unable to care for a newborn without the aid of his wife, Christian sent Oscar away to his sister Nettie Lawrence. Nettie and her husband Jonathan took Oscar in and raised him alongside their own son, Ira. The 1920 and 1930 Federal Census’ list Oscar as a resident with his aunt and uncle. Initially they lived in Divide, CO before moving to Colorado Springs. Their listed address in 1930 was 109 Swope Ave, a short jaunt from Oscar and Gladys’ future home at 120 Swope Ave. It seems Oscar was very close with his aunt and uncle and likely considered them his true parents. Jonathan Lawrence passed away in 1941 while Nettie passed in 1944. Both are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs. Their only child, Ira Vernon Lawrence, married Ora Edith Yount; together they had 2 children (Ira Vernon Jr. and Eileen) and settled in Oregon. Ira Vernon Lawrence Sr. died in January of 1958. His final resting place was alongside his parents in Evergreen Cemetery.

The Schnars family originated in Germany before Oscar’s ancestor, Joachim Frederick Wilhelm Schnars, made the voyage to the U.S. and put down roots in Pennsylvania. Joachim had a multitude of children, one of whom was Arnold Daniel Schnars. Arnold was born August 23rd 1834 in Karthaus, PA. In 1855 he married Margaret Snyder. 9 children were born of this union-7 in PA, 1 in IA, and 1 in KS. Eventually, Arnold led his family to the Eastern part of Colorado and settled in Elbert County. He died on March 14th, 1914 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery. Margaret preceded her spouse in death and passed on 26 September 1905.

Arnold Schnars. Photo courtesy of
Margaret Snyder. Photo courtesy of

The children born to Arnold Schnars and Margaret Snyder were as follows:

Johnanna Schnars: Born 02 Nov 1856 in PA. Married John Keysor in 1877. Had 4 children-Oscar Gotlieb, Fred (died at age 5), Ora Sylvester, and Evaline Irene (died at 9 months.) Johnanna died March 18th 1906 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Luther Albert Schnars: Born 30 Mar 1858 in PA. Died Jan 1st, 1874 at age 15 in Brooklyn, IA.

Christian Daniel Schnars (Oscar’s father): Born 06 May 1860 in PA. Married Myrtle Eunice Wantland in 1893. Had 6 children-Lloyd Arnold, Ida Mae, Elmer Owen, Ester Pearl, John Lawrence, and Oscar Daniel. Christian died June 2nd, 1924 in Colorado Springs, CO. He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Gravestone for Christian Schnars. Photo courtesy of

Elizabeth Catherine Schnars: Born 22 July 1862 in PA. Married George Edward Peck. Had 3 children-Cora, George Edward, and Margaret Hannah. Elizabeth died May 17th 1914 in Matheson, CO. She and her husband were both buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Lola Salina Schnars: Born 18 Sep 1864 in PA. Married Francis M. Tullis in 1880. Had 7 children-Jesse Charles, Maggie Amanda (died at age 8), Arnold Frank, Nettie Fidela, Georgia Matilda, David Allen, and Ira Vernon. Lola passed away on 13 Mar 1933 in Colorado Springs, CO. She and Francis were buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Lola Schnars. Photo courtesy of

Ida Agnes Schnars: Born 17 Sep 1868 in PA. Married John Henry Bitner. Had 5 children-Mabel Jane, George, John Chester, Anna May, and Bertha Marie. Ida died on August 1st, 1905 in KS. Buried at Hoisington Cemetery.

Nettie Fedelia Schnars: Born 08 Oct 1870 in PA. Married Jonathan M. Lawrence. Had 1 child-Ira Vernon Lawrence. Nettie passed away in August 1944 in Colorado Springs. She and Jonathan are buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Grave of Nettie Lawrence (Schnars) and Jonathan Lawrence. Photo courtesy of

Olive Virgo Schnars: Born 03 August 1874 in Brooklyn, IA. Died 12 Feb 1875 in IA.

Ira James Schnars: Born 18 Dec 1881 in KS. Married Margaret Azila Rawalt. Had 3 children-Randolph Arnold, Sheldon “Buck” James, and Margaret. Ira died on March 30th, 1942 and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Christian Schnars and Myrtle Wantland met in Kansas and were wed October 1, 1893 in Hoisington, KS. Christian was 33 years old when he married 14 year old Myrtle. They stayed in Kansas until the early 1900’s when they moved to Eastern Colorado. Myrtle died 28 Sep 1909 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Elbert County. Christian passed away June 2nd, 1924 in Colorado Springs and is also buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

The children born to Christian and Myrtle Schnars were:

Lloyd Arnold Schnars: Born 30 Mar 1895 in Emporia, KS. A lifelong bachelor he lived with his sister Ida Mae at 518 S. Nevada Ave in Colorado Springs, CO. Lloyd died on April 2, 1946 in Colorado Springs and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Gravestone for Lloyd Schnars. Photo courtesy of

Ida Mae Schnars: Born 15 Dec 1899 in Emporia, KS. Ida married Charles Wilber on Christmas Day in 1916. They had a son, Charles Owen Wilber, born in August of 1919. Charles and Ida Mae divorced in 1924 and she went on to wed Lester Edwin Kettell. Ida Mae passed away on May 25th 1989 in Colorado Springs, CO. She was interred at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Obituary for Lester Kettell in the Colorado Gazette, 09 Dec 1974. Courtesy of

Elmer Owen Schnars: Born 29 Apr 1901 in Emporia, KS. Elmer married Iva Myrtle Pruner and moved to San Diego county in California where he worked as a contractor. Had 3 children-Nina May, Betty Eulene, and Kenneth Owen. Died on September 10, 1976 in El Cajon, CA.

Ester Pearl Schnars: Born 18 Jan 1904 in Keysor, CO. Married Harry Everett Lemley on 20 Sep 1930. Had 3 children-Donald Alvin, Vernard Lee, and Everett Edwin. Ester died March 29, 1990 in Simla, CO.

Gravestone for Ester Pearl. Photo courtesy of

John “Johnny” Lawrence Schnars: Born 28 Jun 1906 in Keysor, CO. Married Delorace Sadie Burns on 20 May 1924. Had 4 children: John Arnold (Jack), Norman Lawrence, Shirley, and Charlene. Johnny passed away on August 30th, 1956 in Colorado Springs, CO and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Burial site for John Schnars. Photo courtesy of

Oscar Daniel Schnars: Born 18 Jun 1909 in CO. Married Gladys Mary Emma Collins on November 23rd, 1938 in KS. Died August 25, 1977 in Canon City, CO. Oscar was buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Fremont County alongside Gladys.

Headstone for Oscar and Gladys Schnars. Photo courtesy of

There is still a veil of mystery surrounding Oscar and who he was. It is unclear if Oscar had any relationships with his siblings or father since he was not raised in the same household. It is clear that Oscar had a loving and stable relationship with his Aunt and Uncle as he continued to live with them while in his early 20’s.

1939 Colorado Springs City Directory. Oscar’s address is listed as 109 Swope Ave, the home of his Aunt and Uncle. Directory is courtesy of

Upon his marriage to Gladys, Oscar moved from his Aunt and Uncle’s home at 109 Swope Ave. to a house just down the street-120 Swope Ave.

1945 Colorado Springs City Directory. Directory is courtesy of

Sadly, the house is no longer in existence and only the dirt lot remains.

The dirt lot where the home of Oscar and Gladys Schnars once stood at 120 Swope Ave. Photo courtesy of Google.

Sometime between 1945 and 1970, Oscar and Gladys packed up their household and moved to Canon City in nearby Fremont County. There they purchased a small white house surrounded with lush green trees.

1317 S 9th St in Canon City. Home of Oscar and Gladys Schnars. Photo courtesy of Google.
Aerial map of the Schnars’ home in Canon City. Photo courtesy of Google.

Based on the journal entries from Gladys during the 1970’s, it appears that life for the Schnars’ was centered around their faith and active involvement with their church. Oscar’s health issues are mentioned several times by Gladys during this period but with little detail to indicate how severe his maladies were.

The last journal from Gladys Schnars does not encompass the later years of the 1970’s and thus we do not have much knowledge regarding the circumstances of Oscar’s death on August 25, 1977. No obituary or death notice can be found with any publication on file.

Despite the lack of historical documentation regarding Oscar’s life, one is able to utilize the limited genealogical info and Gladys’ own words to paint a portrait of Oscar Schnars. Oscar was helpful, giving, doting, faithful, creative, handy, and hardworking. He was a devoted nephew, a loving husband, and a military veteran. There may be few living today who will remember Oscar or mourn for him, but I will.

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” — William Wordsworth.



A Written Life

A chronological transcription of written entries from 3 antique journals/diaries belonging to 1 woman. Dates from 1933–1972.