Obituary Details

Martin "Mart" Codding Agnew

(03/04/1882 - 07/27/1929)
Courtesy of The Manville News, 07/29/1920


Martin Codding Agnew was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, March 4th, 1882. In the year 1901 he moved to Nebraska and attended the Weslyan University at University Place, Nebr.

In 1903 he came to Wyoming, and after working on various ranches in the vicinity of Lusk for two years, he formed the Agnew Sheep company with his cousin U.S. Grant Agnew. In 1909 he and his cousin disposed of their ranch property to the Tom Bell Cattle company and went into business in New York.

On August 29, 1910 he was united with Miss Nellie Snyder of Lusk, in marriage, and shortly thereafter they returned to Lusk and he became a member of the firm of H.C. Snyder & Company, together with R.L. Olinger and Harry C. Snyder. In this capacity he has been instrumental in building that institution to its present high standard, which has given Snyder's Store an enviable reputation in Wyoming.

In 1906 he became a member of Harmony Lodge No. 24, A. F. & M., of Lusk, and has been an enthusiastic worker and splendid example for his brethren. He has twice been elected Master of his Lodge and held this office at the occurrence of his untimely death.

He was suddenly stricken with acute indigestion on Monday morning , July 26, while at his usual work, and died the following afternoon at two o'clock. Funeral services were held at 3:00 p.m. today at the church, Masonic services being held at the grave. Mr. Robt. Graham, of high rank in the Masonic organization conducted the services at the church, and Mr. Hans Gautschi of this city officiated at the Masonic services.

Martin Agnew is survived by his mother, Mrs. Francis Codding Agnew, his sisters, Mrs. Ruth Larson and Mrs. Matte Chafee; his wife Nellie Snyder Agnew and two daughters, Elvira, age eight and Lucille, age eighteen months.

Manville unites with Lusk in extending to the bereaved family our sincere sympathy in their sad and irreparable loss.

Martin Agnew is Dead Niobrara Co. Mourns
by Irvin Goff McCann

When Martin Agnew, affectionately known to everyone as Mart, was stricken by the hand of death on Tuesday of this week, the wheels of commerce not only in Lusk, but in the entire county, were slackened as men stopped to mourn the loss of one whom all agreed was the most popular man in the county. The commercial club of Lusk (was) at dinner when the news of his impending death arrived. With one accord men left the table and departed to be near his side at the end. As the news became general, automobiles lined the street on which he lived and a host of friends waited and watched, hopeful that he might be restored to consciousness.

Martin Agnew was popular because of his virtues. He was a good fellow, but not as some regard that term. His nobleness of character, his generosity to a fault, his willingness to lay aside his own interests to help others, his tirelessness for every cause, his purity of habit, gentleness of speech and charity to all mankind were the marks of distinction which made him first popular, second respected and most of all beloved. He had that rare combination of character, which represents the best of the human race, when the gentleness and kindness of a woman is incarcerated in a man's body and combined with the sterling qualities which mark the highest type of a man. Men honored and loved him, and everyone who knew him thought of Mart more as a brother than as a friend. He was the First Citizen of Lusk and of Niobrara county, not by virtue of any office he held, but solely by virtue of the grip which he had on the hearts of everyone due to the nobleness of his life.

Martin Agnew was the Worshipful Master of Harmony Lodge No. 24 A. F. and A. M. of Lusk, Wyoming. He was the ruling spirit in that Lodge composed of the best men in the community, and as a mason his life represented the masonic teachings which are symbolized in the Lamb Skin or White Leather Apron; It is the emblem of innocence and is the badge of a mason. And he was an emblem to those who knew him in life, and in death his memory will ever be the guiding light to better and higher living for the old as well as the young who knew him. Not only was he the head of the masonic life of Lusk, but he was the leading mason in Niobrara county, having recently conferred upon him by the consistory at Cheyenne the degree of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor which made him eligible to become a Thirty-third Degree mason within two years. All who knew him rejoiced at his selection for this high distinction and knew that no wiser choice could have been made.

Honors, however, could not spoil Martin Agnew, his glory was not in securing honors but in doing the menial task that others would not do. The last conversation I had with Mart exemplified this as the key note of his life, and from the days when he herded sheep in Wyoming until the day of his death, his passion was to help by doing what others thought beneath their dignity.

Far be it from me to be guilty of sacrilege in dealing with one whose presence is still so near, and yet I say what is in the minds of many, and has more than once been expressed in my hearing since Martin died, when I say that he gave his life for others. He could not rest when rest was needed; he would toil and toil when others were doing nothing; and at least half of his life's effort was spent in helping others. He burned his life out in responding to the load of work which others were always willing for him to bear.

If towns were always named for men who did most to make them a success in every way, Lusk might well be named Agnew, in honor of the man who meant more in personal and business influence than any one man during recent years.

Martin Agnew is gone! God gave, and God hath taken away and despite the brevity of his life it was so noble and inspiring to us all that we can say with fervor, "Blessed by the name of the Lord."

Martin Agnew lives! He will never die! His memory shall forever be an inspiration to those who knew him, and even to those who have no faith in the immortality of the soul after death, the immortality of a life such as Martin Agnew lived can not but teach the value of noble thoughts and worthy deeds in perpetuating forever the life which at best is limited to approximately three score years and ten.

Manville and Lusk have sometimes had their little quarrels, and small men have at times fed the flames of jealousy and ill will, but Manville as sincerely mourns the loss of Martin Agnew as Lusk does, and we join in laying our little tribute at the feet of Niobrara county's noblest son, whom we also feel was one of the noblest sons of God.

Manville News
August 12, 1920
Wyoming News

Martin Agnew, treasurer of the H.C. Snyder Realty Company, died at Lusk from poisoning caused by eating ripe olives. He lived only a few hours. Agnew was also secretary of the school board.

Images & Attachments

See Agnew Family History in Historical Section. Martin is in the back row, left.

Gravestone photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout project.

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