Volume 6, Number 2, Winter 1977
It was a cool spring day - May 9, 1888- ninety years ago. Samuel H. Snapp, my great grandfather, put on his coat, saddled his horse and rode from his home near the Oak Grove School into Kirbyville to get supplies for his children. He expected to visit Dr. Elisha Turner Anderson and wife Addie, his sister, before returning home. The Andersons did not have children of their own. They had reared several nieces who had become orphans and they were very fond of Samuels children. He depended on his sister for aid for he had been left with three children when his first wife, Sarah Sims, had died from measles in June of 1884. After a few months Samuel had married Susan Haggard and she too had died a few days after the birth of twins in November of 1885.
Samuels thoughts on this day may have been of his five little children at home being cared for by the oldest, Nannie, who was nine years old or he may have been thinking of the troubled times in Taney County; the death of Andy Cogburn which he had witnessed just two months before.
Samuel had gone to the Oak Grove School, a short distance from his home, to a church revival. As he sat inside the church he heard a disturbance of the horses tied outside. Being concerned for his horse; he stepped outside and became the only eye witness to the shooting of Andy Cogburn by Capt. Kinney, the Bald Knobb leader. Capt. Kinney had arrived in Taney County in 1883, three years before.
Andy Cogburn was a boy nineteen years of age and a warrant had been issued for his arrest on a charge of disturbing the peace. Cogburn was not "a pal" of Samuels as has been stated in other stories. They did not go to the church together. Sam was much older than the boy. The families of both were just neighbors and good friends. An inquest had been held after the death of Cogburn. (1) Samuel Snapp the only eye witness had not appeared.
Violence was no stranger to Samuel for he had lived through the violence of the Civil War. He had seen his boyhood home burned, their cattle destroyed. His mother had died when he was only three. His father died when he was nine. He had tried to stay clear of both Balk Knobb and Anti-Bald Knobb associations for he had five children to rear without a mother and they were all under nine years of age.
Two months had passed since that night he had opened the door of the Oak Grove school and witnessed the shooting. Things were quiet again in Taney County and Samuel had no fear and was unarmed this day as he rode his horse up to Kintreas Store at Kirbyville, dismounted, stepped upon the porch and became the victim of an assassins bullet.
Three shots were fired into Sams body making certain he would not live. His body was taken from Kirbyville to Forsyth in a wagon and left overnight at his brothers home across the road from the Snapp Cemetery. This farm was settled by Harrison G. Snapp, Sams father, in 1839 when he brought his wife and two little daughters from Green Co., Tennessee to Taney County. One hundred years later it became known as the Chaney farm.
Samuel Snapp was buried beside his wife, Sarah Sims Snapp, just west of the little Haworth girls grave. Mrs. Maggie Stallcup pointed out the location of the site in 1966. She told of the fear in the children and that every man at the cemetery was armed. She told how the minister asked people to step forward and take Sams children and they were divided up there at the cemetery. Judge Haworth built a picket fence around the grave and also built one for his little daughters grave. The fence stood for many years. Today all evidence of the exact spot of the grave is gone and only Mrs. Stallcup knew exactly where it was for she attended the funeral that day and it was her father, Judge Haworth, who built the fence.
There were many who had the courage to stand against the vigilante concept of law enforcement; they were not the lawless, yet some paid for their beliefs with their lives. Descendants are planning to mark the grave of Samuel H. Snapp who died ninety-one years ago and became part of the controversial Bald Knobb history in Taney County.
(1) Springfield Newspaper
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