Volume 6, Number 6, Winter 1978
The following will was probated December 2,1865 in Carroll County, Arkansas:
I, Charles Sneed of the County of Carroll and State of Arkansas, being of sound mind and knowing the uncertainty of human life and the certainty of death and earnestly hoping well and justly to distribute all that kind fortune has bestowed upon me, do make, establish and constitute this my last will and testament. That is to say:
First: I will my soul to God who gave it and that when dead my body may be decently but not costly intered.
Secondly: I will and bequeath that of my effects, all of my just debts be paid off and discharged
Thirdly: I will and bequeath to my beloved wife, Jane Sneed, all of my home tract of land, lying on the north side of Osage Creek, with all the improvements and appurtainances thereunto belonging, for and during her natural life and for the purposes hereinafter mentioned and for her own use absolutely.
I bequeath to her all my household and kitchen furniture and all farming implements and apparatus of whatever kind I may have or possess at the date of my death, and also my negro man slave named Jack and my woman slave, Phillis, and her infant child to have and to hold for her own use during her natural life, hereby giving and granting to her full and absolute power to sell either or both of said slaves, if both or either of them, in her opinion become refractory or disagreeable to govern and with the money received for them to buy such other slaves as she may desire to go in lieu of one of them as the case may be, or to expend the means in such other way as she may deem best for her support and the interest of the child or children hereinafter named reversionary interest in said slaves is bequeathed.
Fourthly: My will is for that whereas, I have heretofore given my daughter Nancy Collins and the heirs of her body a tract of land on Long Creek, also a negro girl slave named Luce and her increase to her and her bodily heirs, one good horse, one good mare, two cows and calves, one good bed and bedding and ten dollars as her portion, now in addition thereto, I give her one dollar in money.
Fifthly: My will is that whereas I had heretofore given my son, Serbrin G. Sneed, a negro boy slave named Dallas, two good horses, several head of cattle, a good bed and furniture, I now give him eighty acres of land on Long Creek south of the sixteenth section and about 3/4 of a mile south of his present residence and my rifle gun as his portion of my estate with the addition hereinafter mentioned.
Sixthly: My will is for that whereas I have heretofore given my daughter, Mary Denton, a negro girl slave named Louisa, one good horse and one good mare, two cows and calves, and one bed and bedding as her portion, I now give her one dollar in money in addition thereto.
Seventhly: My will is for that whereas I have heretofore given my daughter, Keziah Ragan and her bodily heirs, a negro slave named Hannah, one mare and one horse, two cows and calves, one good bed and bedding and ten dollars in money as her portion and I now bequeath to her and her bodily heirs a negro boy slave named Mc Dugan.
Eighthly: My will is for that whereas I have heretofore given my son Samuel Sneed, a good horse and one good mare and some cattle as a part of his portion, I now give to him in addition thereto all that part of my home tract of land lying on the south side of Osage Creek, known and called the Ivey Field, also the tract of land I have later purchased called the Celter Sneed farm lying east of the said Ivey Field which he has now in possession and a negro boy slave named Steph about ten years old, which he also has in his possession.
Ninthly: My will is for that whereas I have heretofore given my son Wilburn R. Sneed, two good horses and some cattle as a part of his portion, I now give and bequeath unto him in addition thereto a negro boy named Zack, reversionary interest in Jack, a negro man slave, and the reversionary interest in a negro woman named Phillis and her infant child and her increase to be delivered to him at and upon the death of my said wife hereby as in the eighth provision of this will, not interfering in the rights, power or privileges hereinafter granted to my wife, but should said negroes be sold or exchanged and the proceeds turned into other effects, then my said son to have such property as exchanged for or so much as
remains at the death of my wife and I do also bequeath to my son Wilburn, the reversionary interest in all of my home tract of land lying on the north side of Osage Creek, said land and all the appurtainances to fall to my son Wilburn absolutely and in fee simple upon the death of my said wife, but not sooner, and that he take and have absolutely all the farming tools and implements on or belonging to my said farm at the death of my said wife, with such further additional property as may hereafter be given.
Tenthly: My will is for that whereas I have given to my daughter, Elizabeth Fancher, a negro girl slave named Hanah, two good horses, two good cows and calves, a good bed and bedding and ten dollars in money as her portion I now give her one dollar in money in addition thereto.
Eleventhly: I will and bequeath to my daughter Marinda Sneed, my negro girl slave named Ellen, about nine years old, two good horses, two good cows and calves, bed and bedding to be delivered to her upon her marriage, or upon attaining twenty-one years of age or upon the death of my wife should she die before that time, said amount of property to be selected from what remains, by my said daughter Marinda.
Twelfthly: I will and bequeath unto my daughter, Marintha Jane Sneed, a negro boy named Dick, about nine years old, two good horses, two good cows and calves, one good bed and bedding, all but the slave to be selected and delivered to her by Mother upon her marriage or upon her attaining twenty years of age whichever shall first come to pass, and in case of the death of my said wife, as above stated before that time and the setting apart of said property then to be selected by herself out of such property as may be left at such death and after said sister, Marinda, has taken out her part.
Thirteenthly: I will and bequeath unto my daughter, Isabella Sneed, a negro girl slave named Ann, about eight or nine years old, and two good horses or mares, two good cows and calves, and one good bed and bedding to be selected and delivered to her by her mother upon her marriage or upon her attaining twenty-one years of age, and in case my wife should die before that time and the setting apart said property aforesaid, then to be selected by her upon such death out of what property may be left after her said sisters Marinda and Marintha Jane shall have taken out theirs as aforesaid in the last two clauses.
Fourteenth: My will further is, that my said wife reserving sufficient to pay off all the legacies above given to my several children have absolute power, will and control over my other personal property and I truly direct that out of the same she give to each and all of my daughters such part or portion of my household and kitchen furniture as she may deem right and proper, and that she likewise give to my said sons or either of them any portion of the stock or farming unensils or tools of trade as she may think right and proper.
Fifteenth: My will further is that one acre above bequested to my wife and son, Wilburn R. Sneed, be held by them and such other persons as may be appointed after them in trust forever for the use of burying ground and they and each of them accept the bequest herein above made of the lands aforesaid with this express reservation of said one acre of land with a right thereto to be located upon what is now known as the Cook Field about one fourth of a mile north of my present residence, the same having been selected by me for a family graveyard.
Sixteenth: My will further is that no part, portion or parcel of said property or estate be exposed to public sale for the purpose of distribution or otherwise whatever.
Seventeenth: My will further is at the death of my said wife, all my household and kitchen furniture which she may have undisposed of, be equally distributed among my daughters, such division to be made by such persons as they or a majority of them may select and that all other property not herein disposed of be equally distributed between my three sons or their heirs and should either of them die without heirs the same to be equally divided between the survivors,
said divisions to be made by such person as they or a majority of them may select for that purpose.
Eighteenth: That this, my last will, may be established, made known and carried into effect, I hereby appoint my wife, Jane Sneed and Wilburn R. Sneed executrix and executor with full power to carry the same into effect, hereby revoking all others heretofore made.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal at said County this the 13th. day of November, 1860
Charles Sneed -- Seal
The foregoing will acknowledged and signed in our presence by the said Charles Sneed, we hereto set our names as witnesses:
W. S. Poyner
G. W. Peel
Due to the destruction of the Carroll County Courthouse and contents in the early days, no further written or official record exists regarding the probate proceedings of this will. Family tradition has it that Charles Sneeds intent was to will at least a slave and a featherbed to each of his daughters.
A copy of this Will appears in "The Carroll County Historical Quarterly" Vol. XIX, No. 4, February 1975 in an article entitled "Early Sneed Families of Carroll County" by Joseph L. Sneed of Weiser (later Hammett), Idaho.
Another copy of this Will was furnished by Vonetta (McCracken) Holland of Marshfield, Missouri, great great granddaughter of Charles Sneed through Marinda (Sneed) Bishop. Mrs. Holland obtained this copy from her mother, Mrs. Inous (Bishop) McCracken of Green Forest, Arkansas.
According to "Goodspeeds History of North West Arkansas - 1889", in a Biography of William R. (Wilburn?) Sneed, Charles Sneed was born and reared in Kentucky, moved to Arkansas as a young man and about 1828 located on Osage Creek in Carroll County, being the first settler in that vicinity. He became a prominent and prosperous member of the community and reportedly died in the Spring of 1865.
The Federal Census records of 1830 through 1880 enumerates two to five families of Sneeds in each census located in Izard and later Carroll County, Arkansas. These reveal that Charles Sneed was born in 1801. The value of his real estate was given as $5,500 in 1850 and $4.000 in 1860, values substantially above any of his close neighbors.
According to Joseph L. Sneed, the first court session was held in the home of Charles Sneed on Osage Creek in 1833 and he held the office of Sheriff from 1836 to 1842.
Arkansas Confederate Records reveal that there were eleven Sneeds enrolled in the Confederate Army, all privates except Seaburn Sneed who was a Senior Second Lieutenant in Co. A of Harrells Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry.
There were (and are) many Sneed descendents, including farmers, merchants, lawyers, bankers, public officials and one TV personality, Ken Curtis (Festus Hagan) of Gunsmoke fame, whose mother was Nellie (Sneed) Curtis, daughter of Hugh Sneed.
For a fascinating history of the Fairview -Osage Community, center of early Sneed settlement, the reader is referred to "The Carroll County Historical Society Quarterly" Vol. XXI, No. 1 and 2, May and June 1976.
Although we can be reasonably certain that all of Charles Sneeds children received a bed (feathered or not) as a result of the distribution of his property, we can be positive that none of them received a slave, at least not in 1865.
Charles Sneed is again mentioned in "The Land of Taney" by Elmo Ingenthron, page 251, which outlines Sneeds activities as Postmaster at Liberty (between the mouth of Little North Fork River and the Missouri - Arkansas state line on upper White River) and later at Carrollton, Arkansas, as the first Postmaster there.
The SNEED cemetery, provided for in the fifteenth clause of Charles Sneeds will, located in the SE 1/4 SW 1/4 Section 25, Township 18 North, Range 23 West in Carroll County, Arkansas, contains the following headstones, in addition to a number of others:
Charles Sneed, died February 1865, age about 68 years. (Author of the Will)
Jane Sneed, wife, born 1806, died 19 November 1878
Sebron G. Sneed, born 28 April 1828, died 17 August 1871
Easter Delina, wife, born 3 April 1831, died 2 August 1902
W. R. Sneed, born 23 March 1838, died 27 September 1904
Mellie, wife, born 29 November 1852, died 10 April1928
Joe W. Bishop, born 14 February 1833, died 7March 1919
Marinda, wife, born 16 January 1842, died 16 December 1928
Jane Denton, born 10 December 1852, died 27 June 1872 Dear Child
Keziah Rossen, born 22 January 1833, died 13 June 1864 Wife of John Rossen
Ruth Fultz, born 17 January 1794, died 15 October 1875
Jose W. See, born 30 December 1839, died 6 September 1878
Leann M., wife, born 31 January 1838, died 27 January 1914
C. E. Sneed, born 24 September 1872, died 27 November 1892 Son of W. R. and N. M. Sneed
The FANCHER cemetary, located in the NW¼ NW¼ Section 36, Township 18 North, Range 23 West, Carroll County, Arkansas, contains the following headstones, in addition to a number of others:
Thomas W. Fancher, born 24 January 1833, died 31 August 1892
Elizabeth B., wife, born 13 November 1839, died 20 December 1916
Mariah (Colored), born 10 March 1841, died 19 August1901
Although Joe W. Bishop and his wife Marinda are buried in the Sneed Cemetary, there is a rather large BISHOP Cemetary at Dogbranch Church in the SW 1/4 NE 1/4, Section 19, Township 18 North, Range 22 West in Carroll County, Arkansas with many Bishops interred, as well as others.
The given name Marinda has been carried on through Marinda (Holland) Gaeke, daughter of John and Vonetta Holland of Marshfield, Missouri.
The photographs accompanying this article can only bring to mind the memory of things past and the debt we owe to the efforts of these early pioneers.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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