Benjamin Sneed (1721-1819): The Sneed Ancestry -- Part I

By Richard "Dick" Baldauf April 2002

The name of Snead/Sneed appears early in the history of Virginia. As soon as 1609, we find this reference: "I, James, by the grace of God, King of England. Scotland, France, and Ireland, etc...", "Second Charter of the Treasurer and Company forVirginia etc..." Among the names inscribed is that of Thomas Sneed. While there is no evidence that he ever came to Virginia, it is clear that he was a party to the project. (from Henning's Statutes at Large: Vol. 1, 1606-1659, "Ancient Charters." 1823, p.84) [Hockett Papers]

Additionally, the "Magazine of Virginia Genealogy" in Vol. 32, Aug. 1994, No.3, pp.187-189, 'Ferrar Papers,' shows that a William Sneade was among a group of men who came to the Virginia Colony in 1619 on the "Bona Nova," proving a Snead was among the earliest arrivals in the settlement. [Hockett Papers]

However, "Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents & Grants 1623-1666" by Nell Marion Nugent (p.30), shows the earliest reference to the Samuel Snead presumed to be the founder of the family in Virginia.

"Samuell Snead (Sneade), 200 a. in James Co., 04 Aug the head of Heths Cr. beg. at a Crose .path which lyeth on the SE side of the sd. land, running NW into the forrest toward Kiskiake between two swamps on the NE & SW sides, adj. Samuel Griges plantation, being alsoe parted with a sw. from the land of Thomas Smith. 150 a. for per adv of himself, his wife Alice Sneade & his son William Sneade & 50 a. for trans. of a servant called Henry Vincent." Ibid. p.224; "Alice Snead, 200 a.., 19 Mar 1643"; record incomplete; mentions her husband, Sam'l Sneade. The "patton" was renewed in the name of Alice Sneade in March, 1643.

Much of the information about Samuel Snead and his descendants comes from a book by Mrs. William E. Hatcher entitled "The Sneads of Fluvanna." While much of her material may be an accurate represent-

ation, she provides virtually no documentation. It is, nonetheless, one of the two major sources from which we must draw our conclusions.

While there are several other references to Samuel Snead in the "Colonial Abstracts for York County, 1633 to 1646," we need mention only one that occurred in 1652 , where "Samuel Swead (Snead) of Queen's Creek, planter, for "the naturall affection which I beare toward Susan Reynolds my daughter and now wife unto Thomas Reynolds of Queen's Creek aforesaid" gives to Tho. Reynolds 45 acres on W side "of the Plantation where I now dwell."

According to Mrs. Hatcher, "Samuel Snead was survived by his son William, or William's descendants, of York County, and by at least two other sons, Henry and Samuel, Jr. of New Kent," and of course by Samuel's daughter, Susan Reynolds. Hatcher justifies a Samuel, Jr. by the following reference: " In 1664 Samuel Snead was living on the Pamunkey River in what became New Kent and is now King William County. His lands were bounded on the south by a creek forming the northern boundary of William Woodward's 2100-acre patent, which in turn began at the mouth of John's Creek. The dwelling house of Capt. William Bassett immediately adjoined 'the land of Mr. Samuell Snead, Sr., whereon he now lives.' The 'Sr.' indicates that his son Samuel was living with him or in the vicinity." Mrs. Hatcher goes on to say that the Sneads of Fluvanna are descended from Henry Snead.

The parentage of this Samuel Snead has not been determined. In one of the Hockett Papers we have a reference to Snead wills proved between 1584 to 1650, wherein there is "Only one will" that "mentions a Samuel Snead who fits into the time frame of Sam uel Snead of VA who arrived in that colony by 1635, and that is the will of William Snead of Staunton, Worcestershire. Samuel, his son, was a minor in 1604." The writer's name is not disclosed.

A more traditional ancestry is provided by the notes and letters of Ms. Frances Trader of Sedalia, MO., who writes, "Descended from William Sneyd of Keel Hall through his second son, Richard Sneyd, Sheriff of Derbyshire, England, who died in 1694." As indicated elsewhere, this ancestry appears to have been provided by Mrs. Jessie T. Grayson, a genealogist of Richmond, VA, who researched the family for Frank Sneed of Chicago, IL. Unfortunately, by the time Ms. Trader caught up with Mrs. Grayson, she learned that Mrs. Grayson was blind, and that her papers were scattered about her house and therefore unavailable. Thus we are working without sources. According to Mrs. Grayson's research, the line of our Benjamin Sneed, b. 1721, comes down through Samuel's son, William Snead.