Snead patriarch became outstanding representative, judge

Published 12:00am Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Snead family was one that had significant influence on the early development of Andalusia after the turn of the century in 1900. The John Morgan Snead family moved to Andalusia from Dothan, Ala., during 1899.

This family descends from their Snead (Sneyde) ancestors who were of the Keel Manor in England. The earliest Snead ancestor found by this writer was Samuel Israel Snead who was born in 1710 in Hanover County, Va. He was married to Johannah Henley (1714-1790), and they eventually settled and died in Richmond County, N.C.

A son of Samuel Israel, Samuel Garland Snead, was born in 1730 in Louisa County, Va., and died in 1775 in Anson County, N.C. He was married to Temperance C. Burford who was born in 1728. They had a son, Phillip Buford Snead, who was born in 1762 in North Carolina and who was married to Mary Mims.

Daniel Buford Snead, son of Phillip Buford Snead, was married to Elizabeth Johnson who was born in 1819 in Jones County, Ga. Daniel was born in 1897 in Richmond County, N.C., and died in 1889 in the Richards community of Barbour County. They reared the following children: Sarah F., b. 1838; William H., b. 1841, d. 1899, m. 1865 Barbara Wise (1846-1880); John Morgan, b. 1844, d. 1931, m. Sibbie Anne “Annie” Kennedy (1845-1908); Samuel Jefferson, b. 1849, d. 1914; Benjamin Franklin, b. 1851, d. 1930; Mary Lecy “Maggie,” b. 1853, d. 1881; and Margaretta, b. 1854.

The second son, John Morgan Snead, is the primary subject of today’s writing. He is the one who moved to Andalusia and contributed much to the town’s development. It is also significant that he moved here about the same time the Central of Georgia Railroad made its way to the promising young town.

John Morgan was born in 1844 in Jones County, Ga., and later moved as a boy with his parents to Barbour County. In 1880, he, his wife and children were residing in Henry County. Some records indicate he may have served there as a judge just as he did later in Covington County. He had moved his family to Andalusia by the time the 1900 federal census was enumerated. Within a few years, he announced his candidacy for the Alabama Legislature to represent Covington County, subject to action of the Democratic primary. He stated at the time that he was 62 years old and had lived all of his life in Alabama. At some point he was appointed to serve as a judge for the county.

Prior to getting married, John Morgan Snead, rendered service in the War Between the States. At the age of 17 years, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and was assigned to Company H, 57th Ala. Infantry Regiment, Scott’s Brigade, and Loring’s Division in Johnson’s Army of Tennessee. He was appointed Courier on the staff of Colonel Colbert, and he also served with the 54th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Following the war in 1869, John Morgan was married to Sebbie (Seblie ?) Anne Kennedy, daughter of Daniel and Nancy (Stiles) Kennedy. Daniel was born in 1817 in the Country of Scotland, and Nancy was a native of North Carolina.

John Morgan and Nancy Snead reared the following children: Alice Renvia, b. 1873, m. 1902 Joseph Nathaniel Jernigan (1866-1925); Arra B., b. ca 1874, m. T. E. Henderson; Daniel M., b. 1875, d. 1905; David L., b. 1877, d. 1905; Annie F., b. 1879, d. 1957, m. 1902 John L. Knox (1879-1923); and Ellie J., b. 1883, d. 1932, m. 1905 Andalusia James Morgan Prestwood (1880-1928).

The oldest daughter, Annie F. Snead, was married to Joseph Nathaniel Jernigan, son of Francis and Adelia Annice (Cobb) Jernigan. One record indicates Joseph served as a warden at some prison in Covington County during the dearly 1900s. They reared the following children: Malcolm S., b. 1893; Leslie, b. 1896, m. Charles Linam; Joseph Hal, b. 1904, d. 1954, m. Ruth Elzora Jones; John Morgan, b. 1909, d. 1930; Daniel; and Virgie Annice.

The youngest daughter, Ellie Snead, was married in 1904 to James Morgan Prestwood, Sr. (1880-1928), son of James Austin “Aus” and Mary E. (Fletcher) Prestwood who was another outstanding builder of Andalusia. Ellie or “Miss Ellie” as she was called is remembered for her passionate love of music and of writing poetry as well as prose. She was also eclectic in her appreciation of the arts, and she demonstrated talent for creating floral arrangements. It has been pointed out that her greatest love was her dear children. She is probably best remembered for having written the “Alma Mater” for Andalusia High School. It is believed she wrote it for her son, Roger Austin’s, Class of 1928. She may have been involved in the building of the Fox Theatre, and she did play the piano some for silent movies.

Ellie and James Morgan Prestwood reared the following children: Sybil Louise, b, 1906, d. 1973, m. Thomas Chalker; Mary Rosalyn, b. 1909, d. 1971, m. Joe Ford; Roger Austin, b. 1910, d. 1986, m. Catherine Maxwell; James Morgan Jr., b. 1912, d. 1996, m. Margaret Copeland; Hugh, b. 1914, d. 1969, m. (1) Nadine Martin (2) Christine Rodgers; and Arajean, b. 1918, d. 1975, m. James Tyner Merrill. Two of these, Roger and James M., were well-known attorneys in the county. Roger served as a district attorney, and James M. served many years as Chairman of the County Democratic Executive Committee.

Confederate Veteran and Judge John M. Snead died in December 1931 at the age of 87. He died after a brief illness at his residence on East Three Notch Street, where his funeral was conducted at 2 p.m. on Sunday by Dr. J.J. Haygood of Tallapoosa, Ga., and Dr. J.A. Cook, minister of the First Baptist Church of Andalusia. His grandsons served a pallbearers, and 12 of his fellow Confederate Veterans were honorary pallbearers: J.J. Nall, T.L. Merrill, J.M Etheridge, S.L. Johnson, E.N. Johns, J.H. Chapman, W.F. Bundrick, H.C. Bray, J.S. Thomasson, Dan Henderson, I.G. Bradwell and B.F. Ellis. These men ranged in age from 83 to 102 years.

The following was written in his obituary: “Perhaps no one was more active physically and mentally than Judge Snead up to a few months ago when his health began to fail him. He possessed an interesting and pleasing personality. He was generous exhibiting at all times those high qualities that displayed a high type of citizenship. His memory was remarkable and his reminiscences of the War Between the States were always interesting to those he conversed with.”

Judge Snead is remembered as an outstanding citizen of Andalusia. Snead Street was named in honor of him, and his early residence on Stanley Avenue, the current Keahey residence adjacent to the funeral home, has been well preserved with periodic renovations.

Sources for today’s column include, library’s vertical file, Judge Snead’s obituary in The Covington News, Dec. 3, 1931, and notes collected from Snead descendants.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional information on this Snead family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email:

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