George A. Snowden served as second Probate Judge

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

George Alexander Snowden was the second citizen to serve Covington County as Probate Judge. In 1854, he was appointed by the Governor of Alabama to fill the office vacated by the first Probate Judge, William T. Acree.  He was later elected to serve a six-year term in 1855, and he was reelected to a second six-year term in 1861.

After the end of the War Between the States, he resigned in 1865 and retired from politics.

George A. Snowden was born in 1800 in South Carolina as the oldest son of Aaron and Esther (Webster) Snowden.

His parents were natives of Virginia and Maryland respectively.

Aaron moved to the Cheraw District of South Carolina in 1767 and was still residing there in 1790. In 1797, he was married to Esther in Rockingham County, North Carolina, and they soon moved to Georgia.

After a short time, they moved to South Carolina and then back to Georgia circa 1810.

They resided there until they made the move to Conecuh County in the Alabama Territory in 1819. In 1821, the family moved to Escambia County in the Florida Territory, and they also lived for periods of time in Walton and Santa Rosa County, where Aaron died in 1847.

Aaron and Esther Snowden reared the following children: George Alexander, b. 1800, d. 1877, m. (1) ? Kennedy (2) Thursann Martha Stokes; John Seaborne, b. ca 1802, m. Levinia Padgett; Thomas J., b. 1803, m. Tabathia ?; Jesse L., b. 1806; Charles Walter, b. 1810, m. Rebecca Johnston; Harriet, b. 1812 or 1814, m. William Pelham; and Marshall N., b. 1815, m. Mary Frances Johnson. In other listings, there is another daughter, Lucy Ann, b. 1802, m. (1) ? Ellis (2) Cary Jernigan.

It appears that George A. was married to a Miss Kennedy in 1820 in Conecuh County soon after they arrived in South Alabama.

Within a year in 1821, he was elected Lieutenant in the 28th Regiment of Militia in Conecuh County.

In 1824, he was elected Captain of the same regiment, an office he held until 1826. In 1828, he was elected Captain over the Company of Militia in Beat No. 2, Covington County. In 1832, he was elected Colonel as commander of the newly organized 60th Regiment of Militia in Covington County, and he appears to have held this position until mid-1850s.

In 1827, George A. had moved his family to the Conecuh River settlement in the southwestern part of the county.

Within three years in 1830, he purchased 80 acres of land, which was located one mile south of the Conecuh River.

There he farmed and probably operated a sawmill or gristmill on Eden Creek until he moved to the new Town of Andalusia in 1854.

Before the move, in 1830, he was elected as one of four Commissioners of Revenue and Roads for Covington County, a role he filled for many years before 1850.

He also served on other commissions as well. In 840, George A. was appointed County Court Judge for an interim term of six months to replace Stephen Cobb.

In 1843, 1844, and 1845, he was elected to the office of State Representative for three one-year terms.

Then again in 1851, he was elected for a two-year term.

A year or so after he completed that term, he moved his family to Andalusia.

In addition to his public service in government, George A. was a leader in his community wherever he lived.

In the Conecuh River settlement, he served as church clerk for the Conecuh River Baptist Church.

After moving to Andalusia, he also was a church clerk for the Andalusia Missionary Baptist Church for many years.

Actually, he was one of the early leaders of helping to organize the Andalusia Church along with Josiah Jones, Ransom Adams and David Barrow.

Around the time George A. moved to Andalusia in 1854, he purchased 160 acres of land located near the new town.

A drawing shows he owned three 40s on the east side of the current Snowden Drive and one on the north side of Church Street next to one of the 40s on Snowden Drive.

He established a substantial farm on which he would reside for the remainder of his life.

Also about the same time, his second wife’s brother, Josiah Hampton Stokes, purchased 40 acres, which was located on West Watson St.

This is also the time when George A. was appointed by the Governor to serve the county as Probate Judge.

In six months when the elections were held, he was elected and then reelected for two six-year terms.

During the War Between the States, George A. was a strong supporter of the Confederacy.

He gave freely of his time and resources to help its cause. In the 1860 Federal Census, he had nine slaves who would have worked on his farm. At the end of the war in 1865, he resigned as Probate Judge and retired from political affairs.

In his Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871, Wyley Ward stated, “George A. Snowden began life in poverty, but in his youth he attended boarding school in Georgia and received a relatively good education.

Over the years, he established a reputation for honesty and through his labors he gradually accumulated considerable wealth.”

George A.’s first wife, who had given birth to as many as 13 children, died circa 1840.

Some of the children were grown, but several of younger ages remained in his household at the time of her death.

The known names of the children include the following: James Madison, b. 1823, d. 1864, m. Rebecca Franklin; Mallisie, b. 1826, m. ? Mock; Martha, b. 1828, m. Bryant Mancill; Daughter, m. Dr. ? Warren: Unnamed infant; Arminda, b. 1834, m. (1) Columbus Hart (2) Malcolm Campbell; Clarenda, b. 1834, m. W. Henry Williams; Willis, b. 1836, single; Jasper N., b. 1838, m. Mary Jernigan.

He was married to his second wife, Martha Thirse Ann (Thursann) Stokes, circa 1845.

Thursann was the daughter of Absalom Lafayette and Nancy Allene (Adkinson) Stokes of Walton County, Florida. Thursann was born in 1818 in Charleston, Beaufort County, South Carolina. They had the following children: Josiah Hampton, b. 1846, m. Mary M. Ward; Georgianne, b. 1849, m. James Tarrell Turner; Charles Walter, b. 1850, d. 1931, m. (1) Sally Bell Ward (2) Lena Brundidge; Rosa Laura (Rosinah Lora ?), b. 1853, d. 1893, m. James Newton Foster; Buena Vista, b. 1855, m. James M. Ward; Mary Ann Calodinia (Dona Caldonia ?), b. 1857, d. 1877; Joicey Cornelia, b. 1859, m. Martin VanBuren Hare; and Florence B., b. 1863, m. John W. Prestwood.

George and Thursann were buried in the Magnolia Cemetery behind the Courthouse.

Their graves are marked with headstones, and members of the Snowden family have erected a border around a sizable plot.

This writer had an older citizen to show and tell him that Thursann’s stepmother, Elizabeth (Jay) Stokes, was buried beside Thursann, but there was never a marker placed at the site.

Sadly, concerned descendants will probably never know the truth related to this question.

Currently, George A. Snowden has many descendants who still reside in the county.

They are proud of their heritage, and the citizens have paid tribute to this public servant.

The most notable act was the naming of Snowden Drive in his honor.

To quote Wyley Ward in his early county history book, “In terms of honesty, integrity, and service to its people, Covington County has not, and may never have another resident that is the equal of George A. Snowden.”

Sources for this writing include, Ward’s Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871; Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History, 1821-1976; and family records.

Anyone who has any correction to the above or additional information of the Snowden family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: