Saturday, March 03, 2007

This Week in Texas Methodist History March 4

Joseph Sneed Sets Out for the Falls of the Brazos March 4, 1840

During the first half of the 19th century Methodist circuit riders established a reputation for pushing to the very limits of settlement--no matter what the dangers. One famous story from the period relates how a Methodist preacher was greeted with these words when he came upon a family that had just staked a land claim, "I left my last farm to get away from the Methodists, and now you're here before I get my wagon unpacked! You may as well baptize me. I can't get away from the Methodists."

Joseph P. Sneed kept that reputation intact by going all the way to Fort Milam, about four miles from present-day Marlin, in 1840. Sneed had volunteered for the Texas Mission, and been appointed to the Nashville Circuit. (Nashville was in present-day Milam County near Gause. It was the headquarters of the Robertson Colony, and was county seat of Milam County at the time Sneed was there.) Sneed's circuit embraced twelve preaching points north from Yegua Creek to the settlements along the Brazos, Little Brazos, and Navasota Rivers. The region was sparsely populated and a dangerous place for travelers. Only four years had passed since the famous Comanche raid on Fort Parker within the bounds of the circuit. Sneed's journal entry for March 4, 1840 reads (in part)"We kept guard all night to keep from being surprised by Indians. The wolves howled around us, but I slept very soundly, waking but seldom. The Lord preserved us and the next day we reached Fort Milam five miles from the Falls of the Brazos where I preached at night from Mat. 4:17."

Thomas A. Morris, the bishop who had appointed Sneed to the Texas Mission wrote Littleton Fowler a letter of introduction, "We have sent you Brother Sneed, a man who is not afraid to die or to sleep in the woods."

Sneed did survive the rigors of circuit riding in the Republic. He died at the age of 77 at his son's farm in Milam County and is buried there.


Post a Comment

<< Home