Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History October 16

Yellow Fever Forces Joseph Sneed out of Houston, October 19, 1839

Joseph Perkins Sneed (1804-1881) is one of the pioneer Texas circuit riders who helped lay the foundation for Methodism in the Republic of Texas. At the Mississippi Annual Conference of December, 1838, Bishop Thomas A. Morris honored his request for a transfer to the Texas Mission of that conference. On February 8, 1839, he entered Texas via Gaines Ferry and began his Texas ministry.

Monday, October 14, 1839, found Sneed in Texana where he had just participated in a camp meeting. Texana was the home of several devout Methodist families who had immigrated from North Alabama in the late 1820’s. The Sutherland, Menefee, Heard, Rector, and Rogers families were to make a huge mark in Texas Methodist history, but Sneed had other flocks to tend so he set off by horseback. He rode 150 miles to Houston where on Saturday, October 19, he held a quarterly meeting.

The normal practice of the time was to have the quarterly conference on Saturday and then stay for Sunday worship, but yellow fever was raging in the city, and Sneed and his companion, Robert Hill left Saturday even though they knew leaving on Saturday would force them to travel on the Sabbath. After spending the night in what Sneed described as “wild country,” they reached the Brazos at Warren (about three miles east of present-day Chappell Hill). When they arrived, they were disappointed to learn that the ferry was swamped on the far bank. The river was flowing swiftly and night was falling. Here’s what they did next, told in Sneed’s words.

Sunday Oct. 20th Traveled this day contrary to my feeling and custom, about forty miles. Reached the Brazos at Warren, below the mouth of New Year’s Creek, just about dark, The river was swimming, the ferry boat sunk, and no one around. I swam my horse across and then shoved the boat over in its sunken condition. Bro. Hill got on it with our equipments: It was sufficient to bear him, and by hard work we crossed our clothes dry, I having swum his horse and swum back to him alone. By this time we had no light but the moon. Making our way three or four miles to Mr. Hubert’s we were comfortably situated for the night.

The next Thursday Sneed and Hill participated in the memorable Centenary Camp Meeting honoring the centennial of John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience in 1739.


Post a Comment

<< Home