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Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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SNELL, MARTIN KINGSLEY -- Listed on page 24 of the army rolls in the General Land Office as a member of Captain William G. Cook's Company of New Orleans Grays and is shown as having been born in Pennsylvania. In Headright Certificate No. 400 for one-third of a league of land issued to him by the Harrisburg County Board of Land Commissioners February 3, 1838 it is stated that he came to Texas in 1835. Captain Cooke's Company arrived at Velasco, November 25, 1835.

Mr. Snell participated in the Storming and Capture of Bexar, December 5 to 10, 1835. In Comptroller's Military Service Record No. 6372 it is certified that he was appointed Captain, December 24, 1835. Captains Teal and Snell at Washington, March 15, 1836, were invited by the Constitutional Convention "to take seats within the bar of the house." (Note: Republic of Rio Grande?)

At San Jacinto Captain Snell served as First Lieutenant in Captain Teal's Company of Regulars. He was issued Donation Certificate No. 193 for 640 acres of land May 18, 1838 for having participated in the battle. He was again appointed Captain, April 24, 1836 and served as such to May 17, 1838, at $40.00 a month. He commanded a detachment at the funeral of Stephen F. Austin, December 29, 1836. Captain Snell was issued Bounty Certificate No. 8004 February 2, 1839 for 1280 acres of land for his services in the army from October 22 to December 14, 1835, and from December 24, 1835 to January 30, 1839. He was Captain of the Fannin Artillery at Houston, 1843-45 and of the Milam Guards in 1845. His home at that time was on a farm a few miles from town. On January 5, 1846 he was elected alderman of Houston. In 1849 he was Postmaster in Houston and in 1850 he was an officer in Lodge No. 46, Sons of Temperance. The Marriage Records of Harris County show that on May 30, 1849 he was married to Emma Hadnot by the Reverend James Huckins, A Baptist minister. (Note: Postmaster 1844-45; 1846- )

Captain Snell was living in Caldwell as early as November 10, 1853 and the records of Warren (Masonic) Lodge No. 56 of Caldwell show that he was a Past Master of the Lodge in 1856. In 1859 he was running a hotel in Hempstead.

Captain Snell became a Major in the Confederate Army in the War between the States. The Tri-Weekly Telegraph of Houston, April 16, 1862 stated that Major Snell was at that time raising a battalion of infantry under the authority of General Thomas N. Waul, for his legion.

Major Snell, then a captain, killed Lieutenant James T. Sprawl at Velasco, March 31, 1837. Governor Francis R. Lubbock in his published memoirs referred to the incident as follows: "A day or two after my arrival at Velasco, while in a billiard room, I witnessed a homicide. Captain Snell, commanding a company of regulars at the post, came in. He accosted Lieutenant Sprowl as to his absence from the post. Hot words ensued, and the lieutenant was shot down by his captain and killed. Snell was exonerated, as Sprowl probably attempted to draw his sword. He afterward had several unfortunate difficulties and was himself many years afterward killed in Hempstead."

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Company: Capt. Andrew Briscoe

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: Sneil
  • Date of Birth: 1815
  • Birthplace: Pennsylvania
  • Came to Texas: 1835 Nov 25
  • Date of Death: 1865
  • Other Battles: Bexar
  • Comments: U.S.-Mexican War; Civil War, Confederate Army; killed his lieutenant; was murdered
  • Bounty Certificate: 8004
  • Donation Certificate: 193
  • Wife: Emma Hadnot
  • Children: E. L. Morrell