Arphad Snell


Arphad Snell was a veteran of the Civil War. He was born in Clermont county, Ohio on February 16, 1841 and came to Illinois as a child. Arphad was the fifth child of Daniel Malott Snell and Jane Moorhead.

Daniel Snell and Jane Moorhead Snell moved from southeast Ohio to La Salle county, in northern Illinois, in 1851. They and their nine children (a tenth child died in infancy) made the long trip to Illinois in a covered wagon. According to Arphad's sister Missouri, one night they stopped at a tavern alongside the road. The mother and girls slept in the tavern while the father and sons slept in the wagon.

On August 5, 1862, Arphad enlisted in the 129th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infanty, Co. G. At the age of twenty-one, he enlisted for three years. The battles he saw included Peach Tree Creek, Bentonville, and the Siege of Atlanta. Arphad received an honorable discharge on June 8, 1865 near Washington D.C. He later received a military pension of fifty dollars a month. His family were very proud of his military service. Youngest daughter Mollie wrote the following about her father's war experiences:

"Pa enlisted at harvest time in 1862 0r 1863. He was in the war 2 years, 8 months, 20 days. He fought at Peach Tree Creek.

He walked on foot during the war and very often had little or no food. They nearly starved. Once they run on to corn and sweet potatoes taking them back to camp. Once they found some big mussel shells which they ate and nearly died. Once they found some molasses and rye flour on a plantation. They washed out an old iron tea kettle and warmed up the molasses. They took the flour to camp and had pancakes.

Once they went to a plantation where a Negro slave boy was holding and carrying his pet chicken so that the soldiers wouldn't get it. Pa took hold of the boy by the ear and asked where the hams were. The frightened boy said, "In da pummies, sir, in the pummies!" (pummies is where the cane is ground). They had just butchered and had buried the hams in an old spring wagon in hopes of hiding them from the Yankee soldiers. The soldiers took all of them, needles to say!!! (Aunt Mollie always laughed as she related this story)

After winning a particular battle the soldiers went to a nearby plantation. The Negro slaves, after being told of their newly found freedom, wanted to go with the soldiers. A little Negro slave boy had a pet lamb which he carried with him. But the lamb got heavy and had to leave him along the way.

Once the soldiers found a plantation where there was a big piano on the second floor. They were having fun playing the piano when Southern soldiers came. The Northern soldiers had to jump from the second floor and run!

Pa told of being in three states within an hour down near Tennessee.

An old couple had two sheep behind their cabin. Two soldiers went to the door to trade for coffee while the others stole the sheep.

The soldiers stopped at a Southern home because they were hungry. At the house, a pretty girl fixed a meal for the soldiers. The other women in the house were making Rebel uniforms, so the Northern soldiers took the uniforms outside and chopped them up.

Once each soldier was rationed four hard tacks. They were to be soaked in water till they got big and then they were to be fried. They were told to make it last as long as possible for this was the last of the rations. One fella ate all four at one time. He said he wouldn't get hungry later. He ate all four, went down the hill and he was killed."

It is unclear what Arphad did between the end of the Civil War and his marriage to Evaline Moorhead. On June 17, 1872 married Evaline Moorhead in Ottawa, La Salle county, Illinois. Evaline was born in Clermont county, Ohio in 1841. She was the oldest of eleven children born to William Moorhead and Margaret Arthur. William was the brother of Jane Moorhead, making Arphad and Evaline first cousins.

After Arphad and Evaline's marriage, the couple moved out to Kansas. They probably lived in Cowley county, because Arphad's brother Vernant had a homestead there. Evaline gave birth to two daughters while living in Kansas. The oldest girl, Nellie, was born on May 25, 1874. The other girl was named Sarah and she died in Kansas in 1875.

In 1883, the couple moved back to Illinois, this time settling in Menard county. They built a two-story frame house in Tice. Here in Tice they had a third daughter named Mollie. Mollie was born on May 31, 1883.

Arphad also built a commercial brick and tile factory in Tice. The factory also produced clay fence posts. He used huge kilns for firing the tile, brick, and clay. By June 1895, the factory employed twelve men. The clay fence posts were invented and patented by Arphad. He traveled the United States selling them and the special table on which to make them. His granddaughter Ermal Balster remembered him always trying to build a 'perpetual motion machine'.

In addition to this, Arphad operated a coal mine by the Sangamon River. He needed the coal for his kilns. The coal was hoisted from the mine shaft by horses. He also owned rights to the shale pile on the banks of the river, just south of Tice. Nellie was baptized here on the coal banks.

Nellie married Benjamin Balster, a native of Menard county. The couple had two children, Ermal and Emmerson. Mollie married Charles Hartley and they did not have any children. In about 1902, after their girls had married, Arphad and Evaline separated permanently. Arphad lived with Mollie and Charles. Evaline lived with Nellie and Ben. The two sisters were estranged as a result of their parent's marital problems. Granddaughter Ermal recollected that she was not even allowed to visit Grandpa Snell or Aunt Mollie.

Evaline remained close to her family back in Ohio until the end of her life. She frequently made trips. On one such visit to her sister Martha Jones, in about 1914, she fell on the front porch. She broke her hip and walked with a cane after that. Evaline died at the home of Nellie on April 16, 1917. She was seventy-six years of age. Only six weeks earlier, they had moved from Petersburg to the Tom Tiemann farm one mile north of Damascus School. Evaline's wake and funeral were held in Ben and Nellie's home. Mott's Funeral Home of Athens came to the house to prepare the body for burial. Mott's had just purchased their first automobile hearse. The family followed in the spring wagon to Rose Hill Cemetery, outside of Petersburg.

Arphad passed away on August 18, 1924. He died at the home of the Mollie Hartley near Petersburg. He is not buried next to his wife, but in the same area of the cemetery. There was a military stone placed at his grave.

Contributed by: Matthew

 

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