Benjamin Snead (sometimes spelled Sneed, 1721 - March 28, 1819) was a schoolteacher and weaver who lived not far away from Monticello, about two miles east of Shadwell. He provided instruction at various times to [[Randolph Jefferson]], some of the younger Jefferson sisters, at least one of Jefferson's grandchildren, and possibly even one or more of the slaves at Monticello.Albemarle County Deed Book, 12:405; see also John Harvie account with Peter Jefferson estate, manuscript at Huntington Library, San Marino, California. It was Snead who read the burial service for the first Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, the only one of [[Martha Jefferson Randolph]]'s children to die in infancy. Snead's wife, Mary (Polly), was a midwife, who was called upon often to attend births in the enslaved community at Monticello, including that of [[Harriet Hemings]]. Snead's property was called Fancy Hill; the Snead family later sold the property in the mid-nineteenth century to the Porters, who eventually sold it to General Edwin "Pa" Watson; the property was eventually renamed [[Kenwood]], and is now the site of the Jefferson Library and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.Mary Rawlings, Antebellum Albemarle (Charlottesville, Va.: People's National Bank, 1935), 5. Snead lived in Albemarle County for most of his life before moving to Danville, Kentucky to be near his family. He died at the advanced age of 98; his obituary remarked that his "mental faculties [were] little if at all impaired and his bodily activity sufficient to enable him to ascend Clinch mountain on foot.""Longevity," Kentucky Reporter, April 14, 1819.
Primary Source References
1769 April 1. "Pd. Hen. Mullins assee. of Ben. Sneed by order of [[Jane Randolph Jefferson|Mrs. Jefferson]] 10/."[[Short Title List|MB]], 1:140. 1769 Octob. 2. "Pd. Ben. Sneed for weaving for [[Elizabeth Jefferson|E. Jefferson]] 6/. "Ibid., 1:150. 1770 Nov. 19. "Robert Sharpe (Alb.) v. John Sorrel (Amherst) . Enter caveat for 400 as. on Plumbtree branch Albemarle joining the lands of Ford, Lewis, and of the sd. Robert. Survd. abt. 20 years ago & works nev. retd."Ibid., 1:197. 1795 July 26. "Pd. B. Sneed for reading service over [Eleanor] 2.D."Ibid., 2:930. 1798 May 12. (Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson). "we have been all well but [[Thomas Jefferson Randolph|Jefferson]] who had declined rapidly for some time from a disorder which had baffled every attention and change of diet, the only remedy we ventured to try; but Mr Sneed opening school and Jeffy being hurried out of bed every morning at sunrise and obliged after a breakfast of bread and milk to walk 2 miles to school: his spirits returned his complexion cleared up and I am in hopes that his disorder has left him entirely."[[Short Title List|PTJ]], 30:346. 1799 Nov. 25. "Pd. Benj. Sneed [a witness ads. Johnson] 1.1"[[Short Title List|MB]], 2:1009. 1806 Sep. 24. "Pd. Ben. Sneed 5.D. for 2 1/2 months tuition of George's son."Ibid., 2:1189. This possibly referred to a son of Little George, one of Jefferson's slaves.
- Darnell, Ermina J. County. Louisville, Ky.: Standard Printing Co., 1946. Reprinted 1980, Genealogical Publishing Co. Contains genealogical information on the Snead family.
- The History of West Virginia, Old and New. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923. Vol. II has a biographical sketch of Noble Kimbrough Sneed, a grandson on Benjamin. online.