William Snelling (1764 - 1815) MP

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Birthplace: Westmoreland, Virginia
Death: Died in Natchez, Adams, Mississippi, United States
Cause of death: yellow fever
Occupation: Planter, trader, steamboat operator
Managed by: Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator
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About William Snelling

William Snellling was the son of Hugh Snelling and wife Margaret Marshall. He was born on September 12, 1764 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He married Sarah Scott on February 13, 1788 in Nelson County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of William and Jemima Scott. William and Sarah had ten children.

Some sources state that he was born in Shenandoah, Virginia. This is unlikely. The town of Shenandoah was not formed until 1837. The county was not formed until 1772. Both town and county are on the north-west border of the state of Virginia, several hundred miles from his father's tobacco plantation on Appomattox Creek.

Family tradition says that William joined the army as a bugle boy during the American Revolution, and later rose to the rank of private. While this is possible, it is more probable that his father, also named William, was the army private.

William appears on the tax rolls for Washington County, Kentucky in 1792. Family tradition says he owned a plantation near Mammoth Cave, and that the family used the caverns for refrigeration during the summer months. This has not been proven.

William operated a cargo boat on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. While accompanying a cargo to New Orleans he contracted yellow fever. He died on September 4, 1815. His will was probated at Christian County, Kentucky, and can be found in Will Book C. His estate was valued at $2919.84, including six slaves. Also in Christian County, in Deed Book C, there is an account of the sale of his estate, including his former home.

About a year before his death, while on a trip to New Orleans, William had notarized a document freeing one of his slaves, Lucy, as payment for services rendered to his family. In July, 1815, Lucy took the document to the Bullitt County, Kentucky, courthouse and had it recorded, becoming a free woman.


  • James Snelling, b. March 30, 1789; d. August 13, 1814.
  • Benjamin Snelling, b.. March 30, 1791, married Frances Burrus, died
  • William Snelling, b. November 20, 1792.
  • Sarah Scott Snelling, b. December 13, 1794; d. August 21, 1864.
  • Vincent Snelling, b. March 15, 1797; d. November 08, 1855.
  • Margaret Marshall Snelling, b. June 21, 1798; d. November 02, 1885; m. JOHN THOMAS RICKETTS; b. Abt. 1795.
  • Daniel Snelling, b. January 20, 1802; d. 1870.
  • Nancy Snelling, b. January 05, 1804.
  • Theodocia Snelling, b. March 27, 1807; d. 1887.
  • Jemima Snelling, b. September 06, 1809.

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William Snelling's Timeline

September 12, 1764
Westmoreland, Virginia
February 13, 1788
Age 23
Nelson, Kentucky, United States
March 30, 1789
Age 24
Kentucky, United States
March 29, 1791
Age 26
Nelson, Kentucky, United States
November 20, 1792
Age 28
Kentucky, United States
December 13, 1794
Age 30
Kentucky, United States
March 14, 1797
Age 32
Nelson, Kentucky, United States
June 21, 1798
Age 33
Kentucky, United States
January 20, 1802
Age 37
Breckinridge, Kentucky, United States
January 5, 1804
Age 39