Sneed, Thomas Eskridge (1832–1901)

By: John B. Wilder

Revised by: Brett J. Derbes

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 28, 2020

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Thomas Eskridge Sneed, lawyer and Civil War soldier, was born in Washington County, Arkansas, on April 27, 1832, the son of Miranda (Adkins) and Sebron Graham Sneed. The family moved to Travis County, Texas, in 1848 when Sneed was sixteen. At the age of twenty-one he began to study law at the office of George Paschal in Austin. Sneed was admitted to the bar in 1854 and began his practice in Austin, where he was elected mayor in 1856 and district attorney in 1860. He supported secession and rode alongside John S. “Rip” Ford at the front of a pro-secession parade in Austin on January 5, 1861. Three weeks later Sneed married Elizabeth Burleson, daughter of Edward Burleson, on January 23, 1861, and they became the parents of two children. He enlisted as a private in Company B of the Thirty-Second Texas Cavalry at Camp Clark on October 4, 1862, but he was later promoted and authorized to raise a company. Sneed joined Company C of the Thirty-Third Texas Cavalry at Camp Robinson in Austin as a first lieutenant on November 20, 1862. He was detached for service to Eagle Pass in March 1863 by Gen. John Bankhead Magruder in San Antonio, where he served as the officer commanding the San Antonio provost guard. In October 1863 Magruder ordered the arrest of five civilians due to military necessity on charges of treason. In March 1864 the Texas Supreme Court summoned Magruder and Sneed to explain the arrest and necessity to hold the civilians. On March 25 a group of armed soldiers forcefully relocated the men from the civilian jail to the Austin military stockade. Magruder was summoned for contempt and found guilty, but he was not punished due to the ominous wartime circumstances. Following the Civil War, Sneed returned to Austin and practiced law there for the rest of his life. He was elected president of the Tilden and Hendricks Club in Austin in 1876, and was a member of the Central Democratic Club of Travis County in 1882. The following year he was elected an alderman from the eighth ward for Austin and served on the ordinance, police, and printing committees. He died on January 9, 1901, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery. The Austin Bar Association met on January 10 to honor Sneed by passing a resolution of respect for his lifelong service to the city.

Austin American-Statesman, July 23, 1876, November 1, 1882, August 22, 1883, January 10, 1901, January 15, 1901. Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Richard B. McCaslin, Fighting Stock: John S. “Rip” Ford of Texas (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 2019). Kenneth J. Radley, Rebel Watchdog: The Confederate States Army Provost Guard (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989).


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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

John B. Wilder Revised by Brett J. Derbes, “Sneed, Thomas Eskridge,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 18, 2021,

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April 28, 2020