Snell, Martin Kingsley (1815–1864)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Revised by: Brett J. Derbes and Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 17, 2021

Martin Kingsley Snell, soldier, was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1815 and came to Texas in November 1835 as a private in Capt. William Gordon Cooke's company of New Orleans Greys. He took part in the siege of Bexar on December 5–10. On March 10, 1836, the General Council commissioned him a second lieutenant in the regular army, but he fought at San Jacinto as first lieutenant of Capt. Andrew Briscoe's Company A of Lt. Col. Henry W. Millard's First Regiment, Regular Infantry. Snell commanded the honor guard at the funeral of Stephen F. Austin on December 29, 1836. He remained in the Army of the Republic of Texas until May 17, 1839, when he was captain of Company E, First Regiment. From 1843 until 1846 he was captain of the Fannin Artillery, a Houston militia unit. During the Mexican War Snell recruited and commanded Company E of Col. Albert Sidney Johnston's regiment, the First Texas Foot Riflemen, from May 19 through August 24, 1846. After this regiment was discharged, Snell returned to Texas to recruit a second company for Col. John C. Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers, which was in federal service from May 14 through June 5, 1847. In 1846 Snell was appointed postmaster of Houston; he served until 1850. He was married to Emma Hadnot of Harris County on May 30, 1849, and they had two daughters. The 1850 census listed no occupation for Snell but stated that he owned $2,000 in real estate. He was appointed postmaster at Caldwell in 1852.  By 1860, he had become a hotel keeper in Hempstead in Waller County and valued his real estate at $15,000. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of major. He died at Hempstead in November 1864.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Defenders of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Laurel House, 1989). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932). Charles D. Spurlin, comp., Texas Veterans in the Mexican War: Muster Rolls of Texas Military Units (Victoria, Texas, 1984). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

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

Thomas W. Cutrer Revised by Brett J. Derbes and Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Snell, Martin Kingsley,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 17, 2021

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