The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Snell, Martin Kingsley (1815–1865)

Thomas W. Cutrer Biography Entry

Martin Kingsley Snell, soldier, was born in 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. The 1850 census listed no occupation for Snell but stated that he owned $2,000 in real estate. He was married to Emma Hadnot of Harris County on May 30, 1849. During the Civil War he was a major in the Confederate Army. He died in Houston in 1865.

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).

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas
  • Civil War


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Snell, Martin Kingsley,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 22, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 27, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: