Personal History

Of

William Carl Sneed, Jr.

1905 ~ 1975

 

 

William Carl Sneed, Jr. ~ known throughout his life by his middle name Carl ~ led a somewhat nomadic life in his earlier years.  He was the 11th child of William Carl and Rachel Tennessee (Melton) Sneed, born in Howe, Grayson County, Texas.  His parents, with their eight children, had migrated from McMinn County, Tennessee about 1900, operating a farm in the Howe, Texas area.  Sometime after 1910 the family, now with 11 children, migrated from Howe, Texas to the Checotah, Oklahoma area.

 

Mr. Sneed, Sr. was a very successful farmer in McIntosh County, Oklahoma and Carl, along with his brothers, helped on the family farm until he was 18 or 19 when he started his “adventurous” times.  During the next few years Carl worked for various people doing whatever he could to earn a dime. 

 

He married in 1926, and had one son, Carl Ray Sneed by that marriage.  That marriage lasted but a short time.  A note:  He was so proud of that son ~ a career Army man who went on to accomplish an outstanding record. 

 

Carl was quite a storyteller, and would relate his involvement in a few less-than-legitimate endeavors.  These events happened long before he became involved in law enforcement, which ultimately became his passion ~ a passion for helping people.  During the Depression Days he had a job changing out shock absorbers on the cars of bootleggers transporting moonshine from the stills to “market”.  Very stiff “shocks” when the car was loaded, and on the empty return trip very loose “shocks”.  The law couldn’t tell when the cars were loaded down with moonshine!  He ended up in Texas again in his early 20s ~ there he was involved in the burning of a Texas courthouse ~ no need to disclose the reason at this point.  No one was hurt or killed, and as one of many he was not arrested.   

 

He did manage to lead a somewhat “normal” life after that.  He was an assistant coach for a girl’s basketball team in a small town in Texas.  This writer is not certain how he got that job and exactly what he might have known about coaching!  Depression years, along with the terrible Dust Bowl of the early ‘30s was a difficult period, but It was here in Amarillo, Texas that he met Willie P. “Billie” Williams, who would become his wife in 1931.   Within that first year they moved to a ranch outside of Sheridan, Wyoming where their first daughter, Peggy, was born.  Carl worked on a cattle and farming ranch there for a short time and then moved the family back to Checotah, Oklahoma near his family.  Their second daughter, Dixie, was born in Checotah in 1933.  Carl worked for Western Auto Supply there, and began volunteering his time to help in law enforcement. 

 

Throughout the next several years Carl would follow work wherever he could find it ~ in the cotton fields of his relatives, running a gas station back in Texas, and general labor wherever he could find work.  Oklahoma Tire & Supply Company in Tulsa was hiring ~ he signed on and at $65.00 a month managed to buy a piece of property and build a house in Dawson, Oklahoma for his family.  From his family, Carl had learned to make “brick chili”, so for extra money he started making his famous “brick chili” and selling it.  (Today doctors would have a heart attack just talking about it, but it was surely good!)  He ordered a set of books and completed over time, a correspondence course, studying the electrician trade.  Following the start of WWII he went to Portland, Oregon to work in the shipyards there.  This was the only way he knew to support the war effort while his son served in combat. 

 

After spending several months in Portland, he returned home to Dawson and went to work for Spartan Aircraft Company as an electrician.  In 1943 Carl suffered a serious back injury in a fall on the job with Spartan Aircraft.  After recovering from his injuries he, with his family, moved back to Wyoming, where he would serve in various positions of law enforcement ~ deputy sheriff, town marshal, on-the-beat-officer, and chief of police ~ over the next almost 30 years in Clearmont, Buffalo, and Worland, Wyoming.  He served as president of the Big Horn Basin Wildlife Club, was a Salvation Army representative, worked with the Civil Defense organization,  a Mason and a Shriner. 

 

Carl enjoyed spending time at either of two mountain cabins they owned in the Big Horns, preferably with some of his family with him.  They built a retirement home in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, but lived there only a short time.   Carl’s health required him to be close to the hospital, so they moved back to Worland.  His heart of gold that had cared for so many finally gave out on October 18, 1975.

 

Carl helped many, many people throughout his years in law enforcement.  He loved his family ~ especially his “grandbabies”.  His hobby was playing Pinochle with the fellows at the pool hall and baking favorite cookies for his “grandbabies”.