Not all deeds are for land: Can I have a pony?

How many small children have wished for a pony? My nieces believe that they have husband wrapped around their little fingers and that he would buy them one if they just asked.  (Fortunately for sister and brother-in-law, my nieces have never asked. 🙂 )

Nicholas Snavely is my 4th great grandfather born abt 1811 and died abt 1893.  (I’ve been researching my Snavely line for my KDP project for my BCG certification.) As I was searching for deeds for Nicholas, I found this gem:

Know all men by these presents that I Nicholas Snavely of the County of smyth State ov Virginia have given and do here
by give to my grand son & grand daughter Adam Jones and Mary J Jones one black colt two years old colt of my sorrel mare many to have and to have the said colt &its increase to the said Adam Jones & Mary Jones & all heirs for ever free from the claims of the said Nicholas Snavely and well other persons whom ?? ?? witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and of fixed my seal this 1st February 1858.

Nicholas Snavely <seal> 1

Adam and Mary were the children of Elizabeth Snavely and John T Jones, and were 4 and 2 respectively when Nicholas made this gift. He had three other grandchildren at time; I have no evidence that he made a similar gift to them.

Elizabeth (Snavely) Jones died a few years later, sometime between 1863 and 1867, and while Adam was living with his father and stepmother,2 Mary was living with her grandparents Nicholas and Mary.3 We find various of the Jones’ children living with him over the years.

I have yet to discover why he made this gift, but it is evident by his relationship with his grandchildren after his daughter’s death that he and his wife were involved in their lives and upbringing.

And the gift of a pony, adds some light on who the man was and reveals his relationship with his grandchildren.


1. Smyth County, Virginia, “Deeds, 1832-1865; index to deeds, 1832-1929: Deeds, Vol. 7-8 1856-1865,” vol. 7, page 227-228, Nicholas Snavely deed gift to Adam Jones, record date; FHL microfilm 33983.
2. 1870 U.S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Marion Township, p. 28 (penned), dwelling 171, family 178, John Jones household; database and digital images, ( : accessed 15 Oct 2012; digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M593, roll 1679.
3. 1870 U.S. census, Smyth County, Virginia, population schedule, Marion Township, pp. 27, 28 (penned), dwelling 170, family 177, Nicholas and Mollie Snavely; database and digital images, ( : accessed 2 Jun 2010); digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll 1679.

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