Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)
by Dakota Brewer, the daughter of Manco, for the occasion of the John H. and Sarah Lovin descendants’ reunion on February 17, 2007 at Tsali Manor, Cherokee, NC.
Manco Sneed was born in Graham County Feb.18-1885, the son of John Harrison and Sarah Lovin Sneed, but later moved to Cherokee and lived in the “Sneed Gap” section all of his life where he and my mother Rosebud Beck Sneed raised their family of seven children. He died at age 89.
He was known among the “old time fiddlers” of western N.C. as the “Indian fiddler” and was considered the best “old time fiddler” of them all, including Dedrick Harris from Cherokee County, Ozzie Helton and brother Ernest, and Bill Hensley to name a few.
These fiddlers and musicians came to our house many times to play music with dad because he could play by the hour without playing the same tune twice. He mainly played for pleasure but often played for square dance teams at the Cherokee Fair and on a few occasions played at the Mountain dance and Folk Festival in Asheville which was organized by Bascom Lamar Lunsford who was a friend of dads and came to our house many times.
Those who heard his music knew it was a sophisticated type of music because it was so pleasant to hear and the musicians who came to play music with him were always anxious to learn the tunes which were many such as “Polly Put the Kettle on,” “Band Box,” “Down Yonder,” “Indian War Dance” — too many to name.
One summer a man from Washington D.C. came to Cherokee, he taped many of the tunes to be put in the Library of Congress. Many of the musicians who came to hear dad play, taped his music as many of our relatives have heard his music over the airways in the past years.
His sons Lawrence and Russell Sneed played guitars and daughter Mary-Russell also played the fiddle. Dad’s brother Peco played the fiddle and Uncle Osco would walk from his home in Birdtown to play his banjo with his brothersﾅf fiddle music.
Our grandfather John Sneed played the fiddle and sometimes played with dad but he didn’t know too many of dad’s tunes, he played “left handed” Dad was “right handed” John Sneed spoke the Cherokee language fluently and at one time was Interrupter [sic] for the Court in Bryson City when a trial involved a Cherokee because he spoke both Cherokee and English. He lived to be 87 — is buried in the Drama Cemetery.
Dad lived to be 89 years old and is buried in the Cam Sneed Cemetery where his brother Peco along with Cam and their mother Sarah Lovin Sneed is also buried.
There are only seven children of the original families living Carie Robinson, Ernest Sneed, Marie Maney, Priscilla Cooper, Virginia Dixon, Dakota Brewer and John Sneed.
Transcription by Carmaleta Littlejohn Monteith, daughter of Isaac Mitchell Littlejohn and Mildred Ruth Sneed Littlejohn, daughter of Peco Sneed and Armenthia Patterson Sneed
*Note: Below is further information contributed by Carmaleta L. Monteith, February 25, 2007
The children that Dakota refers to as “of the original families” are:
- Child of Manco and Rosebud Beck Sneed
- Dakota Sneed Brewer
- Children of Campbell (Cam, brother of Manco) and Mindy Bradley Sneed are:
- Carrie Sneed Robinson
- Ernest Sneed
- Marie Sneed Maney
- Priscilla Sneed Cooper
- Virginia Sneed Dixon
- Child of Peco Sneed (brother of Manco) and Armenthia Patterson Sneed
- John Butler Sneed