Farrier William Snowden

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

William P. Snowden was born in Kentucky in 1825, but he has the renown of being the first permanent white settler to settle in Omaha. With his wife Rachel, he rode a flatboat ferry from Kanesville (now Council Bluff, Iowa) on July 11, 1854. To other pioneers who would follow, they would become "Uncle Billy" and "Aunt Rachel." The two would live long and fruitful lives, surviving until 1909 and 1898, respectively. Community records describe him as a "popular figure [who] dug the first grave in Omaha near the present 10th and Howard Streets for an Omaha Indian woman abandoned by her tribe. Among his pursuits, he was the first auctioneer in Omaha, a City Marshall in 1875, and a charter member of the Old Settler's Association."

Snowden was also a patriot. During the Mexican War, he served in combat with the Missouri Mounted Volunteers in California under Colonel Alexander Doniphan. As befitted a proud veteran, when the call went out to preserve the Union, Snowden quickly answered. As a well respected thirty-six year old, he enlisted in Company B as Fourth Sergeant. He was promoted to Third and Second Sergeant before reenlisting as a veteran. On July 1, 1865 Snowden was promoted to the regimental staff, serving out the final months of the war as the Fifth Iowa Cavalry Regimental Farrier.

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