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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Mrs. Ralph Sneed

Mrs. Ralph Sneed, raised in Amber Valley, is the daughter of Jefferson Davis Edwards, a prominent and vocal member of Amber Valley Society, and the matriarch of the singing Sneed Family. Her reminiscences are those of not only a wife and mother, but also of someone who travelled the prairie with her daughters and grandson, singing the gospel message. She shares her insights into the social and political influences of her day: her father was passionate about politics and voting.

Children and Church
Ralph Sneed discusses the positive role church has played in her children's lives and in her life as well.
(Running Time: 0:51)

Church in Amber Valley
Jefferson Davis Edwards, a Baptist, and his wife Mattie, a Methodist, did not want to attend the Standard Church in Amber Valley, but insisted that their children go.
(Running Time: 1:02)

Although children occasionally got into arguments, Mrs. Sneed remembers her mother's claiming that these experiences in Alberta could hardly compare to the very blatant discrimination common in the United States.
(Running Time: 1:04)

Family Band
Music was an important part of Ralph Sneed's life. Mattie Edwards played the pump organ. Jefferson Davis Edwards, while still living in the United States, was always involved in one church choir or another. Mrs. Sneed and her daughters had a band and sang in various places all over Alberta. They sang for schools, churches, and funerals.
(Running Time: 1:48)

Family in the USA
Today, the Sneed family as connected to family members in the United States as Mattie and Jefferson Davis Edwards were at the turn of the twentieth century. In fact, a family reunion is held every two years.
(Running Time: 0:48)

Farm Cooking
Mattie Edwards was a good cook. Farmers grew their own vegetables, baked their own bread, and raised their own livestock. This made for wonderful meals, particularly at Christmastime.
(Running Time: 0:49)

Farm Work
Mattie Edwards stayed home most of the time and was a hard worker: she raised chickens, milked the cows, and, with the help of her children, carried out other farm chores. Children helped with stooking, threshing, and milking.
(Running Time: 0:55)

Growing Up on the Farm
Growing in in Amber Valley was fun. Children looked forward to the changing of the seasons and to threshing time. They played baseball, attended Sunday school, went to dances and picnics, and enjoyed a number of different activities. Mrs. Sneed would rather go to school than help her mother cook.
(Running Time: 1:43)

Jefferson Davis Edwards, the only one from his family to have emigrated to Canada, enjoyed farming and sowing grain. He travelled on horseback to conduct the census.
(Running Time: 1:07)

Home Birthings
Mattie and Jefferson Edwards were married in Edmonton. All 10 of their children, save one, were born in Canada, at home, with the help of midwives. At the time, there were three midwives serving the community.
(Running Time: 0:47)

Homesteading was not easy; children did what they could to help. The land was cleared by hand using such tools as an axe and hoe. Winters were cold.
(Running Time: 1:12)

Marriage and Children
Mrs. Ralph Sneed left school at 15 and married at 22. She had four daughters and one foster son.
(Running Time: 0:54)

From Oklahoma to Alberta
Mattie Murphy and Jefferson Davis Edwards came from Oklahoma to Alberta in 1910. They were married in Edmonton and had 10 children. They proved up their homestead and farmed in Amber Valley until 1962.
(Running Time: 1:47)

School Days
Mrs. Sneed enjoyed going to school and love to write and draw. She wrote prose and poems and made up stories about the things she saw in her imagination.
(Running Time: 1:38)

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