Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Jay, 54, is a father of three and currently resides in St. George, UT where he teaches at Dixie State University. Apart from spending time with his family and working on various projects, he has a burning passion for doing family history work.
I knew about this story previously and I had asked Jay if he would be interested in participating over the phone since he lives at the opposite end of the state. He agreed but wanted to type everything out as he remembered it and include specific names and dates for historical context. He had served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Berkeley, California area in the mid 1980’s. His father wrote him a letter telling him that Jay had a family member, Naomi Hillam Hickish, living in his assigned area. Jay got in contact with Naomi, his great aunt, and set up his own interview to talk to her about the family history. The topic of conversation shifted to Teddy and they had the following conversation. He knew about Teddy but not this story.
Jay: Do you remember Teddy [Teddy Louis Ivan Sneddon Jr, born 21 April 1920] at all?
NHH: Yes. I was in junior high when he died but I remember him ‘cause he was such a cute little thing and he was so sick. Oh gee, that poor little guy. He couldn’t even walk across the room without he was just…couldn’t get any breath. And it was just a blessing. I was there when he died.
Jay: Do you remember that evening? They said someone saw someone…
NHH: My brother, Rod [Rodney Wareing Hillam, born 07 January 1892]. He was sitting out on the front porch, and he came in and was just as white as a sheet. And we looked at him as asked, “What was the matter?” He said, “I just saw Brentnall [Jesse Brentnall Higgs, Jr, born 11 Jun 1894].” Now that is a cousin of ours who had died just within a couple years before that. And we thought, “Oh, come on now…you must be kidding.” So he [Rod] said, “No. I think Teddy is going to die tonight, and Brentnall has come to take him.” And, by golly, the next day he [Teddy] died.
I was in junior high, and was shook the day Teddy died. I remember going to school and the teacher came and asked what was the matter with me, and I told her about Teddy. We had all loved him so because he was so sick. We would have loved him anyway, but you know what I mean. He was just a sweet little kid but he couldn’t do much because he was so sickly. He could walk, but most of the time, we carried him, he was small. He didn’t gain much weight. He didn’t run much, ‘cause he couldn’t, you know, he was just so sickly. We knew what was the matter with him. He was what you call a “blue baby”. When he was born, he was just blue. The blood never circulates right. He had a very bad heart. They said they were surprised that he even lived to be five years old.
He was a smart little kid, could talk, carry on good conversations and everything. One time…I don’t remember who’s lap he was sitting on…but he [Teddy] went to sleep. When he woke up, he turned to whoever was holding him, and…gosh, I forgot where he said he had been. But he said, “It was beautiful. And there was all pretty flowers around”. He described like he had been some place that was nothing like around we lived. So we all put two and two together and decided that it was just about time for him to go. Maybe he had been to heaven and had a good look at it, and seen how beautiful it was.
Just before Jo died [Josephine May Wareing Hillam Sneddon, born 16 June 1896, mother of Teddy]…now I didn’t see it, but I was told this. I got out there before she died ‘cause I wanted to see her. I couldn’t stay because I had little tiny kids. But anyway, they said that one day she was just lying there and she kept staring over in this corner, and she would look over and would stare. Pretty soon, they would say, “What are you looking at that for?” And she’d then look back at them, just like “are you nuts, can’t you see?” So she’d stare back at that corner again.
One day, somebody said, “Jo, what are you looking at?” And she said, “That’s Teddy over in the corner. Teddy’s over there.” And, by golly, she died right after that.
I get shaky when I talk about these things, you know. But I believe that.
As Jay was talking to me over the phone about this and in various phone calls about release forms, he kept reinforcing the sacredness of this family story and the special meaning it has to him. His tone held the utmost reverence when he wrote about his experience. If there was one take away from this, it is that this closely-held story has significant meaning to Jay.
Dr. Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
Place, Hillary, "About Teddy Louis Ivan Sneddon Jr." (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 369.