This rare cabinet card photograph depicts Henry Sneed, who was known by the residents of Henderson, Kentucky, as “Uncle Skillet” for his fish cooking prowess.

Henry Sneed was born into slavery at the Sneed Plantation in North Carolina around 1808. In 1852, Richard Sneed relocated to Henderson with his family, bringing Henry Sneed with him. After his emancipation, Sneed stayed in Henderson and grew to become a notable town figure, working as a day laborer, bank porter, janitor, and auctioneer.

According to local folklore, he would daily carry jugs of water on his head to the town courthouse, never spilling a drop, and on auction day he would parade up and down the streets of Henderson, ringing a bell and proclaiming the following rhyme, “All you that’s got money / Come up and buy / And you that ain’t got none / Stand back and cry!” For this reason, he is sometimes identified as Henderson’s town crier.


Daniel Oliver Gallery

Historical Sketch of Henderson