Snellville is a city found roughly 40 minutes east of Atlanta and within Gwinnett County. The population is 20,077 as of 2019. It is an advanced suburb of Atlanta and a part of the Atlanta metropolitan area.
In 1874 Thomas Snell and James Sawyer, seventeen-year-old friends from London, secretly began planning a voyage to America. On March 18, James and his brother, Charles, intended to leave England. However, Snell’s parents, having learned of the plan, wouldn’t permit him to leave, accordingly delaying his departure. The Sawyer brothers arrived in New York on April 1 after replanning their journey, and after a few weeks headed toward Athens, Georgia, landing Madison County, in which they stayed and worked on a farm for $10 a month. The Sawyers and Thomas then made their way through Jefferson and Lawrenceville, eventually calling the area that became known as Snellville home. Shortly after their arrival, Charles left for Pennsylvania, later returning to the South and settling in Alabama, choosing to go into the turpentine business after settling down.
Snell died at age 39 in 1896 due to headaches following an appendicitis operation. He turned into buried in Brownlee Mountain, presently known as Nob Hill, and was later reburied in nearby Lithonia.
Initially compelled into partial retirement because of failing eyesight, James Sawyer went on to lose his sight completely. After that, his store was owned and operated with the aid of several merchants. It was later destroyed in 1960 and replaced by a post office. James Sawyer died in 1948 at age 91 and is buried in the Baptist Cemetery (now Snellville Historical Cemetery).
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