History of William Snow

Note: I am indebted to Wanda Snow Petersen for her permission to use excerpts from her book, William Snow, The first Bishop of Pine Valley. She is one of the few remaining granddaughters of William Snow who are still alive, as of end of Feb 2000.
My own additions to his history are shown as regular print - not bold. Because of the size of her book, 200+ pages, I'm only going to quote selected passages.


When William Snow died in Pine Valley, Utah, on 10 May 1879, his younger brother Erastus stood at the graveside and wept. “Oh, dear Brother William,” he said, “I should be in that grave instead of you.” He turned to William's grieving widows and said, “William Snow was a man absolutely without guile.” William and Erastus had always been close.

Biographer Andrew Karl Larson, in his book Erastus Snow, says:

William was twelve years older than Erastus, and all through his life he had looked upon his
favorite brother with much affection and respect. It was William who had baptized the boy
Erastus on that cold February third more than forty-six years earlier, when together they had
broken the ice of Lake Derby to enable the elder brother to perform the ceremony. . . . At the
graveside, where it was customary for the coffin to be reopened for one last look at the departed
loved one, Erastus gazed long at his brother's peaceful countenance. “William,” he breathed
softly, “I almost envy you.’ Then glancing at the open grave at his feet he said, “William, this
place is too small for your great soul.” William was gone and the years were closing in on

William was a quiet man, a mild-mannered, gentle man, a kind-hearted man, a man who spread such loving care among his children that each of his daughters expressed at one time or another the certainty that she was his favorite child.

Here was a man who had been destined to follow his conscience: from the forests of Vermont where he joined the Church and began his missionary labors, across the plains of the Midwest as he shepherded a hundred pioneers into the Great Basin, and to the tops of the Pine Valley Mountains where his life ended. Enfolded in a faith which traveled with him all his days, he never wavered; he never doubted. William Snow was a man who served his God with full faith and devotion.

William Snow was one of those individuals whose life touched for the better not only his family and children, but also hundreds of associates in his ecclesiastical, civic and economic pursuits of life. He was one of those good faithful people who form the backbone of every movement, but who never become visible or famous. This is the theme of his life.

William was a quiet man, a mild-mannered, gentle man, a kind-hearted man, a man who spread such loving care among his children that each of his daughters expressed at one time or another the certainty that she was his favorite child.

Here was a man who had been destined to follow his conscience: from the forests of Vermont, where he joined the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and began his missionary labors, across the plains of the Midwest as he shepherded a hundred pioneers into the Great Basin, and to the tops of the Pine Valley Mountains where his life ended. Enfolded in a faith which traveled with him all his days, he never wavered; he never doubted. William Snow was a man who served his God with full faith and devotion. It could be said of him, as was said of Mahatma Ghandi, that when he learned a truth he arose the next day and lived it.


When William Snow was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont on the 14th day of December 1806, he came, a second son and third child, into the home of Levi and Lucina Streeter Snow. The names of the children were:

Levi Mason SNOW (15 Jul 1803-) m. Lydia Ann Aldrich
Lucina SNOW (20 Aug 1804-1 Apr 1861) m. Albert Warner
William SNOW (14 Dec 1806-19 May 1879)
Zerubbabel SNOW (29 Mar 1809-27 Sep 1888) m. Susan Slater Lang, Mary Augusta Hawkins and ? Carter
Willard Trowbridge SNOW (6 Nov 1811-21 Aug 1853) m. Melvina Harvey, Susan Harvey and Mary Bingham Freeman
Mary Minerva SNOW (30 Jul 1813-9 Feb 1891) m. Jacob Gates
Shipley Wilson SNOW (5 Feb 1816-1905) m. Jean Hunter
Erastus SNOW (9 Nov 1818-27 May 1888) m. (multiple marriages)
Charles Van Rensselaer SNOW (24 Aug 1821-11 Apr 1879) m. Sally Etoline Mann and Margaret Skeene
Lydia Mason SNOW (7 Dec 1823-2 Feb 1900) m. John Lewis
Melissa Diantha SNOW (20 Aug 1826-16 Aug 1903) m. Jeter Clinton
Levi and Lucina saw that their children received the best education obtainable at the time. They lived in St. Johnsbury for the next thirty years and all but two of their eleven children were born there. Because of the drive for education from both the Snow and the Streeter sides of the family, hundreds of Levi's descendants achieved high degrees in education and science.

Into the Vermont area of industrious and serious-minded people the first Mormon missionaries came carrying news of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which had been established by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1830. On 4 May 1832, two Mormon missionaries, Orson Pratt, Sr. and Lyman E. Johnson, came to the town of Charleston, Vermont, preaching the new doctrine. William and Zerubbabel were working in Charleston at the time and went out of curiosity to hear the men preach. Their cousin Winslow Farr and his wife Olive were present at this meeting. Olive had been an invalid for seven years. When she heard the Mormons say they held the Priesthood of God which gave them the power to heal, she asked for a blessing and was healed immediately. As a result, the whole Farr family joined the Mormon Church. This healing impressed William and Zerubbabel. On 19 May 1832, William was baptized, and in a day or two Zerubbabel also entered the waters of baptism.

They told their parents of their decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and were influential in getting their mother and many family members to join. William baptized his younger brother Erastus on 3 February 1833, at Charleston. Willard, as well as Mary's husband, Jacob Gates, joined on 18 June 1833, and Zerubbabel confirmed them. Mason and Shipley were the only members of the family who did not join the Church.

A granddaughter, Bessie Snow makes mention of William's devotion to the Church.

After joining the Mormon Church, William spent a lot of time studying this new religion. Soon after joining, he was ordained an Elder. This new religion seemed so plain, so simple, and so important to him that he was anxious to go out and preach it to all of this neighbors. He was soon to be disappointed, however, when he saw how few were interested, but he never lost enthusiasm for this work; and from this time on, his life and energies were devoted to this work. No sacrifice was too great, no toil too severe, no undertaking too hazardous for him if he thought the end in view was to further God's work. Shipley said he didn't deny the new  religion but would accept nothing that reason did not sanction, and the only thing that would ever make him believe there was anything to it was the fact that a man like his brother William would embrace such a doctrine. William was courageous, mild mannered, and extremely kind. He would do almost anything to avoid a quarrel. His faith in this new religion was strengthened by two remarkable instances of healing by his own hands in 1832.
An account of one of these healings is recorded by Nathan Gardner, a grandson, given in William's words:
On the 16th of July 1832 I was ordained to the office of Priest under the hand of L.(Lyman)E. Johnson  . . .  25th, journeyed to Newport with Br. Hazen Aldrich, 16 miles. Held meeting that evening. After meeting returned to Mr. Warner's. Found my sister Lucina there with babe severely afflicted with fits caused by taking of paregoric in so much that they all despaired of its life, and all present, my sister excepted, were opposed to the work of the Lord. I, unbeknown to all present, put my hands upon the child and asked my Heavenly Father to rebuke the fits and they immediately left and returned no more.
On this same page Nathan Gardner writes about the other incident:
William spent a great deal of time visiting the Saints, holding meetings, administering to the sick, and preaching the Gospel as well as careing for his farm. On October 24th he left Charleston to attend conference in Spafford, New York. The trip was made in 18 days by foot, ferry, and (Erie) Canal boat covering some 445 miles. Many Saints were visited, meetings held, and considerable missionary work done enroute. On this trip he records, 'I traveled to my father's in St. Johnsbury where I found my brother Charles, a boy eleven years of age, very bad with the cut of an ax, so he could not put his foot to the floor. He desired me to lay hands on him. I did so and he immediately rose up and walked, much to the surprise of the family present.'


In the spring of 1829 William Snow bought a farm in Charleston, New Orleans County, Vermont, some twenty-eight miles from the home of his parents. While working his farm he lived with some friends nearby. One evening a young woman, Hannah Miles, who had been born at Wheelock, Caledonia County, came to that home to visit her boyfriend, a son of the family where William live. She stayed until after dark supposing her young man would accompany her home. It was a wild and unsettled country, and the man was afraid to venture out alone in the dark, so he let her start out by herself. This so disgusted William that he escorted Hannah all the way home.

William found this friendship to his liking, and on 21 September 1832, he married Hannah Miles and took her to live on his farm. He tells of leaving immediately on a missionary journey. Evidently his new bride remained at home. This mission lasted until the end of January. He lists 665 miles of travel in three states before returning to his home in Charleston. Of these journeys William traveled at various times as a companion of Orson Pratt, Lyman E. Johnson or Hazen Aldrich.

On 18 Jun the next year (1833) a son, whom they named Levi, was born to Hannah and William. The child died at birth, but William makes no mention of the heartache of the parents then, nor two years later in February 1835 when a second frail child, Lucina, was born and also died at birth.

While living on his farm in Charleston, William supplemented his income by serving as constable and clerk of the state and county, and he collected taxes. He was a man of such individual honesty that any amount of tax money would find safekeeping in his hands.

In the meantime the Church was organized on 6 April 1830, in New York State and missionaries were sent out beyond Vermont and as far north as settlements in Canada. New members came from various religious sects, and persecutions of the Saints resulted from jealousy and misunderstandings about the new religion. From its beginning, vilifications were heaped upon the church leaders and the members as well. William and all the Snows who joined the Church endured the hardships, ostracizing and humiliation which came into the lives of people who embrace the Mormon doctrine.

Before the close of 1831 the Church headquarters were moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and many members went there to be near the prophet Joseph Smith. It was around this time that the Prophet received a revelation and led a mission to Independence (Missouri). As a result two areas grew up as shared headquarters of the Church.

William's sister Mary and her husband Jacob Gates were the first members of the Snow families to move to Kirtland. From there they went on to Far West, Missouri, a distance of a thousand miles. It is not clear which (other) Snows lived in Kirtland, but it is known that Erastus was there for the dedication of the Temple in 1836.

We don't find the date when William and Hannah left Vermont, but it may have been before 1836, at the time his parents Lucina and Levi Snow sold their farm at St. Johnsbury and headed West to finally arrive at Far West. Lucina had been baptized into the Church at St. Johnsbury in Jun 1833, but her husband Levi never did join, although he associated with the Church and defended it for the rest of his life.

On 5 November 1837, a third child, Abigail, was born to William and Hannah at Far West. She was a healthy baby who filled their hearts with joy.

It was in Far West on 8 July 1838, that the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation about tithing. When that principle was taught to William he accepted it willingly. From then on he paid a full and honest tithe on everything that came into his possession. Always the largest load of hay, the fullest bushel of potatoes, the plumpest bags of grain went to the tithing yard, and ten cents out of every dollar he earned was given freely to the Lord.

On 15 April 1839, after Governor Boggs had issued an extermination order expelling the Saints from Missouri, all of the Snows left Farr West and started for Quincy, Illinois. Because of the rampant persecutions of the Mormons, they had to go off and leave their homes and property. They arrived in Quincy on the 27th of April, and in June they moved on to Montrose on the Iowa side of the river. There they planted gardens and began building houses for their families. While living in Montrose Father Levi Snow was taken seriously ill with pleurisy and died on 2 November 1841. He was buried on the west bank of the Mississippi River.

In the meantime William and Hannah had moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, to help build up that new city. It was there on 14 March 1841, that Hannah gave birth to her fourth child, Mason Snow, who died the same day. One can know that in the nine years Hannah had been married to William, life had not been easy for her. Carrying and birthing four babies and enduring the sorrow of the deaths of three of them left her despondent and in poor health. Hannah did not recover from the birth of this fourth child, and she died on 30th of March 1841.

At Hannah's death William was left with his three-year-old daughter Abigail. Now he was called on a two-year mission to the Eastern States, so he left Abigail with her Grandmother Lucina. While William was in the East, he married Lydia Leavitt whom he had known in Vermont. They were married in August 1842. When he and Lydia came back to Nauvoo he told little Abigail that he had brought her a new Mama.

Within the year William was called on another mission to LaPorte, Indiana, and he left along with his brother-in-law Jacob Gates just fifteen days before his new wife Lydia gave birth to their first child, Sariah Hannah, born 28 Jul 1843. this was a healthy baby, much to the joy of her parents.

On 12 July 1843, Joseph Smith confided to some close friends, among whom was William Snow, that he had received a revelation of plural marriage. This doctrine was not taught widely at first but was mentioned to a few intimate friends. As usual, William accepted this revelation from his Prophet as the word of the Lord.

The enemies of Joseph and the Church seized upon this new development and others to continue to hound and persecute the Saints. This culminated on 27 June 1844, when the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered at Carthage Jail. The mobs had supposed that by killing the leaders the Mormons would disband and go away. But this tragedy only made them  more dtermined to survive. They renewed their efforts to complete the temple so that their sacred ordinances might be administered to them. William was called as an ordinance worker, and he stayed there (in the temple) day after day until the Saints left Nauvoo.

Since Joseph Smith had previously advised William to take another wife, he married Sally Adams on 11 January 1846.  Before William married Sally, some of  his friends told him he was foolish to marry a girl with health problems because she might not live very long. William replied that he was sure she would outlive him by many years, which she did.


All that winter of 1845-1846  the mobs continued persecuting the Saints and in February 1846, the leaders of the church decided that as many as could be spared would outfit themselves and start in the direction of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to begin mapping the trail for the trek West. Erastus, William's brother, was chosen to go with this vanguard company. The rest of the people were to follow in the spring as soon as they could get ready.

The people who remained in Nauvoo were still badgered by the mobs of lawless men who broke their promises to the Saints and laid seige to the city where only a few able-bodied men remained to help prepare for their spring departure. On 17 September 1846, after a three-day reign of terror, most of the Mormons then in Nauvoo where driven from their homes and the mobs took possession of the city.

Among those expelled from Nauvoo during Erastus's absence were the rest of the Snow families. William and his family camped on the west bank of the Mississippi river at Montrose in a driving rain with no shelter but the covered wagons. That night Lydia's baby, Mason Levi, took sick and died from cold and exposure. He was buried the next day in a crude coffin that rested on poles in the bottom of the grave beside his Grandfather Levi Snow.

William and his brother, Willard went back to Nauboo and sold what they could; then with their mother, Lucina Streeter Snow, they and their families left their camp on the Mississippi River on 5 July 1846, and headed West.

After William's family left Montrose and headed West, the weather was bad and the mud so deep that there were times when one yoke of oxen could not pull the wagon out of the mire, and so two yoke of oxen would be put on one wagon. Many days they traveled by five or six miles.

By the time William's group reached Council Bluffs on 9 Jan 1847, his wife Lydia was so ill from hardships and exposure that she died, leaving her little daughter Sariah and Hannah's daughter Abigail, for Sally to raise. These girls said in later years that they never could have had a more tender, loving mother that Sally.

While William's and other Snow families remained at Council Bluffs, the vangard company led by Brigham Young headed west. Erastus was in this company which left Winter Quarters 5 Apr 1847.

William and the men assigned to stay were busily building houses using cottonwood logs obtained from the nearby river banks. these logs were not so durable as hardwoods, but they were used because they were easily obtained. The Pioneers learned to use whatever was available and to make do with what the Lord provided. When floors were put into the houses, they were made of slabs sawed from the sides of logs and smoothed out with a plane.

William had hoped to go West with the rest of his family, but since President Young had asked him to remain and raise crops for the Saints who would be coming along regularly, he accepted that directive the same way he always followed the counsel from the Brethern.

William built a house for Sally which Bess Snow describes:

Grandfather William's house was typical of the rest. It was 18 feet long. One log laid upon another with a notch at each end, to form the cornes and hold them in place. A ridge pole resting on the walls and supported at the center by two uprights served to hold the poles for the roof. The roof poles were placed close together and covered with clay to keep the snow and rain out. The cracks in the walls were plastered with clay. Clay also made a good fireplace when fashioned up against the ends of the logs where a suitable hole had been cut out. The chimney, leaning up against the outside, was made from blocks of sod cut with a spade. Across the top of the fireplace was an iron rod to hang kettles for cooking. Most of the chairs were made from willows. The bed for the two little girls, Abigail and Sariah, was made of four posts and four side pieces slipped into the holes in the posts. Ropes woven back and forth held the bed together and served as springs as well. The mattress was filled with grass. As the roof leaked the first year, William covered it with shakes. (Bess Snow Snow, self published, 1947)
The remainder of the winter of 1847 was a particularly trying time for the Saints in Council Bluffs, Despite their hard work, they endured shortages of supplies and extremely cold weather. In the spring of 1847, John Taylor arrived in Council Bluffs with $2,000 that had been sent by the Saints in England to help the Pioneers across the Plains. This money was of immeasurable benefit to the people in Council Bluffs and Winter Quarters, for although food stuffs were inexpensive, money was scarce among the Saints. The people's suffering was lessened somewhat when they could buy food, flour, grain and other need supplies

During the years William remained in Council Bluffs, he spervised two full seansons of crops being planted and harvested. Sally and William's first child, Julia Maria, was born at Council Bluffs on 20 February 1849. In the spring of 1850 William was eager to start West. In June he was given permission by the orgainzing committee to head a company of one hundred, assisted by his cousin Gardner Snow, who would be over fifty.

William very likely had in his hands a copy of the regulations and rules laid down by Brigham Young for his vanguard group in the spring of 1847. Those rules were:

1. A bugle will blow each day at 5 a.m. and every man is expected to arise and pray, then attend to his team, get breakfast and be prepared to travel at 7 am.
2. Each man is to walk at the side of his team with his gun loaded and within reach.
3. The camp will halt about noon to rest the animals. People must have their dinner pre—cooked so as not to delay camp by fixing meals.
4. At night the wagons are to be drawn into a circle and the animals placed inside the circle when possible.
5. The bugle will blow at 8:30 p.m. when every man must return to his wagon and pray, except the night guard. Fires must be out and people in bed by 9 p.m.
é. The camp will travel in close order and no man is to get farther than 20 rods away (about 330 feet) without permission from his captain of 10.
7. Every man is to help take care of his brother’s cattle. No man will be indulged in idleness.
8. Every man is to have his rifle and pistol in perfect working order. A piece of leather should be kept over the firing mechanism to protect it from moisture.
9. All persons will start together and keep together. A company guard will attend the cannon in the rear and see that nothing is left behind at each stopping place.
William did not carry a cannon, and he was not breaking trail, since many companies had traveled the western march in the more than two years since Brigham Young’s vanguard company had reached Salt Lake City. Parley P. Pratt had led the second company to the valley, arriving September 19, and others soon came until over two thousand Saints arrived in Great Salt Lake City during the autumn of 1847. Companies of one hundred were also led by Allen Taylor, Lorenzo Snow, William G. Perkins and Zerah Pulsipher.

William probably organized his company according to instructions and in consultation with other leaders, establishing a set of camp rules. His organized plan was good, but not all people were in harmony with the arrangements. Some opposed the plans and not always with good grace. The company began a trip fraught with sorrows and cares as well as pleasant experiences.

The following is an excerpt from his diary that contains the events of the trip to Salt Lake City.

Diary of William Snow. Accross the Plains, begginning in June 1850. [Parts left out were illegible.]
. . . Gardner Snow, Capt. 2nd 50. We then appointed 7 capts. of 10 and adjourned untill Sunday forenoon when we held a meeting of worship. Asked Br. Joseph Young to speak. He did so for a short time, when we adjourned untill afternoon, when we met and appointed 3 more capts of 10. Asked Br. Joseph Young if he would like to act as capt. of 10 waggons and choos such of his friends as he wished to travel with, as I had previsly understood he had said would sute him. He said no. He did not want to be capt. of 10 nor of 50. The council had appointed him two years ago to lead a company to the mountains and now they had — there own words and went on to considerable length manifesting a spirit anything but good. However, we finished our organization and same evening commenced crossing our waggons and continued with but little ceasation untill we had crossed 136 waggons.

Friday morning, 21st, we started from the river. Traveled about 12 miles to water and timber. Br. J.M. Grant was just leaving the ground with his waggons. Br. Roundays team were there. Same evening Br. Woodruff came up with his company. This day Br. Cole had a child die with boul complaint. About two years old. Was buried that evening.

Next morning, Sat. 22nd, we met to arrang our traviling when Br. Warren Smith left t company unseremonously without the consent the company with 14 waggons as capt. of same. When I discovered he was going, I went to him, and asked him if he was going acording to order. He said he was not. I told him if he left in this way he went without the sanction of this company and without the good feelings, prayers and faith. He still went on. Same morning we started with 60 waggons by unanimous vote of the company, leaving 62 in the 2nd 50 to follow. We traviled about I0 miles to Rock Creek, overtook Br. Grants company. Camped here over Sunday. Some raney. Afternoon held meeting. Tords night Br. Woodruff came up. Br. Grant moved of. We remained on the ground.

Monday 24. Raney. We did not start. I went back 3 miles to Squaw Creek where 2nd 50 was camped. Found some sick with bowl complaint. One case of colery, Father Sweet, but he was getting better. When I returned to our camp I found several of the company was sick.

We remained untill Tuesday morning, 25th, when we started. Tr. 3 miles to the first creek. Overtook some of Elder Woodrufs camp that had gone ahead. We passed 6 graves newly made on the hill. We had two bad places to cross this day. Camped 6 miles from the upper crossing of Rock Creek on the prarie.

Wednesday, 26th. We triveled 6 miles to Rock Creek. Crossed over foornoon. On the west bank of this creek we saw three graves of the Saints, viz. M. McDougal, Alfred Brown, a child by the name of Webb. Continued our journey on this afternoon to where we found on the prairie without timber, about 4 miles from the creek. Here we camped. This night Clark Campbell, age 26 years, died with cholra. Also a little girl of Geo. Catlins 4 years old.

Thursday 27th. Continued our journey. Came to Salt Creek. Crosed over. Passed Br. Whipple and company. Tr. about 5 miles where we encamped for the night. Here 2 children died with cholra, Br. Barnhams and Br. Samel Smiths.

Friday 28. Tr. about 10 miles. Camped on prarie without wood. Had a heavy showr.

Sat. 29th. Traviled about 5 miles to wood and water where we camped for the night. Here Wm. Fox died with cholra, aged 18 years. Sister Bibee was confined same night. Gave birth to a fine girl.

Sunday 30. We remained in camp. Br. Joseph King taken with cholera and died same evening. This
evening camp came together. Prayed for health of camp, and the weather.

Monday morning, July 1st, berried Br. King, Br. James Mcleland had 2 children very sick, but we started on. Traveled about 13 miles. This day we met the mail from the valley. One of Br. McClelans children died.

Tues. 2d. Buried Br. McCleland child. Tr. 10 miles. Camped for the night. Br. Whipple camped one side of us. Br. Woodruff the other. Health of camp very good.

Wednesday 3. Tr. about 14 miles to Platt bottom where we camped. Weather fine. Health much better than had been for some time.

Thursday, 4th of July. Tr. 12 miles to Clear Creek. Stopped. Women commenced to the wash. This evening camp met to see if we to should divide camp but could not agree to seperate. A few wished to goo. We agreed to both give untill morning & all who wished to star in the morning with Br. Noble might do so.

Friday 5. Morning we caled on all who wished to go on to come out, but a few came out. Br. Geo. Catlin came, but not enough to after make a company. So non started until noon when Br. McClelan took two tens and started. Soon after he started I learned Sister Catlin was taken sick. She lived but a few hours. One camp of 13 waggons stayed untill Sat. morning, 6th, when we started early and overtook the camp. Stoped and fed and started the camp on. We followed soon.

Sund. 7. We camped on the bank of the Platt. Had a meeting. I baptized Br. John Moon for his health, Sister Utley, Br. Fox, Br. Shipley. Evening baptized Br. Farley. I had forgot to say Friday we found Br. John Moon on the prarie so bad he could not walk to his waggon. We laid hands on him, helped him to his waggon and baptized him 7 times, anointed him and he was much better, after miles which I baptized Norman Hines, Joseph Robins, Canine Roberts, Charles Cole, Lucinda Cole, James Cole, Ellin Smith.

Sunday 7th. Br. Woodrifs company came up.  Also Br. Garner with 10 waggons, 2-10 from the 2nd division of our company.

Monday (8th) morning we started early. Tr. about 16 miles. Br. Day broke his waggon wheel down.

Tuesday 9. Mother Moon died early in the morning. We started the main body of camp. The rest stoped. Buried Sister Moon. Mended Br. Days waggon. We came on and overtook the camp about 10 miles.

Wednesday 10th. Tr. 16 miles. Camped on the Platt.

Thirsday 11th. Tr. 16 miles to Clean Creek. This day Br. 0. Hyde passed us. Ira got run over with the gib waggon, both wheels.

Friday 12. Tr. passed Garners 10. Sister Price very sick. Also her babe. Sister Burnham took her little babe 2 years old. Brought it on with us. It died that afternoon. Br. John Moon died this evening. Had a very heavy thunder shower. Buryed Br. Moon in the evening, also the child of Sister Prices.

Sat. morning 13 About 8 miles from the fort Br. Walton went back after a cow of Sister Kings that had been left the day before because she was lame, but could not drive her. She was so bad had to leave her. This night camped about 1 1/2 mile from the fort at Grand Island. Very heavy rain. Stayed over Sunday. Meet in evening and talked some about our journey and our religion. This night a very heavy shower.

Monday 15. Rainy in the morning. Started about 10 o'clock. Passed Br. Grant, Br. Leonard and Persons just ahead. Tr. about 12 miles. Charles M. Johnson died Sunday morning 14th out of Br. Leonards camp of 10.

Tuesday 16th. Traviled about 18 miles to Plum Creek. Found flies bad this afternoon here. We stoped and washed and dried out things.

Wednesday 17. Afternoon Br. Woodrufs company came in sight and camped on the river.

Thursday 18. Half past 7 morning started  from Plum Creek. This day passed 15 graves, mostly gold diggers. Traviled about 16 miles.

Friday 19. Traviled about 16 miles. pased 24 graves.

Sat. 20. Tr. about 18 miles. Passed 12 graves. Passed Br. Grant camped about one mile 1/2 from him. Here there begins to be bufaloe near the road. Stayd over Sunday about 4 miles from the Cottonwood Springs.

Monday, 22nd. Pased the Spring. Drove about 8 miles. Stoped for noon. The bufalo became so plenty our camp thought they must have some, and while we were getting up our cattle, Br. McCleian with 5 or 6 more men started off requesting that the teams should stop. We then drove about two miles to the river. Got some wood, the next morning. Burnt coal to fix some waggons this morning.

Tuesday 23. The men brought in two bufalo. We fixed our waggons and

Wednesday 24, started on. Drove about 16 miles this day. Met a large drove of government cattle going from L(aramie)—down.

Thrisday. Tr. about 10 miles this day. Kiled 2 bufalo. Our 2nd division came up with us.

Friday, 26. Traviled about 16 miles. This eve one bufalo kiled and brought into camp by Smith and Hardy. Did not divide as usuall.

Next morning, Sat. 27, they stoped unbeknown to the majority of the company to lay in meet for themselves, contrary hunting regulations. We traviled about 17 miles this day. At noon my cows was missing. I rode back about 16 miles. Found them. Came on and overtook the camp before night.

Sunday 28. We hitched up, drove about 12 miles and camped.

Monday. Traviled 3 miles. Crosed the Plat and camped. Our 2nd division came up on the oposite bank and camped.

Tuesday, 30th. Traviled about 16 miles to the N. fork of Platt.

Wednesday 31. Traviled about 12 miles. Came into the Sandroads.

Thirsday 1st. August. This morning two carages and one six mule team pased us from the fort. We traviled through sand.

Friday 2nd. Traviled about 14 miles.

Sat. 3rd. Traviled about 16 miles. This evening cow died.

Sunday (4th). Lay by. Held meet.

Monday (5th) drove 15 miles to Chimney Rock. 2nd division camped about one mile ahead of us.

Tuesday 6. Traviled about 12 miles to where the road turned over the Blufs.

Wednesday 7. Traviled about 18 miles. Camped in a canion where was pine and sedar plenty and good water. Feed not the best. We stayed 2 days. Washed and set tyre.

2nd division left here Friday 9th. Also Br. Bibee left with 8 waggons.

Sat. 10. We traviled 17 miles to the  river. Found good feed a mile and 1/2 below camp.

Sunday (11th). Father Bigalo came up with us from Bishop Hunters company. Cuningham and Bird left because we would stay over Sunday. This day we held meeting in camp. Had very good turnout and good meeting.

Monday 12th. Father Bigalo joined our company. We traviled about 15 miles.

Tuesday 13. Traviled 14 miles. Pased  Ft. Laramie one mile this evening. Had to cross our cattle over the river for feed.  Also had a heavy shower. This day pased som  Indians that has the smallpox. Came up with Br. Grant and Farley that had left us at Salt Creek with nine waggons.

Wednesday 14. Traviled about 12 miles. Road hilley. This evening Br. Grant pased us where the Ciaton road left the river.

Thursday 15. Traviled about 12 miles.

Friday 16. Traviled about 14. Camped on a creek. Had good feed.

Sat. 17. Tr. 16 miles this day. Met about 150 or 200 Shion Indions, all on horses, some first rate. Camped on the river bottom. Very heavy shower just before we got in carell here. We stoped until Wednesday on the acount of rain. It rained Sunday and Monday and some tuesday morning here. We washed. Kiled 5 bufalo and Noble, Stevens and Cole had the majority of it, or what belonged in there tens, not doing as company had previously agreed to do, to devide equally in the camp, because they had done something tords kiling and bringing in more than some others who had to stay and take care of the cattle and camp.

Wednesday 21. Traviled 15 miles to Labonte this day. Markham came up with us.

Thursday 22. When we gethered our cattle 3 of Br. Stoddards cattle missing. We stoped, Hunted untill eleven, then started the teams of and left 5 waggons and 6 extra hands to hunt them. We traveled 5 miles to little Labonta. Stayd untill next morning.

Started Friday 23. Just as we were leaving the 5 waggons came in sight, having found there cattle. We traviled 14 m. to Laprele. Sister McClelan was confined last night. Here we found Br. Gardner Snows 50 in camp.

Sat. 24th. Traviled 8 miles this day. Br. Fox had a cow die by eating choke cherries. Br. Parken had to leave one that got a leg broke. Br. McCleland came up with the waggons that had stoped back.

Sunday 25. We thought to travil 6 miles to get to better feed, but come to get our cattle, some was missing. Br Stoddards ten went on. The rest stayed. Had a meeting in the evening. Br. Markhams company came up.
Met with us.

Monday 26. Traviled 6 miles to where Br. Stoddards ten was stoped. Killed a bufaloe.

Tuesday 27. Traviled 13 miles.

Wednesday 28. Traviled 12 miles this day. 5 of our teams got scared and run away. Kiled one cow for Br. Noble and one colt. Broke 3 or 4 waggons. Hirt Br. Noble some and one of his daughters and Abigail.

Thursday, 29. Repaired our waggons.

Friday, 30. Traviled 17 miles.

Sat. 31st. Traviled 13 miles. Camped on a small crek to the northwest of rode. Found good feed,

Sunday, Sept. 1st. Lay by. Had a   meeting. Br. Banks preached. I followed with remarks to incourage the Saints to do right.

Monday, 2nd Sept. Traviled 13 miles. Camped just beyond Gardner Snows division.

Tuesday 3rd. Traviled 12 1/4 miles to Independence Rock. Camped on one side of Sweetwater. Gardner Snow on the other. John Leavitt and myself both sick.

Wednesday 4th. Traviled about 10 miles.

Thirsday 5. Traviled 10.

Friday, 6th. Traviled 8.

Sat. 7th. Morning I herded. When I came in with cattle, sat down to my breakfast. Br. McClelan came to me. Said that Tory Thirston wanted a yoke of cows that day to help him because one of his cattle was to lame to work. I told him to go to Brs. Noble and Stevens. They both had good fat loos cows driving. They both refused to let them go. Afterwards Stevens concented to put one in. Noble did not, but drove out of correll first of anyone, not wating for my teams, that belonged ahead, when Catlin, Stevens, Cook, and ------ and Webb and Simons followed leaving us to make up our teams as we could. Drove on some ten miles ahead of our camping place. At night Webb came back. Said they were going on next morning. Mr. Walker said Noble had tryed to have him go on and drive teams for him. We, feeling that they wished to go to get rid of helping the camp to teams or provisions, I wrote the following letter to them:

Sept. 7, 1850    In camp on Sweetwater, 6 miles below 4th crossing.

Capt. L. Noble

I am informed that you and the company with you are calculating to go on in the morning and leave the company that could not come up with you last night because of their lame and worn down cattle. You refused us this morning the poor pittance of the use of a loos cow to help an unfortinate Brother. One day, now, if you intend to leave because you are afrade you will have to help the company, you may go with your cattle and your provisions and the abundance you have and prosper so long as Israels God will let you, but be it known  unto you that cursings instead of blessings shall follow and I say it in the name of Israels God. Now if you do not intend to go for the reasons I have said, but wish to go ahead to travil faster that we do or can,
just send us three yoke of cattle in the morning from that company, which you can do and be better off for teams than we are, then you can go with the blessing and prayers of the poor upon your heads and the blessings of the Lord and I shall think myself mistaken in the cause for which you were about to leave. If you and the company or any part of it wish to travil longer with us, stay where you are or return to us as you please. We shall leave her Monday morning—. If you fall in again with us, we wish you to keep and observe the rules and regulations of the camp, and every man keep and observe his place in starting out of carrell and traveling threw the day and ceas complaining, whining and growling, for we have had enough of it. If the 3 yoke of cattle are sent to us, I pledge my word to have them returned to you in the valley, provedential acidents excepted.

                                                                                                   Wm. Snow.

Capt. of So. Company: Read this to the company and let every man act as he pleases. The above was sent by Br. Banks. When he returned, Br. Noble came with him. Denied having any intention of going, but went back and early the next morning they all started on and we have not seen them since.

Monday, 9th. Traviled 12 to Ice Springs.

Tuesday 10. Traviled 10 miles to 5th crossing of Sweetwater this evening. Markham and company and 2 divisions of Woodruffs company came up and camped close by and also Cornel Reeses train.

Wednesday 11th. Traviled 14 miles to Pine Springs on new rode.

Thirsday 12. Traviled 12 miles to Sweetwater. 3 miles  from the pass this evening after  dark, Markham came in and camped.

Sat. 14. Tr. 17 miles. Took new road at Pacifick Creek Crossing. Camped on So. Creek 10 miles below.

Sunday laid by. Had meeting.

Monday. Tr. 12 miles. Came up with Markham. He had traviled Sunday.

Tuesday. Tr. 13 miles. Camped on Big  Sandy on new rode. Here Robins and Roberts stoped for ———.

Wednesday. Tr. 16 miles. Camped on Big Sandy.

Thirsday 19. Tr. 15 miles. Camped on Green River where the road leaves the river.

Friday 20th. Tr. 16 1/2 miles to Blaks Fork. Here Markham and one division of Woodrufs company was camped. We started out Sat. 21st before either of the companies. Traviled 17 miles to Blacks Fork. Br. Cole and McClelan stoped back. Some of the boys had gone out to hunt.

Sunday morning 22nd. One devision of Br. Woodrufs company under Capt. Moffit pased. Had an ox that Father Bigalow had left about 5 miles out of camp. The mans name was Sheets that was driving the ox. Father Bigalow told him that it was his ox and wanted him, but Sheets wanted 5 dollars for driving him 5 miles to where we was in camp to stay over Sunday. Bigalo, not having the money and not satisfied with such an extortion. The man drove the ox on and would not let him have him. The same man had the day before drove a cow of Brother Sanfords to our camp at noon that the little girl had left a half mile behind and wanted 50cts. for that, but he barked up the rong saplin that time and he may think so in the case of the ox. This evening Br. Cole and McClellan came up, having got an elk. Markham pased us just after.

Monday (23rd). Traviled behind Markham within 3 miles of Bridger, it being 15 miles.

Tuesday (24th). Traviled about 13 miles. Overtook Markham. We concluded to travil together on the acount of the information we got from the Valley of the Indian difficulty.

Wednesday (25th). Tr. 7 miles foor noon. Afternoon had Markham go ahead to find a camp ground and we followed on. Came up to him at half past 9 on the evening, having traviled about 15 miles this afternoon, passing one or two very good camp places.

Thursday (26th). Started  half  pased 11. Traviled 6 miles and half to Small Creek. the boys had a dance evening.

Friday 27th.  [end of journal)

This material was made from a type written copy of the original journal furnished by Lyle Jensen of Provo, Utah. I have tried to preserve in every respect the spelling and context of the copy furnished believing that it was faithfully copied from the original. I have checked the original

April 14, 1961
Nathan H. Gardner
1260 Jefferson Ave.
Ogden, Utah.(13)

An intriguing and puzzling thing about (this) diary is the fact that William never mentions the name of his wife Sally, who was with him, nor of a young widow, Maria Shearer Wines, whom he married in Salt Lake City on 13 Oct 1850. In this company there were thirteen deaths, six of whom were children. Two babies were born. Cholera attacked the group a number of times. They endured 12 hard rainstorms  and passed a total of 60 graves.

The last day's entry, even though not entered was when they passed Fort Bridger . . . and arrived in Salt Lake City, after 101 days of travel, on 3 Oct 1850, and were met by President Brigham Young.


. . . by the end of 1850 an election for city officers was held. The meeting of the first City Council of Salt Lake City, 11 January 1851 is recorded  in Our Pioneer Heritage:

    An ordinance having been passed by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret, January 9, 1851 "Incorporating Great Salt Lake City;" which received the sanction of his Excellency Governor Brigham Young; when Jedediah M. Grant, Mayor, Nathaniel H. Felt, William Snow, Jesse T. Harmon and Nathaniel V. Jones, Aldermen, and Vincent Shurtliff, Benjamin L. Clapp, Zera(h) Pulsipher, William G. Perkins, Harrison Burgess, Jeter Clinton, John S. Dunyon and Samuel W. Richard, Councilors, met persuant to notice from the Clerk of G. S. L. County Court, in the State House and having been severally sworn, to observe the Constitution of the U.S. and this State, they are organized in due form.
As Alderman, William was immediately involved in the affairs of the City. He was put in charge of the Fourth Ward which included all the territory north of Third South and east of East Temple (Main Street). These Aldermen were elected for two years, and were assigned to set taxes, appoint officers and supervisors, regulate common schools and the health of the people, erect buildings, license businesses and distribute tax money. William's managerial abilities and acts of goodness were soon at work.

In Salt Lake City William found a home for Sally, and when he married Jane Maria it is supposed that he provided a home for her and her three sons. It is not known whether these two women shared a house or had separate dwellings. Now that they were settled, his family began to grow, for Jane Maria bore him a son, William Jr., on 28 August 1851, and Sally's second daughter, Sarah Sophronia, was born 4 March 1852.

Judging by the dates of births of his children, it appears that it was the fall of 1851 that William was called to help build up Fort Supply (a few miles south of Fort Bridger). He took Jane Maria with him and went there in November where they spent a cold, miserable winter. This was a new and difficult experience for this woman, who had known easier times, but she went without complaint. They returned to Salt Lake City in the spring, and were there when his wife (Jane Maria) gave birth to her first girl, Maria Lavina, on 25 Feb 1853.

In the meantime Ann Rogers, whome William had known briefly in Council Bluffs, had arrived in Salt Lake City in the fall of 1852. She worked for William when Maria Lavina was born. Also Roxana Leavitt Huntsman, a cousin of William's second wife Lydia and also of Sally, had reached Salt Lake City in September 1852 and renewed aquaintances with the Snow family whom she had known in Vermont. She was a young widow with two small daughters.

Now we see William's hand in helping the widows and the fatherless. He doesn't say anything about this in his diary, but he befriended these two young women. In a ceremony performed by President Brigham Young in his office at 2:20 pm on 13 March 1853, William was married and sealed to Ann Rogers and Roxanna Leavit Huntsman.

Also in 1853 William was appointed a member of the Code Commission along with Albert Carrington and Elias Smith. The men were to present for the pioneer legislature proper measures to be enacted into laws for the Territory.

In August 1853 William . . . and his family were shocked and grieved to hear of the untimely death of his brother Williard who had been on a mission to Denmark. He was drowned in the North Sea . . . while enroute to England. He was but forty-one years of age.

By 1857 the "gentile" appointees that had been sent here to help oversee the Territory of Utah had clashed with the Saints and had left and took tales of insurrection on the part of the Saints toward the Federal Government. Back in Washington, President James Buchanan listened to the disgruntled complaints of the appointees who had served but a short time in the Utah Territory and returned to the capital city. They told him that the people of Utah were in rebellion against the U.S. Gov­ernment. He, therefore, sent General Sidney Johnston with an army to Utah supposedly to set things in order.

The word of the approaching army came to Brigham Young on 24 July 1857, as the Saints were gathered up Cottonwood Canyon to celebrate a decade of peace and prosperity. Hearing of this frightening new development, the Saints were naturally alarmed at the prospect of renewed persecutions from enemies of the Church. Salt Lake City was emptied as people moved south to escape what they feared would be further conflict.

William Snow moved his families to Lehi at that time, but he himself was numbered with the men who were called back to stand guard over the deserted houses, ready to torch them if the soldiers should attempt to enter or disturb. A new Territorial Governor, Alfred Cummings, was sent to Utah along with Johnston’s army. Cummings was a fair—minded man who did all he could to make peace. Ceistia Snow Gardner, one of William Snow’s daughters, says:

When the Governor reached Salt Lake, William Snow stood guard at one of the houses filled with straw. When told that the homes were to be burned if the army attempted to enter the City and use them, this fine new Governor shed tears. He gave orders for the army to march past Salt Lake to Camp Floyd, where their permanent camp was located.

The army remained in Camp Floyd, or Camp Crittenden as it was later renamed, until the Civil War broke out. The fort was abandoned in 1861.

Information is not clear about where William’s wives first lived in Lehi because he was still stationed in Salt Lake City when Johnston’s army marched through in July 1858. After the Johnston scare, Sally and Maria were both moved back to Salt Lake City for a time.


When William Snow married Ann and Roxana in 1853, there were then in his family four wives and nine children. These were his two eldest daughters: Abigail and Sariah; Jane Maria’s three Wines sons: Leonard, Norman and Ira; Roxana’s two daughters: Selina and Olive Ellen; and Sally’s two young daughters: Julia Mariah and Sarah Sophronia. The two eldest Wines boys soon went to Ruby Valley, Nevada, to work.

Ann’s first son Willard was born 9 December 1853. Then in 1855 four more children were born to William’s wives: Melissa to Roxana, 21 January, in Lehi; Emma Lucretia to Sally, 6 July, in Salt Lake City; Erastus to Jane Maria, 24 September, in Salt Lake; and Jeter to Ann, 21 December, in Lehi. The dates and places of these 1855 births show that Sally and Jane Maria were living in Salt Lake City, while Ann and Roxana were living in Lehi. No explanation could be found for those living arrangements.

William Snow’s family increased in Lehi. His and Sally’s children born there were Chloe Louise, 12 January 1859; Lucy Almira, 25 March 1861; Maryetta, 14 October 1863; and William James, born 16 April 1869. Ann had three more children: Celestia, born 12 March 1859; Charles, 12 May 1861; and Frank, 12 October 1862. Jane Maria presented William with two more children born inside the Lehi Fort: Mary Lorena, 3 January 1860; and Mason Levi, 17 January 1862. Roxana's two children by William were Melissa, born 21 January 1855; and John Leavitt, 6 September 1857, both born in Lehi.

William needed a way to provide a living for his rapidly growing family, so he obtained land in Lehi and began farming. He had a good water supply from a spring which was after­wards called “Snow Springs.’ The exact time he took up that farm is not known, but he probably did not move Sally and Jane Maria back to Lehi until near the end of 1855.

Jane Maria’s son Mason said that when the families lived in that long apartment house in Lehi, all the children played together. He felt at home with his father’s other wives, calling them “Aunt,” and he loved his brothers and sisters. William always told his children that there were no such things as a “half-brother or half-sister.’ He was the father of all his children and so they were all his, full brothers, full sisters. In his lifetime William fathered twenty-eight children, twenty-two of whom grew to maturity.

At a municipal election held in Lehi, February 1856, William Snow was elected Alderman along with Alfred Bell, Lorenzo H. Hatch and J. W. Morton. David Evans was Mayor. They were elected again in 1861. Then when William Fotheringham left to go on a mission to Africa, William Snow assumed his duties on the Board of Examiners. William also attended the State Legislature which met in Fillmore in 1855-56,

The year 1856 was a very bad time in Utah. Crops failed and the Indians began making forays against the settlements again. The spectre of famine hung heavily over the entire state. Besides that, the fateful (Martin and Willie) handcart companies were perishing on the Plains, and relief had to be sent to succor them.

Sally often told her children about the near famine which had been caused by two years of drouth and an invasion of grasshoppers and crickets. Sally said her usual noonday meal consisted of greens without even any bread. She often went hungry herself to share her last loaf of bread with the starving children who came begging food at her door.
William’s fourth wife Maria also had trails in Lehi:

One day early in May, 1860, Jane Maria faced the tragedy of the loss of another child. She was sitting on her back step watching her little three year-old son Erastus playing with a kitten. The animal escaped and dashed U across the yard. Erastus ran to retrieve his pet but did not see a vehicle being turned around, and Maria’s warning cry was too late to stop the horses as the driver backed the wagon. Erastus was caught by the heavy wheel and crushed. Maria ran to rescue her little boy, but he died in her arms.

Tragedy and sorrow were no stranger to this mother, having already lost two children from her first marriage, but she was a person of courage and common sense who learned early to take in her stride the trials that came her way.


Early on, Brigham Young had wanted to establish a string of settlements from Salt Lake to California. By 1861 hundreds of converts were arriving in Utah from the Eastern States as well as from Canada and Europe. Places for them to make their homes were needed, and so Brother Brigham decided the southern part of Utah would provide those places. He also had in mind sending settlers there to try their skill at raising cotton. He realized that to settle a new area he would need seasoned colonizers as well as new arrivals.

In the October Conference, 1861, President Brigham Young called three hundred families to go to Southern Utah under the direction of Erastus Snow. Many of these  Pioneers were converts from the Southern States who would know how to raise cotton.

This was no easy call.

Bess Snow, in her book, describes the Utah Dixie Territory:

Of all the territories colonized by the Mormon Church this Dixie Mission was by far the most difficult. Of all the God—forsaken lands that any human beings were even asked to carve a town out of, that Dixie country was it. It was a hole bounded on the north by red sandstone cliffs, on the east and west by hills of black lava rock, and on the south by the muddiest dirtiest river imaginable. A river that meandered its muddy lazy course part of the year and became a raging ferocious torrent, sweeping everything before it the rest of the time. The country was hot and dry. The temperature from April to October ranged from 80 to 112 and 116 degrees. The floor of the valley was red sand and alkali over which hot dusty winds blew. The only plant life was cactus, mesquite, and sage brush. The animal life was rattlesnakes, lizards, gila monsters, and the coyote.

It was into this harsh land that Erastus led some early Pioneers. There was already an iron industry in Cedar City which he had helped organize, but this Dixie Mission was even harder.

In 1865 William Snow received a letter from the Church Presidency calling him to the Dixie Mission. Jane Maria’s youngest Wines son read the letter and decided he didn’t want his other to move away from Lehi, so he destroyed the message. However, another letter came, and William accepted the call. He began making preparations for the move. It was decided that Jane Maria and Roxana would remain in Utah County until William could arrange housing for them in St. George. These two wives had older children who could help their mothers. Ann and Sally were to go South with their husband.

William moved Roxana to American Fork to live with her daughter Salena, who was married to James Chipman. Roxana’s two younger Snow children, Melissa and John, went with her. Jane Maria soon moved into a better home which belonged to her eldest son Leonard Wines. He had gone to Ruby Valley, Nevada, with his wife, Margaret Taylor. His brother Norman was in Nevada, too, and in a few years the youngest Wines son, Ira, joined his brothers there. (In later years Leonard gave that block on which his house was located to the City of Lehi for a park. It is still known as the Wines Park.

It was a happy move for Jane Maria to be living in a good, substantial house with no leaky roof or warped floors, perhaps the best house she had known since coming to Utah. She lived there until her husband returned for her.

William’s last four wives worked together as peacefully as human dispositions could, cooperating with each other. They taught their children to be loving and kind to the other wives who were not their mothers and whom they called “Aunt.” Their children were taught to love each other, as full brothers and sisters the way their father had instructed them. Despite the usual squables of young children, these brothers and sisters developed a lasting comraderie and devotion for each other which was manifested profoundly in their adult lives. William’s wives were good women who appreciated, served and loved this gentle man. Their backgrounds, struggles and faithful endeavors impacted his life and the lives of all members of his family, as well as cousins and friends. William Snow’s family was truly a family.


In the fall of 1865, William Snow was preparing to move his families to St. George to help strengthen the Dixie settlements. He was called at the suggestion of his brother Erastus. It was said by some that Erastus was of a forceful and determined nature, as sure of himself as was Brigham Young. These two men, both from Vermont, had wills as strong as the granite from their native state. Brigham and Erastus often locked horns on certain decisions and plans. And so some people said it may have been for this reason that Brother Brigham had called Erastus to the Dixie country to get him as far away from Salt Lake City as possible. Whatever the reason, Erastus was there, and when William received a call from his President and Prophet he accepted it without question as a sacred trust from the Lord.

Many days of preparation were spent by the Snow families getting ready for the big move. It was decided that both Sally and Ann and their children would go with him. William had to harvest his crops and collect everything they would need in their new home. Two of Anns sons, Willard and Jeter, husked corn for the neighbors on shares, and got enough to fatten the family pig. This saved the corn William would need to take along for seed in planting new fields, and also as feed for his animals.

One item of great importance that must find a place in the wagon was William’s big chest of carpenter tools. Then for the health and comfort of the families, clothes must be provided and food for the trip prepared. Ann received $200.00 from her brother John in Wales. He had sold some property and sent her share of money to Lehi. This was a godsend to the families who would be going where supplies were not available. Ann took the money to Salt Lake City to outfit herself and children. She bought a kitchen stove that lasted the rest of her life. She bought a clothes chest and clothing for all her children, including shoes for Celestia. The little girl’s first pair of shoes had been made by a shoemaker in Lehi where Ann had her own shoes made. She had fashioned the tops herself from scraps of heavy denim which she used in making pants for her husband. The shoemaker made leather caps for the toes and cut a heavier piece of leather for the soles.

In the Salt Lake store Celestia had been left to care for Baby Charles, and in her excitement over her new “store-bought" shoes she forgot her little charge. Four-year-old Charles left the store and headed down the street, where a man found him. He said he was going to Lehi.

Ann also bought scissors, needles and a complete line of sewing supplies. She pampered herself by buying a lovely new shawl, a good bargain because it lasted her fifteen years. She knew that with the shawl she could then make over her old coat into a cloak for Celestia. She also bought a cane— bottomed rocking chair for herself, a real luxury. (The first night out on their trip a horse ate the cane out of the bottom of the chair. What a disappointment’) In addition, she bought a large, colorful Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme book. All of her children as well as most of the neighborhood children would learn to read from that book as they stretched out on their stomachs on the floor in front of Ann’s fireplace.

William killed a pig, cured and salted it away in a box. A big crock of butter found a place in one wagon, while corn for the animals, seeds for planting, and household things were loaded into other wagons. William obtained flour as well as potatoes and other kinds of vegetables, and he took a cow along for milk.

Sally was making similar preparations for her children with the help of her daughters who were growing up. On the November morning in 1865, when the family set out for Southern Utah, William, with Sally and her six girls, (Julia Maria, Sarah Sophronia, Emma Lucretia, Chloe Louisa, Lucy Almira and Maryetta, ages sixteen down to two) were in the lead wagon. Ann followed in the second wagon with Willard, not quite twelve, driving the oxen. Her other three boys, Jeter, Charles and Frank, and Celestia age six, completed this wagon. Joseph “Jode” Cox, engaged to marry Sally’s daughter Julia Maria, drove the third wagon, pulled by his fine team of strong mules. Julia rode with him much of the time. Jade’s wagon was loaded with heavier goods.

In addition to William’s families, there were in the caravan John Norton and family, a Mr. Parker and family, and Norman Wedge with his wife and children.

The weather was fine, and if they had gone on the day they planned, they would have been in good shape. However, in Sanpete they stopped over for ten days, waiting for Cyrus Reynolds who wanted to go along. He was afraid to travel alone because of the possibility of Indian troubles in those deserted areas they would have to traverse. This wait caused them to run into a snowstorm before they arrived at Cove Fort.

In later years when Ann reminisced about that trip, she said that whenever she saw sun shining on the snow it reminded her of when they reached Cove Fort. They had come through cold and snow without a sign of settlement in sight. Between trying to help Willard keep the team on the road, hold Baby Frank on her lap and keep the other two children from freezing, as well as worrying about Jeter struggling through the snowdrifts while riding his horse after the weary cows, Ann thought she would lose her mind.

As they came over the rise and Cove Fort appeared on the horizon, she saw the snow sparkling in the sunlight as if welcoming them to a place of shelter for the night. That evening they said many prayers of thanksgiving for a place to rest themselves and find warm shelter for their animals.

At Cove Fort their caravan met the wagons of William’s brother Erastus who was heading for Salt Lake City. They camped together that night. It was said that Erastus, “who had the reputation of being able to ‘take in all facets of the situation at a glance,’ noticed that each wife had a two year old child on her lap, and that both were pregnant with another one. . . . He said: ‘William, when you get to Cedar City, don’t go on to St. George, but cut through the hills to Pine Valley. I have a house there where you can live during the winter.' "

One evening as they were camping, the younger children began running around and playing games. Lucy Almira, who was not yet five, didn’t watch where she was going, and in her enthusiasm she jumped over the campfire. The back of her dress blazed up, and had it not been for the quick action of Joseph Cox, she could have been badly burned. As it was he scorched his hands putting out the fire, and Lucy’s dress was almost burned off her back. It was so ruined that her mother had to make her another dress from an old red flannel petticoat.

The caravan finally arrived in Cedar City for a one—night stop over. The other families traveling with William probably went on to St. George, but William headed west and south for Pine Valley.

Bess Snow writes concerning the balance of that journey:

Because of the delay in starting, it was now late in December; it turned cold and began to snow. At Buckhorn Flat they nearly perished from the cold, but continued on. In two more days they came to Robert Richey’s Ranch near Pinto, where they were taken in for the night. They still had about twenty more miles to go, and the snow became deeper as they climbed higher in the mountains. Pinto Canyon was nine miles long, with snow so deep that by dusk the horses were too exhausted to go farther. William told Jade Cox to take the best horse and ride into Pine Valley to see if they could get help, which Jade did.
Jode met William Gardner and Bennett Bracken, who on hearing the story hurried back into town and told people of the problems facing William’s company. They secured three teams of sturdy oxen and came to help the tired horses pull the wagons through the snowdrifts. When they got into town there were three feet of snow on the level.

Bennett Bracken was engaged to marry Marian Whipple and when Marian’s mother, Sister Whipple, heard of the problems, she and Marian set about at once to prepare a meal for those cold travelers. Ann said later that was one of the best meals she ever ate, and the little girls liked to recall the joy of sitting down to a table and eating hot food from real dishes set on a white tablecloth.

After supper William secured some pitch pine knots and logs and went to the house  Erastus had told him to use.  He built a  roaring fire  in the fireplace and then brought his families there to warmth and cheer. Sally declared that the most beautiful sight she had ever seen was the flame leaping up the chimney as the shivering children and women came in out of the cold.

Since that house had four rooms, two upstairs and two down, with fireplaces for heat, each wife had two rooms. They spread their bedding out on the floors and slept soundly from sheer exhaustion. It was Christmas Eve, and they awoke next morning to a glorious sunshiny day. William cleared a place off on the south side of the house, got out his trusty carpenter tools, and set to work making furniture for his family.

A week later, on New Year’s Eve, “Jade” Cox was married to Sally’s daughter Julia. Her father performed the ceremony, and his two wives prepared a wedding dinner for them in the evening. A dance was held to which the neighbors were invited. As soon as the weather permitted them to travel, the newlyweds returned to Lehi where they made their home.

William obtained lumber from the sawmill and soon finished some furniture for his wives. He made tables, washstands, cupboards and two bedsteads. He mortised the bedsteads together and stretched ropes across from side to side and end to end to form a grid, making a surface on which to place the straw or feather ticks.

With the help of the boys, William got out logs from the mountains, and when spring came, he rented a sawmill and sawed lumber to build a house.

Bess Snow says:

He built the third house in the valley where the town now stands.” He built a six—room house and fastened it together with wooden pegs, since he could not obtain nails. He cut the pegs by hand. Both families moved into this house with each family having three rooms. This was the house which, with some remodeling and additions, Ann lived in the rest of her iife.
As soon as possible William bought from William Cowley what they called the pink house and moved Sally and her children there. He plastered this house and made it warm and comfortable.

Brigham Young had early on encouraged the Saints to branch out into all self— sustaining endeavors. Much attention was paid to home industry, weaving and hand manufacture. He encouraged a silk industry, also the raising of flax, cotton and wool, and he pushed barter and exchange.

A few years after coming to Pine Valley, Ann received some more money from her brother in Wales. With the money she bought a new sewing machine. This was the second sewing machine to come to Pine Valley. (Jane Maria brought her machine when she arrived after 1867.)

Ann had enough money left over after purchasing the sewing machine to buy a sack of sugar and a whole bolt of cloth. When people learned she had a sewing machine and was a professional seamstress, they came in crowds to get her to sew for them. Many of them seemed to think that since she had the machine she could work for them for very little or no pay. She once made a suit with two pairs of pants for a man, old Brother Car, and for pay he gave her one pound of butter.

That fall the Navajo Indians killed two men in St. George. They also made some raids into Pine Valley and stole a number of horses. The men and boys took turns at night guarding their animals, and it fell to the lot of Ann’s son Willard to stand guard duty. The nights he was away Ann and her children felt loneliness and fear. They offered many prayers for Willard’s protection and prayers of thankfulness upon his safe return home.

Religious training in William’s families was not neglected. He and his wives all stressed the need for daily family prayers. The parents often quoted verses of scriptures to their children, which created in the children a deep love for the Bible.

On 6 July 1867, Apostle Erastus Snow came to Pine Valley and changed it from a branch to a ward. William was ordained the first Bishop of Pine Valley. He served in that office for the remainder of his life.

William and his wives taught their children the Gospel and instilled in them a faith in the power of prayer. Maryetta, Sally’s daughter who married Osro Gardner, told of a testimony of the efficacy of prayer which came to Osro when he was a youth. He was sent one day into the nearby hills to hunt for some mules that were needed to help harvest the crops. He hunted all the day long, and when dark was approaching, he finally knelt down and prayed for help. Immediately on rising he noticed some movement in a nearby patch of willows, and there he found his mules.

As she grew up she worried a great deal about her mother because Sally often had serious sick spells. Maryetta feared her mother would die. Then Eliza R. Snow and Zina D. Young came to Pine Valley to organize the Relief Society. When they stopped at William’s house, he told Maryetta to take a pan of apples out to the visitors.

Maryetta says of the incident;

When I gave them the apples Sister Zina D. Young said to the driver, ‘Wait a minute, I want to talk to this girl.’ She said to me, ‘Don’t worry any more about your mother dying, for she isn’t going to die, she will live years yet.’ I believed every word she said and I knew she would live, and I didn’t worry any more.

In 1867 the residents of Pine Valley decided to move their town down the valley to a lower townsite. A few houses were alread there, among them was William’s first house, James B. Bracken was the first one to move. In March that year he built a sturdy home on the lot just west of the church square. Most of the houses in Old Town had been built so hurriedly that they were not worth moving, and so the people needed a lot of lumber to build more substantial houses.

Some houses were sold as people moved in or out of Pine Valley. Different  people moved to Rabbit Valley, Grass Valley, Central, Gunlock, Santa Clara, Washington, Harmony or Pinto.

William’s family always remembered Pinto~ with thanksgiving for it was in that town that they were taken in by the Robert Richey family before they reached Pine Valley.

When the families began moving away from  Pine Valley, the sisters in Williams families found it more difficult to visit each other, but they made every effort to stay in touch.

At one time, when Chloe, who had married Royal J. Gardner in 1875, was living in Delta, some of her sisters brought lunch and came to spend the day with her. As they were talking over old times and reminiscing about their father, Sariah Lott, said she always thought that she had received special attention from him because her mother Lydia had died when she was still a little three-year-old child.

Sarah Forsythe said she thought she must be his favorite child since she had always had poor health and he had done special services for her. Chloe Gardner insisted that she knew, she was his favorite child because of the many loving deeds of kindness he had showered on her.

Celestia comments about this conversation:

Each sister in turn had felt the special flavor of love and kindness of this great father. It is a great tribute to both father and daughters that such a high type of love and understanding should have continued through such long lives.
One of William’s granddaughters describes him:
William Snow's presence was felt in every facet of Pine Valley life. He was a strong man, six feet tall and well porportioned, dark complexioned with piercing blue eyes. He wore a neatly trimmed brown beard, cut in Greek style, running from one sideburn, which began at the lobe of his ear, to the other sideburn, underneath his chin. His face and front of his chin were shaved and he never allowed his beard to hang down so far as to hide his neck. He always kept a full head of hair.
William Snow was a good bishop. He never neglected his duties nor missed a meeting he was supposed to attend. He was even known upon one occasion to walk the full 7 miles to St. George when he didn’t have a horse available, to attend conference, a take meeting for bishops and some judicial luties.

Dr. William J. Snow, his son, says of him:

. . .he subjected himself to much toil and hardship in the prosecution of temporal affairs pertaining to the ward. Picture him if you can riding on, a lumber wagon loaded with tithing jolting along over rough roads that connected Pine Valley with St. George. Time after time, week after week, month after month year after year, he made his trip in weather fair and foul, overt roads rough, rugged and lonely. But hs struggled on buoyed up and sustained by the for his family, anxiety and love for his people, interest in the gospel of righteousness and faith in God whom he trusted and to whom he looked for his eternal reward.
William filled the office of Bishop for twelve years; then on 7 May 1879, he was seized with his last illness. Surrounded by his family, he was given tender loving care, but was soon too ill to recover. Three of William’s wives, Jane Maria, Sally and Ann, were then in Pine Valley. Roxana had moved some years before from St. George to American Fork where she died in 1881.

Many of his children were in or near Pine Valley at this time, but his son Mason Levi, then 15 years of age, had been sent by his father to Payson with a team pulling a cart. There he was to obtain and assemble a heavy wagon and then continue on to Salt Lake City to bring home a load of freight. He had left without knowing how seriously ill his father was. The day after William died, Mason was camping in Payson when a man in the store there, hearing that he was from Pine Valley, told him that the word had come by a message over the wireless that William Snow had just died.

This was a sad day for the young boy to be so far from friends and family and hear the news when there was no way he could return to Pine Valley until he had completed his assigned journey. He continued on to Salt Lake City and finally returned to his home to be greeted by his mother Jane Maria and receive comforting words from her.

From his bedside, William, who had recently been ordained a patriarch, called his sons who were in Pine Valley to his side and gave each one a father’s blessing. With his hands upon their heads, he prayed for them with all the earnestness and faith he had always evidenced. He invoked his God to bless and protect them and above all to preserve them in the faith. He died 10 May 1879 and was buried in the Pine Valley Cemetery.

William’s son, Dr. William J. Snow, writes of his father:

Thus passed from this earth one of the pure and faithful ones and him we now honor and reverence, honor as a father and revere as a trusted servant of the Master. The beauty of his life was in the living. He made no glittering show, he built no worldly monument of fame; he attained no glory on the bloody field of battle: but he lived what he did know and felt; he worked that others might enjoy; he comforted the sick and afflicted; he counseled the needy and destitute. Was anyone in distress? His was the hand to soothe. Did anyone need any help? He was the first to respond. His own wants were always last; the needs of his fellows first.

Positively devoid of hypocrisy he could not tolerate or understand duplicity in others. Open and frank to a fault, he was sometimes cheated and deceived by others. Measuring his conduct and expressions of judgment only by the standard of right he sometimes gave offense to dignity and diplomacy. While he appreciated and wished the good will of all his fellows, he never sought to obtain it by the sacrifice of principle. The love and approval of God, and not the applause of men, was his strongest desire.

Born in the heart of New England he inherited a craving for knowledge, being inclined to mathematics but his life being one constant whirl of activity, no opportunity for his scholastic desire was found.

He graduated at the close of his life with a character above reproach.”’

Back to Top of Page

Back to William Snow Homepage