WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
ERASTUS FAIRBANKS SNOW
(early settler and church leader)
BIOGRAPHYErastus Snow, son of Levi and Lucina Snow, was born November 19, 1818, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
When he was fourteen years old, two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited his family and taught them the principles of salvation as outlined by the Prophet Joseph Smith and found in the Book of Mormon. After listening to their message, most of the family (excluding the father and two sons) eventually joined the Church. Erastus Snow was baptized on February 3, 1833, by his older brother William.Erastus Snow developed a great love for the gospel and studied the scriptures diligently to become more conversant with Church doctrine. In addition to his studies, he eagerly served the Church by spending a great amount of time sharing his testimony with others.
On June 28, 1834, when 16 years old, he was ordained to the office of a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood and less than five months later to the office of Priest. On August 16, 1835, he was ordained an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood and from that time forward became very active in missionary work, preaching the gospel in many part of the United State and Europe. Many people accepted Mormonism as a result of his labors.
In addition to his missionary work, Snow participated in several significant events in early Church history. In 1835, he met the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland Ohio, and while there attended a special Elder's School with 300 other elders.
When persecution increased in Kirtland, he helped relocate the Church to Far West, Missouri, where he later married his first wife, Artemesia Beman, on December 3, 1838.
With the intensification of anti-Mormon persecution in Far West, the saints were forced to flee again, this time to Nauvoo. While residing in Nauvoo, Snow married a second wife, Minerve White, in January of 1846 in compliance with the doctrine of plural marriage as instituted by Joseph Smith. Later he married a third wife, Elizabeth R. Ashby, on December 19, 1847, and a fourth wife, Julia Josephine Spencer, on April 11, 1856.
Under the leadership of Brigham Young, Joseph Smith's successor, Erastus Snow and his family left their home in Nauvoo to migrate to the Great Basin where the Saints hoped to find rest from the continued persecution. In his move he organized and led various parties of the saints.
After their arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, he was called to serve in a Stake Presidency, and in 1849 he was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As an apostle he served a mission to Denmark and was responsible for the translation of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and other Church literature into the Danish language.
After returning, he was appointed to organize and supervise the settlement of Church members in Southern Utah. He was the presiding Mormon leader during the colonization of St. George.
In these and many other assignments he served efficiently and enthusiastically until his death in Salt Lake City on May 27, 1888.
WCHS-01468 Erastus Snow
Photos on the web:
Photo of Erastus Snow
Collection of Erastus Snow photos
REFERENCESWikipedia article on Erastus Snow
Utah History Encyclopedia article on Erastus Snow
Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages article on Erastus Snow
Edwin Woolley Jr. and Erastus Snow Family Collection in the Harold B. Lee Library special collections
Notes on the families of Erastus Snow
Erastus Snow: The Life of a Missionary and Pioneer for the Early Mormon Church
by Karl Andrew Larson
University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City, 1971
Find-A-Grave entry for Erastus Fairbanks Snow
Find-A-Grave entry for Artimesia Beaman Snow
Find-A-Grave entry for Minerva White Snow
Find-A-Grave entry for Achsah Wing Snow
Find-A-Grave entry for Elizabeth Rebecca Ashby Snow
Find-A-Grave entry for Julia Josephine Spencer Snow
Find-A-Grave entry for Matilda Wells Streeper