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Willard Trowbridge Snow

Question: What happened to Willard Trowbridge Snow after he immigrated to Utah in the summer of 1847?

Answer: Willard Trowbridge Snow was born on May 6, 1811, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the fifth of eleven children. His father, Levi Snow died on November 2, 1841 at Montrose, Iowa. His mother, Lucina Streeter died November 9, 1858 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

This family was well educated and active in their community. All except two of the eleven children joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with both parents. (Willard’s younger brother later became Apostle Erastus Fairbanks Snow.) Willard joined the Church on June 18, 1833. In the spring of 1834 at the age of 23, he left St. Johnsbury, Vermont for Kirtland, Ohio with his brother, Zerubbabel.

The same year, 1834, the brothers joined “Zion’s Camp’ in Missouri. At this period of time the Mormons in Missouri were being molested by mobs. When they received no relief after petitioning the Governor of the state, the Prophet Joseph raised a militia to go give them some protection. This was known as “Zion’s Camp.’ There Willard had a narrow escape from death, being among the number who came down with cholera.

Early in 1835 Willard returned to Kirtland. After this, he performed several missions in the United States, preaching in various parts of the country. In 1836 he visited the Kirtland Temple, and shortly after moved to Missouri with his father’s family, who had come from St. Johnsbury to join him at Kirtland.

On May 14, 1837 at Far West, Willard married Melvina Harvey. She was born on December 16, 1811 at Barnett, Vermont. He had known her back in Vermont before coming to Missouri. Their first child, Amanda Melvina, was born on March 31, 1838 at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri. Their next child, Leonidas, was born on March 31, 1840 at Montrose, Iowa where the family had moved. Leonidas died on August 28, 1841 when he was just a little over one year of age. While living at Montrose, they had two more sons: Willard Lycrugas was born on March 8, 1842, and Eugene was born on March 10, 1844. Eugene died at Nauvoo, Illinois on June 13, 1845. After moving with the family to Garden Grove, Iowa, they had a daughter, Almira, who was born on September 10, 1846 and died the same day. In 1847 Willard married a second wife, Susan Harvey, who was a sister to his first wife.

On October 4, 1847, Willard with his two wives and two remaining children, arrived in Utah in the last company to come to Salt Lake City that fall. They came in the Jedediah M. Grant Company/Willard Snow Company. Willard was captain over 50 of these wagons. When they arrived in Salt Lake City, they settled on the north side of the Old Fort, and he and Ira Eldredge built a log cabin. On February 6, 1848, Melvina gave birth to twin girls. These were the first white twins born in the Territory of Utah. They were named Ellen and Helen. Helen died two weeks later on February 22, 1848. On January 12, 1848, Susan gave birth to a daughter, Susan, but the mother died in childbirth.

After arriving in Salt Lake City, Willard married a third wife, Mary Bingham. She was a girl from St. Johnsbury, Vermont. She had only one child by Willard, a girl, Mary, born on June 3, 1850. Before coming to Salt Lake City, Willard had been called to go to Boston (1845) to be a member of the church presidency there, replacing Ezra T. Benson. In 1847 he was appointed by Brigham Young to be a member of the High Council. Their duty was to observe the principals which had been instituted in the Stakes of the Church for the government of the Church, and to pass such laws and ordinances they thought necessary for the peace and prosperity of the city…

Willard took a prominent part in the city and territorial governments after coming to Utah. He was one of the judges at the first election held to form the Territorial Government. He was a member of the legislature and was speaker of the house when the Legislature met in 1849… He was one of the speakers at the Fourth of July celebration held in Utah in 1851. He was the first justice of the peace in Utah, and a member of the Board of the Perpetual Emigration Fund.

At General Conference in Salt Lake City on September 7, 1851, he was called on a mission to Europe. Soon after, he left his wives and families and arrived in England on December 29, 1851. He worked in Scotland for about three months. In March 1852, his brother Erastus F. Snow, arrived in England on his way home from Scandinavia where he had been in charge of the mission there. On March 18, 1852, Willard was appointed President of that mission to succeed Erastus. On April 21, 1852 he took the steamer to Hull, England, and then arrived at Copenhagen, Denmark on April 26. He set to work to learn the Danish language, took charge of this mission, and worked diligently, faithfully, and successfully to discharge his duties.

While addressing a council of Elders on the evening of August 15, 1853, in Copenhagen, he became extremely ill and was unable to proceed. Later, he seemed a little better and decided to go to England. On August 18 he took passage on board the ship Transit. While he was on board, he was again prostrated with illness. He soon went unconscious and died the evening of August 21, 1853 at the age of 41 years. Elders P.O. Hansen and H.P. Jensen were with him, but not withstanding their earnest pleading, the ship’s Captain insisted that the body be buried at sea. Willard was wrapped in canvas and sunk into the North Sea about 80 miles north of Hull, England.

Sources: Excerpts from “Life Overview of Willard Trowbridge Snow.’ This history compiled from Bess Snow’s “Snow History’ and other family records, April 2001, by Lucile Hoopes Garrett, gggreat granddaughter of Willard Snow. A correction was made on the Company Willard traveled in to the Salt Lake Valley based on Church Pioneer Overland Travel site.

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