Erastus Snow

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Erastus Snow
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – May 27, 1888 (1888-05-27)
LDS Church Apostle
February 12, 1849 (1849-02-12) – May 27, 1888 (1888-05-27)
ReasonReorganization of First Presidency; excommunication of Lyman Wight[1]
at end of term
Marriner W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, and Abraham H. Cannon ordained[2]
Personal details
BornErastus Snow
(1818-11-09)November 9, 1818
St. Johnsbury, Vermont, United States
DiedMay 27, 1888(1888-05-27) (aged 69)
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
Resting placeSalt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000
Spouse(s)Artemisia Beman, 13 Dec 1838
Minerva White, 2 Apr 1844
Elizabeth Rebecca Ashby, 19 Dec 1847
Julia Josephine Spencer, 1856
Matilda Wells, 16 Nov 1882

Erastus Snow (November 9, 1818 – May 27, 1888) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1849 to until his death. Snow was also a leading figure in Mormon colonization of Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Snow joined the institutional predecessor of the LDS Church, the Church of Christ, in the early 1830s. One of the missionaries who taught him was Orson Pratt. Snow's brother, Zerubbabel Snow, joined the church prior to him.

Snow moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where the church was headquartered, but spent much of his time on missions, primarily in Pennsylvania. He later served a mission to Salem, Massachusetts, where he baptized several converts, including Nathaniel Ashby, a man with whom he shared a duplex when they both resided in Nauvoo, Illinois.[5]

Snow was in the first Mormon pioneer company to journey to the Salt Lake Valley. He and Orson Pratt were the first two Mormons to enter the Valley.[6]

Snow was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on February 12, 1849. On the same day, Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow,[7] and Franklin D. Richards were ordained.

Grave marker of Erastus Snow.

At the October 1849 general conference, Snow was assigned to lead a mission to Scandinavia. He had as a companion a Danish convert, Peter O. Hansen, who had joined the church in Boston. They focused most of their efforts in Denmark, but another convert had joined them, John E. Forsgren, who preached in Sweden.[8][9]

While serving as a missionary in Denmark, Snow baptized the first Icelanders to join the church, ordained them to the priesthood, and sent them to Iceland to preach.[10] Before the end of his mission, Snow began the publication of a church periodical in Danish.

Later in the 1850s, Snow served as the presiding church authority in the midwest United States, using St. Louis as his headquarters. He returned to Utah Territory in 1857 and engaged in farming.

In 1860, Snow went with Orson Pratt on a mission to the Eastern States. By the time they reached the Eastern United States, Abraham Lincoln had been elected president. With the impending war, they were able to convince many church members to move to Utah. Much of this migration happened in 1861 after the American Civil War had begun.

After returning to Utah in 1861, Snow was made the apostle in charge of the Southern Utah Mormon settlements. He lived in St. George,[11] and later founded Kingman and Snowflake, Arizona.

Erastus Snow is known to have had sixteen wives.[12] One of Snow's daughters, Elizabeth, became the wife of Anthony W. Ivins and the mother of Antoine R. Ivins.

Snow died at Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, at age 69. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Snow Canyon State Park (near St. George, Utah), Snow College (in Ephraim, Utah)[13] and the town of Snowflake, Arizona[14] are named after Snow.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Snow, Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, and Franklin D. Richards were ordained on the same day to fill four vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  2. ^ Three apostles were ordained to fill three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve which were occasioned by the deaths of Snow and John Taylor and the reorganization of the First Presidency under Wilford Woodruff.
  3. ^ Erastus Snow on
  4. ^ Smith 1994, p. 16
  5. ^ Larson, Karl Andrew. Erastus Snow: The Life of a Missionary and Pioneer for the Early Mormon Church (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1971) p. 80.
  6. ^ Allen, James B. and Glen M. Leonard. The Story of the Latter-day Saints (2d ed.) pp. 256-57.
  7. ^ Erastus Snow and Lorenzo Snow were only distantly related and did not know one another until they both became Latter Day Saints.
  8. ^ Deseret Morning News Church Almanac, p. 319.[full citation needed]
  9. ^ Mulder, William, Homeward to Zion (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1957).
  10. ^ Larson, Karl Andrew, Erastus Snow: The Life of a Missionary and Pioneer for the Early Mormon Church (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1971) p. 225.
  11. ^ Yorgason, Blaine M. (2013). All That Was Promised. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book. pp. 77–96. ISBN 9781609073671.
  12. ^ Erastus Snow (November 9, 1818 – May 27, 1888). "Polygamy and Mormon Church Leaders" (PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Snow College is also named after Lorenzo Snow.
  14. ^ Snowflake is also named after William J. Flake.

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Lorenzo Snow
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 12, 1849 – May 27, 1888
Succeeded by
Franklin D. Richards