Rachel Snowden (Larrison) (1831 - 1898)

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Nicknames: "First Woman Pioneer in Omaha"
Birthplace: Kentucky, United States
Death: Died in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
Occupation: Hotel & tavern keeper
Managed by: Erica Isabel Howton, (c)
Last Updated:

About Rachel Snowden (Larrison)

The Rachel Snowden Corral, a non profit "dedicated to fun and scholarship related to the American West," is named for the first woman pioneer of Omaha, Nebraska - Rachel Snowden.

Rachel Snowden

  • 1860 United States Federal Census
  • Birth: Circa 1831 - Kentucky, United States
  • Residence: 1860 - First Ward Omaha City, Douglas, Nebraska, USA
  • Husband (implied): William Snowden
  • Children (implied): Nancy J Snowden, Mary E Snowden, George F Snowden, Hellen M Snowden

From "She stayed". Rachel Snowden - First Woman Pioneer in Omaha

Rachel stayed.  She stayed through the good times and bad, reportedly a hard-working, kindly, and caring wife, mother and citizen.

Rachel Snowden (1831-1898) came to Omaha on July 11, 1854.  She was 23, and the 'city' had a population of two adults, Rachel and her husband, William, and their three young girls.

Eventually, they had seven children, six who survived to adulthood.

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 opened the Territory of Nebraska for settlement, the Council Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry Company needed someone to establish its 'town site claim' on the other side of the Missouri River in present day Omaha, Nebraska.  William and Rachel Snowden were employed to manage the claim house, which they cheerfully named the 'St. Nicholas Hotel.'  It was a log cabin near present day 12th and Jackson Streets, consisting of one main room and an attached kitchen.  They hosted travelers and provided temporary living quarters for early settlers.  The first church service was held there, using Rachel's brass kettle as a call-to-meeting bell.  They also hosted dances and public meetings.

William, who in his long life became known as 'Uncle Billy,' held a series of public jobs, including sheriff and marshal.  He also worked as a carpenter, auctioneer, and doorkeeper in the new territorial Capitol.  He was not , by nature, a moneymaker.  During these years Omaha's economy experienced many ups and downs.  Through it all, Rachel stayed.  She stayed through the good times and bad, reportedly a hard-working, kindly, and caring wife, mother and citizen.  She died at age 67, and is buried at Prospect Hill, Omaha's early cemetery. 

Sources

  1. Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 Name: William Snowdon Marriage Date: 9 Sep 1847 Marriage County: Buchanan Spouse Name: Racheal Larison

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Rachel Snowden's Timeline

1831
December 21, 1831
Kentucky, United States
1847
September 9, 1847
Age 15
Buchanan County, Missouri, United States

Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002
Name: William Snowdon
Marriage Date: 9 Sep 1847
Marriage County: Buchanan
Spouse Name: Racheal Larison
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. Missouri Marriage Records, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.
Original data: Missouri Marriage Records. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm.

1850
1850
Age 18
Center, Buchanan, Missouri, United States

1850 United States Federal Census
Name: Wm P Snowden
Age: 26
Birth Year: abt 1824
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1850: Center, Buchanan, Missouri
Gender: Male
Family Number: 1041
Household Members:
Name Age
Wm P Snowden
26
Rachael Snowden
20
Nancy Snowden
2
Mary Snowden
0
Jesse Daugherty
20
James Barnes
16
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Center, Buchanan, Missouri; Roll: M432_393; Page: 75A; Image: 155.

1854
August 4, 1854
Age 22
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States

" ... August 5, 1954 is 100 years since a man named William P. Snowden and his good wife rowed across the Missouri from a place called Kanesville and became the first permanent white settlers of the fur-trading post named for the Omaha Indians."

1855
1855
Age 23
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States

Nebraska, Compiled Census Index, 1854-1870
Name: William Snowden
State: NE
County: Douglas County
Township: Omaha
Year: 1855
Page: 019
Database: NE 1855 Territorial Census Index
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. Nebraska, Compiled Census Index, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.
Original data: Jackson, Ronald V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. Nebraska Census, . Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.

1860
1860
Age 28
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States

1860 United States Federal Census
Name: William Snowden
Age in 1860: 36
Birth Year: abt 1824
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1860: Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska Territory
Gender: Male
Post Office: Omaha
Value of real estate:
Household Members:
Name Age
William Snowden
36
Rachel Snowden
29
Nancy J Snowden
12
Mary E Snowden
9
George F Snowden
3
Hellen M Snowden
6/12
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska Territory; Roll: M653_665; Page: 611; Image: 236; Family History Library Film: 803665.

1880
1880
Age 48
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States

Household
Relation to head Name Age
Head Will O. Snowden 55
Wife Rachel Snowden 49
Daughter Tenney Snowden 20

1898
December 17, 1898
Age 66
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
1898
Age 66
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States