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Bernard Snow

Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont, United States
Death: February 22, 1893 (71)
Weiser, Washington County, Idaho, United States
Place of Burial: Indian Valley, Adams County, Idaho, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Ebenezer Snow and Polly Snow
Husband of Louisa Melvina Snow; Alice Smith; Mary Snow; Anna Snow; Mathilde Andrea Marie Snow and 3 others
Father of Bernard Snow; Flora Melissa Snow; Stillborn Boy Snow; Sidney Alfred Snow; Alice Snow and 13 others
Brother of Herman Snow; Ellen Snow; Edna V. Snow; Seymour B. Snow; Albert Snow and 4 others

Occupation: Territorial Legislator, millwright, LDS missionary, actor, poet
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Bernard Snow

Bernard Snow (1822 - 1893), son of Ebenezer Snow (1784 - 1867) and Polly Hayes (1788 - 1854), was born 22 January 1822 at Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont; he died at the age of 71 on 22 February 1893 at Weiser, Washington County, Idaho, and was buried at Indian Valley, Adams County, Idaho. He married eight times under the LDS principle of polygamy.

Marriages and Children

  1. Louisa Melvina King (1821 - 1850), married 24 November 1841 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
    1. stillborn boy Snow (November 1842 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - November 1842 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts )
    2. Sidney Alfred Snow (13 April 1844 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 19 October 1852 Salt Lake City)
    3. Flora Melissa Snow (1 January 1846 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 1846)
    4. Bernard Snow (10 May 1847 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 10 September 1847 Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
  2. Alice Smith (1820 - 1893), married 16 January 1853 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory
    1. Alice Snow (1855 - 1937)
    2. Bernard Snow, Jr (1856 - 1940)
    3. Mary Verona Snow (1859 - 1936)
    4. Herman Snow (1861 - 1931)
    5. Ebenezer Snow (1863 - 1935)
  3. Mary Walsh (1791 - 1861), married 1853
  4. Anne Liversidge (1828 - 1928), married 16 April 1856 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory
    1. Ellen Louise Snow (1857 – 1935)
    2. Martha Snow (1857 – 1857)
    3. Seymour Bernard Snow (1859 – 1946)
    4. Edna Snow (1861 – 1903)
    5. Hester Ann Snow (1863 – 1930)
    6. Albert Snow (1865 – 1964)
    7. Hugh Mack Snow (1867 – 1928)
  5. Mathilde Andrea Marie Sorensen (1845 - ?), married 26 April 1861 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory
  6. Florentine Cecile Jacobine Eavardine Sorenson (1849 - 1935), sister of Mathilde, married 5 October 1867 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory
  7. Sarah Gledhill Broadbent (1833 - 1900), married 27 October 1866 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory
  8. Violet Gledhill (1849 - 1900), married 29 March 1869 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory

Biographical Sketch

Bernard Snow was born at Pomfret, Vermont on 22 January 1822. He was a graduate of Cambridge University. On 24 November 1841, he married his cousin, Louise Melvina King, at Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. They were extremely devoted to each other. Of their four children, the first was stillborn, two survived for only a few months, and none survived to adulthood.

In 1849 Bernard sailed for California from Boston Harbor with a small group of people, planning to seek his luck in the California goldfields, then go to Salt Lake City and send for his wife and surviving son, Sidney. To make this arduous trip around Cape Horn took a great deal of courage and fortitude. While he was in California, it was next to impossible to get a letter or message from the East. It would be almost be a year between communications.

Louise grew weary of waiting for her husband and started for Utah with the Wilford Woodruff Company of 1850. She planned to stay with her beloved sister, Melisa King Wallace, until her husband could come from California. and join her. Bernard did not know that she had undertaken this trip until he reached Salt Lake City in 1851. He said he never would have consented to it because her health was so poor. Her desire to be with her sister and nearer to her husband made her feel stronger than she really was. Louise was only partway to Utah when she died on the plains on 7July 1850. This left Sidney, at six years old, in the care of the other pioneers with the Company.

From Wilford Woodruff's journal: "July 6 - Mrs [Bernard] Snow of Cambridgeport was taken sick in the afternoon with Diarhea[,] took some medicine called Cholera Medicine, & immediately grew worse and Died at 3 oclok at night[.]"

The Spirit of God That is Burning Within Me

When Bernard reach Utah in 1851, he discovered that his wife had died on the journey west. Although he was reunited with his son, Sidney died on 19 October 1852, one year after Bernard's arrival. It was at this time of great grief that Bernard found comfort in his church and his God. Later, he had a difference with President Brigham Young over a subcontract for the Union Pacific, and was disfellowshipped from the Church. At the meeting where this took place, he stood up and said, “there is no knife sharp enough to cut out of my soul the spirit of God that is burning within me.” He was true to his religion as long as he lived, feeling that God would understand the misunderstandings between men in this earthly life and they would be righted.

On 16 January 1853, Bernard Snow married Alice Smith. He went on to marry six additional women under the LDS principle of polygamy. In spite of the fact that he lived a busy life making enough money to support his six wives and twenty-two living children, he found time to write hymns and poetry.

Poet and Speechwriter

He wrote the hymn “Our God We Raise to Thee,” sung to the tune of ‘America’. It was sung for the first time on 27 June 1854, at the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and published in the LDS song book, “Songs of Zion” under Eliza R. Snow’s name. She wrote a letter to Bernard Snow telling him she was sorry about the mistake and would have it changed, but it was never done. Bernard's descendants are still in possession of her letter. Later, Professor Edward P. Kimball wrote music especially for this hymn, and it is included in the new Latter-Day-Saint Hymn Book.

In 1855 Bernard delivered an address, “An Ode to Freedom” at the Fourth of July celebration in Salt Lake City. It was published in the Deseret News and is recorded in the Church Historian’s Office. Another of his speeches, entitled “Misusing Useful Weapons,” was published in the Deseret News on 9 September 1855. He explained the usefulness of a saw, razor, axe, good thoughts, and good words: "The saw helps in cutting large trees to uniform sizes so that we might make an attractive building, but if a man was caught in the clutches of the saw it would perhaps kill him and become a thing of horror. Razors are a necessity for man to keep a neat appearance, but lives have been taken by this useful article, so we look upon it with fear. A sharp axe is used to cut trees or dry wood but many accidents have been caused by them so we should use them with caution, Good thoughts are a useful weapon in building a beautiful character, but bad meditations will destroy it. Charitable words to and about people encourage them to do fine things and cause them to love us, but where evil words are spoken it brings only regrets and sorrow. Let's strive to make the best use we can of these weapons."

In August 1856 Bernard was called to serve a European mission with Thomas Bullock. The friendship between these two men lasted through their lives. They worked constantly together. Brother Bullock was clerk of the mission and kept an accurate record of their travels. On 10 September they started up Emigration Canyon headed for their mission. They passed (met) many companies of Saints headed the Great Salt Lake Valley. On the 18th of September they met Edmond Ellsworth’s handcart company with 309 Saints descending the Green River hill singing “Hozannah to God.” The sight brought tears to the eyes of our missionaries who were leaving their homes and families for at least two years.

The Old Tammarack Tree

As they journeyed through Laramie, Wyoming, they witnessed an exchange of prisoners between the white settlers and Comanche. On 28 October 1856 they camped at Winter Quarters on the Missouri River. At eleven o’clock on the eleventh of November they arrived in St. Louis. From there they went by train to Vermont where Bernard visited his family before sailing for England. On 18 February 1857, on his way across the Atlantic Ocean he wrote a letter and poem to his brother Garry Snow, “I think I will copy a few lines which I wrote while upon the sea. and dedicated to my brother,Garry, who lives upon the old homestead. The Tammaraek tree which suggested the following lines is not a native of that portion of the country but at about the time I was born it was brought some hundreds of miles in the box of a carriage by my father and was by him transplanted into the soil near the door of the house which opened out upon a beautiful lawn. The tree lived and flourished and oft-times afforded a refreshing shade to the children who sported beneath. It is needless to say that my father himself when he looked upon its widely spreading branches felt a spirit somewhat akin to pride and his sons and daughters took good care that each of their names (or at least the initials of the same) were fairly engraved on the surface of its bark. The tree now measures about fourteen inches in diameter and looks as thrifty as ever, but so rapid has been its growth that nothing can now be seen of the names or letters of former years and those who they represented are scattered far and wide upon the earth.

The Old Tammarack Tree

How dear to me oft seems the sweet recollection,

Of our childhoods gay sports and our innocent glee,

As now in lone moments I yield to reflection,

And fresh to my mind comes the old Tammarack tree.

It stood in the garden, the house near beside it,

Where oft we have sported in the moon-light so free,

That faithful, proud beacon may no ill betide it,

For near to my heart is that old Tammarack tree.

At night in the chamber so quietly sleeping,

Queen Mab her air-built castles would hold out to me,

Till freightined by me friend whose limb were Sent creeping;

And thwacking the snug roof ‘neath the Tammarack tree.

The storm-king could never approach us 'un-heeded,

Though a stealthy old chap we admit him to be,

For without being told that its service was needed,

Drummed sharply on the roof, the old Tammarack tree.

When at early gray dawn the robin was merry,

And the day light was breaking from o’er eastern sea,

While the skylark he watched, the ripe blushing cherries,

He e’er took for his perch the old Tammarack tree.

How often we’ve thought of the knifes rude incision,

To carve out an M, H, G, A, S, or E,

To each was a space but of narrow division,

For many were the name on the old Tammarack tree.

How often at evening while wild winds were sighing,

When hushed was the bird and to hive gone the bee,

I’ve gazed far above me and watched the clouds flying,

As I lay on the grass I ‘neath the Tammarack tree.

And heard the gay night-hawk high in the air sailing,

While the stars like bright angels seemed gazing on me,

Above me the breeze like the voice of one wailing,

Swayed gently the boughs of the old Tammarack tree.

Dear associations by footprints of time hidden,

Memory brings to my mind now far off on the sea,

Of brothers and sisters, then starts quite unbidden,

A tear at thought of them and the Tammarack tree.

Our father and mother God bless them with plenty,

And as their lives from reproach have been free,

Long yet may they live and their last days glide gently,

As the summer wind breathes through the Tammarack tree.

Now right of the homestead has fell to you, Garry,

May you ever regard it as a priceless fee;

Live long and be happy - good - not grave, but merry

But have thou a care for the old Tammarack tree.

Long Journey Home

In England, Bernard was put in charge of a section of the mission and trained new missionaries until it was time to return home. Aboard the "Empire" on the voyage back, they had a slight collision with an iceberg near Newfoundland, but it was not serious. They arrived safely home in twenty-eight days, a remarkably short trip. Some vessels were sixty-five days crossing the ocean. They then journeyed overland to Elk Horn, Nebraska [now a neighborhood in Omaha], where a company was organized at Elk Horn for the return to Utah. They arrived at Provo at 10 a.m. on 23 June 1858 and Bernard went immediately to home to his family in southern Utah.

"The Known Ability of Mr. Snow"

Soon after his return, President Young called Bernard to build mills in Sanpete County, as he was a millwright by trade. His mills were mentioned in the Deseret News:

“The spirit of improvement continues unabated, and saw and grist mills are being built in nearly every settlement through the country. The circular saw mill at Fort Ephraim owned by B. Snow, P Co. and built this season is doing a cash business as per reported, cutting from three to four thousand feet every day it is kept in motion.” “The carding machine of Snow and Peacock at Moroni is doing a good business, and there is said to be plenty of wool in that country and Juab.” “Fountain Green, well named, is a paragon of industry, a gem in the diadem of this great country and a place for stock. Bernard Snow and Bishop R. L. Johnson are putting up a good circular saw mill and from the known ability of Mr. Snow the people anticipate a good mill.”

Territorial Legislature

In 1859, Bernard Snow was elected Representative of Sanpete County to the Utah Territorial House of Representatives, with the purpose of forming the State of Deseret. Meetings were held through out the Territory. From The Millennial Star, 22 January 1862, "The constitution of the State of Deseret was adopted on the motion of Bernard Snow. The report of the committee was accepted and discharged from further duty. Mr. Bernard Snow moved that the members of this convention deem themselves specially instructed to see that the clerks in their respective Counties give due notice to the March election as provided by the constitution and each precinct is furnished with a sufficient number of copies of the Constitution of the State of Deseret forthwith, and use their influence to cause a full attendance of the electors, also that full and proper returns be made thereof. It seconded and carried."

Bernard Snow was elected the first Representative of Sanpete County after the constitution of the State of Deseret was accepted, taking his seat in the Legislature on 14 April 1862. His second day in the Legislature he was placed on the Engrossing Committee with Franklin D. Richards and Joseph A. Young. Bernard Snow, William Smith and Thomas A. Young were placed on the committee for roads, bridges, ferries, and canyons.

"Gun With Many Shoots"

While living at Ft. Ephraim he was called to go to Strawberry Valley to build a sawmill. The Indians were giving them a great deal of trouble in Sanpete and Sevier Counties. Bernard was worried about his family and he returned home as soon as possible. When he left, he was presented with a Henry repeating rifle. It held fifteen shells in the magazine and one in the chamber. It was the first gun of its type int the West and of course he was very proud of it. The Indians learned to fear and respect him and his gun. They knew him as the man who loaded his gun in the morning and shot all day. Many years later some Indians visited his son to ask if he had his father’s gun. They were very anxious to see this ‘gun with many shoots’ and said that every one knew of that gun.

Whitney’s History of Utah says, “In one of the raids on Ft. Ephriam [during the Black Hawk War], Bernard Snow, the veteran actor who was building a mill at the mouth of the canyon, hear the settlement, sustained during several hours a lonely but heroic seige, the savages surrounded the mill, but the gallant defender kept up a fire so vigorous they were forced to retire.”

The Deseret Dramatic Association

Another of Bernard’s avocations was acting. His descendants have playbills listing him in leading roles in Shakespearian plays at the Old Salt Lake Theatre. On 29 February 1856, a letter written to W. H. Kimball and Heber C. Kimball said, “The Deseret Dramatic Association soon after its organization gave a free party to three members and a few friends. They are performing on the evenings of Wed. and Sat. “She Stoops to Conquer” comes off the second time tomorrow night. A benefit to Bernard Snow is to be given on Monday night, when he will play the part of the Roman Father in Virginuis.” Seven years later he played the same part at the Salt Lake Theatre. Elder George A. Smith wrote to his brother, John L. Smith, “The Salt Lake Theatre is open and so far has proved a grand success. Last Wednesday and Saturday nights Mr. Bernard Snow played his favorite character in ‘Virginius.’ It was a magnificent affair.” Brother George D. Pyper, in his book “Romance of an Old Playhouse”, tells of Bernard Snow playing in the drama, 'Othello'.

Bernard Snow built homes at Manti, Ephriam, Fountain Green, Springville, and Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as Washington County, Idaho, where he died 20 February 1892. His wife Matilda, was with him in Idaho at the time of his death.


  • Mae Whiting Cardon. "Life Sketch of Bernard Snow: A Utah Pioneer of 1851". 10 April 1952, Camp Totah, Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
  • Woodruff, Wilford, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel: Wilford Woodruf Journal, 1847, Jan.-1853 Dec., box 2, fd. 3, in Journals and papers, 1828-1898.
  • Bernard Snow, “An Ode to Freedom”, speech. LDS Church Historian’s Office. 1855 Journal, July to December. July 4, pg 3.
  • Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel.
    • Snow, Bernard; Wilford Woodruff Company (1850); male, Age 28; Birth Date: 22 Jan. 1822; Death Date: 22 Feb. 1893.
    • Snow, Bernard; John W. Berry Company (1858); male, Age 36; Birth Date: 22 Jan. 1822; Death Date: 22 Feb. 1893.
  • Updated from MyHeritage Family Trees via wife Sarah Snow (born Gledhill) by SmartCopy: Sep 10 2015, 4:57:46 UTC
  • Residence: Fort Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah Territory - 1860
  • Residence: Springville, Utah, Utah Territory - 1870
view all 29

Bernard Snow's Timeline

January 22, 1822
Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont, United States
November 1842
Age 20
Cambridge, Middlesex County, MA, USA
April 13, 1844
Age 22
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
January 1, 1846
Age 23
Cambridge, Middlesex County, MA, USA
May 10, 1847
Age 25
Cambridge, Middlesex County, MA, USA
January 15, 1855
Age 32
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States