Kirtland Connections

With the news that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has acquired the Kirtland temple and additional historic sites in Nauvoo the question has come in about our family connections to Kirtland.

The individual who comes immediately to mind is Grandfather Gardner Snow, who is the great-grandfather of Muriel Snow, wife of William Riggs Jr and mother of Maurine Westover.

Gardner Snow

You would be hard pressed to find a more active family in the LDS faith than the Snows. Long before plural marriage that family name was central to the early history of the Church.

Names such as Eliza R. Snow (a wife of Brigham Young), apostle Erastus Snow, President Lorenzo Snow, and, of course the many sons of Gardner – particularly James C. Snow, Warren S. Snow, and George Washington Snow – would go on to pioneer fame in Utah. They are all related, in various ways, and their posterity are numerous.

In 1900, Congressman Charles B. Landis of Indiana, remarked that the Snow family was “the most consistent Mormons in the whole bunch”.

Gardner Snow and family left their home in Vermont for Kirtland specifically because of the promise of the temple. They arrived a few months after the dedication of the temple.

Gardner by this point was an established member of the Church, having been baptized with many family members by Orson Pratt in 1833. Not long after arriving in Kirtland he was ordained an elder.

His ordination was noted as a certificate, available in the Joseph Smith papers:

Gardner Snow

He later was provided with a “license”:

Gardner Snow

The Snows were thoroughly embedded in the activities and events of Kirtland. Here is a copy from a ledger of the Kirtland Safety Society noting a $500 investment Gardner made:

Gardner Snow

Gardner Snow and family would move to Adam-ondi-Ahman in 1838. Following Missouri persecutions the Snows relocated to the Issac Morley settlement, not far from Nauvoo.

After coming west the Snows were asked to help settle Manti – along with the Morley and Albert Smith families and others. There Gardner Snow would live the rest of his life, serving in several callings and in civic offices, until he died in 1889, having lived a long life of 97-years.

At present I cannot think of other family connections to Kirtland.

Albert Smith and family joined the Church in 1835 and started towards Missouri not long after that but headed to Nauvoo. Albert Smith would later serve in callings in the same ward as Gardner Snow in Manti. Neither man would live long enough to see their descendants marry.

The Westovers of Ohio, while technically the closest to Kirtland, did not discover the Church until the 1840s. They started moving west in 1844, intending to go to Nauvoo, but diverted directly to Winter Quarters in advance of the move West.

All of these sites in Kirtland and Nauvoo have been available to visit for years and they will remain so. I’ve been to Nauvoo but Kirtland remains a bucket list item for me.

There are, of course, other family members with ties to these areas. Horace Roberts – who was the father Jane C. Snow (James C. Snow’s wife) – was known as the Potter of Nauvoo. He is frequently mentioned in Nauvoo tours.

Thanks to our many family histories we can visit all of these places – and the spots marked on the trail west – and identify with them better.

Jeff Westover
Jeff Westover

Husband, father, Latter-day Saint, 11th generation American, and web geek currently residing in Smithfield, Utah. Please visit my website at

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