The experience of Charles Westover at Winter Quarters introduced Erastus Snow to the family. Over the course of the next decades the name of Snow would become embedded into our family history. So too would be the names of Smith, Riggs, Rowe, Humble, Barnhurst and others.
Fortunately, our first brush with Mormon fame, Erastus Snow, is actually related. How are we related?
Grandpa Riggs married Muriel Snow, a daughter of Joseph Homer Snow, who was a son of James Chauncey Snow, who was a son of Gardner Snow. Gardner Snow’s father and Erastus Snow’s father were brothers.
All of this is important to remember because as our timeline unfolds below the name of Erastus Snow comes up again and again.
It is also important to remember as we publish timelines like this one for the Smiths, Snows, Riggs and other lines from which we are descended.
You see, the world was much smaller in Utah during these generations. Erastus Snow would have interactions and know other members of our family.
Of course, you cannot mention the name Snow in the context of Church history without also talking of Lorenzo Snow and his sister, Eliza R. Snow. How are we related to them?
That’s a bit more complicated. We are not actually connected to Lorenzo and Eliza R. through the Snow line at all. Our relation comes through the mother of Alexander Westover – Ruth Loomis — and it’s a distant relationship at best. One of Lorenzo’s wives – Sarah Ann Pritchard – was the 4th great granddaughter of Phillip Loomis. Phillip Loomis was Ruth Loomis’ grandfather. So technically we’re cousins – but distantly so.
Despite the shared name of Snow the relationship between Erastus and Lorenzo Snow is even more vague and distant than our connection.
The thing to remember about famous individuals like Erastus Snow, Brigham Young, Daniel H. Wells, and other leading individuals in Utah during the 19th century is that our family members were bound to have interaction with them because the world was much smaller and these were hands-on leaders.
The more interesting thing to focus on is that as the descendants of our first generation Westovers would work side-by-side their counterparts in the Snow, Smith and Riggs families without knowing their descendants would marry.
For example, long before Westovers married Snows and Smiths both Gardner Snow and Albert Smith served in a Sunday School Presidency together in Manti – they were in the same stake and in the same ward. But the Snows and the Smiths would not marry into the Westover lines for another 50 years.
The other thing of note is that not only were names associated but so were places.
The Westovers down in Southern Utah didn’t have any kind of association with the Smiths in Manti. And yet we have active participation of the Smiths in the dedication of the St. George Temple. Could they have run into each other?
There are other coincidences as we dig into the details of lives.
For example, when Charles married Mary Shumway in 1856 we learn that Mary is the daughter of Charles Shumway. Where have we heard that name before?
Well, it was in Manti, where Charles Shumway was a founding father in the 1850s. He had to know Gardner Snow and Albert Smith. There were only about 100 people originally sent to Manti when it was first settled.
Charles Shumway surfaced again in Mendon, years later. We will tell the story of how Charles and Mary Shumway got together as we go through the timeline. Yet it is interesting to note that Charles Shumway was a leader nearly everywhere he went. Therefore he had intimate contact with the Smiths in Manti and also the Westovers and Findleys in Mendon.
These kind of coincidences come up over and over and over.
As you plow through the details it is quite easy to mix history, lines and relationships because all of these people were all over the map, literally, as they settled various areas and served in different capacities.
We know now how they are all related to us. But they didn’t know then that they would have family connections down the road. It makes us grateful for the details of their lives that we can find and share. The more information we locate the more we are able to understand how it all happened.