The Church Historian's Press


This chronology presents selected events from the life of Eliza R. Snow, drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources.

Father born

Eliza Roxcy Snow’s father, Oliver Snow III, was born in Becket, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Mother born

Eliza Roxcy Snow’s mother, Rosetta Leonora Pettibone, was born in Simsbury, Hartford County, Connecticut.

Parents wed

Oliver Snow III and Rosetta Leonora Pettibone married in Becket, Massachusetts.

Sister Leonora born

Abigail Leonora Snow was born in Becket, Massachusetts.


Eliza Roxcy Snow was born in Becket, Massachusetts, the second of seven children.

Relocates to Ohio

At age two, Snow moved with her family to Mantua, Portage County, Ohio.

Brother Lorenzo born

Lorenzo Snow was born in Mantua, Ohio.

Takes interest in restorationist movements

Previously members of a Baptist congregation, Snow and her family joined Alexander Campbell’s Christian restorationist movement, later known as the Disciples of Christ.

Meets Joseph Smith

Snow became acquainted with Joseph Smith at her family home in Mantua during the first months of 1831. After overcoming initial doubts, she began to study the Book of Mormon and pray about the Church of Christ (later called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).


Snow was baptized into the church in Mantua, Ohio.

Temporarily relocates to Kirtland

Snow temporarily moved to Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio; boarded with the Joseph Smith family; taught in a school for young ladies; donated her inheritance for the construction of the Kirtland temple and attended the dedication; then returned to Mantua to her family home.

Relocates to Kirtland

Snow left her family home and permanently joined the Saints in Kirtland; she resided with the Joseph Smith family and taught the family school.

Relocates to Missouri

Snow moved west with her family and the church to Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri.

Expelled from Missouri

Snow and her family left Missouri as a result of the Latter-day Saint expulsion. Snow lived with her sister Leonora Snow Leavitt (Morley) in Quincy, Adams County, and Lima, Allen County, Illinois.

Relocates to Commerce

Snow moved to Commerce, Hancock County, Illinois, where she lived with the Sidney Rigdon family and taught in their school.

Returns to live with family

Snow returned to live with her parents and younger siblings in Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois, where her mother was recovering from the Missouri persecutions.

Relocates to La Harpe

Snow and her family moved to La Harpe, Hancock County, Illinois, about thirty miles from Nauvoo, where they lived for a year.

Relocates to Nauvoo

Snow and her family moved to Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.

Participates in the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo

Snow was a founding member of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. She served as the organization’s first secretary until July 1843. She preserved the minute book.

Sealed to Joseph Smith

Snow was sealed as a plural wife to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo.

Begins living with Smith family

Snow began living with the Smith family when her father and mother moved to Walnut Grove, Knox County, Illinois, about seventy-five miles from Nauvoo.

Serves as scribe for Joseph Smith

Snow acted as a scribe for Joseph Smith’s journal. She recorded entries between 4 and 12 September, copying correspondence between Illinois governor Thomas Carlin and Emma Smith, as well as noting daily happenings.

Begins living with Holmes family

Snow moved from the Smith home to live with friends Jonathan and Elvira Holmes in Nauvoo.

Moves in with sister Leonora

Snow left Nauvoo to live with her sister Leonora Snow Leavitt (Morley) in the Morley Settlement, Hancock County, about thirty miles south of Nauvoo. She remained there for nine months, frequently visiting Nauvoo.

Relocates to Nauvoo

Snow moved in with the Markham family in Nauvoo. She had gone to Nauvoo for a conference and had been counseled to remain in town.

Joseph Smith dies

Snow’s husband in plural marriage, Joseph Smith, was murdered in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois.

Marries Brigham Young

Snow married Brigham Young for time as a plural wife in Nauvoo.

Father dies

Snow’s father, Oliver Snow III, died in Walnut Grove, Illinois.

Publishes “My Father in Heaven”

Snow published her poem “My Father in Heaven” in the church newspaper Times and Seasons. She most likely wrote the poem after the death of her father. The poem was first published as a hymn in an 1851 Latter-day Saint hymnal; it is now known as “O My Father.”

Departs from Nauvoo

Snow left Nauvoo with a large group of Saints and crossed the Mississippi River to Iowa Territory. She eventually relocated to Winter Quarters, Nebraska Territory.

Mother dies

Snow’s mother, Rosetta Leonora Pettibone, died in Walnut Grove, Illinois.

Departs from Winter Quarters

Snow joined the Jedediah M. Grant and Joseph B. Noble wagon train company to journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

Arrives in Salt Lake Valley

Snow arrived in the Salt Lake Valley; she initially lived in a fort.

Brother Lorenzo appointed as an apostle

Eliza’s brother Lorenzo Snow was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He lived in Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah Territory, in between missions, and Snow visited him there often and spoke to congregations in the area.

Moves to Log Row

Snow moved from the Old Fort to the Log Row, where many of Brigham Young’s wives lived.

Begins presiding over women’s temple ordinances

Snow was appointed by Brigham Young to preside over women’s temple ordinances, first in the Council House in Salt Lake City, then in the nearby Endowment House. Her work there slowed down in 1876 as she devoted more time to Relief Society and other women’s organizations.

Moves to Lorenzo Snow’s home

Brigham Young arranged for a room to be built for Eliza in the Salt Lake City home of her brother Lorenzo.

Moves into Lion House

Snow moved into the Lion House before it was completed (it was completed spring 1856). She had her own bedroom with a dormer window on the second floor. Snow lived there the remainder of her life.

Publishes first poetry volume

Snow’s first volume of poetry, Poems, Religious, Historical, and Political, was printed in Liverpool, England.

Called to reestablish ward Relief Societies

Snow was called by Brigham Young to oversee the establishment and operation of ward Relief Societies throughout Utah Territory. She was involved with Relief Society for the remainder of her life.

Great Indignation Meeting held

Snow helped organize and participated in a women’s mass meeting in Salt Lake City to protest federal antipolygamy legislation.

Helps organize Retrenchment Association

Snow assisted Mary Isabella Horne in the first meeting of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association—also known as General Retrenchment and the Senior and Junior Cooperative Retrenchment Association. This organization served as a directing board or council for the Relief Society. Snow continued to attend and speak at meetings through the end of her life.

Participates in first Young Ladies’ Retrenchment meeting

Snow attended the meeting called by Brigham Young for his daughters in the Lion House in Salt Lake City, the first meeting of the First Young Ladies’ Department of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association (this organization is today known as the Young Women). She composed their resolutions and helped organize associations throughout the Latter-day Saint settlements.

Sister Leonora dies

Snow spoke at the funeral for her sister Leonora Snow Leavitt Morley in Brigham City, Utah.

First issue of Woman’s Exponent published

The Woman’s Exponent put out its first issue. Snow supported her niece, Louisa Lula Greene, in undertaking this semimonthly newspaper edited and printed by women and containing reports of women’s organizations and many of Snow’s discourses.

Departs for Europe and Palestine

Snow, with her brother Lorenzo Snow and other church leaders, departed for a worldwide tour. They traveled to Europe and to Palestine, where they held a rededication of land for the return of the Jews. Snow and the others returned in July 1873.

Publishes letters from international trip

Snow published letters and poems from her international trip along with those of George A. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, and Paul A. Schettler in Correspondence of Palestine Tourists.

Organizes Utah contributions to American centennial exhibition

Snow gathered reports on women’s organizations in Utah Territory for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition and wrote a history of Relief Society. She collected artifacts for a women’s exhibition.

Participates in first Central Grain Committee meeting

Snow attended the first general meeting of central and ward grain storage committees, headed by Emmeline B. Wells. Snow assisted Wells and spoke often about the need for women to participate in grain storage.

Brigham Young dies

Snow’s second husband, Brigham Young, died in Salt Lake City.

Publishes second poetry volume

A second volume of Snow’s Poems, Religious, Historical, and Political was printed in Salt Lake City.

Beginnings of Primary

After a Relief Society conference in Farmington, Davis County, Utah Territory, Snow and Emmeline B. Wells met with Aurelia Spencer Rogers. Rogers introduced the idea of an organization for young boys, which Snow took to President John Taylor for approval. Snow organized Primary Associations (which also included young girls) throughout the settlements throughout the rest of her life.

Adopts surname Smith

Emmeline B. Wells first referred to Snow as Eliza R. Snow Smith in the Woman’s Exponent. Snow and others used this name throughout the rest of her life.

Appointed as president of Relief Society central board

Snow was appointed president of all the Relief Societies by President John Taylor. A month later, on July 17, 1880, Taylor ordained or set apart Snow as the second general president of the Relief Society, following Emma Smith.

Begins tour of southern Utah

Snow and Zina D. H. Young spent several months in the southern settlements of Utah Territory organizing Primary Associations and speaking to Relief Societies and Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Associations; they also officiated in ordinances for the dead in the St. George temple. They returned to Salt Lake City on 31 March 1881.

Publishes first Primary hymnals

Snow published Hymns and Songs: Selected from Various Authors, for the Primary Associations of the Children of Zion, containing lyrics, and Tune Book for the Primary Associations of the Children of Zion, with tunes for the songs—two separate books.

Publishes children’s catechism

Snow published Bible Questions and Answers for Children with the Juvenile Instructor Press.

Deseret Hospital opens

The Deseret Hospital, an institution established by the Relief Society, opened its doors in Salt Lake City. Snow served as president of the executive board.

Publishes biography of brother Lorenzo

Snow published Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City with the Deseret News press.


Snow died at the age of eighty-three in her room at the Lion House in Salt Lake City. Her body lay in state in the Lion House parlor. 

Funeral and burial

Snow’s funeral was held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She was buried in the Brigham Young family cemetery.