Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter XLIV
Oliver G. Snow speaks. His maiden speech. Performs a good deed. Called to go to assist the emigration. Encounter with Indians. Mission to England. Visits New York. Arrives in Liverpool. Goes to Man- chester. An incident relative to the death of Dickens.
Oliver attends a
sectarian lecture. Is challenged. Attempts to respond. Is repulsed. The priest is disgraced and forsaken. A visit to Scotland. Descriptions. Return to England. Incomprehensible dialect. Released. Home again. Ordained member of High Council. Marries. Mission to the States. Visits Oberlin. Ludicrous incident. Visits his grandmother. Preaches her funeral sermon. At home appointed President of Box Elder Stake.
WAS born on the twentieth of February, 1849, in Salt Lake City. When quite young, my father having been called to preside over the then crude settlement known as the Old Fort, where now Brigham City is located, after erect- ing a commodious dwelling, with a view of increasing a feeling of brotherhood among the Saints, opened his house for public entertainments. At the opening one, a dramatic performance, I was on the programme for my "maiden speech," composed by my father for the occasion, commencing as follows:
Ladies and gentlemen, one and all, I welcome you to my father's hall.
For its delivery I was awarded a pocket-knife. Those entertainments produced a most desirable effect in promoting friendship and affability among the people. When eight years of age (a very cold day), I was baptized in the mill-race by Elder Neely, and confirmed by my father. In the following spring I had the pleasure of rendering useful service to a Brother Jones, who lived north of us. At that time the settlers
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were annoyed by a gang of horse thieves, composed of moun- taineers; so much so that there was no safety for animals when not in use, except under lock and key. One evening, on entering one of my father's pastures, I saw two horses tied to a bunch of willows, and thinking that one or both belonged to the Bishop, I decided to take them to the owner; but the Bishop informed me they were not his, and they were secured for the night.
Early next morning, as I was driving cows to pasture, I - saw a dark visaged man emerge from a thicket by the road side over which I had just passed, and, drawing a revolver from its scabbard, he inquired, in a gruff tone, if I knew the whereabouts of the two horses he had tied to a tree in the pas- ture. I told him the whole affair, as well as an eight-year old boy could, under the threatening circumstances. Then point- ing to the caliber of his six-shooter, he said, "Unless you bring those horses back, I will put a bullet through you of that size." I was relieved when the interview closed, and lost no time in reaching home, where I learned that the owner of the horses had arrived from Salt Lake, where they were stolen from him. The officers were notified, the thief secured and justice meted to him, and I escaped the bullet.
In 1864 I had the honor of being ordained a member of the Fifty-eighth Quorum of Seventies; and soon after, at the re-organization of the militia, was called to act as standard- bearer in Colonel Loveland's staff; accompanied my father through the southern settlements, on one of President Young's tours, as far as Santa Clara.
In the spring of 1868, 1 was called, with others, to perform a journey to the States to bring a company of Saints across the plains. On our return we had a fearful encounter with Indians, who ran off fifty head of our stock, which, after sev- eral hairbreadth escapes, we succeeded in recapturing, and arrived home in safety.
During the autumn of 1868 and the following spring, I
assisted in building the great trans-continental railway; and during the summer of 1869, studied in the University of Deseret, under Prof. J. R. Park.
In May, 1870, at a General Conference of the Church (held - in May, awaiting President Young's return from St. George), by communication from my father, I was notified of my appointment as missionary to Europe, to come immediately to Salt Lake, to be set apart by the proper authorities for said mission. Not having the slightest previous intimation, I was taken by surprise, yet most gladly responded to the call ; went to Salt Lake City, was set apart by my father and others, returned to Brigham City to bid adieu to friends and relatives, and within five days from the first announcement, I was on board the train en route for Great Britain.
On reaching Ogden I had the pleasure of meeting a goodly number of Elders destined to the same point; and in each other's society our five days' transit across the continent to New York was very pleasant. There we were detained one week, waiting for the steamer, which afforded a fine opportu- nity for sight-seeing, which was a genuine treat to those born and raised in the Great American Desert, beneath the towering cliffs, "crowned with eternal snows." Arriving at New York, I was not only surprised but almost bewildered b}* the confus- ing jargon of the cab drivers, hooting and wrangling to secure passengers for the hotels. Two of them had a serious confab about which was entitled to me, when I took my valise, engaged another cab and left th'em to fight it ou.t.
On the twenty-fifth of May we embarked on the beautiful steamer Minnesota, and after an uneventful voyage of eleven days, landed in Liverpool, where we were met and cordially greeted by President A. Carrington, at Islington, for many years the headquarters of the European mission. I soon received an appointment as traveling Elder in the Manchester Conference, with President David Brinton. Being an entire stranger, entirely ignorant of the locations of branches and
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residences of the Saints, as my predecessor was about to make a farewell visit through the conference, I accompanied him on a general tour.
About this time the celebrated author, Charles Dickens, died, and I recollect a little incident in relation to his death, which occurred on the first evening after we started. While waiting refreshments in a hotel in Bolton, a gentleman stranger of fine presence, whom we afterwards learned was a highly educated, prominent journalist, entered the room where 'many people were seated, some in groups and others as wall flowers, when the strange man commenced to eulogize Mr. Dickens, giving an account of his death, the great loss the community would sustain by his demise ; and in beautiful lan- guage and eloquent dramatic style, portrayed the great worth and superior abilities of the deceased, adding that it would have been better that a thousand Britons had died, than for that noble man to give up his life. Finally, striking his broad, intellectual forehead with the palm of his hand, he exclaimed as if his whole soul was filled with anguish: "What, O, what was God Almighty thinking of when he caused that great and noble man to die?" We concluded that, although the speaker was considered great among his fellows, he cer- tainly must be out of joint where that expression originated.
During this tour we everywhere met warm -receptions from Saints and strangers. Although the people generally seemed very indifferent to the Gospel, while I labored in the Manchester Conference, I baptized a number into the Church. In May, 1871, I was appointed to the Presidency of the Leeds Conference, in which capacity I labored one year and six months with much satisfaction. While there, a seemiiigly trivial circumstance occurred, which resulted in much good. One day, in passing up Mamiingham Lane, I noticed a large placard posted in a conspicuous position in front of a building which had occasionally been occupied by the Saints for meet- ings, saying that an apostle of the sect known as the apostolic
church would deliver a series of lectures in said building, the first to be given that evening; the subject, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His Saints, go ye out to meet Him." Curiosity prompted me to go to the lecture. The self- styled apostle, on entering the speaker's stand, immediately commenced praying very fervently, and in a particularly forcible strain, that the Lord would shed His Spirit abroad in the room and remove the terrible influence that prevailed in consequence of the Mormons having held meetings in that house. xVfter this impressive supplication, he arose and stated to the congregation that having been informed that a Mormon missionary was present, he would like to make a few prefatory remarks before taking up the subject of his lecture. He then warmed up with a tirade of vituperation and scandalous abuse against Joseph Smith, the Prophet, exhausting the vocabulary of the English language in epithets, and rehearsing many of the time-worn slanderous stories manufactured by his most bitter enemies, and long since exploded. Having occupied much time which should have been devoted to his lecture, he found it necessary to apologize by saying his reason for having done so was he understood that a Mormon Elder was present, "and," said he, "I challenge him to come forward at the close of the lecture, and deny the charges I have made, if he can." Consequently, when he closed, and the meeting w r as about to be dismissed, responding to his challenge, I arose to contra- dict his absur.d charges and calumnies, when he became exceedingly angry and vehemently opposed my .speaking; but the audience was determined that I should be heard, several exclaiming, " Let the Mormon Elder speak ! " It seemed that the man must permit me to reply to his accusations or create a riot. At this juncture, Mr. Sewell, the owner of the hall, arose and said he hoped no disturbance would be made 011 the part of the audience, and although the position assumed by the apostle appeared strange, he said, "Still, inasmuch as he has rented the hall, he undoubtedly has the right to dictate
who may speak," and said farther, that he should regret to have any trouble arise over the matter. To which I replied that 110 one would regret more than myself that anything of that kind should occur; but I supposed the gentleman, in good faith, challenged me to refute his statements, if I could, concerning Joseph Smith and what he calls Mormonism; and being prepared to do so, I was simply responding to that request when I arose to speak, not supposing for one moment that any rule of decorum would be transcended; but inas- much as he persisted in maintaining his very singular point of refusal, I thought I could afford to content myself with the result. At all events, it was manifest that his course did not meet the approval of a majority present, the fraud being too transparent, and although intended to injure our cause, it cer- tainly produced the opposite effect, by arousing a spirit of inquiry and investigation with those who otherwise, perhaps, would never have given attention to the subject. It also had a marked effect in destroying respect for the self-styled apostle. I was informed that his audience diminished until he finally abandoned his lectures before the expiration of his engage- ment.
In 1872, I visited Scotland, and was truly delighted with the points of historical interest I viewed during my brief stay in that highly celebrated country. I there had the privilege of addressing a congregation assembled in conference of the Saints, in a beautiful hall in Glasgow, many of whom were strangers.
I took a trip with Elder George Reynolds (then President of the British mission in the absence of President Carrington) upon the beautiful Loch Lomond. After riding about ten miles, we reached Ballock, a small pier situated on the east shore of the lake, where we disembarked, walked about two and a half hours and reached the summit of the celebrated Ben Lomond, upwards of three thousand feet above the level of the sea, an eminence commanding a most magnificent view
of the surrounding country. We also visited Dumbarton Castle, where, with other specimens, we were shown the gigan- tic sword of William Wallace, which, by testing, we found to be of immense weight.
In Edinburgh we visited the private residence of the great Protestant reformer, John Knox, in w r hich was found one solitary article, an old arm-chair, said to have belonged to him. We also paid a visit to the palace and abbey of Holyrood, which is associated with very many historical incidents, and so replete with various relics of antiquity as would require volumes to describe. The picture gallery is one hundred and fifty feet in length, and its walls are hung with portraits of one hundred reported kings of Scotland. Our conductor pointed out to us the place in the palace where Lord Darnley vented his murderous jealousy on its unfortunate victim, Rizzio.
We also ascended the hill known as King Arthur's Seat, supposed to have derived its name from the fact of the king- having set it apart as a place of resort. It affords a magnifi- cent view of Edinburgh and surroundings ; I think the most enchanting scenic view I ever beheld. Away to the right, the lovely Firth of Forth is seen, and the German Ocean glittering in the sunlight, like a field of diamonds, while on the left, rises, with majestic grandeur, the great towers and splendid mansions of the city of Edinburgh. I made the most of my brief visit to the "banks and the braes" of old Scotland; and on the 21st of May, returned to my missionary field in England, continu- ing my labors until September following making my stay in that land nearly two and a half years, having had 'the honor, through the blessing of God, of baptizing about forty souls; also had the pleasure of attending conferences in Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, London, Durham and Newcastle. When in Birmingham, I visited the celebrated pen manufac- tory of Gillott & Sons, and was amused to learn that so simple an article passed through twenty-four different processes before it became a finished pen.
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At the time of attending the London conference, I had been in the missionary field two years, when in company of President Carrington, of the European mission, he asked me if I was very anxious to return home, saying, if I was not, he would like me to remain until autumn. I replied that I did not call myself to the mission, and felt perfectly willing to con- form to his wishes; hence the time was extended to the following October.
While traveling in England, I was forcibly struck with the contrast in the financial condition of the Saints there and those in Utah. I learned that many families lived at least one week ahead of their means, the year round : many being under the necessity of pawning their Sunday clothes at the broker's on Monday morning, for means for their families to subsist on during the week, and at the end of the week, take their week's wages and redeem said clothing to wear on Sunday; then on Monday morning repeat the same, over and over during the year. Although thus situated, their kindness and hospitality to the missionary Elders was *a subject of notoriety.
When entering on my labors in Lancashire, I was much surprised, and not a little amused, in observing the peculiar dialects in vogue, at times finding myself completely non- plussed in endeavoring to comprehend the meaning.* For instance, meeting a gentleman on the road with which I was unacquainted, I enquired the direction to a certain point in question, to which he responded, "go top at broo and then spur." I afterwards learned that he told me to enquire at the top of the hill.
In October, 1872, I was released to return home, leaving Liverpool on the steamer Idaho, and arrived home on the 1 3th of November, after an absence of two and a half years, and can truthfully say that in no period of my life have I derived more solid, genuine satisfaction than during that period. Soon after my return I was ordained a member of the High Council of Box Elder Stake. During the following winter
was employed in the mercantile department of the Brigham City Mercantile and Manufacturing Association.
On October 13, 1873, I married Mary B., daughter of Eli Harvey and Susannah Neff Peirce the former, first Bishop of Brigham City, also one of the Pioneers to the valleys of the mountains.
At the October Conference of 1875, I was called on a mis- sion to the States, and in connection with my missionary labors, had the privilege of visiting my relatives, and holding many public meetings among them; they according me every courtesy. Having a letter of introduction from my father to Chauncey Blair, Esq., of Mantua, Portage County, Ohio, I visited that gentleman, and expressing a desire to preach to the people, he kindly offered to procure the church owned by the society of which he was a member;' but subsequently informed me that he was unsuccessful, those interested in the building having refused on the ground that they expected a minister from another locality to preach in their church on the same day as I proposed. But on learning from Mr. Blair that I could occupy the Town Hall, rny appointment was circulated, and a splendid assembly convened. I was afterwards informed that the minister who essayed to hold forth in the church closed his meeting in disgust with only one-half dozen present.
When in Oberlin, the following ludicrous circumstance occurred, which I will relate, although at my own expense. I was introduced to one of my father's former college associates, by name Mrs. Bacon. Having formed a habit of associating an unfamiliar name which I wished to remember, with some- thing familiar, I very naturally associated the lady's name Bacon with hog; thinking that in the event of forgetting Bacon, it being so closely connected with hog, I could readily recollect it. But after spending a very pleasant- evening in her house, on rising to take leave, I said, "I wish you good evening, Mrs. Ham." Although I realized my mistake the instant it was uttered, I made no apology, thinking "the
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apology might be worse than the offence; but concluded my plan was not so reliable as I had supposed.
On my way to the States, I went a short distance out of my way to visit my aged grandmother on my mother's side, by the name of Goddard. She had been a member of the Church for many years, and expressed a desire to accompany me to Utah on my return home, to which I gladly consented. But when in the following season I called on her in fulfilment of my promise, I found her very feeble, being over eighty-nine .years of age, yet she seemed elated and buoyant with the anticipation of coming to the home of the Saints, until, by persuasion and entreaties of her daughter, with whom she resided, in connection with many of their neighbors, she was induced to relinquish the fond idea of gathering to Zion, which seemed to Have been the motive power of her mortal existence; for when she yielded her ambition to brave the fatigue of the journey, she apparently let go her hold on life, which passed out like the last faint gleam of an exhausted lamp, and I saw her eyes calmly close in the sleep of death. By request I preached her funeral sermon, and followed her remains to their last resting place.
At there-organization of the Box Elder Stake of Zion, by President B. Young, I was appointed to preside over said Stake.
In January, 1878, I was elected member of the board of directors of the Brigham City Mercantile and Manufacturing Association, and have been re-elected annually, up to the present. In August, 1880, was elected representative to the
twenty-fourth session of the Utah Legislature, and have been returned to the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth biennial sessions.
I had the honor of assisting in the ceremonies of laying the corner stones of the Logan Temple, which is now nearing its completion.
Since called to the important position as President of the Box Elder Stake of Zion, I have assisted in organizing wards,
relief societies, young men's and young women's mutual improvement and children's primary associations; ordaining Bishops, setting apart officers in various departments of the Priesthood, also officers in relief societies and in the associa- tions, all of which I am expected to watch over in the capacity of President of .the Stake.
With all of these weighty duties and responsibilities rest- ing upon me, I am frequently led to exclaim with one of old,
"Who is sufficient for these things."
OLIVER G. SNOW.