Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zerubbabel Snow (1809-1888), Zerubbabel Wightman (1743-1835)

   Receiving an unusual first name in honor of an obscure biblical figure (Zerubbabel, head of the tribe of Judah), Zerubbabel Snow went on to find his political and business fortunes in the Utah Territory. He was originally born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont on March 29, 1809, a son of Levi and Lucina Streeter Snow. Snow joined the newly established Mormon Church in 1832 and was ordained into the priesthood by church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. in Portage County, Ohio.
  Snow married in Vermont in 1833 to his first wife Susanna Slater, who died shortly after giving birth to a daughter Suzanne Lizette in March 1841. Following her death, Zerubabbel Snow went on to marry two more women and later sired a total of six children over twenty years' time. During his Ohio residency Snow earned a law degree and in 1835 migrated (along with his church) to Iowa. The early 1840s found Snow living in Canton, Ohio and in 1845 was elected as Mayor of Canton for a one year term. His name (abbreviated as "Z. Snow") was featured on a 1916 roster of former Canton mayors and is shown below. 

   In 1850 Snow and his family relocated to the Utah Territory and within a few years of his resettlement had gained distinction as an LDS missionary and church apostle. Snow was appointed by then-President Millard Fillmore to the Utah Territorial Supreme Court in 1850, becoming one of the first federal judges in the territory. Serving on the bench until 1854, Snow later resigned his seat and went on a church mission to Australia in 1856 and was stationed in the "land down under" for two years, returning to Utah in 1858.
   After his return stateside, Snow won election as a probate judge for Iron County and in 1865 was elected as the Prosecuting Attorney for Salt Lake City. He was later appointed as Attorney General of the Territory of Utah in 1869 and was still the incumbent in that office when the post was abolished in 1874. Snow's later life was spent in the practice of law, and from 1878-1884 served another term as Prosecuting Attorney for Salt Lake. 
  Zerubbabel Snow died in Salt Lake City on March 29, 1888, at age 79 and was later interred in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. He was later memorialized in the Salt Lake Herald as having lead "a life of usefulness in his sphere prolonged beyond the term usually allotted to man." Coincidentally, the Salt Lake City Cemetery is also the resting place of two other oddly named Utah political figures, Wehrli Douglas Pack (1889-1975, a state representative) and Sunday Cardall Anderson (1893-1987), a state representative and prominent leader in Utah Democratic Party circles.

This memorial notice to Zerubbabel Snow appeared in the Salt Lake Herald on September 30, 1888.

  In an addendum to this article, on December 15, 2011, another politician was discovered that also has the first name Zerubbabel. He is Zerubbabel Wightman of Bozrah, Connecticut, who was born on December 2, 1743. Virtually nothing is known of his life, with the exception of his service in the Connecticut State House of Representatives in 1805. Wightman died at the advanced age of 91 on November 1, 1835, in his native village of Bozrah. You'll notice the variation in the spelling of Wightman's first name, but research indicates it is actually spelled with a double "b."

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