Eliza Roxy Snow was born 1804 in Massachusetts and is the second child of seven of Oliver and Rosetta Snow.
Elizas family moved to Portage County Ohio when Eliza was two years old.
Eliza’s younger brother is Lorenzo Snow who became a prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The Snow family valued education and put a strong emphasis on educational opportunities. She learned to write poetry and became a bookkeeper for her father.
Joseph Smith moved to Kirtland Ohio in 1831 and their good friend Sidney Rigdon introduced the prophet to the Snow family. Eliza’s mother and sister converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints quickly. Eliza took longer to convert to the new religion. She studied for four years before she decided to get baptized. She was 31 when she was baptized.
When Eliza made up her mind to be baptized she was “all in”! She moved to Kirtland where she taught school for the Smith family. Eliza wrote a hymn for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints first hymnal. Eliza also donated a substantial sum of her money to the building of the Kirtland Temple.
Eliza was privileged to see many heavenly manifestation at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.
When the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were being persecuted in Missouri Joseph Smith had Eliza write letters on behalf of the Church. She became known as “Zion Poetess”.
Eliza wrote more than 500 poems for The Church and many became beloved songs for the Saints and the songs were song around pioneer campfires, meeting rooms and temples.
Eliza was there with Emma Smith, Sarah Kimball and other women when the prophet organized the Relief Society. Eliza was the first secretary of the Relief Society and took minutes at the meetings. Eliza took these minutes across the plains and used them to help reorganize the Relief Society under the prophet Brigham Young.
Eliza was the second General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Not only did she run the Relief Society but she also helped other women to organize the young Women in the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association in 1870 and also the Primary Association in 1878!
Eliza lived in the time of polygamy and she was sealed to the prophet Joseph Smith and also the the prophet Brigham Young. She never had children of her own, but helped educate the Young family children.
Eliza died on December 5, 1887. At her funeral in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, a choir sang her well-known hymn “O My Father.” Apostles, family, and friends paid tribute to her with poetry, discourses, personal memories, and firm testimonies. Her obituary in the New York Times described her as “one of the central figures of the Mormon galaxy.”
Places to visit:
Historic Kirtland Ohio
Eliza is buried in Brigham Young’s family private cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah.