Select Snow Miscellany
- Simon Snow, Merchant of Exeter
- The Snows in Vermont
- Jabez Snow and His Family in Nova Scotia
- A Tragedy in Newfoundland - John and Catherine Snow
- Parker Snow's Time in Australia
- Phoebe Snow and the Railroad
Simon Snow, Merchant of Exeter
In Exeter the cloth merchants would meet at the New Inn in the High Street. The earliest mention of this hostelry was a lease in 1456 and by 1554 it accommodated the Merchants Hall. On the corner of Gandy Street stood the house that was built by merchant and mayor Simon Snow who represented Exeter in the 1640 Long Parliament. Later, it was for a long time the home of The Flying Post, the local newspaper.
Simon Snow prospered as a merchant and civic dignitary. He supported the Parliamentarian side during the Civil War and benefited by acquiring the building materials from the dismantled houses of the cathedral clergy. He benefited as well from the will of his uncle Robert Vilvayne who left him a brewhouse and a malthouse. In 1653 he was mayor of Exeter.
The Snows in Vermont
According to his grandson Alonzo, Jonathan Snow arrived in 1791 on horseback when only five families were settled in the town of Montpelier, Vermont. He located and cleared 160 acres of heavily timbered land and build a log house near a spring, raising potatoes and wheat.
He then returned to Salem, Massachusetts and moved back to Montpelier in the winter of 1792 with his wife and baby on an ox sled with all their clothes and dishes packed in a small chest. Jonathan rode ahead on horseback, the oxen following him, as he broke the path, guided much of the way by marked trees. Their nearest neighbor lived three miles from where they settled.
Eight of the twelve children of Jonathan and Lydia Snow were born and lived in the log house on the top of Snow Hill. The farm remained in the Snow family until 1904.
Jabez Snow and His Family
His eldest son Josiah, born in 1755, married Elizabeth Shaw in Granville in 1781 and they raised a family in Wakefield, New Brunswick. The following story was recounted about Elizabeth when young by her grandson:
Elizabeth was a remarkable woman who married at 17, raised thirteen children, but went blind later in life (her compensation was a wonderful singing voice).
A Tragedy in Newfoundland -
John and Catherine Snow
John Snow, a farmer and fisherman of Salmon Grove, Port de Grave, and Catherine Mandeville had lived together for about twelve years before they married in 1828. They already had three children by that time. Why the marriage had been delayed is not clear. It could have been because it was a mixed marriage or simply the distance to the nearest Catholic church.
Their marriage, however, ended in tragedy. John disappeared on the night of August 31, 1833 and Catherine was accused and subsequently convicted as an accomplice in his murder. She was three months pregnant at the time.
No matter. The local newspaper commented: "The most tragic execution to take place in Newfoundland was the hanging of a forty year old mother of seven children."
Parker Snow's Time
In 1839 Parker Snow married a London housemaid Sarah
Williams which caused him to be ostracized by his family.
Consequently he and Sarah decided to emigrate to Australia.
Parker kept a diary of their voyage. By the time
they came on board later in the year, Sarah was nursing a new
baby. Parker succeeded in obtaining a small private cabin for her
next to the ship's hospital, although he himself was forced to sleep in
steerage. He recorded his 22nd birthday as they sailed out from
When they arrived in Melbourne they soon found
work. He and his wife were engaged as storekeeper and housekeeper
at the Yarra Yarra Steam Packet Hotel. He soon was to prosper as
these were gold rush times.
Many years later, in 1853, he decided to sink the money
he had made in
Melbourne into a private expedition to search for the lost explorer
Franklin. He bought a 16 ton cutter, The Thomas, and, despite the
handicaps of exorbitant prices and shortage of labor, he fitted out the
vessel in Melbourne for an Arctic expedition during the continuing
frenzy of the gold rush.
After calling at Sydney,
The Thomas started north but encountered a series of violent
winter gales that damaged her severely and forced Snow to seek shelter
in the mouth of the Clarence river in northeast New South Wales.
By the time the storm damage had been repaired, all but two of Snow's
men had deserted. Still in hopes of trying again, Snow sailed his
cutter back south to Sydney and there finally abandoned the
vessel. His was one of the more bizarre episodes of the Franklin
Phoebe Snow and the Railroad
Phoebe Snow was a fictional character created in America in 1900 to promote travel on the railroads. At that time rail travel was not pleasant. After a long trip on a coal-powered train, travellers would frequently emerge covered in black soot. The exception to that rule were locomotives powered by anthracite, a clean-burning form of coal. And the Lackawanna railroad owned vast anthracite mines in Pennsylvania and could legitimately claim that their passengers' clothes would still look clean after a long trip.
To promote this fact, their advertising department created Phoebe Snow, a young New York socialite and a frequent passenger of the Lackawanna. For reasons never explained Miss Snow often travelled to Buffalo, always wearing a white dress.
The first ad featured the image of Phoebe and a short poem:
- 'Says Phoebe Snow
- about to go
- upon a trip to Buffalo
- "My gown stays white
- from morn till night
- Upon the Road of Anthracite."'