Sarah Lucile Snow (1882-1955)

Sarah Lucile SnowMost of this history was written by Virginia C. Keeler in 1962, with additional materials added by Glenda Joyce Memmott Black.  Minor editing by Guy L. Black.

Lucille, “Louie,” or “Lou,” as she was called interchangeably, was the youngest daughter and sixth child of Joseph Smith Snow and Lucy Ellen Van Buren Snow.

Her mother was a beautiful woman of many talents, dark haired and queenly in her bearing, who loved her children dearly.  But Louie remembered little of her, for she passed away in childbirth when the girl was a little less than four years old, leaving eight of her nine children motherless; one, Samuel F., having preceded her in death.  Besides Louie, there were Warren Cheney, age fifteen; Claytie  Ambrozine, eleven; Ellen Virginia “Jennie” eight; Lauretta Fernlin “Retta” six; the twins, Joseph Smith Jr. “Joe” and Edgar Van Buren “Ed” two-and-a-half; and the day old infant, Elmer Van Buren Snow. Louie’s grandmother, Mary Ann Voorhees Snow, took the young baby and cared for him in her home until he died a couple of months after he turned four.

Louie’s father was a tall, erect, handsome man, with wavy hair- “the kindest father that ever lived,” according to Retta, who is the only one of his children remaining to remember.  Retta has given an account of the Snow children’s early life, and it has been most ably recorded in Elaine C. Southwick’s history of her mother, Jennie Snow, from which we wish to quote a part as follows:

“Mr. Snow, due to his interest in sheep and freighting, was often away from home.  The children and their care was a constantly nagging worry to him.  Claytie and Jennie, Retta and Lucille cooked, washed, mended, and tried to keep peace as best they could; but it tore his heart to see their little drawn, anxious faces, and watch their childish attempts to play “mother”. One evening, however, he returned home to the aroma of freshly backed bread and apple pie, and the clean, acrid smell of Lysol on scrubbed floors and woodwork.  He heard the humming of a busy woman above the whistle of a teakettle, and the sizzling of fresh frying pork.  His heart lifted at the happy laughter of contented children, and he knew that the author of this order must be induced to stay.”

Lydia Losee Cox, widow of Frederick W. Cox, had been induced by Joseph’s sister-in-law, Esther Snow, to come in to the Snow home and help the needful children.  Though she had children and grandchildren of her own, and was fifty years old, her big heart was touched and she had responded.  Joseph married her a short time afterward, and she proved to be a wonderful blessing to his children and his home.

To “Aunt Lydia”, goes the credit for most of Lucille Snow’s early training, as well as much of that of her sisters and younger brothers.  She trained the girls in the household arts and taught them the moral precepts of life, and taught them well.  Though discipline was necessary at times, it was administered with wisdom and love.  Again we quote from Mrs. Southwick’s history of the Snows:

“The days were crowded with duties: milking, churning, washing, ironing, soap making, lamp cleaning, candle making, stove blacking…The four girls took turns in helping to cook the breakfast of hot biscuits, fried pork, potatoes and gravy.  About daylight each morning, Aunt Lydia would open the upstairs door and call, “Daughter (not knowing whose turn it was) aren’t you going to help me?” The one previously designated would respond.”

“Washday was from sun to sun.  Aunt Lydia was next to godliness, if cleanliness had anything to do with it.  To scrub the clothes on the scrubbing board, through two suds, boil them in lye and soap for thirty minutes; to scrub them again before subjecting them to a hot, a lukewarm, and a bluing rinse, was the usual procedure.  A starch made by boiling flour and water together was the final dunking.  The girls rebelled so much at this seemingly endless process that Aunt Lydia finally consented to cut out one scrubbing; it was the unanimous decision that the clothes looked just as white.”

“Aunt Lydia introduced another innovation—bottled fruit.  Up until this time the children had never tasted it.  Their mother had made jams and jellies, but as she never had sufficient good lids to cover the bottles (she used old ones and glued them on with pine gum), fresh fruit was out of the question.”

“As the boys were usually busy in the fields, the girls took turns milking the cows.  Jennie was fearful of cows because she’d been kicked by one; but Aunt Lydia insisted that she take turn – she showed no favoritism.  The girls worked laboriously for praise.”

“A work day trip into the fields north of town was often a family project.  The children loved to jolt over the rough roads, gulp great breaths of the scent of new mown hay, mock the exuberant meadowlark; and as the shadows lengthened and stretched themselves eastward, marking the end of a long day of toil, the brothers and sisters joined in singing haying songs, some of which Louie’s sister Jennie had composed.”

Jennie was the composer of stories too.  Often, at the close of the tasks of the day, in a summer afternoon’s coolness of the Snow orchard east of the house, she would gather her sisters about her, and perhaps some neighbor children, and thrill them with stories of her own imagining.  She did this, as Mrs. Southwick so vividly puts it, to the “chattering of birds, the buzz of insects, the cackle of a hen, or the kayock of Tuttle’s peacock” across the way.  Mrs. Southwick continues:

“Jennie’s stories held as much charm in the winter as in the summer.  The potbellied stove in the dining room was the focal point around which the family listened.  So intent were they sometimes that the dropping of a coal or the crackling of wood in the stove elicited a squeal from the younger children.  While Jennie read, the other girls knitted their own and their brothers’ stockings.”

“On one such night in November 1889 there was a murder in Manti.  Parlane McFarlane staggered from a saloon in a drunken frenzy and shot and killed H. C. Hansen and W. H. Golden.  Joseph Snow, who had been Captain of Police the year before, was the only one who could control Parle when he’d been drinking.  Lute Tuttle, a bystander, ran the four blocks to the Snow home, pounded on the door and yelled, “Come quick Joe! Parlane’s killed two men!”  Aunt Lydia bundled up the children and, to get their minds off the tragedy, took them down the block to her married son, Charles’, to see her new grandbaby.”

“It was post-Manifesto time in Utah, and the children had been warned never to divulge the names of whereabouts of their father to strangers.  Though their father was not a polygamist, their grandfather, Warren Stone Snow, was.  (He had five wives.)  In the middle of one of Jennie’s stories one night, two federal officers knocked at the door.  Jennie calmly opened the door, bolted the screen, and asked the men what they wanted, while the other children trembled behind her.”

“What’s your father’s name,” they queried.

“Joseph Schmutz Schnutz,” Jennie retorted defiantly and unhesitatingly.  Aunt Lydia, on hearing the conversation from the adjoining room, rushed in to tell the officers what she though of people who went around frightening children; and the door closed abruptly on the browbeaten men.

“Holidays were fun, though far between.  Some of the most exciting times for the Snow children were the July celebrations – the Fourth and the Twenty-fourth.  The parade down Main Street, and the town meeting in the tabernacle, was the main attractions.  For days beforehand the girls were busy starching and ironing petticoats, etc., etc.  The orchard was the scene of parade practices.  Some of the young people were bands and played marches on instruments made of combs covered with tissue paper; others were the Goddess of Liberty, Columbia, John Bull, or just characters swaddled in old bunting.  Everyone “slept out” the night before the holiday, and dawn brought the roar of cannons and the town band on a large hayrack serenading the Mayor, Bishops, and usually Joe Snow.  Then came the mad scramble to get into new outfits (if they could be had.)  Mr. Snow doled out twenty-five or thirty cents to each of the children, who spent this money grudgingly for goodies at five cents a whack.  The celebration for the young people usually ended with a matinee dance.

“Christmas, the day of days, was not always what it could have been in the Snow household.  The children would beg hard for a real Christmas tree with store trimmings, but they usually settled for a pinion pine or cedar tree, which they decorated with newspaper chains and strings of cranberries and popcorn.  Christmas oranges were savored lingeringly, even to the peelings; but usually Santa brought only an apple, some peanuts, perhaps some hardtack and possibly a doll for each girl.

“One year the girls found China dolls propped upon the windowsill (a substitute when there was no tree), but never did their dolls have dresses.  When they saw their friends’ clothed dolls they were ashamed of their naked ones.”

Music played a welcomed part in the Snow household.  The talented departed mother had early taught her little ones to sing.  Nearly all of them learned to chord or improvise on the family organ, Claytie and Jennie often sang in public.  It was not unusually to see the four girls gathered round the organ in song; or seated on the steps of their front porch of a summer’s eve, blending their sweet voices in their favorite melodies.  Sometimes their brothers joined them, for hey too could sing.  Warren had a good voice and one of his favorite songs was “The Ship that Never Returned,” and he could really put his heart into “The Bird in the Gilded Cage.”  All of them loved “In the Gloaming.”  Joe and Ed, the twins, used to often join their neighbors, the Braithwaite brothers, on the corner, barbershop style, in “Sweet Adeline,” “Down by the Old Barn Gates,” etc.

Lucille Snow was a great lover of music and especially gifted in that art.  She was the only member of the Snow family to receive formal musical training.  The winter she was eighteen (1900-1901), she went to Provo, where she attended the Brigham Young Academy, taking classes in piano, voice, and choral work.

One of the most popular places of recreation when Louie was in her teens was “Funks Lake,” now known as “Palisade Park.”  Located east of the town of Sterling, the spot had been chosen by Daniel Buckley Funk for such purpose in 1873.  Mr. Funk, who was from Manti, recognized the need for a pleasure resort for the citizens of Manti and the surrounding area.  With others who were interested, he sought the sanction of Brigham Young, who gave it heartily.  At that time, FunksLake was used by the Indian Chief Arropine as a summer camping ground.  The land, consisting of seventy acres, was purchased from the Chief.  Funk planned to build an artificial lake by forcing water from Six Mill Creek uphill to the designated place.  The Indians stood around laughing at the white man’s folly of trying to force water uphill.  But the lake was built, trees were planted around the lake, a steamboat placed on it, and the resort flourished.  Louie’s sister-in-law, Kate Snow, in her journal speaks of the lake.  We quote part:

“Funks Lake offered our only other means of celebrating during the summer months, aside from the Fourth and Twenty-Fourth.  It was a famous resort, the only one in SanpeteCounty.  The Funks built a large dance pavilion, sold refreshments, and had a bathing house to accommodate swimmers.  Family groups came out with their lunch baskets, spread a wagon corer on the ground, over which was put a white tablecloth, and enjoyed picnics.

“Crowds of friends planned outings there.  Each family went in their own “outfit”—a wagon, got out their “grub box,” and spread the cooked food on the table.  Someone always stood by with a long willow covered with leaves, waving it back and forth over the food to keep away the flies.

‘If a holiday came, there was dancing for the children or a ride on the steamboat, with its exciting, shrill whistle, which made the round trip of the lake for ten cents.  The proprietors sold home-made ice cream, candy, and gum.  Some walked down to where the water was shallow and waded.  Other fished.  The mothers usually sat on spring seats from the wagons, and visited, after the food had been put away.

“When we were older we went out on hayracks in summer, perhaps twenty or more in one load, to attend the public dances.  The horses were allowed to feed on the straw in the bottom of the rack while we danced.  Horse races were later staged there, but this brought a rough element, so horse racing was closed out.”

Lucille Snow was born about six years before the magnificent Manti Temple was dedicated.  It stood on a hill only a few blocks directly north of her home.  She grew into womanhood practically in the shadows of its lofty spires, and doubtless dreamed often of entering its holy precincts to become a bride, as her two eldest sisters had done.

Her sister, Claytie, had been married there, when Louie was fourteen, and then moved away to a small farming community several hundred miles south in Garfield County, called Coyote.  During the next seven or eight summers, Louie often visited at Claytie’s.  It was during one of those visits to Coyote, about the turn of the century, that she attended a house party at the home of Bishop George M. Black, given for all the young people of the Ward.  But let her son Elliot finish the story:

“Lucille had just been introduced to a young man, George K. Black, eldest son of the Bishop, and was talking with him when Patriarch Blackburn, also an out-of-town guest at the party, approached the two.  Placing a hand on the shoulder of each he said, “George, and you, Sisters Snow; you knew each other in the spirit world and there chose each other as life companions.  You will have an abundance of happiness and a large posterity—many sons and daughters!”  This remark was heard by many of the young people and greeted with much amusement and many giggles; for at that time George K. Black was engaged to a young lady by the name of Esta McCullia, and they were planning an early marriage.  At the close of the party the incident was apparently forgotten.

But fate has a strange way with the lives of people sometimes.  A few months later Esta McCullia and her girl friend were taken from the bottom of the river, clasped in each others arms, accidentally drowned; and George K. Black was called into the mission field for the church and spent the next two years in California and Arizona preaching the gospel.

Sarah Lucille Snow and George King Black were married 7 September 1904 in the Manti Temple.  As the couple was leaving the beautiful structure after the ceremony that day, they were suddenly reminded of the incident of their meeting more than four years before, and of the words of the old Patriarch.  Each felt that their marriage that day had divine approval.

Louie and George Black had twelve children, including three pairs of twins: Joseph King, Elliot R. and Elmer S. (twins), Evan George and Eva (twins), Esther, Roberta, Lydia, Woodrow W. and Winnafred (twins), and Lucile black.  All but two of these children were born in Coyote (later changed to Antimony), Garfield, Utah; Lydia was born in Manti and the last child, Lucile, was born in Fillmore, Millard Utah.  All twelve children grew to maturity; ten are still living.

The couple’s first home was in Coyote, where George engaged in farming and dairying.  After about eight years there, they moved to Manti and settled for around five years on the same block where Louie was born.  Returning to Coyote, they spent an additional five years, and in the spring of 1922 moved to the town of Fillmore, in MillardCounty.

It was in Fillmore that their oldest daughter, Eva, died of typhoid fever in August, 1922.  There was an epidemic in the town at the time; Roberta was stricken also, but recovered.

Eventually the Black family settled in Tooele, Tooele, Utah, where there were opportunities for the boys in the mining industry.  Joseph King, their oldest son, died in a SaltLakeHospital in the early party of January 1942, from complications caused by over-exertion, following a server attack of influenza.  He was engaged to be married at the time.

The Black home was a home where kindness and love ruled.  George and Louie were generous, outgoing, happy people by nature; and they were devoted to their children and each other.  Religion meant a great deal in their home, and the entire family was active in church service.  George was Ward Clerk from ten to fifteen years in Coyote, and then served as Second Counselor in the Bishopric, and as a member of the High Council of the Garfield Stake.  His boys followed in his footsteps; he taught them to be men all the way.  Elliott served a mission for the Church.  He served for fifteen years in the quorum presidencies of the Seventies organization, and is at present first counselor in the High Priests quorum of North Tooele Stake.  He has also served four Stake missions.  Elmer served in two bishoprics of the Tooele Second War, as Second and then First Counselor.  Even the grandsons of George and Lucille Black are following the pattern of church service.  Elmer’s oldest son, Don, served a mission in England; Elliot’s oldest, George Elliot, labored for two years in the Southern States; Evan’s oldest boy, Peter Dale, served in the North Central States Mission; and Woodrow’s two oldest sons, Kenneth and Roger, are now in the mission field.

Lucile was the family disciplinarian, while George was the comforter.  Yet, as the youngest of twelve children, Lucile probably got to sit on her mom’s lap more than any of the rest of the children.  She remembers it was very soft and comfortable, and she liked to go there to sleep.

Lucile was a hard worker and seemed to always be doing something.  Mondays were always washdays, and what huge washings they were.  It seemed we always had soup for dinner on Mondays.  Laughingly, the family called it “washday soup.”  Ironing was done on Tuesdays.  She sewed, and was a good cook.  The children have memories of coming home from school and smelling bread baking.

The Indians, tramps, gypsies, etc., who were passing through, always stopped at their house, and Lucile would always give them something to eat or put something in the bags they always seemed to be carrying.  She said that if you never turn anyone away hungry, you would always have food on your table.  She always sent things over to neighbors who were sick.

George’s sister, Esther, was a great help to Lue (Lucile) as she played with the children.  One spring day, she was taking Elliot and Elmer in their twin baby carriage up and down the walk just outside the kitchen door.  She heard Lue call for her to move the babies away quickly, as some grease she was rendering on the stove was on fire.  Esther gave the babies a quick push forward, but Esther was in direct line to receive the pan of grease on her left shoulder, arm, side of the head, and most of the left side of her body.  She was badly burned.  Most of her clothes were burned to a crisp.  The flesh was crinkled and terribly painful.  There was a ditch of water running in front of the house, and her first impulse was to run and jump in the ditch, but Luke grabbed her and held her.  A neighbor lady came running over and had a bottle of carbolic acid in her hand.  Quickly they mixed some lard with it and covered all the burned area of her body with it.  They wrapped a white sheet around her and took her to her mother’s home, which was about ¼ mile away.  Esther was screaming that the babies were burned up.  She couldn’t seem to realize that they were safe.  It took quite a long while for all the burned spots to heal, but through faith and a priesthood blessing, given to her by her father and brother, she was completely healed, and the scars vanished after about two years.

The Fourth of July was always special.  Lucile made dresses for the girls, and she made it a very special holiday for her family.

Whenever some of the children would quarrel, she would sing, “Love at Home” in non-melodious tones.  She taught a 4-H cooking club, and also sold mail-order dresses for a while.  She had a special book where she kept poems and readings.  She seemed to enjoy doing things like that.  Whenever anyone needed a poem, they could find it there.

One day, daughter Lucile and mother Lucile were visiting a neighbor, Mrs. Gundry.  While the adults were talking, daughter Lucile saw a small paint brush by their shed that she felt she needed more than anything, and so she took it home and hid it in the wood pile.  Mom Lucile must have seen her take it.  When she came into the house later on and explained that she had just found this in the woodpile, Mom Lucile looked at her in the way that she had when she didn’t believe a story that was being told and asked, “Where did you say you got that?”  Lucile hung her head and finally admitted where she got it.  She was marched over to Gundry’s, and had to tell Mrs. Gundry what she had done and that she was sorry.

Lucile had several sayings she used that stuck with her children.  Some of them are:

“If you lie, you will steal, if you steal, you will murder; so don’t lie.”

“If a string is in a knot, patience will untie it.  Patience will do many things, have you ever tried it?”

“If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything.”

“Judge not, least ye be Judge-ed.”

“Be honest to yourself.”

Lucile had a discipline technique that her children did not like at all.  Whenever they would do something that required punishment, instead of a spanking, they had to sit on a chair and be lectured.  They hated it, and wished that she would spank them and get it over with.

She had a temper that reared itself on occasion.  Sometimes, when a child had cold sores on their lips the school would send them home and tell them they had impetigo.  Lucile would have the child soak it in hot water.  Then she would march the child back to school to the Principal’s office and the child would end up staying in school.

She was always supportive of the children’s school functions.  If a child could not see her in the audience, they nevertheless knew she was there by her distinctive cough.

She never forced her teenage children to go to church; but she did tell them that if they went they were listen and not just sit and talk with their friends.  If they chose to stay at home, she always had a job for them to do.  She had a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, and she enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood, even though she didn’t always go to church in her later years.

Her children learned from her that kisses heal hurt fingers and bruised knees, to cry when they were happy, to be more proud of children’s accomplishments than your own, to look for the good in people, to not judge people too quickly, to be honest to themselves, to look at the flowers, (she loved flowers), to try to tell the truth always, (she disliked a lie, she loved truth.)  She encouraged daydreams.  Many times she would have long talks with a child.  She was wise in many ways.  She was a friend as well as a mother.

She looked forward to visits from her children and grandchildren.  No one ever walked into the house around dinnertime without being invited to eat.  She so enjoyed family get-to-gathers.  As a Grandma, she was really special, and was so proud of her children and grandchildren, and even bragged many times about her posterity.

The girls in the Black family are all married, as are the boys; and count among their accomplishments, besides that of housewifery, those of Air Stewardess, trained nurse, Primary president, etc.

The father of the family, George King Black, who was born 9 January 1879 in Kingston, Piute, Utah, the sons of George and Clarinda King Black, died 2 August 1944 in Tooele, Tooele, Utah.  He had suffered of diabetes for some years prior to his death.

Sarah Lucille Black lived almost eleven years following her husband’s death.  She spent these years happily with several of her children, who were scattered from California to Utah and Idaho.  They ministered to her needs with the utmost love and kindness, as she had always done to them.  She died 21 July 1955 in Salt Lake City, and was buried in the Tooele cemetery beside her companion of some forty years.

Elliot, in writing of his parents, continues: “Mother was a very wonderful person.  She loved music.  She too filled many church assignments, besides raising twelve children; -Primary Y.L.M.I.A., Sunday School, Relief Society – she served and held positions of rust in all her in her day.  But it is not for these and her numerous other services that she will be longest remembered by us, her children; but for just being herself – our mother and our friend!

“It is now fifty-eight years since that wonderful day when our parents were wed.  Today their descendants number seventy-five living and five who have passed on in death, plus twenty fine in-laws  There are twenty-eight  men and boys who bear the black name.  Our Maker has been good to George and Lucille Black, leaving them ninety-five living people on the earth today to call them “blessed”, and not a “poor excuse” among them.” [i]


[i] Vital Records, Cemetery, and Obituary Sources:  Birth Certificate:  No birth certificate available.  No governmental entities in Utah were required to report births prior to 1898.  Birth date is from secondary sources, which include her death certificate and her obituary.  In addition, the secondary sources agree, by calculation, with her self-reported age, stated in her marriage license.  All secondary sources list her birth date as April 24, 1882.  Marriage License:  Sanpete County, No License Number, Sanpete County Clerk’s Office, Manti, Utah.  A copy of the certificate is also available on Family History Library Microfilm Roll No. 481511.  Death Certificate:  Sarah Lucile Snow Black, Death Certificate, Registrar’s Number 1432, State File Number 55 18 1285, Utah Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Also available from: Sarah Lucile Snow Black, Death Certificate, Series 81448, Entry 25570, Utah State Archives Digital Collection, http://historyresearch.utah.gov/indexes/index.html> accessed 23 August 2007.  Electronic image in the possession of Guy L. Black.  Grave Location and Cemetery Directions:  Tooele City Cemetery, 361 South 100 East, Tooele, Utah 84074.  The grave location is: 9-26-4.  To get to the cemetery:  From I-80, once in Tooele, follow Main Street to 400 South and turn left; drive one block.  Obituary: The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 22, 1955, p. B9.