The subject of this biographical sketch, was born in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, the fifteenth of February, 1780. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to Mr. Dodge of that city, who was engaged in the manufacture of jewelry, where he remained for seven years. After attaining his majority, and completing his term of service, he removed to Newport, in the same State, where he prosecuted the business of manufacturing jewelry for two years.The close application he was required to give to his work injured his health, and he was advised to engage in some less sedentary avocation. He then returned to Providence, where he engaged in the mercantile business, at which he continued until 1817, when he emigrated to Ohio.
He was married, March 22, 1802, to Mary Thurston, a grandniece of E. Wanton, first colonial governor of Rhode Island. To them were born four children, three of whom lived to maturity: William T., who became a respected and honored minister of the Methodist church., and died at Worthington; George R., who became a physician and druggist and also died in Worthington; and John W., who went to New Orleans, and died there.
John Snow was initiated into the mysteries of free masonry in Mount Vernon lodge, Providence, February 14, 1809. In the second year of his membership, he was elected as master of the lodge, which position he continued to occupy, with honor to himself and great benefit to the craft, until he removed to his new home and the scene of his future labors, in the new State of Ohio.His earliest masonic record after his settlement in Ohio, appears on the minutes of a special meeting of New England Lodge, No. 4, at Worthington, September 29, 1817, where he was registered as a visiting member. Thomas Smith Webb, an early and life-time friend, and his masonic preceptor, was also a member of the same lodge. On the seventh of October, 1818, he was elected as master of the New England lodge. It was while he occupied this position that the masonic fraternity of the State availed themselves of his eminent qualifications, and assigned him to the onerous duties of grand master and grand lecturer for the State. In this character, he was required to visit every lodge in the State, inspecting their records, correcting irregularities, and reducing the work and the lectures to a system of harmony and order. By succession of re-elections, he continued to hold the office of master of New England lodge until October 30, 1822, when he made an eloquent address to the lodge on the subject of electing officers, and concluded by declining further service as master of the lodge. Notwithstanding his declination to serve further, he was unanimously re-elected, but, positively declining to serve further, James R. Pearce was elected his successor. Subsequently to this time the lodge voted—
"That Brother John Snow, our late worshipful master, has minifested an extraordinary attachment to the principles and institutions of masonory, and zeal for the stability and honor of the order, during the time he has acted as presiding officer of the lodge; and that he is eminently entitled to our gratitude for the masonic knowledge he has diffused among us, and for having originated and prosecuted the undertaking of erecting the Masonic hal in this town."
In 1827, having retired from the chair he had so long occupied in the grand lodge, he again accepted the office of master of New England lodge, which he held continuously until 1832, when he again declined to serve. His masonic zeal was not confined to the duties connected with the lodge, nor was it limited to "ancient craft masonry." He was prominent as a Royal Arch mason, and was the first grand commander prominent as a Royal Arch mason, and was the first grand commander of the first encampment of christian knighthood northwest of the Ohio river. He was elected to the office of the high priest of Horeb Chapter, No. 3, of Worthington, November 17, 1818, which position he filled with zeal and faithfulness until 1822, when, for the same reasons that he declined office in the lodge, he refused to succeed to the office of high priest of the chapter. He was again elected to the same office in 1827, and served in this connection three successive terms, and during this time was voted, by his companions, a silver cup, as a testimonial to his services in the erection of Masonic hall.
On the fourteenth of March, 1818, Sir John Snow received from M. E. Thomas Smith Webb, deputy-general grand master of the general grand encampment of the United States, a dispensation authorizing him to assemble together, in the town of Worthington, in the State of Ohio, a sufficient and legal number of Knights Templar, Knights of Malta, and of the Red Cross, and open a council and encampment in said town, and therein confer said orders upon such tried and worthy companions of th Royal Arch, as may make application for the same. Accordingly, all knights residing within the distance of forty miles were summoned to convene with him on the fifteenth of March, 1818, at which time and place appeared Sir Thomas S. Webb, from the general grand encampment of the United States, and grand encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island; Sir John Snow, hailing from St. John's encampment, Rhode Island, and Sir Frederick A. Curtis, hailing from _______ encampment, Ireland. On the twentieth of March, 1818, an encampment of Knights Templar was opened and sundry applicants were admitted to the order.
On the twenty-seventh of January, 1822, the general grand encampment of the United States, Sir Dewitt Clinton presiding, granted to Sir John Snow, and his associates, a charter "to form, open and hold an encampment of the valiant and magnanimous orders of R. C. K. T., and K. of M., or order of St. John of Jerusalem, by the name, style and title of Mt. Vernon encampment." To this encampment, Sir John Snow was appointed first grand commander, to which office he succeeded until 1830, when the infirmities of age admonished him to retire from the active duties pertaining to the order.
During his declining years Mr. Snow devoted his time to the management of the drug business, which he opened in Worthington, and at which he continued during the remainder of his life, which closed at Worthington, May 16, 1852*
*The biography of Sir John Snow has been compiled from the printed records of the proceedings of the grand lodge of Ohio, for the year 1853, aided by such additional information as could be obtained from family members.
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