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The biography of Cyrus Snell

Cyrus Snell, born 9 Nov 1809 in Eaton, Strafford, New Hampshire to Smardus (corrected spelling) Snell and Lucy Phillips. He married Rhoda Barnes on 13 Mar 1832 in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. He died on 6 Sep 1873 in Spanish Fork, Utah, Utah. Rhoda Barnes was born 21 Nov 1815 in Sackville, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada to John Barnes and Hannah Dixon.

Cyrus and Rhoda had 7 children. Three lived to have many descendants; John Wesley, George Dixon and Rufus Phillips. However, Cyrus Alma only had one daughter and that line may have died out. Any info on this line would be greatly appreciated.

The family association for this family is in the process of applying to the Mayflower Association for membership. If you are a descendant of these people, email the website author below.


Children of Cyrus Snell and Rhoda Barnes

History of Cyrus and Rhoda Barnes Snell

The ancestry of Cyrus Snell in America dates back to 1650 when Thomas Snell came from Fillongley, Warwickshire, England and settled in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Mass. Smardus Snell and Lucy Phillips, the parents of Cyrus Snell were married at Bridgewater, Mass. in 1807 and were the parents of two sons, Nathan and Cyrus. Smardus died when Cyrus was three years old and his mother, Lucy, married Joshua Nickerson, a Baptist preacher. In consequence of the severe treatment of the stepfather, the boys were compelled to leave home when Cyrus was about ten years old. Cyrus went to live with Mark Blaisdell, making his home there seven years, going to school in the winter and doing farm work in summer, receiving nine dollars per month, the highest wages paid for farm labor in that section of country.

In 1829, he went to New Brunswick with his uncle, Alden Snell, who was a clothier by trade. His business was at a small place called Frosty Hollow. In company with John Barnes and Jonathan Berry, they built a fulling, dressing and carding mill. (This was a mill for making cloth.) Cyrus Snell remained there four years learning the trade. Here he met Rhoda Barnes who later became his wife.

When Mr. Blaisdell died, his wife sent for Cyrus to come and look after the property consisting of the fills and farm lands. He accepted the offer and with his wife and one child moved to his former home in Maine. While Cyrus was supervising this property, Alden Snell left Mr. Barnes alone with the fulling mill. Mr. Barnes offered Cyrus an interest in the business with a chance to buy it if he wished. Cyrus accepted the opportunity and due to strict attention to business, he bought the property and built a comfortable home. It was here in the spring of 1836 that the Mormon Elders, Lyman Johnson, Milton Holliness and John Herrit found many eager listeners, Cyrus & Rhoda being some of the number. The mill was thrown open for meetings and during the two or three weeks the elders baptized eighteen people, Cyrus, Rhoda and many of the Barnes family.

In the summer of 1849, a cousin came up from Lowell, Mass., hunting for girls to come to that place to work in the cotton mills. Rhoda was persuaded to go with them and run a boarding house. This seemed an opportunity to provide her children with a better education so she accepted. She also hoped by this means to get Cyrus to sell out and move to Utah. In the spring she set out on her new enterprise. During her stay in Lowell, her youngest child and only daughter, Lucy Hannah died, aged 4 years and was buried at that place. In the autumn of 1851, they moved back to the old home in New Brunswick where Cyrus had stayed carrying on his trade.

After staying there a year and a half longer, they sold the property to a neighbor and started for the west. Many of the Barnes family by this time had left Kirtland and settled in Wisconsin. Cyrus's family arrived there (Wisconsin) in May and stayed until the following April, buying cattle , wagons and outfitting for crossing the plains. Here the Barnes family tried hard to persuade them to buy a farm and remain there, but they had decided to cast their lot with the Latter-Day Saints in Utah. Accordingly on the 21 of April 1854, with an outfit of nine yoke of oxen, three wagons, 22 cows, carriage and span of mares, cook stove and plenty of provisions the began their journey. The three oldest sons, John W, George D., and Cyrus A., drove the three ox teams, leaving the carriage for Cyrus and Rhoda. One son, Rufus P., was a cripple at this time due to inflammatory rheumatics.

It seemed a foolish undertaking for a lone family to bid adieu to relatives and friends and seek a home among a people who so recently had been forced to leave their homes, but faith in God was the mainspring of their actions at this time. After traveling six weeks thru Wisconsin and Iowa, they reached Council Bluffs where they rested a few days. They ferried the Missouri near the present site of Florence. This was the land of the Omahas and Pawnees who were at war. They continued on their way and camped on the Elkhorn River. Here they found a Mr. Elias Williams with his wife and two children and two wagons. Mr. Williams had started for Salt Lake, having hired a man to bring them this far, expecting to overtake another Company who were to take them to Utah, but the Company had gone. The Indians were hostile and the teamsters became frightened and refused to go farther thus leaving them stranded with no animals. Cyrus brought them to Salt Lake by yoking up some of his cows. The Indians had attacked some sheep drovers who were on their way to California with 1500 sheep, killed one of the men and killed and scattered the sheep. These men tried to persuade Cyrus to turn back saying they would surely be killed, however they had no such intentions and continued on their way unmolested. The next night they camped near the scene of the battle, it was a long lonesome night made double so by the howling of thousands of hungry coyotes. The family crossed the plains alone, were only held up once by Indians, they gave the Indians some groceries and were not further molested. They arrived in Salt Lake on 27, Aug 1854 having traveled over 1500 miles in 129 days.

Cyrus bought a lot in Salt Lake, built an adobe house and Rhoda and the younger children lived there that winter, the children attending school. Cyrus and the three older boys took the stock to Spanish Fork and built one room in Fort St. Luke. After the April Conference of 1855, the family moved down to Spanish Fork. They bought a farm from Samuel Thompson about 3 Ĺ miles up the river from the fort and began farming, building roads and ditches and the many things incidental to pioneer life. Settlers began coming in the next summer, the city was surveyed and lots rapidly taken up. Houses began to be built outside the fort, the Snell home being one of the first.

About this time the city of Palmyra was abandoned and most of the people settled in Spanish Fork. Building material was scarce and many people lived in dugouts. In May 1855, the first city election took place. Mathew Caldwell was elected Mayor, Cyrus Snell, a councilman and John Snell, Marshall.

A sawmill was erected and owned by the Snells near the mouth of the canyon and a lot of logs brought out of the place now known as Snell Canyon. The brothers homesteaded land and all had good farms and worked unitedly together. They also had some good freighting outfits and made numerous trips to California and Montana. On one of these trips they bought a young Indian boy who had been stolen from another tribe. He made his home with the Snells for a number of years and became an expert mule driver. However, on one of their freighting trips through his homeland he disappeared and the boys were satisfied he had made his way back to his people.

The family had accumulated quite a sum of money through their various activities and Cyrus and Rufus P. drove to Salt Lake City to deposit it in the bank, as there were no banks south of Salt Lake at that time. Cyrus went to the bank but it was late and the bank was closed. While returning to his wagon he was attacked by two thugs, sandbagged, choked and robbed of all the money. Two Frenchmen were suspected and held in jail awaiting trial, but Cyrus never recovered from the effects of the beating and pneumonia developed. He was near death when time for the trial arrived and as there was no one to appear against them, they were set free. Cyrus passed away 5 Sep 1873. His son, Cyrus Alma, died previous to the fatherís death. The youngest son William became insane (may have had seizures) when 16 years old from falling down the stairs. Cyrus is buried in the family plot in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery by the side of his wife and four of his sons.