Biography of Rhoda Barnes

Brief Autobiographical sketch of Rhoda Barnes Snell, wife of Cyrus Snell. See Cyrus Snell page for the rest of the family information. Rhoda was the first President of the First Ward Relief Society organized in Spanish Fork, Utah in the year of 1857.

My parents were born in the town of Sackville, County of Westmorland and Province of New Brunswick. My father's name was John Barnes, the youngest son of John Barnes and Martha Rounds. My Mother's name was Hannah Dixon, the eldest daughter of Charles Dixon and Rhoda Emerson, who were married 1 Jan 1814. I was born 1 Nov 1815, was married to Cyrus Snell 14 Mar 1932 in Sackville. Cyrus was engaged in wool milling for a number of years , having bought the property from my parents. My husband was born in the town of Eaton, State of New Hampshire, in the year of 1809, Nov 7. I had seven children, named respectively,

I and my husband were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in May 1836,by John Herrit and confirmed by Lyman Johnson in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. From there we emigrated with our family, in the year of 1853 -- our destination being Salt Lake City, the gathering place of the Saints. We stopped in the State of Wisconsin one year among my folks that had previously moved there, staying most of the time with my brother Rufus, where we made preparations for 'crossing the plains', and in the early spring of 1854 we set out with four teams, 3 ox, and 1 horse team -- from my brother, which was in the eastern part of the state of Wisconsin; crossed the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa and the Missouri River near Council Bluffs, and entered upon the great western plains alone, with no other guide than the track of those who had gone before, and a small directory bought from a trader at the Missouri River crossing, who was then about the only inhabitant of that, then lonely, spot near where now - 1881 - stands the beautiful city of Florence.

At the Elkhorn River we found Mr. Elias Williams with his family and two wagons, among the hostile indians without an animal to move their wagons with. By changing our teams and hooking up some of our cows, we managed to bring him and his family and wagons, safely into Salt Lake City, with this, and the addition of one more wagon at the cold springs on the Platte, we succeeded in crossing the plains, with only 7 wagons, among hostile Indians, and landing safely in Salt Lake City on the 26th of August, 1854, without any serious loss of stock or other property though somewhat fatigued from the trials, incidents to a camplife on the plains. Cyrus and Rhoda received their endowments in the Salt Lake Endowment House in Apr 1857 by Heber C. Kimball.

We bought a lot in the 7th ward, built an adobe house on it that fall and I and my 2 younger sons lived in it through the winter. My husband and 3 older sons coming to Spanish Fork in the fall of 1854 and built a house in the "Fort" where they remained taking care of our stock and preparing for a permanent home. Myself and 2 sons joining them in April, 1855.

In the year of 1857, 14 Sep, I was called and set apart to preside over the First Ward Relief Society, which was at that time organized by the Bishop, John L. Butler, his counselors and President John Young, or Uncle John as he was commonly called, who told us that we must go to work and organize something out of nothing, and it came as near to that as anything you could call it. The organization was completed by appointing the following officers, Pres.: Rhoda Snell, 1st Counselor: Sarah Butler, 2nd Counselor; Augusta Wilkins, Sec.; Ada Wilkin, and Treasurer: Catherine Hawks.

Soon after our organization we were called upon to throw in our mite towards equipping our husbands and sons as soldiers to withstand the flower of the U.S. Amy who were coming upon us with the avowed intention of hanging our leaders and exterminating us, which we done as best we could by making hair ropes out of cattle's hair by carding and spinning it, and twisting it into ropes; making quilts out of small pieces which we had brought with us across the plains, making clothing out of old wagon covers, sacks, and in some cases out of our underclothing, spinning our scanty supply of wool and weaving it into cloth, gathering up old scraps of tin, such as our wash boiler covers, to make cups for them and in any and every way that willing hands could find employment, thus virtually making something out of nothing as Uncle John had told us, thus we continued for 14 years to help the poor and needy as best we could until the Society was reorganized with Catherine Wilkin as Pres.

Rhoda Barnes Snell died in Spanish Fork, October 26, 1900. Both were buried in Spanish Fork Cemetery. (source: Spanish Fork Cemetery Sexton Records)

( Some of the above was written by Rhoda Barnes Snell in 1881, copied from a copy that Heber Cyrus Snell, gave to his granddaughter, Alyn Olson, in 1970. Changes have been made with new information by Alyn Olson July 2006.)

Barnes Family History

The tradition in the Barnes family is that John Barnes, Peter Barnes, and others including Rogers, Ballou and Hawkins, were amongst the first that came to Sackville from Providence, Rhode Island, after the expulsion of the Acadians. John Barnes married the daughter of a New Light Elder, named Deacon Rounds. She had married previously a man named Asa Read by who she had a son and three daughters. Her son, named Benjamin Read, returned to Connecticut, where he died.

John Barnes; first winter here, was in 1767, eight years after the capture of Quebec by Wolfe. These were times of war and seven hundred men were reported as quartered in Fort Cumberland. He was at one time the leading land owner in the Parish. He lived one winter in the John Snowdon place at Wood Point, another on the Estabrooks farm at Morice's Pond. He finally settled at Wood Point on the place where his descendant, Charles Barnes, later occupied, and there he died. Peter Barnes settled at Beech Hill. He was the progenitor of the Barnes family there.

John Barnes married Mary, the widow of Nathan Mason. Their children were John, James and Oliver. Oliver married and had three sons, Stephen, Charles and Oliver and one daughter, (( Check on this!))Rhoda, who married a Mr. Snell, and went to Salt Lake.

James Barnes married and had six sons, James, who married Cynthia Atkinson; William, who married Jane Estabrooks; Silas, who married Prudent Beal; John who married Rebecca Beal; Edward, who married Vina Lawrence; Alfred, who married Julia Dixon.

In 1809, they state they are sons of one of the first settlers in the Township of Sackville, where they were born and have always resided. That Oliver Barnes is 32 years of age, has a wife and two children, and has never obtained any lands from Government, that a few years since, he purchased some wilderness lots, about 30 acres of which he has cleared and are now under cultivation, and on which he has built a house and dam. That your Memoralist, James Barnes, is 27 years of age, has a wife and two children, that he obtained about 3 years since, a grant from Government of 200 Acres, of which about 15 acres had since been cleared, and are now under fence. That your Memoralist, John Barnes, is 22 years of age, is single and has never had any lands from Government.

Your Memoralists beg leave to state, that Lots No. 10, containing 100 acres, and Nos. 11,123, and 13 containing 150 acres each, situated and being in Lot A Division in Sackville, and being a part of the Rights or Shares, Nos. 10,11, 12, and 13 respectively, still continue in a wilderness state, that they are now, and have been for upwards of twenty years part claimed by one Samuel Rogers, and his brother James Rogers, who have never improved the same or cleared any part of them, excepting about 1 acre which now lies uncultivated and not even under fence, that the said lots are in the midst of a flourishing settlement, and if in the possession of any other persons would make valuable farms, but in their present state, are a great inconvenience to the farms on both sides of them.

That the said Samuel Rogers and James Rogers are single men and have no families or fixed residence, and have never discovered the least inclination to clear or improve any lands in their possession. That your Memorialists depend altogether upon their labor and industry for a living, and are settled very near to the said lots, and in case they could procure a grant of them, would assist them greatly in the support of themselves and families.

And your Memorialialist, James Barnes, begs leave further to state that the 7 acre Lots No. 10 belonging to the said share or right No. 10 situated near the Town Plot in Sackville, also claimed by the said Samuel and James Rogers, lies in a wilderness state, having never been cleared or improved by them. That as the same is adjoining lands owned and settled by your Memorialist, a grant of the same to him, would in particular degree benefit your Memorialist.

Your Memorialists therefore pray that your Honor will be pleased to direct that a commission be issued for the purpose of escheating the said rights or shares Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13. 1809

Mr. Dixon states: The above Samuel Rogers was proscribed in the year 1776 and has never returned to his allegiance, a bad subject and no settler. In short, such settlers are a nuisance in a neighborhood; for the above reason, I recommend the Memorialist.

(Heber Cyrus Snell gave the above paper text to his granddaughter, Alyn Olson on 30 Mar 1972. Where it came from, he did not know.)

Hannah, daughter of Charles and Rhoda Emmerson Dixon married John Barnes in 1815. They resided in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. Mr. Barnes followed farming and milling until the year 1836, when he and his family with the exception of the eldest daughter Rhoda, moved to Wisconsin. Their family consisted of:

John Barnes died March 25, 1854 aged 73. Rhoda died 3 Jul 1862 aged 67 years.