Jane Snyder Richards (1823-1912)

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(This is a bonus chapter excerpt from the eBook Women of Faith in the Latter Days: Volume 2: 1821-1845.)


Biographical Sketch

Jane Snyder was born January 31, 1823, in Pamelia, Jefferson County, New York, to Isaac and Lovisa Comstock Snyder. The eighth of eleven children, Jane enjoyed a modest, rural upbringing. The Snyders first heard the gospel message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1838 while living in Camden East, Ontario, Canada. The entire family was converted except Jane and her oldest and youngest brothers. In 1839, the Snyders left Canada to gather with the Saints in Missouri and stopped along the way in La Porte, Indiana, where they remained for several years.

Jane remained aloof from the Church until a priesthood healing led to her conversion. In 1842, about a year after her baptism, she met and married Franklin Dewey Richards, with whom she had six children. She suffered great hardship and sorrow in her efforts to gather with the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley, faithfully facing many of her trials alone while her husband was away fulfilling missionary duties.

In her later life Jane was heavily involved in the women’s organizations of the Church, serving as Relief Society president in Ogden and then as president of the stake Relief Society in Weber County, the first stake-level organization in the Church. In 1888 she was called as first counselor to Relief Society general president Zina D. H. Young and served in that capacity for thirteen years. Jane also served as one of Utah’s delegates to the International Council of Women in 1891 and as vice president of the Utah Board of Lady Managers for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. While serving in the former role, she traveled to Washington, D.C., and met such notable activists for women’s causes as Belva A. Lockwood and Susan B. Anthony.

Jane Snyder Richards’s life was one of faith, service, sacrifice, and love. Suffering much pain and tribulation herself, she had sympathy for those in difficult circumstances and sought to aid them. Jane passed away peacefully at her home in Ogden on November 17, 1912, at the age of eighty-eight, surrounded by her children and other loved ones.1

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1. Biographical information for Jane Snyder Richards is from a variety of sources, the most comprehensive of which are two autobiographies: Jane Snyder Richards, Jane S. Richards Autobiographical Sketch, 1881, Microfilm of holograph, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, hereafter cited as Church History Library; and Jane Snyder Richards, Jane Snyder Richards Reminiscences, 1880, Microfilm of holograph, Bancroft Library, University of California–Berkeley.

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