John Snow was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on February 15, 1780. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to Mr. Dodge, who was engaged in the manufacture of jewelry. Snow remained with him for seven years, when he moved to Newport and started his own business. Later he returned to Providence and engaged in the mercantile business. In 1817 he moved to Ohio where he managed a drug business. He married Miss Mary Thurston on March 22, 1802, and four children were born to that union. Show died at his home in Worthington, Ohio, on May 16, 1852. His grave at Worthington is marked by a monument erected by the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
Snow was made a Mason in Mount Vernon Lodge at Providence, Rhode Island, on February 14, 1809. He quickly acquired a thorough knowledge of the work and became Master of his lodge in 1811, which office he held until he moved to Ohio. He took part in the activities of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and was elected Junior Grand Deacon in 1815 and Senior Grand Deacon in 1816.
After moving to Ohio, he visited New England Lodge No. 4 at Worthington on September 29, 1817, and soon after affiliated with this Lodge. On October 7, 1818, he was elected Master of New England Lodge and continued in that office until October 30, 1822. He was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1819 and served until 1824. Later he served as Grand Lecturer and visited many of the Lodges in the State.
He was also prominent in Royal Arch Masonry. He was exalted in Horeb Chapter No. 3 at Worthington, Ohio, and was elected High Priest on November 17, 1818. He continued in that office until 1822 when he declined reelection. He was chosen Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Ohio in 1819. That year he attended the Triennial meeting of the General Grand Chapter and was elected General Grand King. In 1826 he became Deputy General Grand High Priest. He was the senior officer present and presided at the Triennial meeting in 1826, and in 1829 he again presided, due to the death of the General Grand High Priest, DeWitt Clinton, in 1828.
Snow received the degrees of Royal and Select Master from Jeremy Cross, and was authorized to form and establish Councils of Royal and Select Masters in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. There is no evidence that he ever exercised this authority.
He received the Orders of Knighthood in St. John’s Encampment at Providence, Rhode Island, on April 22, 1811. He was elected Generalissimo in 1816. After moving to Ohio in 1817 he became interested in establishing an Encampment there, and in March, 1818, received a Dispensation from his friend, Sir Thomas Smith Webb, the Deputy General Grand Master, to form an Encampment at Worthington, Ohio. Accordingly, on March 20, 1818, Thomas S. Webb, Frederick A. Curtis and John Snow met in Worthington and Mt. Vernon Encampment was organized. A charter was granted at the meeting of the Grand Encampment in 1819. This Encampment, now known as Mount Vernon Commandery No. 1, was moved to Columbus in 1844. Snow served as its Eminent Commander from 1820 to 1830.
While living in Providence in 1816, Sir John Snow was appointed as one of the delegates from the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to attend the convention at Philadelphia. When that meeting failed to accomplish its mission, the delegates returned to New York, and on June 21, 1816, organized the General Grand Encampment. Sir John Snow was elected General Grand Standard Bearer. At the Conclave of 1819 he was elected General Grand Generalissimo and was allowed the sum of ninety dollars from the fund of the General Grand Treasury for his expenses in attending the Conclave.
At the Triennial Conclave of 1826 he was the senior officer present, but was not elected to continue in any office. In 1829 he attended the Triennial Conclave in New York as a representative of Mt. Vernon Encampment of Ohio, and served on the Committee of Grievances. This was the last reference to Snow in the Proceedings of the Grand Encampment.