John was born on 29 June 1836 at Little Broughton, Cumberland. He attended the Baptist Church as a child. John and a friend, William Graham, who also became a PM Minister, were, as youths, the first members on the roll of the PM Society formed in the village.
John was known as ‘a flaming evangelist’. Patterson writes that in the Berwick station the church at Eyemouth was reduced to the point where there was talk of abandonment. John Snaith was sent there. His soul was on fire and the prevailing dissipation, not withstanding the professed outward respect for the Sabbath and religion moved him mightily. A tide of salvation swept over the village and people flocked to the services from as far away as Duns. Altogether more than 600 were converted.
In his later years, John gained prominence in the Connexion through his fearless and fervid advocacy of catechumenism.
John was greatly interested in the study of the natural sciences and especially philosophy.
John moved to Canada in 1914 to join members of his family.
He was known every where for his devotion as a minister, for his eager advocacy of the recognition of child religion, and his passion for philosophy.
John authored the following.
The Philosophy of Spirit, 1914
John married Ann Tiffin (1836-1915) in the summer of 1864 at Hexham, Northumberland. Census returns identify seven children.
- Richard Tiffin (1865-1951) – an insurance agent (1901); emigrated to Canada in 1906; a farmer (1911)
- Sarah Maria (1867-1952)
- John Allen (1869-1945) – a PM Minister
- Annie Livinia (1871-1941) – married George Hollis, a farmer; emigrated to Canada
- Margaret Dalton (1872-1960) – married James Johnson Maxwell, a teacher; emigrated to Canada
- Herbert W (1874-1926) – a PM Minister
- Elizabeth Jane (1877-1954) – married Rufus John Kirkland, a PM Minister; emigrated to Canada in 1920
John died on 3 March 1923 at Rosetown, Saskatchewan, Canada .
- 1860 Kendal
- 1861 Hexham
- 1864 Shotley Bridge
- 1865 Carlisle
- 1868 St Helens Auckland
- 1870 N Shields
- 1873 Crook
- 1875 Westgate
- 1878 Sunderland II
- 1880 Blyth
- 1884 Halifax II
- 1885 Harrogate
- 1888 Thornley
- 1892 Haltwhistle
- 1895 Nottingham II
- 1898 Dalton in Furness
- 1899 Milford
- 1901 Ossett
- 1902 Nottingham (S)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1893/193; 1919/23; 1920/444; 1923/731
PM Minutes 1923/277
W Leary , Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits , 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers