Before Christmas I wrote a few posts about the death of missionaries or their close relations and how those deaths were handled institutionally. In this post I will discuss how the missionaries reacted to the death of the President of the Church, Lorenzo Snow, on 1901 Oct 10.
From the perspective of the traveling-Elder diaries in this study, President Snow’s death was nearly a non-event. Elder Folkman was the only travelling Elder who recorded it, a week after the fact:
After dinner, we went to Sister Nichols at Spring Hill. Found them all well. Spent the evening in talking upon the Gospel. We seen in a Kansas City Star of the death of President Snow. We had got no papers for over a week and therefore we heard nothing of it until this time. 
Elder Jones gives two hints of possibilities that he noticed  but I otherwise find no mention in the travelling Elders’ diaries of the death or change in leadership.  I am flummoxed by the silence: it seems to me that with possible feelings of bereavement, excitement for regime change, a sense of historical significance, and so on, someone in addition to Folkman would have dropped a line or two about the old prophet or the new.
President Duffin spent all of October 1901 in Utah as part of his routine obligation to attend the semi-annual general conferences of the church but made no journal entries for the month.  After his return to the mission he connected the change in Presidency to his own geographic responsibilities: “Who can say but that the work of redeeming the land of Zion, in the State of Missouri, will be commenced under the presidency of Joseph F. Smith, the Prophet of the Lord!”  Part of Duffin’s enthusiasm came from the idea of having a blood relation of church-founder Joseph Smith as the leader. 
The “Southwestern States Mission” series (homepage) examines mission life in (mostly) Texas around 1900.
 Folkman, 1901 Oct 19 Sat.
 The hints are that he read a newspaper and spoke on church officers: “We then started for Gatesville after our mail. … Found one letter from home bringing the good news that the folks were improving with the measles. … We spent the remainder of the day in the woods reading the newspapers.” (Jones, 1901 Oct 18 Fri); “At 2 p.m. we again drove to Hurst, where we held another meeting. … I occupied all of the time, speaking upon The Holy Ghost and officers that were placed in the church.” (Jones, 1901 Nov 10 Sun).
 Many (most? all?) of the missionaries subscribed to Utah newspapers and magazines; their diary silence was not due to ignorance.
 Duffin attended the general conference a few days before Snow’s death; I think it likely that he attended the funeral. He was back in Kansas by time President Smith was formally presented as the new President and Prophet (on 1901 Nov 10).
 “My visit to Utah and attending the general conference has been one of pleasure and profit to me. In looking back over the few weeks since I left the mission Oct. 1st to attend general conference, what great changes have taken place: A prophet of the Lord, and President of the Church, Lorenzo Snow, has passed away; A new Presidency organized; and the quorum of the twelve apostles filled up and a president of that quorum appointed. I feel that these changes are full of promise to the Latter-day Saints and for the progress of the work of the Lord. Who can say but that the work of redeeming the land of Zion, in the State of Missouri, will be commenced under the presidency of Joseph F. Smith, the Prophet of the Lord!, and many other wonderful works be accomplished of which the prophets have written. I pray that God will give me faith and strength to become a faithful servant in this great work, and an instrument in His hands of assisting in the accomplishment of His purposes; and I pray that my dear family will become instruments in His hands to the same end.” (Duffin, 1901 Nov 4 Mon). Duffin’s enthusiasm for President Smith continued at least until October conference the following year: “It was one of the most enjoyable conferences I ever attended. Prest. Joseph F. Smith is a most wonderful man, full of the spirit of his high calling.” (Duffin, 1902 Oct 8 Wed).
 “To-day, I regard as one of great importance, not only in my own life and the history of the mission, but also in the history of the Church, for it marks the signing of a deed to the purchase of the first property by the Church, in Jackson County, Mo. since the Saints were driven out under the Presidency of the Prophet Joseph. It seems to me, too, fitting, that inasmuch as the work of redeeming the land of Zion was stopped, by mob violence at the time Joseph the Prophet was President of the Church it should be re-commenced by one of, or under one of, his faithful relatives.” (Duffin, 1904 Apr 14 Thu). Two other possible reasons for Duffin’s enthusiasm for Smith are that, IIRC, Smith supported continued polygamy more that Snow had and Smith pursued the acquisition of lands formerly held by the church in Missouri and elsewhere, both issues important to Duffin.