Abraham Hodges History
Written by Ada Wager Kent, 2003
Abraham Hodges was born 30 May 1834 at Llanmartin, Monmouthshire, England. His parents were James Amos Hodges born 8 January 1804, in Llanmartin, Monmouthshire, England, and Margaret Phillips born 21 December 1800, in Penhow, Monmouthshire, England. Abraham was baptized 12 April 1852 in England. Then was rebaptized 30 August 1875.
Abraham was married to Rebecca Stedder 15 May 1858 at New Port, Monmouthshire, England.
Abraham's occupation listed on his marriage certificate, and on the birth certificates of his children is journeyman carpenter.
I, Ada Wager Kent, lived with Abraham Hodges’s son, Amasa Hodges, and his wife Hannah Mills Hodges for most of two years in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.
Amasa Hodges loved his father and I heard him say many times, “My father was a cabinet maker.”
Elder Lionel Farrell of Smithfield, Utah, was a missionary in Monmouthshire where he met the Hodges and the Stedders and their families. He was not only a missionary to them, but also a great friend. He mentioned them in his journal.
At this time Brigham Young was president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham was encouraging the converts to come and join the saints in Utah. Many were anxious to comply. Abraham Hodges, Rebecca his wife, and their children, Emma, Abraham Jr., Amasa, and James Henry Hodges, wanted to come to Utah. Emma Stedder, Rebecca's sister also wanted to come to Utah. They did not have the money at that time to make the voyage. So they started planning. Emma Stedder and her sister Rebecca Stedder Hodges were very good friends and seemed to be inseparable. Emma was engaged to marry Abraham’s nephew James Hodges. James Hodges was a very good man and had joined the church in Monmouthshire, England, in 1863. Elder Lionel Farrell met with the family. They tried to work out a plan that would bring all of them to Zion.
Elder Farrell offered to take James Hodges home with him and employ him to feed cattle for a year until he could save some money to help them buy the seven tickets they needed. Lionel Farrell owned a lot of pasture land between Logan and Smithfield and needed help caring for the cattle.
When Elder Lionel Farrell finished his mission call and went home to Smithfield, Utah, he took James Hodges with him. James worked on the farm and saved his money. With a loan from Lionel and a little money from the "Emigration Fund" there was enough to purchase the tickets. Now they could all make the trip together.
The fourth of September 1872 Abraham, Rebecca, Emma, and four children left Liverpool, England, to sail on the ship, "Minnesota" to New York City. What an exciting day this must have been for everyone involved, even though they were leaving all their earthly possessions, their beloved country of birth, family, and friends. They must have had very strong testimonies burning in their souls to follow the counsel of their prophet Brigham Young in this most humble venture.
As they went to board the ship, Rebecca and Emma's brother, Valentine Stedder, walked with them crying and begging them not to go. He was afraid he would never see his sisters again. The rain poured down as they walked. Valentine had brought an umbrella, which he held over Emma to keep her dry. I imagine Abraham and Rebecca thought of Mary Jane their little girl who had died 20 June 1868. These precious ancestors who were new members of the church are special to us. They loved our Savior and had testimonies of the Gospel. They were faithful all the days of their lives. James and Abraham were not only relatives (Abraham and James’s father were brothers) but good friends.
They left Liverpool 4 September 1872 in a company of 602 and arrived in New York City 17 September 1872. The voyage had lasted thirteen days. Amasa, who was eleven years old, had congestion of the lungs. He was taken to the deck to get a little sunshine and some fresh air. A big wave came over the deck and would have washed him overboard except that his leg got caught in a rope. His hip was damaged and forever after he walked with a limp. There were no deaths on the voyage, but two new babies were born to the company.
On 18 September 1872 the company left New York on a train. They went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then to Chicago, Illinois, and then on to Omaha, Nebraska. From there they continued on to Utah by train.
Half way between Ogden and Salt Lake City the company was met by President Brigham Young, Elder Daniel H. Wells and other leading men, who immediately went through the cars, bidding their brethren and sisters from afar a hearty welcome to Zion. On their arrival in Salt Lake City, 26 September 1872, the immigrants were taken to the music hall where a scrumptious dinner was awaiting them.
James Hodges met the Abraham Hodges family and Emma Stedder in Ogden and took them by horse-drawn wagon to Smithfield. Emma began work for Lionel Farrell. James continued to work there also. Soon after arriving in Cache Valley, Abraham and Rebecca and their children moved to Logan where they made their home just under the University Hill on Crocket Avenue. Bishop Maughn suggested they settle there because they were having trouble with the Indians. As the settlement grew the Indian problems were solved.
James and Emma were married 13 January 1873. At one time they lived on Crockett Avenue across from Abraham and Rebecca. After a time they moved to Millville and then to Lewiston. They were members of the Second Ward in the southwest part of the town. They were about one half mile east of the Bear River.
Abraham and Rebecca went to the Salt Lake Endowment House and were sealed 12 April 1875. This was a great blessing in their lives. The children could not be sealed at that time, for there wasn't any sealing being done for children in the Endowment House. They had to wait for the Logan temple to be completed.
Abraham and Rebecca lost their little boy, James Henry, soon after coming to Logan. He was born 6 October 1868 Caldicot, Monmouthshire, England, and died in Logan, Utah, 5 June 1874. James Henry Hodges was buried in the Logan City Cemetery.
Abraham Hodges in his spare time was bringing wood from the canyon either to add on to his house or to build a new one. He became ill and passed away 16 June 1877 before his plans could be realized. In the Bear River Health Department Division of Health Statistics, Logan, Utah, we found information about his death. The record there said he died of consumption, which is commonly known as tuberculosis. His youngest son William Valentine was not yet two years old. His oldest daughter Emma was seventeen and his oldest son Abraham Jr. was fourteen. Rebecca Hodges was left to raise five children without a father.
Rebecca passed through many sorrows and trials, but she always showed courage and strength. She was loved by all who knew her.
Two years later Rebecca Hodges married George Wager on 3 July 1879 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.
Three years later, on 23 September 1881, Rebecca lost her eldest son Abraham Jr. in a terrible accident at the saw mill. He was eighteen years old. The newspaper article written shortly after the accident included the following information:
Abraham Hodges Jr. Instantly Killed
Again it becomes our sad duty to record the death of a most excellent youth. On Friday, 23 September 1881, last two young men named Charley Wager and Abraham Hodges Jr. were working at the lath saw of the U. O. steam mill, Logan canyon, bolting slabs for making lath, when the former went to hand to the latter a stick, measuring about four feet in length, an inch and a half in width and five-eighths of an inch thickness. The stick came in contact with the saw, which was in motion, and was thrown with great violence. One end of it struck directly in the left eye of Abraham Hodges, penetrating about four inches, producing almost instant death. The deceased was a very amiable, intelligent, honest youth aged about seventeen years whose sudden death is deeply deplored by his many friends and acquaintances. We knew him well and can testify to the many excellent traits he possessed. Mr. Leishman, J.P., held an inquest over the remains developing the above particulars and the further fact that no blame is attached to any person as the sad affair was surely accidental. The deceased lost his father some years since and his wife subsequently became the wife of Brother George Wager. He leaves several brothers and sisters and other relatives to mourn his loss.
Rebecca had a lot of courage and strength. She passed through many hardships and difficulties, yet she remained faithful and true to the gospel. She was a wonderful wife and mother and raised a kind and loving family. She died 29 April 1896. The obituary of Rebecca Stedder Hodges Wager appeared in the Logan paper as follows:
"After several years of pain and suffering the wife of George Wager passed away yesterday morning at her home in the seventh ward. The funeral will take place today from the ward meeting house. Particulars of the life and death of the deceased were not received in time for publication in this issue but we learned that the deceased was a good woman and a faithful saint to the hour of her death."