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Hodges, Rebecca Stedder - Biography

History of Rebecca Stedder

History of Rebecca Stedder

Written by Ada Wager Kent, a Granddaughter, April 1964

 

 

Rebecca Stedder was born 22 May 1839, at Penhow, Monmouthshire, England.  She was the daughter of William Stedder and Rebecca Carter.

She was the third child in a family of five.  The children were William, Valentine, Rebecca, James and Emma.  She married Abraham Hodges, son of James Hodges and Margaret Phillips, on 15 May 1858, in Newport, Monmouthshire, England.  Abraham Hodges was twenty-four years old and Rebecca Stedder was ninteen years old.  This same year she was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized 30 August 1858.  Abraham had been baptized five years earlier, on 12 April 1853.

The First Presidency of the church was urging all converts to join the saints in Utah.  They were anxious to comply with this request, but could not save enough money to make the trip.  Abraham made his living as a cabinet maker and barely made enough to support his family. James Hodges, his nephew who joined the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1863, wanted to come to Utah also.  He was courting Rebecca’s Sister Emma. 

Lionell Farrell a missionary from Smithfield, Utah, was working teaching the gospel in that conference area at that time.  He offered to bring James Hodges home with him and give him employment so he could send for Emma Stedder his sweetheart along with Abraham Hodges and Rebecca Stedder, his wife, and family.  Departing 10 May 1871, James bid Emma, family, and friends goodbye and sailed on the ship Wyoming, leaving from Liverpool, England.  Their ship arrived in New York, NewYork, on 22 May 1871.

When they got to Smithfield, Utah, James worked for Lionel Farrell feeding cattle and herding sheep in the fields west of Logan, Cache, Utah. The following year, aided by the emigration  fund, James sent for Emma Stedder and his uncle Abraham Hodges and family.

Abraham and Rececca Stedder Hodges immigrated with their family:  Emma (age 7), Abraham Jr. (age 6), Amasa (age 5), James Henry (age 3), and Emma Stedder (age 26) on the ship Minnesota.  They left Liverpool, England, on 4 September 1872 and arrived in New York, New York, harbor on 16 September 1872.  On 18 September 1872, the company left New York on the 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.

The Transcontinental Railroad was completed 10 May 1869, which made traveling to Salt Lake City much faster and less expensive.

James Hodges picked up Emma Stedder, Abraham Hodges, and family in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  He took them by horse drawn wagon to Smithfield.

On 13 January 1873, James Hodges and Emma Stedder were married in the Salt Lake Endowment House.  They lived with Lionel Farrell for a short time in Smithfield, then moved to Logan just under the University Hill on Crocket Avenue.

Bishop Maughan was encouraging all settlers to go to Logan and strengthen that place because of trouble with the Indians.  They settled on what is now known as the Island, under the college hill.

Rebecca and Emma were always close to each other, and their families got together often to visit and enjoy each other’s company.  On 6 April 1873, seven months after they arrived in America, Lucy was born in Logan, Utah.  On 5 June 1874, James Henry died and was buried in the Logan, City Cemetery.

Rebecca and her husband Abraham Hodges were sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House on 12 April 1875 for  time and all eternity.  This was a great event in their lives, one they had looked forward to for a long time.  On 6 December 1875 William Valentine Hodges was born.  He was their only child to be born in the covenant.  He was given the name of Valentine in honor of Rebecca’s brother Valentine Stedder.  In the Salt Lake Endowment House sealing to parents was not done.  They had to wait until a temple was built so this work could be performed. 

Abraham, in his spare time, was getting wood from the canyon to build a new home for his family.  He passed away on 16 June 1877 before his plans could be realized.  He had been in America not quite five years.  His youngest child was not yet two years old.  This must have been a time of great sorrow for Rebecca and her family.   She was left with five living children.   Her oldest daughter, Emma, was now seventeen years old.  Her oldest son Abraham Jr., was 14 years old.  Just three years later, on 23 September 1881, Abraham Jr. had a fatal accident while working at a saw mill in Logan, not far from his home. 

A splinter from a board that was being sawed shot through the air and struck him in the eye with such force it killed him instantly.  He was eighteen years old.  Rebecca had now buried three children and her husband.

Two years later, on 3 July 1879, Rebecca Stedder Hodges married George Wager, son of James Wager and Mary Ann Meadle, for time in the Salt Lake Endowment House. It was the second marriage for Rebecca Stedder Hodges and the third for George Wager.  George had buried two wives in England, before emigrating to America.

After arriving to Salt Lake City, he went to Logan to visit his old friends from England, Abraham and Rebecca Hodges.  He found that Abraham had passed away eleven days before he left England.

George Wager purchased land on the Island in Logan on 13 January 1883.  He purchased all of lot 9 from Niels Mikkelson.  George built a home on the property, which is now known as 124 Crocket Avenue.  It is very possible that he used the wood brought from the canyon by Rebecca’s first husband Abraham Hodges.

George Wager played the violin and many wonderful evenings were spent by the families of Rebecca and her sister Emma, singing and dancing to the music of his violin.  George was an eloquent speaker and a good provider for his family.  Among other things he worked for the old Co-op in Logan.

James Hodges remembers the good things they always had to eat at George and Rebecca’s home in Logan.  He also remembered the good dried fish he brought to their home in Lewiston.  Ivy Maud Crocket remembers as a little girl, George’s long family prayers.  Emma Marshall of Logan, a neighbor,  remembers George would sit on the porch in the evenings and play the violin  for the children to dance.

On 23 May 1880, Samuel George Wager was born in Logan, Cache, Utah.  Rebecca Ann Wager, George and Rebecca Wager’s last child was born on, 15 February 1883, in Logan, Cache, Utah.  A few years later Rebecca Wager became ill with dropsy, which is a term for edema.  Edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the body resulting in swelling of the legs and feet.  She was concerned about her two youngest children.  She felt she would  not live long enough to raise them.  She was often heard to say, “My little girl Rebecca Ann will be taken care of, but Samuel George is different.  He needs me.”

Rebecca Wager age 57, passed away on 29 April 1896 in Logan, Cache, Utah, and was buried the following day in the Logan City Cemetery.  Her fears for her children were well founded.  If she had known the future she would have even been more concerned, for Samuel George and Rebecca Ann were both in need of her. 

Two years later George Wager age 75 passed away at the home of James and Emma Hodges in Lewiston, Cache, Utah.  He was sitting reading the news paper waiting for breakfast.  When it was ready he was called but he did not respond.  As they lifted the paper from his face, they saw he had passed away.  It was 20 May 1898.  He was buried the following day in the Logan City Cemetery.  Rebecca Ann Wager and Samuel George Wager were left without father or mother.  Samuel George was eighteen and Rebecca Ann was fifteen.

Quoted from the Logan Newspaper 30 April 1896 (reel 91):

Rebecca Stedder Hodges Wager’s Funeral

George Wager’s Wife

After several years of pain and suffering the wife of George Wager passed away yesterday morning at her home in the seventh ward.  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.

Immigrants:

Hodges, Abraham

Stedder, Rebecca

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