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