Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Lydia Frances Kemp History
Lydia Frances Kemp became the bride of William Stevenson on 13 February 1883 in North Odgen. Her parents had sent money and offered for her to come to Denver and live with them. She sent a letter to her father, returning the money, with a copy of their Marriage Certificate and declined the offer to come to Denver. Indicating she wished to stay with her husband. She begged to gently tell the news to her mother.
Lydia and William were very happy and as the months went by they found there was to be a baby born in the late fall. They were thrifty and worked hard to prepared for the blessed event that was to be. The months flew by and no one could be happier. They were young and their hopes were high for a long and lasting companionship. But this was not to be, in the early fall William became very ill and continued to grow worse and on 12 October 1883 he passed away leaving this grief stricken little bride of less than a year a widow with her unborn child. No heart can tell the sorrow and anguish Lydia's poor heart suffered at this time.
She had many friends who rallied around and tried to comfort her aching heart. Among these friends was John and Emily Knowles Packham. A young couple who had come to Utah from England. John Packham was an uncle of William Stevenson. They helped in every way they could. Even to taking Lydia into their home after the funeral of her William was over. They kept her there and cared for her as a sister. Her baby boy, William Albert was born 14 Oct 1883 in the home of John and Emily. Lydia was nursed back to health by their tender care. Theirs was a busy household with much to do. As a consequence, Lydia remained on in the Packham home. Lydia was a wonderful help in caring for them, especially as John's wife Emily was in very poor health. Emily continued to fail in health and passed away in 1884. Exacting a promise from Lydia to remain in the home and care for her two little boys and John, her husband. Lydia gave Emily her promise. Consequently, Lydia was married to John Packham in the Logan Temple. John always loved and respected Lydia a great deal and she was tender sweet and kind to him always.
To this union were born: Henry, Emily Mary, Edward Francis, Bertha Louise, Lucy Harriet, Ellen Lydia, George Dewey, Alfred Walter, Ina May, Lawrence Reed, and Eilleen. Bertha writes: "Times were hard and money was scarce in those days. It has always amazed me as I think back how well mother managed. She was a genius at making things stretch and always managed to have a nice gift for each birthday and there never was a time we didn't get something. Sometimes a new hair ribbon, and sometimes a pretty little cup and saucer or a toy for the girls, and a pocketknife or marbles for the boys. Sometimes a storybook and many an evening was spent with mother reading to younger children . . . After mother was able to be up and about again we were so happy .[Speaking of having had a baby] It was so depressing or lonely or something to have our mother down. The one thing she never did, was lay around and let others do for her. She was always up and at it no matter how tired she was. . . Our dear sweet, uncomplaining mother. So slow to ever thinking of her own aches and pains, and so very quick to doctor, fix, and make comfortable any one of us children. Whether it was a skinned knee, a bumped head or aching back. . . She knew exactly the remedy and treatment to give us. Always so gentle, tender and kind. We can never forget how she planned and schemed to see to it we children had something pretty and new for Christmas and for the 4th of July. Those two times of the year was when we got a new dress and boys new shirts and pants, etc. Money was so scarce and she had to do it all with money she got from eggs and from the butter she made and sold. She went without year in and year our herself in order to keep us children looking nice, and we didn't begin to realize the hundreds of sacrifices she made for our happiness. Years later it dawned on us what she had done but we can never know in full all the times she would have liked to have had something for herself. And done some of the things she would loved to have done it there were so many others to think of.
-- Compiled and excerpts from history written by Bertha Louise Packham Cragun (a daughter)