Eliza Jane Stephenson
Eliza Jane Stephenson Waddoups, the daughter of Harris Shannon Stephenson and Isabella Sproul was born July 13, 1863 at Richmond, Utah. She was the oldest of a family of nine children. Cache Valley was just being settled or at least North Cache when she was born and her parents being pioneers had very little of this world’s goods.
Her childhood and early youth was spent at Richmond among the children of that village and she attended school such as that time afforded but the advantages were limited.
When she was fourteen, her family moved to Lewiston being pioneers again in a new place and for many years a barren place, drought and grasshoppers making farming a failure, so she was compelled to go to work to support herself and assist in caring for her father’s family, which she did cheerfully and willingly.
Opportunities for work were very few and wages meager, but she improved every opportunity for making what money she could. She had a gentle, loving disposition and did her work in a way that people appreciated her and younger members of families loved her as if she was one of their family.
She was married to William Waddoups, November 29, 1883 in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She was a plural wife and suffered the trials and hardships of her many associates in like circumstances. For many years, she never knew one day where she would be the next and many, many times, she was forced to pick up her babies and flee in the night. She had a great deal of sickness and sorrow and even death visited her family while she had to live this way but she bore it with courage.
She used an assumed name for sometime in order to receive news from her husband and parents. When the time came that she was permitted to have a home and care for her children as she wished, her happiness knew no bounds.
April 23, 1902 she was chosen and sustained as President of the Lewiston First Ward Relief Society to which position she gave herself wholeheartedly. She was a lover of good literature and improved every opportunity to inform her mind on current topics and to be the very front on information respecting the problems of Relief Society work. She was congenial, unassuming and sincere, but humility was her outstanding virtue. She was not a preacher or a lecturer, but she lived, instead of preaching her religion, teaching by example.
In her Relief Society activities, she lived the scriptural advice found in James first chapter, twenty fourth verse – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions and to keep himself unspotted from the sins of the world.
Gossip and criticism were foreign to her nature, she never allowed trifles to hinder her from performing her duty to her home, her community or her church. Her home was more that two miles from the place of meeting of the Relief Society and she walked to meeting more often than she was conveyed in any other way. She carried one baby and held to the other one’s hand. In Relief Society she and her co laborers worked with untiring zeal and with a love and respect for each other that was almost divine.
Her service in the organization was from April 1902 until May 1909 when Lewiston First Ward was divided and her home was in Lewiston Third Ward making it necessary for her to be released.
After becoming a member of the Lewiston Third Ward, she was put to work at once in the Primary. She also was class leader in the MIA and was later chosen as First Counselor to Emma J. Baird in the Relief Society, where she served faithfully until her health failed.
She was mother of fourteen children, six girls and eight boys. Six of her children preceded her to the great beyond. Her baby was three years old when the mother died July 4, 1912 at her home in Lewiston, at the age of 49.