About Lydia Reeder (Balls)
David and Lydia Reeder and James and Eliza Hurren David Reeder was born Dec. 21, 1801 in England. He married Lydia Balls in 1828, was born De. 26, 1803 in England. David and Lydia had three sons and three daughters.
David's wife Lydia died at the age of 36, soon after her youngest daughter Caroline was born in October of 1839. David Reeder hired some farm labor in later years, one worker being James Hurren, who later married his daughter Eliza.
James and Eliza had anticipated that their lives would follow the same pattern as their parents and forebearers before them, of earning a living in a well established way, cooking at an already much-used hearth, and of probably dying in the same village where they had been born.
But events of 1851 were to cause momentous changes for them. In March of this year, James and Eliza had a baby boy who only lived one day. This was very grievious for them. At this time they had a cottage of their own near the Reeder home.
It was at this time that two strangers, Mormon missionaries from America, came into the countryside and preached about a peculiar new religion. These men stirred the East Suffolk folk with the things they told about, and caused many a heated conversation and argument. The men belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
James Hurren, Eliza, and the Redders, listened and disussed, along with the others, and becamse interested in learning more and more. Though many people seriously doubted the truth of the missionaries' message, those of the Hurren and Reeder households were among the first to declare that they belived the gospel principles they were being taught. On June 28, 1851, James Hurren was baptized in a small pond at Chediston, along with Eliza's oldest brother. They were later ordained priests in the Aaronic Priesthood.
James and George were excited about their new religion, and actively helped the missionaries in contacting and teaching other people in the area. Many local residents were converted. In October of 1851, Eliza and her father David Reeder were baptized. Perhaps one of the reasons Eliza had put off being baptized until now was because she had been expecting a child, which arrived in February of 1852.
The Church membership continued to increase, and in March of 1852 the Chediston Branch was organized. James, at the age of 25, was alled to be the Branch President. Eliza's brother Robert and sister Caroline were also baptized into the church over the next few years. James was the only member of his family to join the Church.
Conversation in the Hurren and Reeder cottages, after their conversion, revololved around the Church, the wonderful new concepts they were learning, the things expected of them, and always of going to Zion. The family was able to travel to America using the Perpetual Emigrating Fund. The company arrived in New York on June 14, 1856, after six weeks of crossing the ocean. They traveled by railway to Iowa. Here they waited for handcarts and began the trek to Utah under the direction of Captain James G. Willie. It was late for handcarts to start on this dangerous journey and some of the company coubted if the journey could be made before the bad weather set in. Another Company was following the Willie Company, led by Captain Martin.
In October of 1856 the company was near Laramie, Wyoming. This is where David Reeder died, and this is what his son Robert said about him: "My father, David Reeder would start out int he morning and pull his cart until he would drop on the road. He did this day after day until he did not arise early October 7, 1856." On many occasions he had given part of his rations of food to others. His fortitude had never failed, though he was often cold, hungry and exhausted. His family would miss him.
Eliza wrapped a cherished sheet around him and the family placed him in a shallow grave. Caroline Reeder died two weeks later at the age of 17 at Three Crossings Sweetwater and was buried in Wyoming. There were many deaths throughout the journey.
James and Eliza, many times, when inquiry was made as to how they felt about their handcart ordeal, were quick to reply: "With all our trials, our weary traveling, burying our dear ones, piling our clothing and bedding by the wayside and setting fire to them, we have never once felt to murmur or complain or regret the steps we have taken."
The family eventually settled in Hyde Park where they lived the rest of their lives. As their posterity, let us echo, and live worthy to realize the fulfillment of the words penned by James Hurren in 1852: " The prayer of my sould is to my Lord and my God that we may all be Thine for ever and ever."
(source and "James Hurren and Eliza Reeder" Complied by Myrtle Stevens Hyde, 1979")