Thursday, June 21, 2012

Like Lydia of Old

Lydia Ellen Rochester Cooper

My Third Great Grandmother

me --> Ruth Rasmussen Buchanan --> Alice Houston Rasmussen --> John Cooper Houston --> Lucy Rebecca Cooper Houston --> Lydia Ellen Rochester Cooper 

Just recently I found a copy of my third great grandmother's biography.  Lydia was no stranger to trial and hardship.  She was widowed at 39, and buried more children than she saw reach adulthood.  Her daughter, my second great grandmother, Lucy, died after giving birth to her second child.  

Lydia was born in South Carolina and moved close by to New Hope, Georgia with her husband and sister, Mary.  There she joined the LDS church and moved to Holladay, Utah with her small children, (Lucy was 2 months old.)

I'll save most of her stories for future posts, but for now I'll just say, she had it hard.  She and her husband moved to St. George, Utah to start a new community there.  They couldn't even buy fabric to make their clothes.  She had to spin cotton and weave it into fabric.  She dyed the fabric using weeds, after just a few washings the color would fade and all the clothes looked the same.

After her husband died, she would weave carpets and sell them to make a living.  She did this for 25 years.  She also would feed the Indians whenever they came to her house and made sure they never left hungry.

As I was thinking about Lydia the other day, I began to think of another Lydia.

Lydia, Seller of Purple

She appears in just two short verses in the New Testament, Acts 16:14-15.  She is considered to be the first European convert.  She housed the apostles and made a living by selling purple fabric.

As I thought about Lydia, the Seller of Purple, I thought about what the two Lydias have in common.

They both dyed and sold fabric. They both fed strangers in their home.  But that isn't the most significant common characteristic.  Both had open hearts and received the Gospel and were truly converted.

I want to be like Lydia of old.  Either one.


  1. Hi, Alice!

    I just read some of your posts. We share common ancestors, including Lydia Rochester Cooper! You have such a gift of story telling! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. I love discovering cousins! How are you related to her?