Hoover, Lydia (1856-1940)

tn_Jacob Hoover childrenFamily Reunion of the sons and daughters of Deacon Jacob Hoover (1806-1876) and his wife Elizabeth Brick (1815-1897) at the home of Peter and Maria (Wideman) Hoover on the German Side-road, Rainham, 12 August 1905.

Back, left to right: Magdalena (Hoover) Hoover, Phoebe Hoover, Elizabeth (Hoover) Seeback, Barbara (Hoover) Gee

Centre: Lydia (Hoover) Huber, David Hoover, Daniel Hoover, Susanna (Hoover) Rushton

Front: Catherine (Hoover) Campbell, Mary (Hoover) Yocum.

Peter Hoover I, the only one of the family who stayed with the nonconformed Rainham congregation – obviously following his father’s example and convictions – stepped inside while the picture was taken in silent protest to what he felt was the worldliness and lack of conviction of some of his siblings. Eagerly taking part in the Great Revival meetings of the 1870s, some of his sisters, in particular, dropped Anabaptist convictions and married Protestant men. ((This incident related by Menno Hoover, who was sixteen years old at the time. He and his mother took part in the photo taking.))

David Hoover did not join any church. He liked to farm and focused on his crops and livestock. But Daniel and Lydia Hoover struck off in yet another direction. With the mainline Mennonites in Canada and the United States they took part in a remarkable revival that managed to fuse a number of Anabaptist principles with the enthusiasm of the Methodists, the mission emphases of the local Presbyterians and the fresh approach of the Disciples of Christ. All of this, while heavily borrowing the songs, the literature, the Sunday Schools, the Camp Meetings and the Bible Schools of the mainstream Protestants.

Would this merger of values and direction work well on the long run? May one follow Jesus on the narrow way to everlasting life while working hand and glove with those who have chosen the broad way, taking part in war, allowing marriages between believers and unbelievers, while following proud fashions and fleshly amusements?

Visit to Waterloo

Lydia Hoover, in the 1890s, hoped everything would work well. Read her report of the revivals happening in Ontario during the 1890s. Click here.

Revival Meetings in Rainham Township

Another report from 1893, describes a new revival in the Niagara District (including the Rainham congregation), led by Jacob K. Brubaker of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Click here.

Meetings in South Cayuga and Rainham

In 1894 Lydia shared concerns and an earnest desire that things would go well in the Church of Christ. Click here.

Abram Huber from Pennsylvana (1844-1925)

Thanks to these thoughtful letters in the Herald of Truth, Lydia received more mail. Abram Huber, a widower from Lititz, Pennsylvania, began to correspond with her in the mid-1890s. At first, strictly about spiritual things – he had read an article written by L. Hoover, taking for granted the author was a brother. But once he discovered L. Hoover was, in fact, a sister in the Church, things quickly turned another direction. To marriage.

When Abram arrived in Canada to meet Lydia, the girls at home prepared a great welcome. Dressed in their Victorian finest, they laid a red carpet out to meet the honoured guest. Deacon Jacob Hoover drove out to Nelles Corner, on the horse and buggy, to pick up the visitor. But to the shock and consternation of the girls Abram Huber arrived in broad falls, in a dark blue shirt, a beard and a big black hat.

Necessary adjustments were quickly made and Lydia genuinely appreciated the quiet steady farmer from Pennsylvania, a who had already suffered so much in his life.

Abram and his first wife, Harriet Stauffer, had twelve children. Seven of them died young. The only surviving son, Abraham Jr., was eleven years old when his mother died.

Lydia threw herself into this new adventure, was married, and lived in Lititz, Pennsylvania, until she died in the summer of 1940, loved by all. See the Abraham Huber family record.

“Lit” and “Kit”

Why did everyone know Lydia as “Lit”?

Lydia’s nephew, Menno Hoover, tells how it happened:

In 1862 when Peter was eighteen years old, the northern part of the United States were at war with the south in what was known as the slave war. Anyway there were two young men in Ohio who were drafted to help fight, but as they were opposed to war they decided to go across the lake into Canada. Once they were there they would be safe even if they were deserters. And if they suffered shipwreck, all well and good. Accordingly one starlit night they took leave from their parents and sweethearts and started across the lake, in a small sail boat with only the North star for a guide. The lake is about fifty miles across at that point, but luck was with them, and about noon next day they landed on the beach right near the Jacob Hoover homestead, at a place now known as Hoover’s Point.

Granddad made them welcome and found work for them in the neighbourhood until the war ended and they went home by train. Peter became the proud possessor of their boat and many happy hours he spent with it spinning over the rough surface on a windy day. A rather amusing incident is related about these two young men. Two of my aunts, sisters to Peter, were in school and these young men were sent to town for groceries etc, and it was so planned that they stop at the school and take the girls along. Their names were Lydia and Katherine. As these young men were German, they couldn’t speak much English. So when they got to the school house, it not being quite four, one held the team while the other ran in to the door, opened it, and shouted, “Is she going mit, Lit und Kit?”. Needless to say, it caused quite a commotion at school, and for some reason, those names stuck. Read the rest of the story.

Anabaptist Descendant at Oakridge

Lydia Hoover Huber prayed much for her step-children and grandchildren.  She wanted nothing other for them than peace on this earth and the hope of everlasting life. But before she died in 1950, times had already changed drastically, the Mennonite church in Lancaster County had drifted along with the change, and her step-grandson, A. Paul Huber, after returned from his service in the army during the second World War, became a key figure in atomic research at Oakridge, Tennessee. To see what a local newspaper wrote about him, click here.

Outspoken and sincere, Lydia must certainly have shared her concerns. But as she wrote, “We have to rely on the Lord for sustenance. So if we allow the Lord to have His way He will gently lead us in the narrow path, the path where sin cannot enter” (Herald of Truth, 1893).

We hope to meet her on the other side!

0 Menno Sauder Thank You