Out of Place
Updated: Feb 8
Did Edwin feel out of place.. always wondering if he were a Stoddard or a Kimball? Why didn't his own father, Edwin Cleveland Stoddard want he and his sister? Why did his mom have to die? Did Leo and Marie really love him? Did the Kimball family really want he and his sister Ruth? My great Uncle Edwin (Cleve) married and left Northern Utah. His visited his sister often, he sent Ruth a fruit cake every year for Christmas. Edwin is buried in the US Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis Maryland. He became a LT. Colonel in the Navy. While he served in World War II, his wife (Walta Francis Lynch) lived in Logan with my grandmother Ruth and my dad and his brother Kurt at Grandma and Grandpa Kimball's home (Leo and Marie Kimball- Edwin's Aunt and Uncle who adopted them). Over the years, the cousins (my dad, Kurt, Katherine and Barbara and Kristen) remained as close as they could while living on different sides of the country.
I met Uncle Cleve's grandson, Gavin, when we were just children. I have never forgotten him and now just recently we were reunited. I think this would make Ruth and Cleve happy. Families are like that... they can drift and come a part, but in the end they are always find their way back to each other.
The Back Story of this photo-
I have always wanted to know my great grandfather. In part because somehow I have felt robbed of him. He was born in Centerville, Utah on June 2, 1889 and died on February 9, 1941 in Ogden, Utah. just two months before my father was born. My father was his first grandchild- A grandchild he never met. Little is known about his dash- what happened between his birth and death. Records indicate that he stood about six feet two inches tall and weighed nearly 200 pounds.
Edwin Cleveland Stoddard's parents were Hyrum Franklin Stoddard and Evangeline Cleveland. His parents were pioneers. His father, Hyrum was born in Council Bluffs Iowa.
Edwin was quick to smile and had kind blue eyes, and he was a regular at youth dances with his buddy Art Anderson. It was at one of these dances that he he met Jennie Smith.
The railroad in Utah’s North brought Edwin and Jennie together… it is this great steam horse which also tore them a part. Nestled in the mouth of Ogden Canyon where the tracks meet, it was only natural that Edwin became a railway man. The tracks connected Uintah to Logan, together, and thus Jennie and Edwin, on the Bamberger Railroad.
The two fell in love on the brink of World War I. They married June 24, 1914- four days prior to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria. This bullet triggered World War I. The Great War shaped their lives and the lives of their future generations- in ways unimaginable to these two young hearts.
Letters- A few relics is all that remains of their lives together. Words penned by their young hands and hopeful hearts. They are but etchings- a mere echo of Jennie’s short-lived life.
On March 2, 1914 Edwin wrote from Pocatello, Idaho Depot (The Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern Railway Railway):
My Dear Jennie,
“…Isn’t it the most glorious thing this love one gets for another. It appears most heavenly in its mission, and dear I enjoy it more and more every day. And it is getting most unbearable. Can’t you come, won’t you come dear, as you have stolen into my life and it appears that you have become a part of it, to leave as silently as you entered would nearly break my heart, I do believe.
I will try and bear it until the spring dear, and then won’t you come to me, as I have stated you are the missing link of the chain, to my happiness…”
Jennie, the daughter of prominent Logan citizen, Thomas X. Smith, was her father’s darling. As the youngest child of a large polygamous family, she was the pet. Uncommon in her day and especially for women, she was also a scholar having received two years of college education.
Jennie and Edwin’s letters continue but were few. Jennie fell for this eloquent railway man as they communicated via letters through their courtship, early days of marriage, and the birth of two children, Cleve and Ruth. While the war drew to a close in Europe, another disaster struck as the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 raged hitting Edwin on the railway. The story goes that “Ed” returned for a short visit and unknowingly infected Jennie. He returned to the railway and fell ill.
The last letter of communication between the two shares the tale of their “almost happily ever after.”
The letter was post dated October 14, 1918, 2 pm Salt Lake City Utah:
Mr. E.C. Stoddard
C/O Columbia Hospital
Salt Lake City, Utah
October 13, 1918
My Dear Bug,
“No one can tell how I felt when I heard you were ill. I would give anything if you were here and I could care for you. O. Bug! Why did you go? I’m just heart sick. Ever since you left I’ve been so depressed and felt as if something would happen. If you were only home…”
The letter is signed, “with bushels of Love and Kisses
From Babes and myself,
Jennie’s mother, Annie was with her during her illness. Annie had gone out to get more medicine for Jennie and returned to find her near death. Edwin received word of Jennie’s imminent death while he lay in a hospital in Butte, Montana. He arrived in Salt Lake City on a stretcher stricken with the flu himself.
Jennie made one last request on her deathbed to Edwin- The promise that her children would not be raised by a stepmother.
Edwin kept his promise. Jennie's sister Marie and husband Leo raised Cleve and Ruth and later adopted them. Edwin or "Ed" as he was known later married Edna Weise. They had three children, Carl, Maxine, and Ronald. Edna and the children- they are all dead now. And they took with them their memories of Edwin. Perhaps, we will never know what he did with his dash and
After all, it's what we do with our dash that matters most.
Stoddard Home, Uintah Utah
Edwin is buried in the Logan cemetery, not far from his Jennie