Living an involuntary hermit's life. Working towards living a healthier, gluten-free, hopefully cancer free life with my 2 dogs, 3 chickens and loving family.

Living with intention

When stumbling through life isn't good enough anymore..... decide to be yourself and enjoy life, and pay attention to Gods gifts all around.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lydia Hamilton Smith

Mother Teresa once said, “Jesus, these are your hands, these are your feet, let me be your vessel today. Thank you that I can love one person at a time. Give me courage Lord to help these poorest of poor.”

I am always amazed by the capacity of kindness by a loving hand.  I often am inspired by philanthropist.  People who have more than enough, recognize this and give their time and dollars for a good cause. 

But I am truly astounded and inspired by those with little, giving of their time and what little they have, to people whom you would think they should hate.

I would like to introduce you to a woman named Lydia Smith.
Lydia was born to an Irish Father and an African American mother on Valentines day in the early 19th century.  She married a freed slave and had two sons.  She raised her sons alone, and became housekeeper to Thaddeus Stevens, a man who became a congressman.  When Mr. Stevens passed away, he left Lydia $5000.00.  She was able to buy the Stevens home in Gettysburg Pennsylvania.  Not a common thing back then for a woman to own a home and land.  Even rarer for a black woman.  But before that, Lydia saved and purchased a modest home where she lived when the civil war began.

Lydia's oldest son died in 1860.  Her other son Isaac, enlisted and fought for the union in the U.S. colored troops in 1863.  He served in Virginia.

In July, 1863, the civil war came practically to Lydia's doorstep in Gettysburg.  After the battle that lasted for days, the thousands of dead soldiers were scattered across the battlefield.  The wounded lay there for days, as the doctors were very few.  Lydia, went door to door to all her neighbors and asked for donations of food, blankets, etc.  She then carried food and water, to every survivor she could find.  But the donations were not enough, so Lydia used what little money she had and bought food and clothing.  By then, the men were in hospitals.  She took what she could to hospitals and distributed them to soldiers.  To the Union soldiers, and the confederate soldiers.  Yes, seeing someone in need, it did not matter to Lydia what color of uniform the man had on.  She, on the field, gave food and water to any man in need, and did the same in the hospital.

Lydia passed away on her birthday, Valentine's day 1884.  She is buried at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Lancaster.

Now, that is a grave I would like to visit and bring flowers to.  What an inspiration.  A beautiful soul who knew the true meaning of giving and being the hands of Jesus.

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