Name most any major national event in the last 300 years, and one or many of our local families were involved in some way. Let’s take the Hoover family as an example.
Jane Hoover Smootz’ new book Phillip E. Hoover and Sydney Turner Hoover of Brocks Gap, Rockingham County, Virginia, begins with Phillip’s great-great grandfather Sebastian Hoover 1723-1807. Moving to what is now Brandywine, Pendleton County, WV in the late 1740s, Sebastian’s family was among the earliest white families there. In 1758, the French and Indian War came to within seven miles of their home when Fort Seybert was captured, and its inhabitants killed or taken prisoner.
Twenty years later, the Hoovers fought in the American Revolutionary War. Sebastian Sr. and his son Peter Hoover (ancestor of Phillip E. Hoover) gave food and rented horses to the army. Sebastian Jr., a militia lieutenant, was killed when he tried to arrest a Tory neighbor who was harboring a deserter. Three of Sebastian’s other sons, Thomas, Lawrence, and Michael, served in the militia on the Virginia coast, western Virginia frontier, and nearby North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac. Though he supported the Continental (American) cause, Sebastian Sr. stood up for his neighbor Henry Peninger when he was accused of being disrespectful to Congress and continental money and posted a 2,500 pound bond for Henry.
Hoover families prospered. While some branches moved west as the country expanded, Sebastian’s grandson Jacob Hoover (1775-1821) moved across the Shenandoah Mountain to Rockingham County. His first wife was Elizabeth Shoemaker, and his second wife was Elizabeth Lamb. Jacob and his second wife are the ancestors of most of the Hoovers in Brocks Gap. When Jacob died in 1821, his second wife was left alone with five step-children and four of her own children, all under the age of 21. Jacob had left her with enough resources to support herself and all the children.
Jacob Hoover’s son David Hoover (1819-1864) of Brocks Gap was a landowner and prominent citizen. He or his brother Abraham must have organized a school near their homes before 1858, because Elder John Kline of Broadway used the Hoover School as a preaching post. The schoolhouse was rebuilt around 1886 and again about 1914. David became ill with cancer when eight of his nine children were under 20 years of age. Remembering how his mother struggled to keep her children together, in his will David instructed his oldest son Emanuel Hoover to remain at home and help raise his younger brothers and sisters.
David Hoover was too old to be drafted for the Civil War, but his oldest son Emanuel Hoover (1840-1918) was drafted in 1864 in spite of an earlier religious exemption. Emanuel and his first wife lived at Fulks Run in their early married years, but about 1900 he moved to his farm in the Cedar Run area of Broadway, on Shepherd Lane. Emanuel attended the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
Emanuel’s son Phillip E. Hoover (1876-1961) is author Jane Hoover Smootz’ grandfather. Most of the book follows Phillip, his wife Sydney Turner Hoover, and their descendants to the present day. Their older children attended one- and two-room schools in Brocks Gap.
Phillip had to register for the draft during World War I in 1918, but at 43 years of age, he was not called to serve. His two oldest sons Raymond and Laney also registered for the World War I draft.
In the 1920s, Phillip and Sydney joined other Rockingham County families and moved to Pennsylvania for better farms and employment. They lived in Dauphin County where Phillip was a farmer. All their children except sons Raymond and Laney remained in Pennsylvania. Raymond Hoover married Lena Custer and had five sons, Stanley, Ellwood, Dwight, Harold, and Carl Grey Hoover who all lived in Rockingham County in their later years. Their son Laney Hoover had married Gladys Shoemaker and lived in Broadway where their children were born: Warren Hoover, Geraldie H. Orebaugh, and Betty Sue H. Turner. Another son, Jane’s father Baxter, died in Pennsylvania when she was two years old. Her mother, Jane, and her brother James moved back to Virginia, settling in New Market.
When Phillip’s grandsons entered military service, they traveled to Pennsylvania to see their grandmother Sydney Turner Hoover before leaving for duty. Carl Grey Hoover, Ellwood Hoover, Edward Hoover, and Willard Sites were in the Army, Eugene Hoover in the Marines, and Stanley Hoover in the Navy.
Other ancestors of Phillip and Sydney are just as colorful. Sydney’s father Moses Turner enlisted in the 7th Virginia Cavalry. However, his father Jacob Turner remained loyal to the United States and helped his other son and others to escape to the north.
Jane’s Hoover book is available at Turner Hams/Fulks Run Grocery.