Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Love Where One Doesn't Expect to Find It

As I've written in the past, Daniel and Dianah McQueen Hoover were my 4th g-grandparents.  They were married in Gallatin County, Kentucky in 1826.  After thirteen years in Indiana, they moved their family to Estill County, Kentucky.  They lived in a remote area of the county in a hollow on Barnes Mountain.  The family cemetery is located just up the hill from that hollow.  The family that now lives on the land not only cares for that cemetery, but also has rebuilt a cabin on its original site using logs that Daniel had cut over 170 years ago.  This cabin is perhaps 30 feet from the spring that Dianah drew water from.

They made their life here.  Daniel became involved in the logging industry that was taking hold in the county in addition to farming.  Their family grew, married and lived close to them.

Then came the Civil War.  Many in the county enlisted at Estill Springs in the 8th Kentucky Infantry.  In spite of his age, Daniel was one of them.  His headstone gives his year of birth as 1806, but on censuses, we see his year of birth being anywhere from 1800 - 1806.  The cousins that I am in contact with don't know where this date comes from, but we'll go with 1806 as it's not uncommon for ages to be listed wrong on censuses.  I've got one ancestor who aged fifteen years between one ten year census, and then only aged six year on the next one.

Unfortunately for Daniel, most of his Civil War experience was spent in hospitals.  On the regiment's first march from Lebanon, Kentucky to Louisville, Kentucky, he developed a "fever".  While the rest of his group moved south toward Nashville, Daniel was possibly diagnosed with measles.  He later joined his unit, but ended up in hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.  He spent several months there before he was discharged.  His body had been broken from rheumatoid arthritis, heart problems and a hernia.  He was not able to work again.

While he was in hospital, he and Dianah exchanged letters.  Thanks to the Estill County Historical & Genealogical Society, I have a copy of two of them:

Nashville Dec 13th 1862

Dear Dianah

I take my pen in hand to write to you.  I am well all but rumatic pains.  I received a letter from Uriah yesterday and is the first that I have got since last august and think very hard because you dont write ofterner than you do.  I want you to take care of evry thing the best you can for I will not be able to work any more and think that I will get home by new year and if Uriah want to stay on the place the same way he was let him stay and when I come home I will attend to the rest of the business.  I sent you a letter the other day in the care of Mr Wakefield and I answered Uriah yesterday.  I want you to get my pistol from Uriah and keep it closely consealed until I get home.  our rement had a fight with the rebels the other day   we lost three men killed  8 wounded and five taken prisner  the rebel lost we dont know the pay rollers   out men I was acquainted but one man that was killed and that was pleas smith  none of our home boy got hurt.  as soon as the captains books come from Louisville  I think I will get my discharge.

Dicy for gods sake keep John from volenteering and tell him I am away to try and stay at home and take care of you  I would of come home to of seen all of you but could not come without deserting.  so good by for the present and write soon.

Daniel Hoover

And her reply:

Estill Co. Ky. Dec the 29th 1862

My dear husband

I make use of the present opportunity of wrighting you a few lines in answer to yor kind letters.  I received two letters from you the last one dated the 7th of Dec   it gives me great satisfaction to hear from you & to hear that you was as well (as) you are and that there was a prospect of my seeing you again soon.   I glory in the sentiment of your not wanting to come home without you can do it honorably but I do know that there is nothing on this Earth that would give me more satisfaction than to see you at home with an honorable discharge and our country in peace once more

We are all well at this time but Littleton Horn   he has been verry sick for several days   I am as well as comon myself   you said you wanted to know how I was off for meat   I have plenty to do me   I killed 2 hogs  verry good ones the 24th of this month and it is a plenty to do me    I have all the cattle that you left here and they are in verry good fix

I will now tell you about Bill Ingraham   him and two of the stamper boys joined the Sesesh army and was gone some time and their Capt give a false alarm one day & Bill fainted dead enough & they had like not to have brought him too   his capt sent him home   the two stamper boys got sick and they come back

I was down at Shoog Jo Scrivners to day and he gave me fifty dollars that you sent by Capt Wilson to me   I will take good care of it till you come    I have got the $30.00 you sent me by Houard just as you sent it

John Hoover is marryed   Enoch Wakefield marryed them

I will close for this time   you must wright to me as often as you can  I have wrote 3 or 4 letter to you that you have not said any thing about    you must not conclude I have forgotten you because you dont get my letters    I never expect to forget you while this old boddy of mine has life enough to know any thing

nothing more but remain your loving wife

Dianah Hoover

To Daniel Hoover

The title of this entry is "Love Where One Doesn't Expect to Find It".  If you read those two letters,  you will understand why.  Here is a couple that had been married thirty-six years at this time.  They had six children that lived to adulthood.  They were well into being grandparents as most children had at least three children by this time.  They lived in the backwoods of Kentucky.  But if you read between the lines, you see a husband who is concerned because he hasn't heard from his wife.  And you see a wife reassuring him.  And you see those last lines of her letter: "I never expect to forget you while this old boddy of mine has life enough to know any thing  nothing more but remain your loving wife"

And you see why they hold a special place in my heart.


  1. What wonderful letters to find! I see why they are so close to your heart.

  2. Thank you. They are very special to me - frustrating at times, but special. Now, it's time to peck away at his brick wall - confirming who his father was!