Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - John Will and Ida (Caylor) Hoover - Hoover Cemetery

Down a one lane road on a mountain in Estill County, Kentucky, you'll find my favorite spot in the world - Hoover Cemetery.  On this ridge, you'll find at least 200 (marked and unmarked) family and friends of Daniel and Dianah (McQueen) Hoover.  I've often wondered if Dianah's father, John McQueen, is there himself.  He was born in 1761, died in 1855 and fought in the Revolutionary War.  Just behind the cemetery was the cabin site that the Hoover family, who arrived in Estill County in 1840, called home.  The spring that Dianah drew water to cook and clean still runs.

Under some of the few trees that grow there, you'll find the above headstone.  This is my Great-grand uncle and aunt, John Will and Ida (Caylor) Hoover.

John William Hoover was born 13 Jan 1887 in Estill County, Kentucky, the son of Andrew Jackson "Andy" Hoover and Frances J. "Fannie Plowman.  He died 31 Oct 1967 there in Estill County as well.

Ida (Caylor) Hoover is a bit of a mystery to me.  I admit that I'm intrigued with her, but just haven't had a chance to seriously research her.  The birth date on the stone reads 13 Jan 1887, but there's evidence that she may have been born in May.  The circumstances of her birth are a bit suspect as well, but I'm going to leave that alone for now as well.

Every time I visit this cemetery (and I visit it every time I'm in Estill County...gotta tell the folks, "Hey!"), I visit Uncle John Will and Aunt Ida.  

The headstone, as you can see, was handmade.  A wooden frame was made and concrete poured in.  After it was smoothed out, crushed glass was sprinkled around.  Marbles were used to outline the hand etched name and dates for both of them.

In an area where so many graves went unmarked or marked with just a fieldstone, you can find several variations on the above design.  Rather than let their loved ones go without, they crafted one with their own hands.  And people say that mountain people are without imagination or ability....


  1. Time for a confession. I don't do graveyards and tombstones. One of maybe two family historians in the world. I'm going for cremation and being blown to the wind. This headstone just might change my mind. Spectacular! Thanks so much for sharing it. If I ever get to Estill County I will stop and pay my respects.

  2. Two weeks ago, I was at this cemetery again. One of the first things we did was walked over to say "Hi!"

    Glad you enjoyed the post.