For some reason, I’ve been thinking about my great grandmother Nora (Houdeshell) Hoover a lot recently. I never had a chance to meet her, but from the few stories I’ve heard, I think I would have loved her. So, I thought I’d start my 52 Ancestors series writing about her.
Nora Melinda (Houdeshell) Hoover was the eldest daughter of George Westfall/Wesley Houdeshell and Lovina Caroline Force. She was born 25 October 1891 in Wooster, Cameron County, Pennsylvania.1 She died of an acute myocardial infarction, possibly brought on by complications of diabetes, on 11 May 1965 in Pine Glen, Burnside Township, Centre County, Pennsylvania and was buried 3 days later in the Advent Cemetery in Pine Glen.
Great grandma was one of 12 children, 10 surviving to adulthood. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where her father worked as a lumberman and also supported his family by farming. According to family stories, when she was 16, her father told her she was to either get married or get a job. So, she took a job as a cook in a lumber camp. Apparently, that’s where she met my great grandfather, Clyde L. Hoover. They were married 16 April 1908 in Dubois, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.2 He was 21 (nearly 22) and she was 16. Clyde and Nora were the parents of 12 children—seven sons and five daughters.
Nora was a believer in education. She ran a small library from her home in Pine Glen. Today, it probably would be the equivalent of a small personal collection, but it provided an opportunity for Pine Glen residents to experience the world of books. She also wanted her daughters to wait until they were 21 before marrying, probably so that they would have a chance to fully grow-up, get an education, and experience life a bit before settling down to raise their families. My grandmother was married a month after her 21st birthday.
During the war—World War II, I presume—she planted a pine tree for every Pine Glen boy who went off to war, including four of her sons. I wonder what she thought as she watched those trees grow.
Family stories also allege that great grandma had Indian blood. I think that story arose mainly because she had straight dark hair as I’ve found no reason to believe her ancestry was anything other than northern European. Perhaps, one day one of my Hoover or Houdeshell relatives will have a DNA test and we’ll get proof one way or the other.
This post is part of an on-going blogging challenge entitled 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, created by Amy Crow of No Story Too Small. Participants must write about one ancestor every week. This post is part of week two.
- Pennsylvania, Department of Health, death certificate no. 1312278 (1965), Nora M. Hoover; Division of Vital Records, New Castle. ↩
- Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, Marriage Register (1908): 51, no. 15102, Clyde L. Hoover and Nora M. Houdeshell; microfilm, County Records, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, roll 7352. ↩