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Herbert Hoover Jesse Hoover moved from Ohio with his father Eli in 1854 They traveled by river boat and covered wagon to a farm outside West Branch Iowa a small town founded by Quakers In 1870 Jesse now the town blacksmith married Hulda Minthorn a teacher from Ontario Canada The Hoovers began a family in a small cottage by the Wapsinonoc Creek Their first son Theodore Tad 1871 was followed on August 10 1874 by another boy Herbert Clark Hoover Bert On the occasion of his sons birth Jesse went through town declaring We have another General Grant in our house Herberts birth was followed in 1876 by the birth of a sister Mary May The Hoover children spent their early years growing up in West Branch Iowa West Branch provided both joys and hazards of life The children could hike explore and swim as well as hunt for fossils and agate in the glacial gravel along the railroad tracks Their Quaker upbringing forbade the Hoover boys from carrying a gun so they learned to hunt for rabbit and prairie chickens with bow and arrow They learned these skills from young Indian boys who were attending a local government training school Willow poles butcher string lines and hooks that cost a penny apiece provided Herbert Hoover with sunfish and catfish There was also Cooks Hill for sledding on home-made sleds Their fun was tempered by the possibility of natural disaster and disease The Iowa summer sun could scorch crops prairie storms might wash out spring plantings or level a dwelling the relentless winter favored typhus diphtheria and pneumonia Herbert Hoovers own memories give a glimpse into his childhood He remembered trips into the country with his father Jesse He also recalls as a small boy getting stuck in mud while crossing an unpaved road during a particularly rainy summer Papas little stick-in-the-mud his father called him as he lifted Bert to freedom
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