Daniel was the youngest son of William Ward Stover and Sarah Murray Drake. He was born on November 14, 1826 in Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee, and was named after his grandfather Daniel Stover Sr. who arrived in Carter County in about 1782. Daniel’s father William was a farmer and actively engaged in civic affairs. He also owned an iron forge for a time. During his youth, Daniel no doubt worked on the farm along with his two older brothers David Lincoln Stover, my 2nd great grandfather, born in 1820 and Samuel Murray Stover born in 1824.
In 1850 Daniel appeared on the Carter County census living with his parents and brother Samuel who was identified as a physician. Daniel’s older brother David was already married and had left home. Daniel’s age was shown as 23 but nothing was recorded in the column labeled “Profession, Occupation or Trade”.
|1850 Census for Elizabethton TN that|
Daniel and his family appear on
In 1852 William sold five tracts of land to Daniel for $1 with the understanding that William and Sarah would continue to live on the land for the remainder of their lives. The property was adjacent to the Watauga River just outside the town of Elizabethton. Each parcel of land was described in detail using local landmarks to define the boundaries. The deed specifically mentioned Spanish oak, white oak, black oak, hickory, black walnut, chestnut, ash, sourwood, sassafras, and a white oak “marked with a knife” as landmarks. One parcel was 94 acres in size, the second was 110 acres, a third 75 ¼ acres, the fourth 195 acres and the last parcel which abutted the property of Abraham Drake – Daniel’s grandfather, was 50 acres. This last tract was land William had gotten from the State of Tennessee on September 29, 1836. Originally it was a 100-acre parcel that had been divided between William and Daniel’s uncle Samuel Drake. This parcel was on the north side of the Watauga River on Green Mountain. William gave Daniel the land and all the improvements and appurtenances theron, which means he got the house, the barns, slave quarters, and all the other buildings and structures.
|Portrait of Mary Johnson Stover from|
the NPS website
Marriage and Children
Daniel married Mary Johnson, the daughter Andrew Johnson who was then a member of the United States Congress representing the state of Tennessee. One year later Johnson was elected Governor. He served as Governor for four years, became a US senator in 1857, then in 1862, during the Civil War, he was appointed as Military Governor. Johnson was elected as Abraham Lincoln’s vice president in 1864 and tragically became president the following year when Lincoln was assassinated.
Daniel and Mary met while Mary as studying to become a teacher. They were married on April 27, 1852 in Greenville, Tennessee where Mary was from but they returned to Carter County to live and farm on the land that his father had given him. According to an article in the Watauga Democrat from 1919, “their home was the scene of many brilliant parties and many prominent people were entertained in its walls.” It was a place that Mary’s father Andrew Johnson regularly enjoyed visiting.
The birth of their first child, a daughter named Elizabeth “Eliza” Johnson Stover, named after Mary’s mother, occurred on May 11, 1855, followed by another daughter Sarah Drake Stover on June 27, 1857. Sarah was named after her paternal grandmother Sarah Murray Drake. Their third child, and only son Andrew Johnson Stover was born on March 6, 1860. You can read a full biography of Mary Johnson Stover on the First Ladies website. During this time Daniel’s older brother David Lincoln Stover died at the age of 38 from unknown causes.
|Daniel and Mary's three children, Andrew|
Johnson Stover, Eliza and Sarah Stover
When the 1860 census was taken Daniel and Mary were still living in Elizabethton. Daniel was the Assistant Marshall who recorded the names of his family members and those of his neighbors for the census. He completed the census on June 15th identifying himself as a farmer that owned land valued at $18,000 and personal property worth $12,000. This was substantially more than his neighbors. Families that appeared on the same page with Daniel’s family include the Bowers who owned land was valued at $1500, A.T. Carriger’s was worth $7000, and Jackson Carriger’s property was shown as $5000. The Stovers inherited their wealth from Isaac and Mary Lincoln. When the census was taken Daniel was 33, Mary 28, Eliza 5, Sarah 2 and Andrew only two months of age.
According to Frank Merritt in his book Early History of Carter County, Tennessee 1760-1861, Daniel was one of five men who represented Elizabethton at a convention in Knoxville on May 30,1861 to discuss what position Tennessee would take during the Civil War. The other four were Abraham Tipton, Charles P. Toncray, J.P.T. Carter and John W. Cameron. Unfortunately, their preference to remain loyal to the Union was overruled by representatives from other Tennessee counties that voted to join the confederate states. According to Merritt, "thus it can be seen that the great majority of Carter County citizens, both men and women, openly proclaimed their allegiance to the National Union. His paper notes that East Tennessee was overwhelmingly Unionist, they had long been conscious of a sectional difference from the other parts of the state .... the tide of secession sentiment .... reached them too late to work its full effects .... a lack of wealth made them feel they would have no place among a slaveholding aristocracy ... the majority harbored a real political hatred for the Democratic party .... so closely connected with the secession movement." Daniel’s own father William Stover was among those who favored secession from the Union – an all too common circumstance which divided families.
|Photo of Daniel and Mary's home in Elizabethton, TN from|
the book Images of Carter County
Daniel and J.P. Wilcox were asked to organize a debate between men who represented both sides of the issue – those for and opposed to succession. The organizers wanted it to be a fair debate so one of the terms they agreed on was that there would be no applause during the speeches. Not knowing about this provision at some point during the meeting Daniel’s own sister-in-law, Mrs. Murray Stover (Caroline Brooks) threw a bouquet of flowers onto the stage in response to what one of the orators had said. “Instantly the whole audience arose in confusion, pistols were drawn and it looked for a moment as though there would be bloodshed.” Caroline’s husband, Samuel Murray Stover supported the confederate position.
June of 1861, Daniel was one of twenty-six delegates from Carter County who
attended a convention in Greeneville where resolutions were drawn up urging East
Tennessee to remain in the Union. According to Dawn Peters who wrote a biography
of Daniel for the Carter County Centennial book, When Tennessee did leave the
Union, many east Tennesseans were furious and vowed to aid the Union.
|Daniel and Mary's home where President Andrew Johnson died,|
after it was moved and restored. My photo
|Mary Johnson Stover and Daniel Stover from the|
Johnson home museum in Greenville, TN. My photo
On July 8, 1861 another convention took place in Greenville. According to Scott and Angel the Union advocates voices were squelched. They claimed that “Disunionists in many places had charge of the polls, and Union men, when voting, were denounced as Lincolnites and abolitionists.” Sadly, 159 years later our nation is still dealing with challenges to our voting rights. East Tennessee voted against secession by a majority of more than 20,000 votes. The vote in Carter County was 86 for and 1343 against secession. In the adjacent Johnson County, the vote was 111 versus 787 against secession. “From the very beginning of the talk about secession during the presidential campaign of 1860 and up to the inauguration of President Lincoln, March 4, 1861, the majority of the people of the State of Tennessee, including the slave owners, were loyal to the Federal Government. This fact was emphasized by the election of February 1861, when the State voted against secession by a majority of 68,000. “When the State cast its fortunes with the Confederacy through the dominating influence of the civil and military authorities, a large majority of the people of East Tennessee adhered with greater tenacity to the Union cause as dangers thickened about them.”
|Photo of Colonel Daniel Stover|
from the Library of Congress
Scott and Angel provide two reasons that explain East Tennessee’s support of the Union cause. First, the soil and climate of the region was not suited to growing cotton or other large crops that warranted the need for slaves, and second because the people of East Tennessee were poor and feared that if Tennessee became a slave state their jobs and livelihood would be threatened. “They could see that by fighting for slavery they were only fastening upon themselves the yoke of poverty, and the ban of social ostracism, hence slavery was not a question of paramount importance to them unless it was in its abolition.”
“After the two conventions had been held, the one at Knoxville and the other at Greenville, and the Union leaders had exhausted every expedient available to retain the State in the Union, or form a neutral State of East Tennessee, seeing that arguments, memorials and resolutions were of no avail, and believing they had a right to their opinions as freemen, and believing the action of the State Government fraudulent and illegal, they boldly ignored its authority. Having done this the bitter feelings of the authorities became more pronounced, and the Union people began to secretly arm and drill with the intention of protecting themselves and rendering such aid as was possible to the Union cause, which they believed to be right.”
 Early History of Carter County TN 1760 – 1861, Samuel Merritt, Press of Archer & Smith Printing Co., 1950.
 History 13th Regiment, Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, USA, Samuel W. Scott & Samuel P. Angel, P.W. Ziegler & Co, 1903., p. 39
 Scott & Angel, p. 42
 Scott & Angel, p. 44
 Scott & Angel, p. 35
 Scott & Angel, p. 47
 Scott & Angel, p. 48
 Scott & Angel, p. 55