County#039;s last living Civil War soldier to be honored

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 11, 2004

ROME TOWNSHIP - Even in death, some legacies continue to grow.

Pvt. David Thorne Hoover died nearly 60 years ago but he will be immortalized this weekend as Lawrence County's last surviving Civil War veteran.

The National Department of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have created the "Last Soldier Project" to recognize the last surviving Civil War veteran from each county.

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The Gallipolis and Middleport SUVCW camps will hold a public ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Miller Cemetery off of State Route 217 in Miller.

"As SUVCW, this is what we do. We try to promote education and make sure people don't forget the war that nearly tore this country apart," said James W. Oiler, commander of the Gallipolis camp.

"An old high school teacher of mine summed it up well by saying, 'We are what we are because of what we have been,'" Oiler said. "This is not for us. It is for the public to remember and honor the last living Civil War soldier of Lawrence County."

Hoover joined the 18th Ohio Volunteer Veteran Infantry Company C in February of 1865 at the tender age of 15. The war ended shortly later and he was discharged in October. The Athalia resident lived until Nov. 20, 1946.

Congressman T.A. Jenkins spoke at the service but there were no military proceedings.

A special stone recognizing Hoover was set last November. The ceremony will include a rifle salute, introduction of the family, a playing of "Taps" and more.

More than a dozen of Hoover's descendent from four generations plan to attend the ceremony .

Hoover's granddaughter Geraldine Pigman knew him all her life. The 87-year-old Proctorville resident's memory of her grandfather remains vivid.

"He was a farmer, a very sturdy man. He was a friendly person loved by everybody in Athalia," she said. "He loved his grandchildren."

Did Hoover spoil his grandchildren?

"He did me," Pigman says with a laugh. "He bought me a lot of stuff. He was a good grandfather."

Though he did not talk much about his time in the war, Pigman said he did give her a few details.

"I asked him one time what he did in the war and he said he rode a horse and carried messages to the front," she said. "His father and brothers went so he said he was going to. He was just a boy."

The SUVCW is a Congressionally chartered veterans organization located in 36 states with over 200 local camps. The organization are heirs to the Grand Army of the Republic and try to raise awareness and promote history preservation by restoring grave sites, monuments and battlefields.