Andy Johnson Stover: From President's Grandson To East Tennessee Hermit

Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
Source W.C. Hicks, Civil War History OF East Tennessee


Andrew Johnson Stover.jpg

Andrew Johnson Stover was born March 6, 1860, in Carter County, East Tennessee. He was the youngest child and only son of Daniel Stover and Mary Johnson. His mother was the third child and youngest daughter of future President Andrew Johnson and Eliza McCardle. His father, an East Tennessee Unionist was one of the Bridge Burners of 1861 and would become Colonel of the Union 4th Tennessee Infantry. As a child, little Andy Stover frolicked in the White House and on its lawn and soon became a favorite of Military leaders and politicians of that day. Along with older sisters, Elizabeth and Sarah, they quickly became known as "The White House Children".

The White House Childrn.jpg


There are different sources and stories as to how Andy went from the pampered grandson of the President that followed Lincoln to a mountain hermit in East Tennessee. One source says as a boy he was kicked by a horse. This led to mental difficulties and his not being able to live by himself as he got older and going from family to family among relatives willing to take him in. Another family tradition is that while visiting the White House, he was playing with a soldier’s rifle and when the rifle discharged, the recoil caused damage to his head. There is reportedly a record at Greeneville stating that when 13 years old he was hunting and the recoil of his rifle sent the butt of the rifle into his head causing brain damage and temporary loss of hearing.

He lived at times as a hermit, played the banjo, and fiddle and loved to spend time on the Holston where he had a cabin or stayed at one owned by another. His mother bought him 1,000 acres in Texas but he soon returned to Tennessee. This White House child became a log-cabin man that loved the Holston of East Tennessee. He died on January 25, 1923. Andy is buried at Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Greeneville, Tennessee. One writer wrote, "Andrew Johnson Stover was excited neither by recollections of his childhood in the White House nor the work of the landscape gardener in the country around his grandfather's grave. His gun and his cabin in the mountains were all that he asked for in life".

Colonel Daniel Stover.jpg

Colonel Daniel Stover 4th Tennessee Infantry Union Volunteers. His brother, Samuel was a Confederate Commissary Officer.

mary johnson stover.jpg

Mary Johnson Stover

andy stover & his dog.jpg

Andy Stover & his dog
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
In the 1900 census, Andy is living with Captain Daniel Ellis Company A 13th Tennessee Cavalry Union Volunteers Better known as "The Old Red Fox", famed Union pilot and guide.


Daniel Sen Ellis
Head
Male
73
Tennessee
Martha Ellis
Wife
Female
67
Virginia
Lucy Ellis
Granddaughter
Female
18
Tennessee
Andrew J Stover
Boarder
Male
40
Tennessee
 
Last edited:

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I've never heard anything about this fellow, very interesting story.

By the way, is it set in stone that him getting hit in the head somehow is to blame for his lifestyle? A log cabin in woods with a dog, banjo, gun, and nearby river all to ones self sound like Heaven on Earth to me.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I don't believe so. Several versions of his head injury. I get the impression that Andy was considered the "crazy relative" who is usually locked up in the attic! Probably in Andy's mind, everyone else was "crazy".
Now you got me thinking of a close relative that is thought of that way and thinks everyone else is crazy. Very close relation...

Speaking from experience, Andy may not have been crazy and the family used a head injury as an excuse for what was considered an embarrassing relative. Families with political history, especially in the early 1900's would be very apt to consider and make excuses for a relation like Andy Stover being the way he was.

But then again he may have been looney.
 
Top