Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Rebecca Ann Gover was born November 1, 1835 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. She was the first of eight children born to Samuel D. Gover and Elizabeth Jasper, a family that settled along Pittman Creek at the turn of the 18th century. Brothers, John and Samuel, moved their family from Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Samuel D. Gover's grandfather, John came to America from England in 1750. According to Immigrant John Gover and Wife Elizabeth Duvall and Descendants, written by Rose and Bess Gover, published in 1982, the Govers are of Scotch-Irish descent. The family were devout Methodists, and according to the Gover sisters, freedom of religion was the primary reason for the Govers move to the new world.
Land records indicate that John Gover and his wife, Polly Dyer, bought land from Francis McWilliams in Elihu, Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1819. "Old timers do remember that John and family lived in a two-room dry cave for a time after moving to Pulaski County, presumably while a home was being built." (Gover, 1982) John and two sons, James and William drowned in Pittman Creek on July 1, 1821. Surviving sons were John Jr., Samuel and Wesley.
Samuel married Elizabeth Jasper on December 30, 1834. Elizabeth gave birth to Rebecca Ann, Mary Catherine, John Thomas, James William, Samuel Wesley, George Alford, Elizabeth Polly and Milton Parker. Samuel Gover was a farmer who accumulated a modicum of wealth, as property records show that the Govers owned approximately six slaves. The records do not indicate what the slaves were used for, but it can be surmised that they were used in the tobacco fields as well as in the house.
Rebecca married William Monty Goff on November 20, 1853. Legend has it that the Govers were not pleased about this union. It is known that William Goff's family was not as well to do as the Govers, but that is probably not the reason for the grief. Rebecca would have been 18, and it may have been her youth that gave her family pause.
Rebecca gave birth to three children, Richard in 1855, a daughter in 1856 who was stillborn, and Samuel in 1857. Rebecca never recovered from giving birth to Samuel. Her death record indicates the cause of death was "a cold," however, it was very likely complications from childbirth. Rebecca died August 20, 1857, just three months shy of 22 years old. Her infant son died five days later. Presumably, Rebecca is buried in the Gover Cemetery in Elihu, Kentucky, however, there is no record to prove this.
Rebecca Ann Gover was my great-great grandmother. There are no surviving pictures of her. We don't know if her Scotch-Irish descent manifested itself in fair skin and strawberry blond hair. We don't know if she was musical or otherwise artistic. All we know about Rebecca is that she lived and died.