Posted By Norman Gasbarro on November 29, 2010
Entering Elizabethville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, from the west on Route 209, a large stone monument can be seen up on a grassy bank on the right side of the road. The bronze plaque reads:
Eisenhower Ancestral Home. Built in 1854 by Jacob F. Eisenhower, grandfather of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States of America. from this farm the family migrated to Kansas in the summer of 1878.
Well back from the road is a stately old home, identified as the ancestral home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Many people don’t realize it, but Eisenhower’s direct roots are in the Lykens Valley area. The home along the road in Elizabethville was the home of the President’s father, David Jacob Eisenhower, who was born in Elizabethville on 1863 and the president’s grandfather who was born in Elizabethville in 1826. It was the home of the Eisenhower family during the Civil War years, 1861-1865.
Although David Jacob Eisenhower moved the family to Abilene, Kansas eleven years before “Ike” was born, they left behind in Pennsylvania a whole host of relations – including those with the surnames Eisenhower, Matter, Romberger, Buffington, Boone, Dietrich, Hoffman, Hoover, and many others.
Four persons from the Lykens Valley area with the Eisenhower surname have been identified for the Civil War Project:
Benjamin F. Eisenhower (1843-1874), who served in the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He is buried in Long’s Cemetery, Halifax, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
Isaiah J. Eisenhower ( ?-1886), who served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry and the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry. He is buried in Porter Township, Schuylkill Co., Pennsylvania.
Valentine Eisenhower (1836-1875), who served in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry. He is buried in the Matamoras Community Church Cemetery, Matamoras, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
Valentine Elexander Eisenhower (1835-1893), who served in the 210th Pennsylvania Infantry. He is buried in the Messiah Lutheran Church Cemetery in Halifax, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
An excellent genealogical study of the Eisenhower family exists. The Relations of Dwight D. Eisenhower: His Pennsylvania German Roots, by Lawrence Knorr, is available through Sunbury Press.
Knorr wrote in the introduction:
Eisenhower was always conscious of his Pennsylvania German roots. He corresponded with people in the area concerning his lineage. His return to Pennsylvania was marked by the purchase of a farm in Gettysburg that served as a presidential retreat and is now an historic site. Eisenhower had “Pennsylvania” in his blood. This book is a compilation of those blood relations.
Details are given on over 3500 of the president’s relations including those with the surnames previously mentioned. There’s a good possibility that many of the 2000 Civil War soldiers thus far identified in this project will connect with the Eisenhower lineage. Unfortunately, the relations who are included in the book are not specifically identified as Civil War veterans and only the basic facts are given about each person – birth date and place, death date and place. The genealogical connections are clearly presented and there are a few black and white photos of graves and people. Finally, there is an extensive kinship table, so once a Civil War ancestor is located in the book, it’s a simple matter to look up the relationship to the president.