Ida Stover Eisenhower

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Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower (May 1, 1862 – September 11, 1946) was the mother of U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower (1890–1969), and university president Milton Stover Eisenhower (1899–1985) as well as Edgar N. Eisenhower (1889–1971), and Earl D. Eisenhower (1898–1968).

She was born in Mount Sidney, Virginia, the only daughter of Elizabeth Ida Judah Link (1822–1867) and Simon P. Stover (1822–1873). She was christened "Elizabeth Ida" in the Salem Lutheran Church, Mount Sidney, Virginia (currently the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, whose baptismal records show an original name of "Elizabeth Juda".

She was five years old when her mother died, after which she lived with her maternal grandparents, William Link and Esther Black Link,[1] until William's death in 1879; her maternal uncle and aunt, William J. Link and Susan Cook Link, then raised her at their farm. They did not believe girls should be educated, and instead pushed her to memorize the Bible. When told she couldn't enroll in high school, she ran away. At age twenty-one, she joined two of her brothers Stover who had moved to Kansas.

Stover graduated from high school at age 19 and taught for two years[citation needed] before entering Lane University, where she met her future husband, David Jacob Eisenhower.[2]

On September 23, 1885 in Lecompton, Kansas on the campus of their alma mater, Lane University, she married David Jacob Eisenhower (1863–1942), of German and Swiss ancestry. He was a college-educated engineer but had trouble making a living and the family was always poor.[3]

In the 1890s Ida left the River Brethren Christian group, and joined the International Bible Students, which would evolve into what is now known as Jehovah's Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall for the Bible Students from 1896 to 1915 but her sons, although raised there, never joined the movement.[4]

She was a lifelong pacifist,[5] so Dwight's decision to attend West Point saddened her. She felt that warfare was "rather wicked," but she did not overrule him.[6]

In 1945 Stover was named Kansas Mother of the Year.[7]

Dwight Eisenhower said of her:

"Many such persons of her faith, selflessness, and boundless consideration of others have been called saintly. She was that—but above all she was a worker, an administrator, a teacher and guide, a truly wonderful woman."[8]


  1. Or "Esther Charlotte Schindler Link", per "Eisenhower / Stover Family Genealogy". Eisenhower Archives. Eisenhower Presidential Library. Retrieved November 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "I Chose My Way". Time. Time, Inc. September 23, 1946. Retrieved 2009-03-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890–1952 (1983) pp 13–14
  4. Jerry Bergman, "Steeped in Religion: President Eisenhower and the Influence of the Jehovah's Witnesses," Kansas History, (Aut. 1998)
  5. "Eisenhower: A Factual Sketch". Time. 1952-04-07. Retrieved 2008-09-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Carlo D'Este, Eisenhower: a soldier's life (2002) p. 58
  7. "Women's Studies : A Guide to the Historical Holdings in the Eisenhower Library" (PDF). Eisenhower Library. April 1994. p. 11. Retrieved November 27, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Eisenhower, Dwight D. At Ease. Doubleday, 1967, p. 306.

External links