Herbert Hoover's paternal family was of a combination German-Swiss ancestry; his forefathers originally settled in Ohio upon immigrating to the United States. From Ohio, his grandfather, Eli Hoover to Iowa in the mid-1800s. His mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn, was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada of an English-Irish family. Both families were devout Quakers, so both Herbert and Hudla were raised in that faith, as were their children.
Jesse and Hulda lived in a cottage along Wapsinonoc Creek where they began their family. Their first son, Theodore (Tad) was born in 1871. Their second son, Herbert Clark (Bert) was born on August 10, 1874. When Herbert was born, his father proclaimed that "another General Grant was born." In 1876, the Hoover's only daughter, Mary (May) was born. West Branch, Iowa provided the children a fun-filled childhood exploring nature fishing and hunting rocks. Since Quakers can't own guns, the boys learned to hunt with a bow and arrow, a skill which they learned from Native Americans in the area. Both the rock-hunting and his interaction with Indians would become a part of Hoover's life as he majored in geology in college and improved the living conditions of Native Americans when he was president.
Herbert was an accident prone young man, having gotten stuck in the mud while crossing the dirt road at his house, prompting his father to call him his "little stick in the mud." Hoover also burned his foot while trying to walk across hot embers, the scar from which remained on his foot the rest of his life. Again, he stuck a lighted stick into his father's tar pit, which caught on fire, produced an extraordinary amount of smoke and brought the whole town running to what they thought was a major fire.
Hoover's father died when Herbert was six years old, followed by his mother's death three years later from pneumonia. The children were raised separately by relatives, one of which was their Uncle John, who eventually took Herbert to Oregon where he remained until he went to college at Stanford University. Herbert always called Iowa and Oregon his homes.
At Stanford, Herbert met fellow geology student, Lou Henry, whom he married in 1899. Lou traveled with her mining engineer husband to several countries, one of which was China were they lived during the Boxer Rebellion. As Herbert Hoover's wife, Lou became the mother to two sons, Herbert Clark Hoover, Jr, born August 4, 1903 and Allan Henry, born July 17, 1907. Herbert, Jr. became an engineer, a businessman and a diplomat. Allen also became an engineer, as well as a rancher and money lender. Hoover's kids were successful in business and spent very little time at the White House during their father's presidency.
The Herbert Hoover home is located at 115 South River Street in Newberg, Oregon. As the oldest house in the town, it has undergone many renovations and now belongs to the National Society of Colonial Dames. The home is a museum which is open to the public for visitation.