Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Oscar S. Goodrich

For more than half a century the Goodrich family have been prominently identified with the agricultural development of Crawford county, the late Isaac B. Goodrich having been the first settler to enter land in the county, in recognition of which fact he was later honored by having the township where his homestead was located named after him.

He was born in the state of New York in 1804, a son of Philander Goodrich, who was a descendant of one of the old families of New England. The spirit engendered by many generations of pioneer life early drove Isaac B. Goodrich westward. He first located in Michigan and later in Illinois and at an age when the majority of men consider retiring from active life again migrated, Iowa being his destination this time.

He arrived in Crawford county in June, 1854, after a long and tiresome journey by wagon oftentimes over unbroken prairie. Locating in Milford township, he erected a log cabin fourteen by twenty feet, which was the first shingled house in the county, This provided shelter for the family, while he and his sons cleared the land and placed it under cultivation. In 1855 a sawmill was located in Denison at the foot of the hilI near the present site of the Northwestern Railroad stockyards, and with the assistance of his sons, Mr. Goodrich cut the trees which were hauled to the mill, the lumber being later transported to Goodrich township, where it was utilized in the construction of a house.

Many weeks of hard labor were spent in the cutting and hauling of the timber. after which they had to erect the house, which was built entirely of oak and walnut. The shingles which were of black walnut, Mr. Goodrich made himself, in the course of which process, owing to his crude and limited facilities, he sacrificed three of the fingers of his right hand. He acquired two hundred and ninety acres of land, which he cultivated up to the time of his demise in 1881.

Mrs. Goodrich only survived him until April of the following year. Always having been just a little in advance of the progress of civilization, their lives had ever been hard, but they possessed all the essential characteristics of the pioneer, their personalities being strongly felt in the social, as well as the educational development of the county.

Mr. Goodrich and Miss Margaret Gamble were united in marriage in New York and unto them were born eleven children. The first five, Luzina, Sabrina, Adeline, Leverett C. and Tully, and also the two youngest, Philander and Minerva, are deceased. The others are: William, a resident of South Dakota; Oscar, our subject; Rufus, living in Idaho; and Milo, who resides in Minnesota.

The family always attended the services of the Baptist church, of which the parents were members. His political support Mr. Goodrich accorded the democratic party. He was a public-spirited man and always took an active and helpful part in civic affairs, for many years serving as a member of the board of supervisors. A man of high ideals, sound principles and incorruptible integrity his personality was a dominant factor in the development of the county where he spent the latter years of his life.

Oscar S. Goodrich, a son of Isaac B. and Margaret (Gamble) Goodrich, was born in Illinois on the 4th of September, 1854. Being but an infant when his parents removed to Iowa, the greater part of his life has been spent in the Hawkeye state, in the district schools of whi-ch he acquired his education. He remained a member of his father's household until he had attained his majoritv, at which time he rented sixty acres of land and engaged in agricultural pursuits. After cultivating this for 'two years he removed to an eighty acre tract which his father presented him. Here he followed general farming and stockraising until the 22d of November, 1910, when he removed to Denison, where he continues to live retired.

Mr. Goodrich's plans for a home of his own had their culmination on the 5th of November, 1873, in his marriage to Miss Lucy Butler, of Arion, Iowa. Mrs. Goodrich is a daughter of James and Catherine (McCall) Butler, who lived on a farm on the present site of the town of Arion. The family residence was a log house, as were the majority of the homes of that period, and there Mrs. Goodrich as well as her two sisters were married. Mr. Butler was captain of a company of volunteers in 1864-5, stationed at Cherokee, where they were ready to respond to calls from the settlers who were greatly harassed at that time by the Indians.

Ten children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Butler: Donald J., deceased, who was the first white boy born in Crawford county; Margaret, the wife of Valdo Talcott; William; Lucy, the wife of Oscar S. Goodrich; Agnes, who married Dr. W. B. Evans; Lorenzo C.; Charles; and three who died in infancy. All members of the family now surviving reside in Arion, with the exception of Mrs. Goodrich, who lives in Denison.

Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich have become the parents of eight children: William, who passed away in infancy; Una B., the wife of Howard Matthews, of El Reno. Oklahoma; and Isaac B. and Leverett C., twins, the former a resident of Cushing, and the latter of Kiron; Libby, who is a skilled sportswoman, having killed many deer and bear in Wyoming, and is the wife of Clyde Hufman, of Thermopolis, Wyoming; Catharine, who married Bert Justice, of Milford township; Agnes Marie, who was born on the 2d of September, 1895; and Ruth Sabrina, whose birth occurred on the 26th of May, 1897.

The family affiliate with the Baptist church. The Goodrich home contains many interesting things associated with the early history of Crawford county, among them being a black walnut desk which many years ago was made for the courthouse out of lumber Isaac B. Goodrich cut and hauled to the mill for that purpose. When the new courthouse was built and furnished this desk was presented to Mr. Goodrich who upon his death gave it to his son Oscar S., by whom it is highly treasured because of its many associations. He has ever taken an active and helpful part in the local political affairs, giving his support to the republican party. He has been elected to the minor township offices, the duties of which he discharged in a manner generally satisfactory not only to his constituency but to the public at large.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.