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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 848~





A venerable and highly honored citizen of Fayette county is Alexander Nelson Goodrich, a man who, during a long stretch of years, has so ordered his life as to win and retain the confidence and esteem of all with whom he has come in contact, and while he has labored for his own advancement he has not neglected to do what he deemed his duty at all times in fostering the upbuilding of the community at large, having lived to see and take part in the great development that has characterized Fayette county, whose interests he has ever had at heart. He was born at the town of Brooklyn in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, on August 2, 1829, and he is the son of Eli Butler and Cynthia (Tiffany) Goodrich, the Tiffany family being of British origin and distant relatives of the noted New York jewelers. The Goodrich family came to America in early colonial days. Eli B. Goodrich was born in 1802 at New Berlin, New York. He was the son of David Goodrich, who was a Jew of the strict orthodox type. He came from Connecticut to Chenango county, New York, when Eli B. Goodrich was a small baby. The subject's mother, Lucy Miller Tiffany, was born in Brooklyn, Pennsylvania, in 1806, and was the daughter of Alfred and Lucy (Miller) Tiffany. Alfred Tiffany was born at Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1781. He was the eldest son of Thomas Tiffany, who, with his family, joined the "Nine Partner Settlement: of Hartford, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 1794, when Alfred Tiffany was thirteen years of age.


Alexander N. Goodrich, of this review, grew to maturity on a farm at Brooklyn, Pennsylvania, where he worked until reaching his majority; then he worked at farming for four additional years in Pennsylvania and New York. In 1854 he came to Iowa, landing in West Union, October 20th of that year. He drove to Buffalo, a distance of seventy miles from his old home, with one horse and a "sulky," then came by water to Chicago; then, with the same horse and vehicle with which he started, he continued his journey across Illinois, crossed the Mississippi river at Savannah on a ferry-boat, which was propelled by a mule on a tread-mill. Mr. Goodrich drove nearly two hundred miles more in Iowa, sopping at Orben, where he spent the winter, this being five miles from West Union. He worked there in a saw-mill, and in the spring of 1855 he became acquainted with John A. Griffith, a well known contractor of the early days here, with whom he came to Fayette, assisting in erecting what proved to be the first house in this city after the town had been laid out. He also drove the first stake in the construction of Upper Iowa University, Mr. Goodrich having learned something of surveying from his father, who had done some surveying in the state of New York, and he staked off the ground for the several buildings. He stayed in Fayette until Christmas day, 1855, when he started back to Erie county, Pennsylvania, where he had lived for some time prior to coming West, and while there he became engaged to Elizabeth Ann Janes. On the last day of December, 1856, they were married; soon afterward he brought his bride to Fayette, Iowa, and has remained ever since, having continued at the carpenter's trade from that time to this, and he has built more houses, business blocks and outbuildings than any other man in the city. Even at his advanced age he still does some work. His services have always been in great demand, owing to his skill as a workman and his honesty in his dealings with his fellow men. During his fifty-four years' residence here he has worked on nearly every house in the town.


One daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Goodrich, named Hattie Evaline, born in 1857; she married Cyrus Lane Bentz in 1882, and two children were born to them. Arthur Henry, whose birth occurred September 15, 1883, and Fred Leonard, born May 22, 1885; the former lives at Hazleton, and the latter, who formerly traveled for one of the large jewelry houses, selling diamonds, is now in business for himself selling jewelry and diamonds. Arthur Henry Bentz was married on December 22, 1909, to Agnes Myer, and they reside in Fayette.


Mrs. Alexander N. Goodrich was called to her rest January 12, 1905. She and her husband were popular with a large circle of friends and acquaintances, having always been know as jolly, congenial, cheerful in social gatherings and at home. Mr. Goodrich has long taken an interest in whatever tended to the general welfare of Fayette,---in fact, he has done his full share in the work of development. Three terms he served in the city council, two terms on the school board, besides other minor offices; he is a Democrat, but not a politician. He was thrown on his own resources early in life, but he manfully took up life's duties and has succeeded, his wife being of great assistance in all his affairs. He resolved when a young man to let whisky and tobacco alone and work faithfully, and he now has a good, comfortable home, owns stock in the First National Bank of Fayette, and owns an excellent farm of one hundred and thirty acres, one mile south of Fayette, and although well provided for in his old age, having laid by quite a competency, he still does some work to keep him in good health and spirits.


Mr. Goodrich has belonged to the Masonic lodge, taking the degrees up to Knight Templar. He joined the Odd Fellows in 1851, while living in Pennsylvania, and he is now noble grand of the lodge at Fayette. He is a conspicuous and highly esteemed character throughout the county and is a man whom everybody likes.


Cyrus Lane Bentz, who married Hattie Evaline Goodrich, was born near Columbus, Ohio, on January 10, 1847, and was a son of Henry and Amanda Bentz. These parents, in 1860, came to Iowa and settled on a farm in Howard county, near Cresco, and there Cyrus L. was reared to manhood and attended the public schools. Subsequently he entered the Upper Iowa University at Fayette, where he graduated in the commercial course. Upon the completion of his education he took up the vocation of a traveling salesman. His marriage to Hattie Goodrich occurred on September 6, 1882, and his death occurred on January 23, 1885. A man of sterling qualities of character, he enjoyed the universal respect of the community and his friends were in number as his acquaintances. Fraternally, he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while his political creed was that of the Republican party, to which he gave a loyal support. He was, as his name indicates, of German antecedents and in his veins flowed noble blood, his great-grandfather having married the daughter of a German nobleman, while the paternal grandfather lived in a castle on the Rhine.



~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Richard Smith


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