They Came to Milton

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  • ID: I16144
  • Name: Ezra GOODRICH
  • Given Name: Ezra
  • Surname: Goodrich
  • Sex: M
  • Change Date: 11 MAY 2012
  • Religion: Seventh-day Baptist
  • Birth: 24 FEB 1826 in Alfred, Allegany Co., New York 1 2
  • Event: Member 1840 Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: SDB Church 3
  • Census: 1850 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: age 24 4
  • Census: 1860 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: age 34 4
  • Census: 1870 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: age 44 4
  • Census: 1880 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: age 54, farmer 5
  • Residence: 1893 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: farmer 2
  • Census: 1900 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin 4
  • Note:
    "Commemorative Biographical Record of the Counties of Rock, Green, Grant, Iowa and Lafayette Wisconsin" (c) 1901, pp. 48-49
    Rock County, Wisconsin Biographies
    Ezra GOODRICH came with his parents to Wisconsin in 1839, when he was thirteen years old. He was a pupil in the first school in Milton, and in the first academy; but the constant need for his help in his father's business, in making a new Wisconsin home, deprived him largely of schooling. His education was mainly the rough and ready lessons of practical pioneer life. When he came to Milton the Black Hawk and Gen. Atkinson army trails were fresh and plainly to be seen. He was here when Rock County was organized; when the first highway to Milton was laid; when the first mail route and stage line in the county was established; when the first church and school house was built; and the first grave in a cemetery was made. He was in Janesville when it had but one log house, H. F. JANES'; in Fort Atkinson when it had but one log house, Dwight FOSTER's; in Watertown when it had but one log house and one frame one, and GOODHUE had a sawmill there; at Waupun when it had but one log house, Mr. WILCOX's; and at Fond du Lac when Dr. DARLING had the only house there. He was here when the first railroad in Wisconsin was built, and the first wire for a telegraph or a telephone was strung. It is marvelous to see the changes that have been made in one lifetime. In 1849 Ezra GOODRICH engaged in the mercantile business in Milton, dealing in dry goods, groceries, crockery, clothing, iron and hardware, in which he continued until the dark days of the Rebellion, in 1861.
    On Oct. 14, 1852, Mr. GOODRICH was married to Elizabeth L. ENSIGN, near Binghamton, N.Y., and they had four children: Joseph C. GOODRICH, born June 24, 1854, now of Milwaukee; William H. GOODRICH, born Feb. 15, 1856, now of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Mary E. GOODRICH, born March 23, 1859, now Mrs. Dr. POST, of Chicago; and Anna S. GOODRICH, born June 18, 1861, now Mrs. Will DAVIS, of Colorado Springs. In religious belief Mr. GOODRICH is a Seventh-day Baptist. In politics he was a Republican; he is now independently independent, and votes for the best man. He is a man of strong convictions, and that which he believes to be right he dares to defend; and that which he deems to be wrong he dares to denounce.
    This gives him bitter enemies as well as warm friends. He has been an active factor in Milton events for the past sixty years and more than an ordinary lifetime. He raised the controlling stock in 'Milton Academy' when it was incorporated - over which there was a red-hot denominational strife. He raised the money to fill Milton's quota in the army of the great Rebellion, when the hearts and hopes of all others had failed, and they were ready to throw up the sponge. He raised the money to set Milton College again on its feet, when it was hopelessly bankrupt, and the efforts of all others had utterly failed, they having succeeded in raising only $20. For this he raised a subscription of over $13,000, of which he gave $2,300 himself. He secured the location of the Milton high school building, on the Public Square, in which he was opposed by Milton College, and many others, who wanted it located in an uncouth lot, still vacant, south of the railroad, and south of Lane's mill. He drew the plan, and superintended the erection of the building. He platted the grounds and set out the trees and today Milton's high school grounds are conceded to surpass any public school grounds in the Northwest. Mr. GOODRICH secured the subscription and set out the trees in the beautiful park north of the railroad at Milton. He re-organized Milton cemetery after it had lost its organization, and its grounds were grown up to brush and weeds, and he organized a uniform system of grading and sodding the lots, and adorning them with trees. In these innovations he was also opposed, but Milton now has one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Rock County.
    Some twenty years ago Mr. GOODRICH inaugurated a system of raising a special tax in the town for graveling the roads in which at first he was bitterly opposed. By persistence he succeeded; and today Milton has more miles of road, that is good at all seasons of the year, than any rural town in the State; and if she continues but a few years longer she will have a good hard highway to every farm in the town.
    Many years ago, when they began to gather milk for the factories, Mr. GOODRICH began to advocate gathering the children of the towns into centralized schools. In this he was opposed to the point of almost hissing him down; but, of late, a marked change is seen, and many are now advocating the coming change. He now claims that the school children of Milton will ere long all be riding in covered spring wagons, over good roads, to and from school, and that, when the good time comes, every child alike will have the opportunity of a good education free.
    On April 23, 1892, Mr. GOODRICH lost his estimable wife. He was again married, Oct. 16, 1893, to Mrs. Charlotte M. LITTLE, daughter of I. P. MORGAN, one of the founders of Milton Junction, and widow of L. V. LITTLE, who died Feb. 18, 1886. The marriage of MR. GOODRICH, a son of the founder of Milton, to Mrs. LITTLE, a daughter of a founder of Milton Junction, is to some extent a union of these two rival villages, which, it is hoped, may soon be blending together, and eventually become a prosperous, happy and harmonious one.
  • Census: 1910 Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: age 84 4
  • Occupation: Hotel keeper 1916 1
  • Event: Cause of death 1916
  • Note: Influenza 1
  • Death: 01 JAN 1916 in Milton Junction, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: at home 1
  • Burial: 05 JAN 1916 Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin
  • Note: Milton Cemetery 1 6 7 8
  • Event: Obituary 06 JAN 1916
  • Note:
    "The Journal-Telephone", Milton Junction, Wisconsin, Thursday, Jan. 6, 1916, p 1.
    Ezra Goodrich, for many years a resident of Milton Junction, passed away at his late residence January 1, 1916. For many months he had been in failing health and his friends looked for death to end the pain of the malady from which he suffered so long.
    Mr. Goodrich was born at Alfred, Allegany Co., N. Y., February 24, 1826, the only son of Joseph and Nancy Maxson Goodrich. Mr. Goodrich has a clearly defined line of descent from William Goodrich who was one of the Pilgrims from England, who also was a lineal descendant of the founder of 'Goodrich Court' of the feudal ages.
    In January 1839, Joseph Goodrich decided to try the fortunes of the west which was being opened up and settled largely by easterners. The section of New York state from which the Goodriches came was a pioneer region so that when settlers emigrated from that portion of the state to Wisconsin, it was only to locate amidst conditions with which they were already familiar.
    The fates seemed to be against that party of twelve which emigrated from Alfred. The trip was made in the midst of rigorous cold weather, the snow in places being four feet deep. The overland route made traveling slow and extremely difficult. Snow, slush, deep mud, intensely cold weather were obstacles that tested the mettle of the strongest men. After more than a month's journey the party arrived at Prairie du Lac, now Milton, March 4, 1839.
    As a boy Ezra had to take a hand in the maintenance of the home and to do his share in the manual labors incident to the development of a new country. Thus he was largely denied the benefits of public schools. As he says in his autobiography, 'his education was of the rough and ready sort such as he gathered up in practical life.' This in a measure accounts for those qualities which were dominant in his after life. He was a man of strong convictions, self-reliant and persistent. Two incidents of his early life may be used to illustrate the last quality. Soon after his father came to Milton Ezra was sent out in search of food for the family. He was gone so long that his mother became worried about him as there were dangers from wild beasts and the Indians which beset his way. But his father said, 'Do not worry, Ezra has gone out to secure food and he will not return until he has found it.' He did find it but not until he had searched for it at Ripon, Beaver Dam and Appleton.
    When Mr. J. C. Carr was born, one of the first white children born in Rock County, Ezra was sent to Fort Atkinson to bring the doctor. On his arrival at the Fort he found to his dismay that the doctor had gone to Lake Mills. There Ezra hastened as fast as the bad roads and swollen streams would permit and found the doctor. But the latter hesitated about taking so long a journey under such uninviting conditions. Ezra insisted, however, and even led the way in fording seemingly impassable streams. He successfully accomplished his mission.
    Mr. Goodrich was a public spirited person, who was actively interested in the public enterprises of the township and county. His father had given generously of land for the cemetery, the Seventh-day Baptist church and a public square. Ezra continued that public spirit in the interests of good roads, a central high school and various other beneficent enterprises.
    He was deeply interested in the formation and maintenance of Milton College, in 1854 raising the original stock for Milton Academy, one of the pioneer educational institutions of the west and subscribed heavily to the fund. In 1868, upon finding the institution, then advanced to the status of a college, in financial difficulties, Mr. Goodrich again came forward and volunteered relief. Having just completed a new residence, he evolved the plan of holding a big house warming to which he invited the whole community, keeping secret his intentions of calling upon his friends and neighbors for subscriptions for the benefit of the college. There were three hundred guests at the event, all of whom were served at supper at tables seating one hundred and fifty at one time. The supper was followed by music and singing, after which Mr. Goodrich announced the condition of the Milton school and his purpose to raise a subscription among the guests. Other speakers were called upon and Mr. Goodrich opened the list with a gift and a bequest amounting in all to $2,300. The result was that $8,000 were raised on the spot and within a week it had been increased to $13,000, of which $5,000 was for a permanent endowment fund.
    The citizens of the township honored themselves at the time of the harvest festival one year ago at Milton Junction when they presented Mr. Goodrich with a gold headed cane as an appreciation of his foresight and work as the 'Father of good roads.'
    Mr. Goodrich religiously was of the Seventh-day Baptist faith and for a time was a member of the Milton Church.
    He was twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth L. Ensign of Binghamton, N. Y. Four children were born to them, Joseph C. of Milton, William H., who died March 17, 1915, Mary E. Post, wife of Dr. G. W. Post of Chicago, and Anna S. Davis, the deceased wife of Wm. Davis of Milton. On October 16, 1903, he was married to Mrs. Charlotte Morgan-Little of Milton Junction, who survives him. Funeral services were held at the Milton Seventh-day Baptist church, conducted by Rev. Henry N. Jordan, who was assisted at the house by Rev. Webster Millar and at the church by Dr. W. C. Daland. Burial was in the Goodrich plot in the cemetery at Milton.
    Those from out of town who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Bliss, Wauwatosa; Dr. Geo. W. Post Sr., Dr. Geo. W. Post Jr., Chicago; Mrs. L. P. Knowlton, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Knowlton, Waterloo; Mrs. Mattie Brand, Mrs. Farmer, Lake Mills; Mrs. Theo. Vandermark, Rockford; Carl Sheldon, Albion; Att'y E. D. McGowan, Janesville.

    Father: Joseph GOODRICH b: 12 MAR 1800 in Hancock, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts
    Mother: Nancy MAXSON b: 20 JAN 1796 in Petersburg, Rensselaer Co., New York

    Marriage 1 Elizabeth L. ENSIGN b: 18 JAN 1832 in Canaan, Litchfield Co., Connecticut
    • Married: 04 OCT 1852 in Kirkwood, Broome Co., New York
    1. Has Children Joseph Charles GOODRICH b: 24 JUN 1854 in Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
    2. Has No Children William Henry GOODRICH b: 15 FEB 1856 in Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
    3. Has Children Mary Elizabeth GOODRICH b: 23 MAR 1859 in Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
    4. Has Children Anna Selina GOODRICH b: 18 JUN 1861 in Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin

    Marriage 2 Charlotte Maria MORGAN b: 08 OCT 1833 in Nashua, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire
    • Married: 16 OCT 1893 in Milton Junction, Rock Co., Wisconsin 2

    1. Title: Wisconsin Death Certificate, Rock County Courthouse
      Page: 5651
    2. Title: Wisconsin Marriage Record, Rock County Courthouse
      Page: v 11, p 189, n 465
    3. Title: An Analysis of Milton, Wisconsin SDB Church Members 1840-1968
      Author: Prof. David Nelson Inglis, Milton College
      Page: 8
    4. Title: Census Records, Url:
    5. Title: 1880 Census , Url:
    6. Title: Gravestone Photo
    7. Title: Milton Cemetery
      Publication: Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, 1980
      Page: 90
    8. Title: Find A Grave, Url:
      Page: 89990944
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