Name: Joseph GOODRICH
Given Name: Joseph
Surname: Goodrich 1
Change Date: 05 OCT 2014
Religion: Seventh-day Baptist
Note: Joseph Goodrich who started Milton House and Milton College in Milton, WI. Henry Beebe Crandall and Joseph Goodrich are credited with founding Milton, WI.
Birth: 12 MAR 1800 in Hancock, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts
Baptism: ABT 1816 Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., New York
Note: SDB Church
Member 1821 Alfred, Allegany Co., New York
Note: 1st Alfred SDB Church - He migrated to WI and founded Milton.
Member 1840 Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin
Note: SDB Church - constituent member
Census: 1850 Milton Township, Rock Co., Wisconsin
Note: age 50
Death: 09 OCT 1867 in Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin
Note: at home
Obituary 10 OCT 1867
"The Janesville Gazette", Janesville, Wisconsin, Thursday, Oct. 10, 1867, p 1.
Burial: 11 OCT 1867 Milton, Rock Co., Wisconsin
Note: Milton Cemetery
5 6 7
Obituary 31 OCT 1867
At his residence in Milton, October 9th, of congestion of the brain, Joseph Goodrich, aged 67 years, 4 months and 27 days.
Funeral services at the S. D. Baptist Church Friday, at 2:30 p.m.
"The Sabbath Recorder", Vol 23, No 44, p 174, Oct. 31, 1867.
DEATH OF HON. JOSEPH GOODRICH
The death of Mr. Goodrich occurred at his residence in Milton, Wis., Oct. 9th, 1867, at half past two o'clock P. M., after an illness of three days with the congestion of the brain. On Sixth-day before, Oct. 4th, he worked quite severely in procuring some lumber and other articles needed in repairing his house, and rode eight miles from Janesville in a cold wind and rain-storm. He was both very weary and chilled through, when he reached home in the evening. He remained somewhat exhausted, though apparently well, until First-day morning, when he commenced vomiting, and showed some signs of the sickness which terminated his life. The best medical skill of the State was employed; but he never fully rallied from the stupor into which he fell. In it he gradually sank away, and quietly breathed our his life. Thus he died, as he had always wished, without any lingering illness, or any conscious pain.
During the past year, he had suffered from several attacks of sickness, which had, no doubt, quite undermined his natural vigor of constitution. His friends had begun to feel that his stay with them might not be very long. Yet his activity did not seem to be lessened, and his interest in his private and public affairs was unabated.
His funeral was attended last Sixth-day, by a large concourse of people. The procession was led by the old pioneers residing in this portion of the country. In addition to the relatives, church members, and inhabitants of the place, there were present old acquaintances and prominent citizens from other sections. The faculty and the students of the College came in a body. As all gazed upon his face, and recalled his many services, the expression of feeling was often heard, "How much he will be missed!" He was buried in the village burial-ground, in the midst of the prairie scene, which he delighted so fondly to behold, and surrounded by the fields of corn and wheat, which he had long cultivated. He leaves a wife, two children - a son and a daughter - and many relatives, to mourn his death.
Mr. Goodrich was in his sixty-eighth year, having been born May 12th, 1800. His native place was Hancock, Berkshire Co., Mass., and his home was near the line between that State and New York. On his mother's side, he was connected with the Carpenter and the Greenman families; and on his father's side, with the Gillette family, whom he resembled in his form and countenance. These three families were Sabbath-keepers for several generations before him - the Carpenter family belonging originally to a Seventh-day church in London, Eng., whence they moved, and settled in South Kingstown, R. I. The Goodrich family were from Wethersfield, Ct., and were, it is believed, from Gloucester, Eng. He had three brothers, all of whom he outlived, and two sisters, who, though older than he, yet survive him. His father was a farmer, and was in moderate circumstances.
When about twelve years of age, he went to live with his maternal uncle, Dea. Sylvanus Carpenter, of Stephentown, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., in the immediate neighborhood of his home. There he remained six or seven years, working for his uncle, and attending school a portion of the time some winters. He early developed those qualities of character which were so marked in his subsequent life, and contributed so much toward his success and usefulness. He is spoken of as a "go-ahead boy," and as "a leader among the young people." Self-reliant, active, and somewhat independent in his opinions, he was usually chosen by his associates to bear the heavier responsibilities, and do the tougher work. His sprightly humor, good nature, and boldness, made him an acceptable companion, and the central figure in social gatherings. He was ever ready for any new or daring enterprise in his neighborhood. Industrious, and endowed with a strong constitution, he performed on his uncle's farm a large amount of work. He was noted for his early fondness for knowledge - making good progress in his studies at district school, and gathering information from books and newspapers. In fact, the instruction of the common school, based on the Massachusetts system, left a deep impression on his mind. The influence of his pious mother, and the examples of his excellent uncle, with whom he resided, stamped upon his character an ardent love of truth for its own sake and for the good it effects, also of the strictest honesty and stern justice, and of those benevolent movements which reform and elevate the race. He experienced religion at sixteen years of age, and united with the Stephentown Seventh-day Baptist church, being admitted by Eld. Satterlee.
A marked career was prophesied for him by his more far-seeing acquaintances. When the people, the institutions, and the rugged scenery of his native place had made their impressions and their culture upon him, he sought a home and a place for more active labor in Western New York, which was then being fast occupied by emigrants from New England and the eastern counties of New York. He left Stephentown when nineteen years old, and traveled on foot to Alfred, Allegany Co., where he afterwards resided twenty-one years. He reached that place with an axe on his shoulder and a half dollar in his pocket, which, with the clothes he wore, constituted his whole fortune. He assisted in clearing off and cultivating two farms in Alfred. Within six years after his arrival, he had settled on his second farm, which was on the Vandermark Creek, in the western part of the town, broken up a few acres, assisted in building and running a sawmill, and taken his first wife, Miss Nancy Maxson of Petersburg, N. Y., to his shanty, constructed of rough boards, without a floor, and with no door but a blanket hung over an opening. Here he afterwards added to his other occupations those of keeping a small store and a temperance inn, and buying and rafting lumber down the Susquehanna River.
He is represented as taking an active part in the cause of education, and being interested in the opening of the Academy at Alfred Center, while residing here. Dr. Carr, of the Wisconsin University, a nephew of his, states that he thinks Mr. Goodrich procured the delivery of the first lecture on Natural Science at Alfred Center. The subject was the Elements of the Atmosphere and Water, and was illustrated by experiments. An incident is recalled which was connected with his earliest residence at Alfred, and which shows somewhat the features of those times. On his first return to his native place, he was called upon at a conference meeting of the Stephentown church, to give an account of the religious condition and prospects of our people in Allegany County. He complied in a full, clear, and satisfactory manner; and the information was regarded as news from a very distant country. It is known that he took a decided stand, at an early day, in favor of the temperance reform, and in favor of selecting and cultivating the best gifts in the church. It seems that he won the esteem of the citizens; and among the militia of the country he rose to the rank of Major.
He was not always successful in his business operations here. A raft he was taking down the Susquehanna, was stoven to pieces, and almost entirely lost. By this, the avails of his industry were much reduced; and he would have been compelled to dispose of his property to satisfy his creditors, had not a relative, learning of his misfortune, proffered him pecuniary aid. The financial difficulties of 1836, and the failure in the crops of the following year, together with his own somewhat embarrassed circumstances, first directed his attention to settling in the Western country. He had some thoughts, in the beginning, of going into central Ohio, on the Miami River, and even purchased some land there. He had seen in the newspapers, or heard from some travelers who had visited the country west of Lake Michigan, glowing accounts of the beautiful and fertile tract of land lying in the northern part of Illinois and the southern part of Wisconsin, and particularly in the Rock River valley. Accompanied by a few friends, whom he had induced to seek with him new homes in the West, he traveled by the way of Buffalo, and on a boat around the Lakes and reached Milwaukee, in Wisconsin, in the midst of the summer of 1838. At this last place, he learned from some one who had explored in the central portion of the State, of the DuLac prairie, some sixty miles to the west. With spade in hand, for the purpose of digging up and examining the soil on their route, he and the rest of the company started out from Milwaukee. They reached our prairie on the third day, coming upon it at a point in the south-eastern quarter of it. Mr. Goodrich says he was satisfied with the first look, and felt that here he should make his future home.
It is not common that the decision of one walking in the ordinary paths of life should affect immediately and in after life more individuals and more interests of the highest value, than did his selection of this spot for his residence and his labors. The friends who accompanied him, settled in the vicinity. Others came with him when he moved his family the following winter and spring. Many of his relatives found homes in the neighborhood. He attracted from several societies, in the East and the South-East, prominent men and women, industrious, intelligent, religious, and enterprising. Says a lady who had traveled quite extensively, and been a keen observer of persons and communities, and who has frequently seen many of the earlier settlers of this section gathered together, that she has never found men, among the common people, with more marked and peculiar characteristics - being well informed, conscientious, independent, and rugged in spirit. Within twenty years, the community round him had a large per cent of church members than at any other known in the country. In that time, the town in which he lived came to have over six hundred Sabbath-keepers. From the church established here have gone out at least six colonies which have established Seventh-day churches elsewhere. A Congregational and a Methodist church have grown up in our midst. For years intoxicating liquors could not be obtained openly in the town, as they cannot now in the village of Milton . Good public schools and a flourishing College are here. Three railroads, connecting the principal villages and cities in the State, pass through the town, and at their junctions two villages are located.
Mr. Goodrich bought out some claims, and then secured his lands of the Government, in the central portion of the prairie. He located his house and laid out his plans for a village, where they both now stand. He was guided in the selection of the place by the belief that the road running between the two bends in the Rock River, where he thought two villages would be built up, and where Janesville and Fort Atkinson are located, would cross the prairie near his house, and that it would be intersected there by a road leading from Chicago to Madison, then already selected as the capital of the State. Shortly afterwards the roads were laid out and the point of their intersection was within ten rods of his house. The same general facts which determined the location of these thoroughfares, also directed the laying the lines of the railroads through the town.
On the 4th of March, 1839, he arrived with his family, having made the journey from Alfred by teams. This day was observed by them in subsequent years, as a day of celebrating their settlement in their Western home. They took up their abode immediately in a small building which he had constructed the previous summer. This, with its rude furniture, was used for a dwelling, store, a hotel, and a house of worship on the Sabbath, all at the same time. Another was shortly afterwards erected, into which the family moved, the former being used wholly as a store. In the second season the principal room in their dwelling was given up in the winter for a public school. Thus in the small house of the early pioneers were started and fostered those institutions and appliances of society, by which their civilization, their comfort, their intelligence, and their religion, were promoted.
The first Sabbath after their arrival, all the Sabbath-keepers in the country, both old and young, were gathered at his house; and they entered into a compact, professors of religion and unprofessors, to maintain religious meetings and a Bible class, to abstain from hunting, fishing or roaming about on the Sabbath, and to watch over each other for good. During that season their was a revival of religion among them; and in the following summer several of the young people were baptized. This was the beginning of the church which was organized here the following year, and the first permanent Seventh-day society west of the Lakes. Until the fall of 1844 the Sabbath-keepers held their meetings, a large portion of the time, in his house; and after he had erected the Gravel Academy, in the year last mentioned, they met in it each week until the church was built in 1851. Thus, for over ten years, he furnished, free of cost, most of the accommodations for the worship of our people.
Mr. Goodrich set his heart on building up a society and town in this section. This was the controlling motive of his life for the past twenty-eight years. For this work he had been fitted by his indomitable energy, and by the special training he had received as a pioneer in Western New York. He guarded with zealous care against the introduction of dangerous elements into the community. Early settlers, in whom he had confidence, were aided, in every way in his power, to procure lands and facilities for a new home. His money, when it could be spared, always his teams, and very often his own time, were employed without compensation, when the country was new, in looking up situations, and in establishing new comers. Keeping a hotel, he entertained with his warm hospitality, and gratuitously, large numbers of people moving into the country. To his correct judgment and foresight in the selection of valuable lands and the most available locations, many persons owe their present competence. He assisted materially in laying out the principal roads in the section. He donated to the village of Milton twenty acres, which now constitute the Public Square; and to the cemetery, the public school, the college, and one of the churches, all their grounds. A portion of his farm was divided up into village lots and sold. Every enterprise which favored the advancement of his great purpose, was taken hold of with a vim and a firmness which made them successful. He invented a style of building houses of lime and gravel, so that cheap and spacious dwellings might be erected by the people whose means were limited. His invention was for a time quite extensively used in different portions of the State, and he acquired the cognomen of the "gravel man." One of the most conspicuous objects on the prairie is his large edifice, constructed in this manner, and known as "Goodrich's Block."
He was widely recognized as a public-spirited man, aiding every movement which tended to benefit the town, the county, or the State. His benefactions to individuals and home enterprises, which were striving to improve this section, are almost innumerable. He assisted the county in purchasing the lands on which their public buildings stand at Janesville. He labored effectually in starting and completing the first railroad in the State, and acted a number of years as one of its directors. He is the author of the plan by which most of the railroads of the State have been constructed - raising funds by means of mortgages on the farms, whose value is enhanced by these roads running near them. Thirteen years ago he represented this Assembly District in the Legislature, being elected by the unanimous vote of the district.
He is justly styled the founder of the Milton College. Twenty-three years ago, unaided, and against the counsels of many, he opened in the village of Milton an Academic School. There were at the time but four dwelling houses in the place. He erected a suitable building for the school, employed a principal, and for over eight years managed and supported the institution with but very little assistance from others. It cost him many dollars, and much perplexity and hard work. He was for years the President of its Board of Trustees, and when the Academy was incorporated last winter as a College, he declined accepting the same position on account of age. He has donated to the Institution, or invested in it, several thousand dollars, and lived to see it become one of the most flourishing schools in the State. Hundreds of young people scattered through this Western country, attribute to his liberality and enterprise their education and advanced position in life.
As has been intimated, he favored every genuine reform. For over forty years he maintained a temperance hotel, and his anxiety and labors in repairing and enlarging his house, induced, in good part, the disease which terminated his life. He was a life-long anti-slavery man. The poor and oppressed were never turned away from his door, nor from "cutting their notch at his table." "His large and hospitable soul welcomes every new truth, every discovery in science, every practical invention, as something added to the general welfare and happiness of men." He had the most unbounded faith in the views of our denomination, and looked forward to the great change which the Christian world must experience in respect to the Sabbath. The arguments of our people were at his tongue's end, and he very often applied them in discussions with First-day travelers and ministers. Some most amusing incidents could be told in this connection, in regard to his shrewdness and pointedness in worsting his opponents. He scattered the seed widely, some of which he saw springing up. He was always in advance of public opinion, and as a consequence, he was frequently misunderstood, criticized, and opposed.
He had a unique but substantial character. His singularities did not grow out of any desire to be unlike other men, but from his intense individuality. Anecdotes are told of peculiar acts, some of which transpired in his boyhood. No man of this region has been more talked about. A little boy living here once answered the question, "Who made it thunder?" by saying, "Uncle Joe;" for Mr. Goodrich was often mentioned in his presence as being the originator of nearly every important movement he had heard of. Mr. Goodrich had a laughter-provoking humor, which made him a most genial associate. His stories and apt remarks would pass from person to person through the community, and be quoted in sermons and other public addresses. No one doubted the sternness of his integrity. His far-seeing judgments were usually approved by subsequent events. He lived but little in the past, or in the future. He was emphatically a practical man, using every means in his power to promote the interests of the present. He was the most open of men in the expression of his views, and fearless in advocating what he considered as right and just. He rarely consulted the opinions of others, yet would yield to conviction and change. He was a man of prayer. His surviving companion says that for the last eight years, he engaged mornings and evenings with her in their closet devotions. The burden of his supplications was for clear knowledge of truth, for strict honesty in all his dealings with his fellow men, and for lasting blessings to rest upon the church and the school.
He was twice married; his first wife died ten years since; his second wife was Mrs. Susan H. Rogers, the widow of Rev. Lester T. Rogers, of Waterford, Conn., and the mother of Rev. L. Courtland Rogers, of New Market, N. J. From them he received the fullest assistance in building up his fortune, in maturing and carrying out his plans of benevolence, and in acquiring his large public reputation.
His like we shall not soon see again. His large form, his quick step, his rousing laughter, his plain speech, his prompt actions and positive ways, his interest in the community, his sacrifices for the good of others, his immense energy of character, and his devotion to truth, popular or despised, made up the main points of his life, and contributed toward his prominence among those with whom he lived. That which will endure after him, is not his wealth, nor his high position in this section, nor the unique traits. He will live in his deeds - in the community, the public movements, and the institutions, which he aided so largely in establishing. These ate "the targets" and "the shields of beaten gold," which he has hung up in his own house, and which all desire to see remain forever as the mementoes of an earnest and useful life. W. C. W. Milton, Wis., Oct. 21st, 1867.
"The Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock County, Wis.", 1889, p 443, 444.
JOSEPH GOODRICH, the founder of Milton, and of Milton College, was the son of Uriah and Mary GOODRICH, and a lineal descendant of John GOODRICH, who, with his brother William, emigrated from Gloucester, England, and settled at Weathersfield, Conn., in 1644, from whom the GOODRICHES of America have sprung. He was born May 12, 1800, at Goodrich Hollow, near the end of the road, which terminated abruptly at the foot of a mountain, in Hancock, Berkshire Co., Mass. At the age of twelve years he went to live with his maternal uncle, Sylvanus CARPENTER, at Stephentown, N.Y., where he was employed in the avocations of the farm, and received an ordinary common-school education. He developed a vigorous physical constitution, and became an active, industrious, honest, self-reliant, enterprising youth. At the age of sixteen years he experienced a hopeful change of heart, and united with a denomination of Christians known as the Seventh Day Baptists, in the faith of which he remained through life.
On the 30th day of March, 1819, at the age of nineteen years, he started out in the world, on foot and alone, with his wardrobe in a little bundle on his back, for the wilderness of Western New York. He arrived in Alfred, Allegheny County, with his bundle, a new ax, and fifty cents in his pocket. He took a contract for a tract of wild land, on which he built a log cabin, and began felling the trees of the dense forest to let the sun shine in and onto his primitive home. Dec. 13, 1821, he married Nancy MAXSON, daughter of Luke and Lydia MAXSON, of Petersburgh, Rensselaer Co., N.Y., and, as the wild flowers of the woods began to bloom in the spring, they began housekeeping in the little log cabin, without a window or door, save blankets hung over openings in the wall, and the ground as a floor. Thus they lived contented and happy, and struggled on together with privations and poverty. The following year, in 1823, his father came out and united with him in the erection of the first sawmill on the Vandermark Creek, which they got to running the last day of that year. They first sawed the lumber to cover the mill, and next the boards for the wife a cabin floor. In 1824 he erected the frame for a two-story house which he got enclosed, and furnished with a brick oven to bake bread, and fireplaces with iron cranes and hooks to hang the pots and kettles on, the following year, but he did not get it plastered and painted until in 1827. When finished it was the largest and most commodious house in the neighborhood, and religious meetings, school and town meetings were held in it. In 1828 the district built a school-house, on a site furnished by Mr. GOODRICH, and the following winter they hired a stove and held the first term of school.
Mr. GOODRICH built an ashery, in which he bought ashes and manufactured potash. He also kept a small store, and a house of entertainment, a temperance house. He had some military aspirations, and was chosen Major of the State Militia. He also engaged in buying lumber and shingles, which he transported to Hornellsville, and rafted and run them down the Susquehanna River to market. He finally, through losses from floods, met with reverses in this business, which well nigh ruined him, and led him to seek a home in the wild prairies of the West, out of sight of a pine board or tree. He induced a neighbor, Mr. H. B. CRANDALL, to come with him on a tour of observation, and he hired a young man, Mr. James PIERCE, now of Milton, to come and remain on the claim which he might secure, while he should return for his family. They left Alfred, N.Y., the 26th day of June, 1838, and came to Buffalo with a team, where they waited two or three days to secure passage on a steamboat up around the lakes. They were in Cleveland, Ohio, July the 4th , and landed in Milwaukee July the 11th. They came out to the far-famed Rock River Valley on foot, with packs on their backs, Mr. GOODRICH also carrying a spade to test the soil, as he said he had lived on the clay hard-pan long enough. He was quite fleshy, the weather was hot, water was scarce and long distances apart, and stopping places far between, and difficult to get, which made the journey wearisome for them to endure. On the 16th day of July, 1838, they came out upon the wild but beautiful little prairie, subsequently called Prairie Du Lac, the Prairie of the Lakes, where the quiet little village of Milton now stands. They were charmed with the dark, rich, alluvial soil; with the tall, green, luxuriant grass; with the myriads of fragrant, many-colored flowers; with the sparkling, little silver surfaced lakes; and with the cool, refreshing shades of the orchard-like oaks; and they determined to pitch their tents there. Mr. GOODRICH bought claims on sections 26 and 27, and Mr. CRANDALL on section 28. Mr. CRANDALL returned for his family, while Mr. GOODRICH remained to erect a little house for a home on his claim. The pioneers had all built in the edge of the timber or groves, in fact they did not believe the center of the large prairies could ever be made into comfortable farms and homes, to them it seemed like going out into a sea or lake. They secured timber first, then water, and then prairie, if all could be got in one farm. But Mr. GOODRICH thought all the rich prairies would be settled and made into farms. He also judged that the main leading highways, connecting large towns could be made straight and direct, without regard to sectional lines. He drew an air line on the map from Chicago to Madison, and also from Janesville to Ft. Atkinson (each of the latter then having one house), and found they crossed each other on the center of this little prairie, and on his claim, and he therefore there located his house, the first one in Milton Village, which he built in August, 1838. It was 16x20, with frame of hewed oak, and it was shingled and covered with oak. It had oak floors, and was lined with unburnt prairie mud brick, of which the chimney was made. It had one small, 7x9, glass window to each floor, and a strong made, three ply, battened oak, Indian proof door. It was the first frame house in the town, nor was there one in Janesville then. He painted it red, and it is red still, and clad in the same old oak it is standing on its original site. In it he kept a store, in 1838, selling $500 dollars worth of goods that year. He bought the claim for the farm now owned by the Master of the State Grange, for $125, and paid for it in goods. When the highways were laid, in 1839-40, they crossed, as he calculated, in front of his house. One other thing he deemed necessary, a well of water, and this he attempted to dig, in down Eastern style. But he soon learned that the ground sub-soil would not stand like the clay of the East, and the art of curbing a well to them was unknown. They tried to curb it with boards put in lengthwise, held in place with inside oak frames; but as each length had to be made smaller to go inside the other, they soon got it tapered in too small for them to work. They heard of a man named Daniel BUTTS, who had learned to frame curbing so as to put in piece by piece. Mr. BUTTS was sent for, oak trees were cut and split into thin, flat staves, and these were framed much as is now done, and with them they succeeded in reaching water at a depth of fifty feet. They drew out all the ground and sand with a tin pail and bed cord, hand over hand, Mr. PIERCE skinning his hands. Mr. GOODRICH did not deem a well finished until it was stoned up, as in the east, and getting a yoke of oxen they drew small hard-heads from the bluff, and letting them down with their tin pail and rope, they thus stoned it up, taking out the long board curbing, as timber was scarce, and supposing they had got a good permanent well.
September 16th Mr. GOODRICH started East for his family and goods, leaving PIERCE in charge of his house and store. Mr. RANDALL arrived Nov. 16, 1838, with his wife and eight children, and lived with PIERCE while he put up a log house on his claim. During this time the water in the well began to get low, and PIERCE went down into it, clinging to the stones with fingers and toes, when he found the water had settled, and the well could not be deepened on account of the stone. He therefore scooped out the center as well as he could, and then began to come up as he went down; but, when about half way up he was amazed to find the stones had bulged in so as to barely allow him to squeeze through, and some of them had loosened so he could not pass until Mr. CRANDALL let down the tin pail and rope and drew them out, one by one, thus leaving an opening where the sand and gravel was likely to come in and bury him alive. But carefully and cat-like he crawled up from stone to stone, and when out found CRANDALL watching him spell-bound, and as white as a ghost. Two wells have caved in with old age, and a third one has been long used near this spot and place, yet Mr. PIERCE is still living, hale, hearty and well, and the same old burr-oak posts which held the first buckets to draw water from this first well, are still standing firmly in the ground, where they have withstood the elements, for over fifty years.
Jan. 30, 1839, Mr. GOODRICH started for Wisconsin with his family, consisting of his wife, son and daughter, three hired men and one woman, and four companions from Alfred, N.Y., with four teams and covered wagons mounted on sleighs, by the overland route. The snow was four feet deep, and on the first day's journey Mr. GOODRICH's spring wagon, with himself and family, tipped over, breaking Mrs. GOODRICH's collar bone in such a manner, that the surgeon, after repeated efforts, could not set it, and bandage it so as to hold it in place. Thus she was obliged to ride with it loose in a sling. Thus they passed through the deep snow drifts of winter and the mud of spring; through the Great Maumee Swamp, where there were thirty-one taverns in just thirty miles; breaking through the ice in the Calumet River, where one horse was drowned; passing through a vast sea of mud, in the center of which a little city called Chicago stood; fording ice-gorged rivers and creeks, where the bridges were washed away, in one of which Mrs. MAXSON fell out and was submerged; Mr. GOODRICH carrying a kicking calf on a teetering pole over Turtle Creek, while a bellowing cow swam the stream; and at last arriving at the little red house out on the wild prairie, March 4, 1839, after a journey of thirty-four days. And there they lived in this little building, with a family of thirteen, and kept travelers besides. In it also Mr. GOODRICH still kept the first store, there being none other in Janesville at that time. There too they held their first religious meetings, and in it he also kept the first post-office, in 1839.
When Mr. GOODRICH erected this pioneer building, in 1838, out on the center of a wild little prairie, which the Government still owned, he conceived the idea of building up a little village here at the crossing of his imaginary roads. He proposed to Messrs. STORRS and McEWEN, who claimed the land south of him, to join him in the enterprise, each to appropriate a part of the land for a large public square, and all to unite in getting mechanics to locate here, by giving them lots to build upon, fronting his imaginary square. But they deemed the scheme too visionary, and Mr. GOODRICH subsequently bought McEWEN's claim to the south half of the southeast quarter of section 27, for $60, and upon this quarter section, after the Government land sale, he and PIERCE platted a public square of twenty-three acres, and around which he began to sell and give away lots. His first deed was to Orrin SPRAGUE, a blacksmith, dated April 27, 1840, for half an acre, consideration $1. He gave the use of land for a church, which was organized in 1840, largely through his influence, and which he helped liberally to sustain. He also gave the beautiful site for the Milton cemetery, which is enlarged, and is now one of the finest in the State. He gave the use of land for a public school, which was first opened in his house, and taught by Evans DICKINSON, in the winter of 1840-41. He built the original Milton Academy, in 1844, and maintained it for the first ten years at his personal expense. And from it, through his munificence, Milton college was founded, and built on the beautiful grounds which he gave. He secured the location through Milton of the first railroad in the State, to which he gave the right-of-way through his farm, and of which he was made a Director, and an engine was named 'Joseph Goodrich' in memory of him. He built and kept the first hotel in the town, in 1839, in connection with which he built the first frame barn, and before Janesville had one. In fact he loaned the County Commissioners the money to buy the land from the Government, where the Rock County court-house now stands. He attracted many men of integrity and influence to Milton, who helped him in building up a strong moral and temperance sentiment in the town, which long outlived them and is fostered here still. He was a man of great hospitality, and his home was always a safe refuge for the poor and oppressed.
Our subject received many marks of respect and esteem, having been elected to the Legislature by the unanimous vote of his district, in 1855. In stature he was large, and with broad shoulders, brown hair, and gray eyes, and he moved with a firm, elastic step. He was quick to conceive and prompt to execute, and acted with a wisdom that generally led to success. He had a generous heart, and was of a genial and social disposition., which always attracted and held him many warmhearted friends, by whom he is always remembered by some apt saying or remark.
In politics Mr. GOODRICH was a Whig, and subsequently a Republican, and he was always a strong anti-slavery man, with whom a fugitive slave was sure to find a friend and a safe retreat. In 1857 he lost his most estimable wife, which was a great affliction, not only to him and his family, but to the church, the school, and the whole community. In 1859 he was again married, to Mrs. Susan H. ROGERS, widow of the Rev. L. T. ROGERS, at Westerly, R.I. She was a lady of culture and intelligence, and of rare Christian worth. She was to him a most worthy and exemplary wife.
Our subject died in October, 1867, at the age of sixty-seven years, and his remains, with those of his wife, are resting in the beautiful grounds which they gave for Milton Cemetery, where a sorrowing son erected an enduring monument to their memory. But the fruits of their life's work have made them a more endearing monument in the hearts of the people where they lived. He left two children: Ezra, who remained on the old homestead at Milton; and a daughter, Mrs. Jane G. DAVIS, the most estimable wife of the Hon. Jeremiah DAVIS, of Rockford, Ill. The fruits of his labors survive him in the marked morality of Milton, which he founded; in the business enterprises which he inaugurated and built up; in the most beautiful public square, which he bequeathed to the people; and in Milton College, which he founded and fostered through life.
Father: Uriah GOODRICH b: 24 AUG 1767 in Hancock, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts
Mother: Mary "Polly" CARPENTER b: 13 DEC 1765 in South Kingstown, Kings Co., Rhode Island
Nancy MAXSON b: 20 JAN 1796 in Petersburg, Rensselaer Co., New York
22 DEC 1821
in Petersburg, Rensselaer Co., New York
- Ezra GOODRICH b: 24 FEB 1826 in Alfred, Allegany Co., New York
- Jane GOODRICH b: 26 FEB 1828 in Alfred, Allegany Co., New York
Susannah Harper CRANDALL b: 05 SEP 1801 in Potter Hill, Washington Co., Rhode Island
21 FEB 1859
in Westerly, Washington Co., Rhode Island
- Title: The Maxson Family, Descendants of John Maxson and wife Mary Mosher of Westerly, Rhode Island
Author: Walter LeRoy Brown
Publication: Eddy Printing Co., Albion, N. Y, 1954
- Title: First Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church Membership Records, Alfred, New York
Author: Ilou M. Sanford
Publication: Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, MD, 1995
- Title: An Analysis of Milton, Wisconsin SDB Church Members 1840-1968
Author: Prof. David Nelson Inglis, Milton College
- Title: Census Records, Url: https://www.familysearch.org/
- Title: Gravestone Photo
- Title: Milton Cemetery
Publication: Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, 1980
- Title: Find A Grave, Url: http://www.findagrave.com