Category Archives: GOODELL

The battle flag of the 103rd regiment.

Today — Memorial Day — one of the men I’m remembering is Hiram Goodell, one of my great great uncles.

He joined up with the 103rd Illinois Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War, serving in Company D. While in Tennessee he came down with dysentery, like many of his comrades. He apparently died in a makeshift army hospital in Memphis in December of 1863, leaving behind a wife, Elizabeth Frances, and three surviving children, and was, or may have been, buried in Fairview Cemetery, Dyer County, Tennessee. I’m still working on confirming these details.

Hiram was a farmer who lived in Cass Township, Fulton County, Illinois. He was about my height, five feet, nine and a quarter inches tall. He had blue eyes, brown hair which he often kept long, flowing over his ears, and a full beard with a neatly trimmed mustache.

His brothers, James and Levi, served as well, in the 55th Illinois, but thankfully survived the war.

I’ve written about Hiram, and others who have served, before. I’m trying to make a tradition out of it, writing every Memorial Day about family who made that ultimate sacrifice.


Honor Roll

The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.
The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

Today while at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery — “The Arlington of the West” — the main speaker at the ceremony noted the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have fallen in battle while Veterans’ Day is a day to honor every veteran.

So today I am noting three relatives who died during three wars.

The first is John Tidd. John Tidd lived before the United States came into being. He was living in part of British North America, at a time when the colonies were quarreling with the French. The competing interests and animosity developed into a war, what some historians consider the first truly global conflict. Today it is known as the French and Indian War, at least the conflict in North America. Globally it called the Seven Years’ War. John was killed at the outbreak of this war, on June 23, 1757 in Pennsylvania. He was attacked and scalped by Native Americans. The site of his grave is unknown.

Next is Leslie Warren Darling. Leslie Darling, brother of my great grandmother, joined the Iowa National Guard in the summer of 1917. His is a remarkable story, one I hope to complete in full by writing a book. In the fall of that year, after months of training in Iowa and at Camp Mills, Long Island, New York, he was ordered to Europe with his unit, the 168th Iowa Infantry, which had been grouped into the 42nd ‘Rainbow’ Division, with a very young and brash chief-of-staff named Douglas MacArthur. In July 1918 Leslie Darling was cut down by German machine gun fire during a counter offensive. He died a few days later while in a field hospital and is buried in France.

Finally, there is Hiram Goodell, brother of my ancestor James. Hiram died while serving during the American Civil War. He died in Memphis, Tennessee on December 18, 1863. Hiram was in Company D of the 103rd Illinois Infantry Volunteers. His brothers James and Levi served as well, in the 55th Illinois.


Bert, Bernice & Lee

Kenneth Henry Robinson, a man I know very little about, has written some notes on the Goodell family. Bert William Goodell, my great grandfather, was his uncle. Ken recalls visiting the farm and my grandmother singing in the choir at a camp meeting.

Stayed at Uncle Bert’s many times. He was a good man, not much of a farmer and had a hard time during the drouth [drought]. Always loved to eat. Died from cancer of the colon. Remember going out on a Workers Public Admin (WPA) [Works Progress Administration] job which was building a road sw [southwest] of Bradley near where they were living. It was cold and rainy- the work was all by hand with horses pulling the earth scraper bucket and the blade work. I saw my first cow born out at his place-really didn’t know what was going when I couldnt get her to move. Was at his place sleeping on the porch with th[e]ir boy Lee when he was about five and I swear it was the first time he had seen lightning or rain. They joined the “Holy Roller” Wesleyan Methosdist [Methodist] church which sadden his parents. They used to come up to Aberdeen to Camp meetings before it was moved to Rapid City. Remember when I was about 10 or 12 when I was with Berniece at a camp meeting and she was singing in the choir–There head people were calling everyone down to confess their sins- and I was the last one in the balcony——– scared me– for I didn’t know what was going on. I remember also hitchiking down to his funeral in Bradley and due to poor weather only made it to Clark by night and no traffic so I spent the night sleeping on the pool table-made it in to Bradley the next morning OK.

Lee Goodell became a pastor in the Wesleyan Church. Bert’s wife Nora, known affectionately as Grandma Goodell, also died of colon cancer.


Prairie Hill Cemetery

A gracious volunteer has snapped photos of the Goodell family gravestones in the Prairie Hill Cemetery near Bradley, Clark County, South Dakota.

Levi Lincoln Goodell and his wife Sarah Elizabeth Parker are buried there as is their son Bert and his wife Nora Frances George, daughter of Wesley Calvin George and Rebecca Lurana Poteet. Wesley and Rebecca are buried there, too.

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Fred George, Another Great Grand Uncle

I was poking around yesterday and happened upon a record for Jacob Frederick George, the older brother of my great grandmother Nora Frances Goodell. He went by the name Fred, and often in official documents, Frederich. I was looking for information on their grandparents Jacob Will and Elizabeth George, who continue to elude me.

There are some important “clues” among Fred’s records though. Among the most important ones are his birth name, Jacob Frederich, and the place of his father’s birth.

The name Jacob is a hint at the George family’s origins. It was a common German name. His middle name — Frederich — and the spelling of it, confirm this. The George family originates in Germany or a German-speaking area in Europe such as Switzerland, France, or Austria. I am betting on Germany.

The other important item to note is the place he tells the census taker where his father Wesley was born: West Virginia.1 This is from the 1920 federal census, while he was living in Odessa, Washington.

Jacob Frederich George was born to Wesley Calvin George and Rebecca Lurana Poteet in March of 1882.2 The family was living in Poweshiek County, Iowa in Warren Township at the time.3 There’s conflicting information on his actual birthdate. Two dates are cited among sources, March 17 and March 19.

In 1900 and 1910 he was living with his parents and siblings in Clark County, South Dakota, first in Bradley and then in Cottonwood, near Thorp.

He lived in Lincoln County, Washington during World War I and afterwards, from at least 1917 to 1920. During the war, he was working as a thrasher or thresher in Lincoln County when he registered for the draft. How he ended up in the state of Washington isn’t clear. In 1920 Fred was still in Lincoln County, renting a place in the town of Odessa.

By 1930 Fred was back in Bradley, South Dakota once again living with his mother Rebecca. His father Wesley had died in 1922. Fred apparently still hadn’t married. Whether or not he ever did remains a mystery. He was 48. She was 72. They had a hired hand, a young man named Marvis Palmer, helping them out on the farm.4

Fred died on October 29, 1954 in Los Angeles. Why he was in southern California is another unanswered question, though his older brother Emby Preston George died in Orange County in 1952. I haven’t located any marriage records and don’t know if he’d had any children.5

I will be writing more about Emby and the family in another post, after I do some more research.


1. Wesley Calvin George was born in December of 1840, somewhere in Virginia. I’ve always wondered if “Virginia” might actually be West Virginia, which did not become a state until 1863, at the height of the Civil War. The northwestern counties of Virginia rebelled from the secessionist movement, creating a new state and joining the Union.

2. Sometimes Rebecca George is named in records as Lurana, her middle name. I have seen a variety of versions of her middle name, including Loraine and  Lorraine.

3. Another George family — with origins in New England — lived in Poweshiek County, Iowa in 1885. They lived in the town of Grinnell. They came to Iowa from New Hampshire and Maine. It doesn’t appear that these two George families in Pow County, Iowa are connected, but one never knows, so I am adding the information to the footnotes, just in case. This family too had a young son named Frederick George.

4. The young man named Palmer appears to be a relative, based on other census records naming several other Palmer children as being the children of another couple named George. I can’t remember their names, but will look it up later.

5. The 1940 census will be released next year. It will be interesting to see where Fred is living. South Dakota? California? Or somewhere unknown?


One researcher of my Goodell ancestors is claiming that the family goes back to France and a man named Thomas Goodelle. He was born around the year 1480 in France.

Later, the family converted to Protestantism, joining the Reformed Church of France, commonly known as the Huguenots. It is unclear if Thomas or his grandson Robert was the one who immigrated to England.

The grandparents of Robert were probably members of the Godelle or Goodelle family, French Hugenots, who emigrated to London in 1530.”

Using the book A Genealogy of the Descendants of Robert Goodale/Goodell of Salem, Massachusetts as a source, I am not convinced of the connection, although it is an intriguing avenue for further exploration.

Quoting the introduction to the book:

This Genealogy is different from many in that these Descendants spell their names in two different ways — Goodale and Goodell. While it is true that the original French spelling was Goodelle, and that the immigrant, Robert, is known to have used that spelling, it soon became Anglicized to Goodale and Goodell. Probably through the errors of town clerks and church clerks, many families became Goodale, while others became Goodell. This makes it difficult for the genealogist to be sure of the correct spellings of current Descendants . . . “


Grandma Goodell’s Cinnamon Rolls

Seeing recipes in the paper today about winning entries at the State Fair reminded me of my great grandmother’s cinnamon rolls. A few days my mother told me about some of her recipes. My dad didn’t think she was much of a cook, but apparently she did have a talent for baking. One of my side projects relating to family history is to collect a bunch of recipes which have been handed down through the generations. Unfortunately, I am sure some of these have been lost. However, Grandma Goodell’s cinnamon rolls hopefully aren’t part of that list.


Lincoln in Coles County

I’ve found a book at the public library, Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo, with details of the 1858 campaign in Illinois for the U.S. Senate seat. The race was between Democrat Stephen Douglas and Republican Abraham Lincoln. The duo traveled widely in the state, formally debating eight times mano a mano.

The major reasons I am delving into this is because:

1. Some of my ancestors lived in Coles County, near to where Lincoln’s father Thomas lived before his death in 1851.

2. One of the debates was in Coles County, where my relatives were living, and attended by thousands of people. The debate was in the town of Charleston.

Lincoln himself had practiced law in Charleston while it was part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit and tried fifty-one cases there over the years—an average of one each circuit term for as long as he had been a lawyer—so as both a politician and a lawyer, he had more personal visibility in Charleston than in any of the other debate sites. He also had a family stake in Coles County. When the Lincoln family had quit Indiana in 1830 and moved to Illinois, Lincoln’s father and stepmother settled first in Macon County, then moved again in 1837 to a farm on Goosenest Prairie, twelve miles east of Charleston. There, Thomas Lincoln died in 1851, and the extended family which had trekked into Illinois with him mostly stayed put in Coles County. By 1858, Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, was seventy-eight years old and living with her granddaughter, Harriet, and Harriet’s husband, Augustus H. Chapman, in Charleston. Lincoln was not exactly a frequent visitor (he had last been down to see his stepmother “a little over a year” before). But early in the campaign, Chapman wrote to Lincoln, hoping that “if Douglas comes out & makes us speech this season that you will do the same.”

The debate in Charleston was the fourth in the series.

Both Lincoln and Douglas arrived in Mattoon, twelve miles west of Charleston on the Illinois Central line, late in the evening of September 17.

The Democratic county committees from Coles and Moultrie (which together made up the twenty-fifth state house district) met Douglas while “Lincoln, likewise, set out by carriage from Mattoon, ‘drawn by a splendid span of cream colored horses,’ and was met en route ‘by a large delegation from Charleston’ led by Thomas Marshall and Judge Henry Bromwell.”

“The weather had turned hot and cloudless again, and the roads converging on Charleston were clogged for ‘fifteen and twenty miles . . . marked here and there by clouds of dust.’ This crowd, eventually numbering between fifteen and twenty thousand, was more like Ottawa than Jonesboro, and it promised to be even more rambunctious than Freeport.”

I’ll be writing more about Lincoln, his time in Coles County, and the debate in Charleston. There’s a lot of material to browse through, including papers about his law career.


The Battle of Shiloh

On April 7, 1862, Union soldiers led by General Ulysses S. Grant defeated Confederates at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. The 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, in which two of my relatives served, was part of the battle. These two, Levi and James Goodell, had a younger brother named Hiram who joined a different outfit, the 103rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. All three were farmers.

During Shiloh, the 55th was in the Second Brigade commanded by David Stuart, the 55th’s commanding officer. The Second Brigade was part of Sherman‘s division during the battle.

Levi Goodell, a great-great-great uncle, was a private in Company D of the 55th. At the time he signed up, on October 8, 1861, he was living in Casstown, Fulton County, Illinois. (I am assuming Casstown is Cass Township.)

He was a young man, 23, around six feet tall (5′ 11 or 6′ 1) with light hair. His skin was a light complexion and his eyes were a grayish blue. He was a farmer, who listed his birthplace as Fulton County, Illinois.

The men met up in Chicago, Illinois to be mustered in on October 31, 1861. He probably did not realize how the war would change him and his brothers’ lives.

Their younger brother Hiram was in the 103rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He served as a private in Company D. He listed his ‘nativity’ as Milmore, Crawford County, Ohio. I’ve never heard of or seen this town mentioned before. Apparently Milmore was were Hiram was born.

Hiram joined up on August 13, 1862 in Fairview, Illinois for a period of three years. A man named J. S. Wyckoff signed him up. He and the others in his unit were mustered in at Peoria, Illinois on October 2, 1862.Sadly Hiram died on December 18, 1863 in Memphis, Tennessee from dysentery, if I recall correctly.

Meanwhile, Levi was with his comrades deep in Confederate territory. By the time Levi had re-enlisted, on March 31, 1864 at Larkins Landing, Alabama, the family had apparently moved to McDonough County, Illinois. Although at this point it must have been clear to most that the war was coming to end, he agreed to another possible three year stint.

His captain was a W. C. Porter, and he was the one who signed off on the paperwork. Another mustering in, probably much less formal than the one in Chicago, was organized on April 12, 1864 in Larkinsville, Alabama.

For some reason Levi’s brother, my great-great-great grandfather, James Goodell decided to join the 55th very late in the war, on March 21, 1865.

James was much shorter than his brother, standing a little less than 5′ 8 (5′ 7 3/4 to be precise). He was older, 36, with brown hair and blue eyes. He had been born in New York, where the family originated years before.

James was living in Lee, Fulton County, Illinois when he decided to join his brother’s unit. A Captain Westlake signed him up for a period of one year, and he was mustered in on March 21, 1865  at Mt. Sterling, Illinois.

On June 1, 1865, Levi was promoted to sergeant before both he and his brother James were mustered out on August 14, 1865 at Little Rock, Arkansas by a Captain Newcomb.

Unfortunately, Hiram’s death was not a rare event.

The Civil War claimed more than 623,000 lives, according to the U.S. Military History Institute. Forces were often deployed with outdated strategies that did not take into account advancements in weaponry. More soldiers died in the Civil War than in World War I (116,708), World War II (407,315), Korea (36,914) and Vietnam (58,169) combined.