John H. Goodell, formerly a prosperous farmer of Cass county, Illinois, now an enterprising lumber merchant of Chandlerville, was born in Windham county, Connecticut, April 15, 1832.
The Goodell's were of French ancestry, who settled in Connecticut in an early day. The paternal grandmother of the subject this sketch was a descendant of the Holbrook family, who were also old and respected residents of the Nutmeg State; while his paternal grandfather was a captain in the Revolutionary war, in which he distinguished himself for bravery and efficiency. The parents of our subject were Horace and Lucy (Rickard) Goodell, both natives of Connecticut, of which State his mother's ancestors were also early settlers. The father of our subject was reared on a farm in Windham county, the same State, where he and his wife continued to reside until 1837. He then sold out, and with his wife and three children, removed to Illinois, making by land and water. Arriving on the frontier he rented land for a number of years, which he farmed, finally buying 40 acres of wild land, to which he subsequently added, until it now contains 80 acres. On this he erected a substantial farm house, where he continued to reside until his death in May, 1886, at the age of eighty-four years. His wife also died in the year 1868, on the homestead, aged fifty-nine years. This worthy couple were the parents of seven children, all sons, two of whom now survive, the subject of this sketch, and a brother, Charles C. Goodell, the latter now residing on the old homestead.
John H. Goodell lived at home until he was twenty years of age, working on the farm until he was eighteen, and attended the district school of that vicinity When eighteen he learned the carpenter's trade, at which he commenced to work at twenty, continuing in that vocation for ten years.
At this time war was declared and Mr. Goodell enlisted in August, 1862, in Company A, One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois, under Captain Johnson, and served until the close of the war, being a part of the time on detached duty. He was in the hospital in Memphis for two months in 1864. He was mustered out of the army in Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the close of the war, and received his discharge in Springfield, Illinois.
He then returned to Jacksonville, Illinois, where he worked at his trade for about two years, after which he came to Chandlerville, and bought the farm on which he now lives. He and his wife together now own 235 acres, which is devoted to mixed farming. In 1876 Mr. Goodell started a lumber yard in Chandlerville, which he has continued to operate successfully ever since, having, by by upright dealing and uniform courtesy, built up a large trade in the town and surrounding country.
Mr. Goodell was first married Feb. 27, 1853, to Miss Helen E. Cotton, an intelligent lady, and a native of Franklin county, New York. She was a daughter of Giedon C. and Miss (Sperry) Cotton, natives of New England who removed to New York State, where they died. MR. Goodell's marriage was destined to be of short duration, as ten years later, July 4, 1863, his wife expired at their home in Chandlerville, leaving many sorrowing friends.
On December 28, 1865, Mr. Goodell was married to his present wife, Miss Harriet A. Sewell, and estimable lady who born April 14, 1838, in the county where she now resides. Her father was born in Augusta, Maine, and was a son of General Henry Sewall, a Major in the Revolutionary war, who was afterward made a Major-General of the Eighth Division of the state militia. He died in his native State, at the advanced age of ninety-four years. His brother, Jotham Sewall, was a prominent home missionary of Maine, and died in that state at the age of ninety-one years. All the family lived to a great age, and many of the name were prominent ministers of the gospel. On account of his father's prominence and services to the country, his son, father of Mrs. Goodell, obtained a lucrative position in Washington, but on his way thither he was shipwrecked on Long Island sound in extreme cold weather, and, on seeing a woman on board suffering for want of more clothes, took off his coat and gave it to her to save her life. Then, to keep from freezing and the ship was sinking, he had to work the ship pump so long that he froze his hands and was rendered unable to write and fill the office. Then after a long illness he went, at the age of twenty-one, to Virginia, where he taught school, having received a liberal education for boys in those days. It was while thus engaged he met and married his wife in Virginia, which was then a part of Maryland. His wife was a native of Nanjamoy, Maryland, and was the daughter of Samuel and Catharine (Hoe) Middleton. The Middleton's were of English ancestry, and early settlers of America. Both families were prominent in business and social affairs of the State, and many of their relatives were accomplished literary men, while others were distinguished in the law and other professions. Some of the decendants took an active and prominent part in the Confederate army. Soon after his marriage, about 1829, Mr. Sewell removed to Illinois, then a new and sparsely settled country. They settled in Jacksonville, where Mr. Sewell taught school and entered 640 acres of land in Cass county. He taught school for about two or three years, when he removed to his farm, where he continued to reside until his death. He was a very devout man and did much good in this new country. He was a active worker in Sunday-school and church matters, acting for years as superintendent of the former as long as he lived, and was instrumental in building the first church in the community, of which he was the first the Elder. He did more to build up both of these institutions in the early day than any other man. Storms and cold weather deterred him from his duty. To make sure of prompt attendance he would take his kindling wood wiyj him, and his wife her broom, and ride three miles to the village church, then used as a schoolhouse; and while he made the fire, she would sweep and clean up the house before the people of the village had started out.
He and his worthy wife had six children, three of whom are now living. He was universally beloved and respected, and was greatly lamented when he died on his farm, in 1846, aged about forty-nine years. His devoted wife survived him many years, dying at our subject's home at the advanced age of eighty years. What has been said of her husband would equally apply to her, both having led in all good and charitable works, and was always noted for bravery and presence of mind.
Mr. and Mrs. Goodell have six children: Lucy, born May 28, 1868; Lida, born February 2, 1871; William S., born September 16, 1872; John, born March 1, 1875; Andrew J., born March 11, 1877; Susie, born February 27, 1880.
Mr. Goodelll now belongs to the Prohibition party in politics, previous to which he was a Democrat, with the exception of the years 1856 and 1860, when he voted the Republican ticket. He is a member of the Good Templar's Lodge, No. 357. For thirty-five years he has been a Deacon in the church, and he is active in Sunday-school work, having taught the largest Bible class of the older scholars in the Sabbath-school for thirty years. His worthy wife aids him in all good work. She belongs to the Women's Christian Temperance Union and other ladies' societies, and the whole family are church attendants. They are, in fact, of that class it was said they "are the salt of the earth," adding savor to the work of the world.