genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

WILLIAM AUGUSTUS GOODRICH. The public offices of Taylorville and Christian County have found no more efficient incumbent than the gentleman whose name heads this record. He has long been prominently identified with public interests, and his name is inseparably connected with the history of this community. Genial and pleasant in manner, he is quite popular, and we feel assured that this sketch will be received with pleasure by his many friends.

The Goodrich family from which our subject sprang were long prominent in Great Britain. Frequent mention is made of land-holders of the name at the time of the Norman conquest, in 1066. In the Tower of London is a cannon, the inscription upon which tells us that it was presented to King Charles I by Sir Maurice Goodrich; while history tells us that Thomas Goodrich became Bishop of Ely and Lord High Chancellor of England, under Henry VIII. Goodrich Castle stands on the Wye River [ed., River Wye], in Herefordshire [ed., County of Herfordshire], Wales, and was the seat of the late Sir Samuel C. Rush Meyrich, LL. D., the famous antiquarian. This castle is now a ruin, but it is a grand and gloomy one. An authentic account of the family says that a Goodrich married a sister of the Duke of Marlborough, and had two sons: John, named for the Duke, and William. The father dying, his brother brought the two boys to New England. John afterward started back to the Old Country in accordance with a request of the Duke, who desired to make him his heir, but died en route. In 1640 the uncle purchased a farm for William in Weathersfield, Conn. The family had come directly from Suffolk and Bury St. Edmunds, England.

From William Goodrich just mentioned our subject is descended. He was born near Bury St. Edmunds, and his marriage in 1648 to Sarah Marvin is the first mention of him in the records of Connecticut. He died in 1676. His son Ephraim, who was his eighth child, continues the succession. He died in 1739, his home having been in Rocky Hill, Conn.

He married Sarah Treat, and after her death wedded Jerusha Treat. The seventh child of that family, Gideon Goodrich, was born in 1705, and died in 1769. He was a sea captain, and lived in Weathersfield and Upper Middletown, Conn.

His sixth child was Lieut. Caleb Goodrich, who was born in 1731, and died in 1777. He was a Revolutionary soldier, was present at Burgoyne's surrender, and died just three weeks after returning home.

Orin Goodrich, the fifth child of his family, and the fifth in succession, was born January 15, 1771, and died July 17, 1855. For more than a quarter of a century he served as a magistrate, and served in each branch of the State Legislature. In 1793, he married Lydia Sackett, and after her death wedded Mary Bagg. He was a prominent and influential man, and had the respect of all who knew him.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who was born in Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Mass., November 24, 1818, and remained in his native State until nineteen years of age, when, in November, 1837, he emigrated to Springfield, Ill., where his sister Frances was living. For two years he engaged in railroading. The day after the Presidential election of 1840, at which he cast his first vote for Martin Van Buren, he came to Christian County.

His father had purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land in Mt. Auburn, for which he paid $10 per acre, and William and his brother Montgomery settled upon that tract. They had a span of horses and possibly about $200 in money. For ten years our subject resided upon that farm, devoting his energies to its cultivation, and was quite successful in his undertakings. After two years the land was divided between himself and his brother.

On the 24th of December, 1841, Mr. Goodrich married Miss Nancy Auger, sister of A. L. Auger, now of Mt. Auburn. Unto them were born the following children: Charles F., who carries on farming two and a-half miles west of Taylorville; Henry A., a farmer of the same neighborhood; and Julia B., who became the wife of I. N. Richardson, and died three years later.

The mother of this family was called to her final rest November 29, 1854, and June 17, 1855, Mr. Goodrich married Miss Martha A. Ryan, of Springfield, Ohio, a daughter of James H. Ryan. Their only child, William R., died in infancy.

In August, 1843, while living on his farm, Mr. Goodrich was elected Surveyor of Christian County, and filled that office until 1850, in which year he was elected County Sheriff on the Democratic ticket. In order to fill the position, he removed to Taylorville, and six years later he sold his farm. His first term comprised two years, after which he served as Deputy for two years under William C. Brentz. In 1854, he was again elected Sheriff, but before his two years' term had expired he was appointed to take charge of the County Clerk's office, filling the unexpired term of his predecessor, John Hinton, who had died in office. He was then four times elected to the position, serving in all for seventeen years. At length he retired, in 1873.

Mr. Goodrich has also been interested in the real-estate business, buying, selling and trading lands. For two years he was associated in this enterprise with his son-in-law, I. N. Richardson. He has also built a number of residences, and laid out a forty-acre addition to Taylorville in 1853. In 1868 he was elected as Representative on the Republican ticket. In his earlier life he had been a Democrat, but in that year he supported Gen. Grant, and joined the ranks of the Republican party, with which he has since been identified. Mr. Goodrich takes some interest in civic societies. He is a Royal Arch Mason, and became connected with that fraternity in Mound Lodge No. 122, A. F. & A. M., of Taylorville, in 1852. He has passed the chairs, served as Worthy Master one year, and was also a member of the Grand Lodge. In the same year he also became a member of the Baptist Church. His public and private life are alike above reproach, and the faithfulness with which he has discharged his official duties is equalled only by the fidelity with which he has performed private trusts. From the early days of its history he has been identified with Christian County, and its best interests have ever found in him a friend. Good words and works make up his well-spent life.



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