Lee County Biography


Lorenzo M. Goodyear, although a comparatively recent addition to the agricultural community comprising Nelson Township, is recognized as one of its most prosperous general farmers and dairymen, and his farm of one hundred and fifty-six acres, on sections 12 and 13 is one of the best kept and most attractive places in the vicinity.

Mr. Goodyear is a worthy descendant of some of the old New England families of Colonial times, but he himself is a native of the Empire State born in Oneida County, January 26, 1820, and there his entire life has been spent until within a few years. He was brought up on a farm, early became familiar with all kinds of farm work, and when he attained manhood selected that occupation as the one best suited to his tastes and disposition, fully realizing its possibilities when pursued methodically and with an intelligent observation of the principles governing it, and heartily echoing the assertion of the sage of Chautauqua when he said that it is the "noblest of professions." He made a careful study of the best way of carrying on his farming operations, was always quick in adopting modern and improved methods, and in time acquired a comfortable properly in his native county. He was always deeply interested in Western farming, especially in the modes of agriculture in the great grain-growing and stock-raising region of the Upper Mississippi Valley and of the great lake region, and in 1885 he determined to try his hand at farming on these broad, fertile prairies. Therefore he wound up his affairs in New York, and at a time when men of less energetic and active temperament are beginning to consider the advisability of retiring from business, he began life afresh in this county, purchasing his present farm in Nelson Township. The outcome of his experiment has been very satisfactory, and he regards his coming to Illinois as the best move of his life. He is very pleasantly situated, and takes great pride in the home that he has established amid the charming rural scenery of the County of Lee, and to which ho is constantly adding improvements. He has a fine lot of milch cows, forty in number, which he devotes to dairy purposes, besides having other stock, and he also raises grain and other products of the soil.

Our subject is a son of Edward Goodyear, a native of Connecticut, and a cousin in the first degree to Charles Goodyear, the famous inventor or discoverer of the process of vulcanizing rubber. The Goodyear family originated in England, and some of its members were among the early settlers of Connecticut. Edward Goodyear passed his early life in his native State, and for some time during the War of 1812 he was engaged in the manufacture of powder, he subsequently devoted himself to carpentering and removed to Canada, whence he afterwards went to Camden, Oneida County, N. Y., where he lived many years, and eventually closed a long and honored life at the age of seventy-four years in the home that he built up there. He was a man of undoubted integrity, a Christian in word and deed, and an active member of the Congregational Church. He married a Connecticut lady, Miss Leve Alcott, and she also had distinguished connections, the late Bronson Alcott, the venerable Concord philosopher and father of the gifted authoress, Louisa Alcott, being her first cousin. She came of good New England blood, and of a long-lived family, known for their fine qualities, steady and temperate habits. She herself was a noble woman, a Christian in every truth, and lived to an honored old Lorenzo Goodyear is the third of five children, four sons and one daughter, all of whom are yet living except the youngest brother, who died in 1891. He grew up under wholesome home influences, and he has abided by the principles of honor, truthfulness and right living early instilled into his mind. He has kept himself free from all bad and vitiating habits, and has never smoked or chewed tobacco or drank spirituous liquors. He has a clear brain, and is remarkably lithe and active for a man who has already passed the seventieth milestone on life's journey. He is still light of foot and agile, and thinks nothing of climbing to the top of his wind-mill when he wants to lake a view of the country. He also keeps abreast of the times and is well informed in what is going on in the world of letters, politics and business, as be is a keen observer and a great reader. In the course of life he has gathered about him many friends by his genial manner and considerate treatment of all with whom he comes in contact. He is a sound Republican in his political views, although holding himself independent as regards parties, and his sons follow in his footsteps.

Mr. Goodyear was happily married in his native township and county lo Miss Mary Ransom, who was also born in that county, Vienna Township being the place of her birth. For a history of her family see biography of Schuyler Ransom. Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear are the parents of eight children, as follows: Adelbert L., a farmer in Hancock County, Iowa, who married Miss Lucy Parkes, of New York State; Wallace K. and Walter E., twins, the former married to Miss Mary Ransom and living on a farm in this township, and the latter at home with his parents; Mary, who was employed for three years at the water cure establishment at Danville, N. Y.; Martha, wife of Willard Ball, a farmer of Wexford County, Mich.; Schuyler at home; Lucius, a medical student at Kansas City; and Leve at home with her parents.

Portrait & Biographical 1892


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