Lee County Biography


Miles L. Goodyear, editor and proprietor of the Paw Paw Times, is a bright young journalist who has already made his mark in his profession. He is a native of this county, a scoin on of the sturdy pioneer stock that peopled this region in the early days of its settlement, and he was born on the parental homestead near East Paw Paw, September 21, 1866. He is a son of Henry A. and Elizabeth C. Goodyear, formerly well-known and honored residents of this county, but now living in Scranton, Iowa.

The father of our subject was born in Cayuga County, N. Y., and his parents were Lloyd and Mary (Lepper) Goodyear, who were also natives of New York. They continued to live there until 1847, when they came to Illinois and settled near East Paw Paw, where the grandfather bought a farm, and was one of the early pioneers of this region. He managed his farm,and a part of the time worked at his trade as a shoemaker, and there his busy life was brought to a close by his death at a ripe age. His wife spent her last years with their son James in East Paw Paw. These are the names of the seven children that they reared: Franklin, Nelson, Henry, William, John, Elmira and Olive. Franklin and Nelson did faithful service in the late war, and both sacrificed their lives for their country—the former returning home sick, and dying soon after; and Nelson dying from the effects of a wound received in the heal, of battle.

The father of our subject grew to a stalwart manhood in his native Stale, and then went to Ohio to find some vent for his energies. In Geauga County, he met and in due time was married to Elizabeth, a daughter of Avery and Elizabeth (Martin) French. Her parents, who were natives of New York, were pioneers of that county, and there she was born, when that part of the country was but little more than a wilderness. Her parents subsequently removed to this State, and were early settlers of Shabbona, in DeKalb County. In 1847 the father and mother of our subject came to Illinois, and east in their fortunes with the few pioneers that had already settled in Lee County. Mrs. Goodyear may truthfully lie regarded as one of the pioneer educators of this part of Illinois, as she was prevailed upon to take charge of a school shortly after she came here. In a letter written to her son Miles, of this biographical review, she tells him in simple and earnest language of the emigration of herself and husband thither—touches upon the hardships that the pioneers had to endure in order that their children might have better homes, higher advantages and greater opportunities than they themselves had had, and gives us a glimpse of the times. It gives us great pleasure to transcribe this interesting word picture of pioneer scenes to these pages.

"We moved to Illinois in 1847 from Geauga County, thirty miles from Cleveland. At Cleveland we took a steamer for a trip around the lakes, and arrived at what is now the great city of Chicago on the morning of the fourth day. Found only a few buildings there, which were almost deluged in mud and water, for 'twas rainy, and it looked dreary enough. As there were no railways and stage from Chicago to Dixon only ran twice a week, we had to look around for a conveyance. Found a man that had brought a family in, and would carry us to our destination for a certain sum, so we accepted the offer, though the conveyance was an old lumber wagon with board seats, and was very uncomfortable to ride in. The roads were very bad and we traveled only twelve miles the first day. Staid that night at Duty's tavern, the next at Aurora, and the third night got to the home of my parents at Shabbona.

"We stayed there a couple of days, and in the meantime paid a visit to the Indian encampment of old Shabbona and his tribe in the grove at that place. We then came to Paw Paw, which at that time was a very small town, with no stores or places of business, and no churches or places of public worship save at South Paw Paw in a small school house.

"A new school house had just been built and enclosed at West Paw Paw, just south of the town right among the hazel brush, and teachers being very scarce, I was engaged to teach in that building, at $1.50 a week, an enormous price they thought then, and board around the district or Board myself. After an experience of a few nights of the former mode, I chose the latter. Children were quite numerous for a new place, and were quite well behaved and ready to learn. Society was like that in other new places and in some older settlements, drinking, gambling, fighting and lawsuits bring quite common.

"There were two taverns between West and East Paw Paw one just out of town kept by David Town; another further east kept by Mr. Robinson.

The nearest market was Chicago, the farmers hauling their grain and produce there with teams, sometimes ox-teams at that, taking the most of the week to make the journey, and camping on the way at night in order to have any tiling left from the proceeds of their sales. Those were trying times such as our children know nothing about."

We may add to this that, besides her good work as a teacher, the mother of our subject was very active in religious matters, and assisted in organizing the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she was one of the original members, and was thoroughly identified with it as long as she lived here.

The first year after coming here the father of our subject worked out by the day, and then bought a tract of land on the Chicago and Dixon Road, and resided thereon a few years. In 1849 he joined the tide of emigration flowing across the plains and mountains to California, and the following year, weary of the rough camp life of the frontiersman, he returned to Illinois, coming back by the way of the Isthmus. He subsequently went to Missouri, but resided there only a short time, for, as he was a sound Republican and no friend lo slavery, he incurred the hostility of the slave holders, and was ordered to leave. Returning to the County, he settled on a farm in Wyoming Township, and was quietly engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1874, when he abandoned farming to engage in mercantile business at Paw Paw. He continued at that until 1880, and then sold out, and removing to Scranton, Iowa, has been a resident of that place ever since. He and his wife have seven children living and one dead.

Our subject was reared and educated in his native township, attending school during his boyhood at Paw Paw and East Paw Paw. In 1870 ho entered upon that calling that has led him to the editor's chair, as he then began to set type in the office of the Paw Paw Herald. He remained there a few months, and then went to Iowa with his parents, and found employment in the office of the Journal at Scranton. He gained valuable experience during his three years in that office, and at the end of that time he came back to Paw Paw to accept a position as foreman in the Times office. He was subsequently promoted to be superintendent of the job printing department and to the post, of general local editor of the paper. He soon became familiar with the duties of his positions, and gained such a comprehensive knowledge of how to conduct a paper that shall be successful from a literary point of view as well as financially. that he was justified in the venture that resulted in his purchasing The Times, with the publishing office and good-will of the establishment He is assisted in the publication of the paper by his bright young wife, who is an expert compositor, and helps her husband in various other ways.

The Times is issued in a neat and attractive form, the local news is written up in an interesting manner, and the paper is in high favor with the people among whom it circulates as a clean, reliable family newspaper, replete with information, giving a careful resume of the doings of the outer world, and as its merits are becoming known its subscription list is constantly lengthening. Editor Goodyear is a pronounced Republican in his political opinions, which are candidly expressed in his paper, while a fair bearing is always given to the advocates of other parties. He is active in local public life, and is serving his fourth term as Town Clerk of Wyoming.

Mr. Goodyear was married February 10, 1890, to Miss Lottie Licher. She is a native of PawPaw, and a daughter of John and Augusta Licher. Mrs. Goodyear was educated in the schools of Paw Paw, and pursued an excellent course of study at the High School under the careful guidance of Prof. G. W. Andrew. She was graduated from that institution with the Class of '88, and taught school successfully from that time until her marriage.

Portrait & Biographical 1892


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