Rev. John W. Goodman of Albemarle VA

Source: Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 6th ed., 1887, Shelby Co.

REV. J. W. GOODMAN was born April 7, 1811, in the immediate vicinity of Charlottesville, Va. At the time of his birth, Jeremiah A. Goodman, his father, had the management of one of Thomas Jefferson’s plantations, about two miles distant from Monticello, in Albemarle County, Va. Afterward his father took charge of the “Poplar Forest Estate” in Campbell County, about ten miles south of Lynchburg, which also belongs to Mr. Jefferson. Here his family resided four years. During this time Mr. Jefferson made frequent visits to this noted place. The subject of our sketch was then a small boy, but very vividly recollects the visits of Mr. Jefferson at his father’s house. Mr. Goodman when he was about nineteen years of age also aided in the burial of Mr. Jefferson. At the expiration of four years Jeremiah A. Goodman returned to Albemarle County, and settled on a farm, which he inherited from his father and father-in-law, who were Charles Goodman and Manoah Clarkson. This farm joined that of President Monroe, and the Goodman residence was in plain view of Monticello, Charlottsville and the University of Virginia.

At the age of seventeen the subject of this sketch began to teach school in the neighborhood where he was brought up, called Pine Grove, and here he and his father were baptized at the same time in a little stream. After teaching four consecutive sessions he became a student of Mudwall Academy, under the management of two gentlemen named Minor and Napton, and located about a quarter of a mile from the University of Virginia. Here Mr. Goodman prepared himself for admission into college, and afterward taught two years in Charlottesville with marked success. At the close of this engagement he purposed to enter the University of Virginia, but was persuaded to go to the State of Maine and entered Waterville College, now Coleby University. Hon. Ben Butler, of Massachusetts, was a student at this institution at the same time, but not a classmate of Mr. Goodman. He then became, in the summer of 1835, a student of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, of which Rev. Nathan Lord, D.D., was president, from which institution he graduated in 1837. After his graduation he bade farewell to classmates and other students of the college, and returned to his native home, where Mr. John D. Moon offered him a schoolhouse in his yard, with a salary of $300 and board, to teach his four children and five of his neighbor’s children, with the privilege of taking other paying pupils in addition to the nine.

He commenced his school with fifteen pupils, which number shortly increased to twenty, at remunerative prices. During this very pleasant stay in the family of Mr. John D. Moon, he preached a year at Scottsville, on the James River, about 70 miles above Richmond, by the James River Canal. When preaching at Scottsville, he made his home at the house of Edward Moon, the father of Miss Lottie Moon, the distinguished female missionary, who is now in China. At the close of his scholastic year, he visited Lynchburg, Va., and opened a school in the basement of the Radical Methodist Church, with only six scholars, who were all young ladies, and he, the teacher, yet an unmarried man. The number of scholars, however, increased rapidly, and at the end of the session the school closed with thirty pupils. In the absence of the regular pastor of the Baptist Church, Rev. A. B. Smith, or by his courtesy, he frequently preached to the congregation; he also preached at intervals to two country churches. His school opened the second year with about fifty pupils.

Having made a little money Mr. Goodman married Miss Ann Eliza Richardson, daughter of William Richardson, a celebrated teacher of Latin, Greek and Hebrew, many of whose pupils became distinguished lawyers, statesmen, doctors and ministers. From this marriage two children were born: James Henry Goodman, who died in infancy, and a daughter, Anna E. Goodman, who is well known in Shelbyville. After a residence of two years and six months in Lynchburg, in the latter part of 1841 he moved to Baltimore, expecting to find a good field for a school, but met with disappointment. He then preached a year as pastor of an obscure church, located on Madison Street, in a rented house. It was evident to him that if he continued preaching another year to that congregation, he would have a very limited supply of bread and butter, and a badly furnished wardrobe. To add to his distress, his wife died, leaving him a babe about two months old to care for. This child is now with him, and has already been referred to. Under imperative necessity he opened a Female School on Sharp Street, in the city of Baltimore, and taught with reasonable success one year, when he returned to Virginia, leaving his daughter with her grandmother, Mrs. Margaret Richardson.

On reaching Virginia, he was called to the pastorate of the Farmville Baptist Church, to which he ministered two years. At the end of two years he was invited by the Richmond Board of Foreign Missions to take the agency of foreign missions in Kentucky. On closing his engagement with the Richmond board he was urged by Rev. James B. Taylor to make the agency a life business, but the duties of the agency were too onerous and extracting for him. As soon as the church at Farmville heard of his resignation, they made him a unanimous call to return to its pastorate. He declined the call and shortly afterward, in 1848, married Mrs. Eliza Ann Koch, widow of Dr. Koch, and sister of Col A. B. Veach, who recently died at his residence in Shelby County. Dr. Koch was once a practitioner in Shelbyville. By the second marriage five children were born, three of whom–Hattie G., Mary C. and Alexander Goodman–are dead. A. R. Goodman is doing business in Shelbyville, and James V. Goodman is engaged in farming in Shelby County. Mrs. Eliza Ann Goodman died November 3, 1886, in her sixty-seventh year. They lived together a happy married life for thirty-eight years. She was a kind and noble-hearted woman, sincerely devoted to her husband and children.

Shortly after his second marriage, he preached one year to the Baptist Church at Frankfort, Ky., then he took charge of a female school at Stamping Ground, in Scott County, enjoying a liberal patronage for two years. But having, as he supposed, a better offer made to him by the trustees of New Liberty Female School, he moved to that place, remained two years and six months, and having an opportunity, bought a farm on the waters of Brashears Creek, Shelby County, retired from the schoolroom and engaged in farming. In 1854, the year after the great drought, he made a magnificent crop, and sold produce at good sums. Stock was very scarce, and the crop being abundant it was much in demand and sold at fabulous prices. During his stay on the farm Mr. Goodman preached for a while for the Buck Creek Baptist Church. But, notwithstanding his success as a farmer, one year’s experience and hard labor satisfied him.

An opening being found in the Kentucky Female College at Shelbyville, he entered it in a subordinate capacity, and after the voluntary resignation of Rev. A. B. Knight as president of the institution, he was advanced to that position. This office he held for many years, and finally, by purchase, became the proprietor as well as presiding officer of the institution. Since his retirement from the schoolroom, his manner of life is well known to the community of Shelbyville, and it is needless to eulogize a man like Rev. J. W. Goodman. He is now quite advanced in years, honored and respected by the whole community, and a Christian gentleman in the true sense of the word.

Goodman Butler Lord Moon Smith Richardson Koch Veach Knight Taylor Clarkson

Frankfort-Franklin-KY Stamping_Ground-Scott-KY Charlottsville-Albemarle-VA
Campbell-VA MA NH MD ME


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