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  • Dale C. Maley

History of the Goold family

The Fairbury Goold family can trace its history to 350 years ago when Robert Goold came to America from England in 1665.

In 1958 and 1959, Howard R. Goold published the family tree in a series of articles in the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine.

The story of the Fairbury branch of the Goold family began with the birth of James Mather Goold in Orleans County, New York, in 1803. His parents were Elihu Goold (1768-1822) and Sarah Marvin (1773-1839). Orleans County, New York, is about 60 miles east of Niagara Falls on the south shore of LakeOntario.

James M. Goold married Phoebe Guyant in New York in 1828. James was 25, and Phoebe was 22 years of age when they married. James and Phoebe Goold had seven children. One of their children was Marvin James Goold, born in OrleansCounty in 1829. Six years later, in 1835, the James and Phoebe Goold family moved from Orleans County to Parma in Jackson County, Michigan. Parma is 90 miles west of Detroit.

In 1841, James and Phoebe Goold sold some land for $1.00 in Concord Township to create the village of Parma. Unfortunately, Phoebe Goold died in 1847 when she was only 41 years of age. James M. Goold was 47 years of age when Phoebe died. James Goold had seven children under the age of 16 when his wife Phoebe died. Mr. Goold then married 24-year-old Elizabeth Sarah Coolbaugh. In 1858, James and Sarah Goold had their only child, Frances Jesepha Goold.

In the 1850 U.S. Census, the James and Sarah Goold family lived in Parma, Michigan. Mr. Goold reported that his occupation was a farmer. Sometime between the 1850 U.S. Census and the 1855 Illinois Census, the James and Sarah Goold family moved from Parma, Michigan, to Morris, Illinois.

In 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in California. This event set off a national gold rush of people going west to strike it rich in the gold fields. In 1852, Marvin James Goold, the 23-year-old son of James and Phoebe Goold, caught the gold bug. He traveled by foot from Morris to California. On his return trip home from California, Marvin took a ship from San Francisco to Panama, then walked across Panama because the canal was not built until 1904.

After he moved from Parma to Morris, James M. Goold made four real estate purchases from the federal government. In 1853, he bought the northeast quarter (160 acres) in section 13 of Avoca Township. On the same date, he also purchased the northwest quarter (160 acres) in section 22 of Avoca Township.

In 1854, James M. Goold bought the west one-half of the northeast quarter (80 acres) in Section 22. Later that year, he purchased the east one-half of the northeast quarter (80) acres in section 22.

In 1847 and 1850, Congress passed laws granting land to veterans of the War of 1812. Most of these veterans lived on the East Coast and did not want to move to the swamp lands of Central Illinois. These veterans sold their land rights for about 10 percent of the official federal government price of $2.50 per acre. James M. Goold used military land patents from four veterans to make his land purchases.

One of the four transactions utilized the military land patent issued to Garrett Coolbaugh. Mr. Coolbaugh was the father of Mr. Goold's second wife, Sarah Coolbaugh. Mr. Goold purchased the military land patent from his father-in-law.

In 1858, Marvin J. Goold married Aliza Jane Slote at Morris, Illinois. When they married, he was 30, and Aliza was 15. They had eight children.

In the 1860 Census, James M. Goold lived with his wife, Sarah, in Morris, Illinois. The children who lived with them included Sarah, Mary, Phoebe, Helen, and Frances. No record could be found for Marvin and Aliza Gould in the 1860 Census.

The Civil War started in 1861 when Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter. In 1862, thirty-year-old Alexis Elihu Goold enlisted as a Private in Company A of the 127th Illinois Infantry. He was the son of James and Phoebe Goold. Unfortunately, he was seriously wounded in 1863 during the battle of Vicksburg. He never fully recovered from his injuries and died in 1870 at the age of 38.

In 1870, Marvin and Aliza Goold moved to Benton, Illinois. Benton is 100 miles southeast of St. Louis. In 1873, James Mathis Goold died at the age of 69 in Michigan.

One of the eight children of Marvin and Liza Goold was Robert Roy Goold. He was born in 1881 in Benton, Illinois. In 1883, the Marvin and Aliza Goold family moved from Benton to Blue Rapids, Kansas. The journey took six weeks by wagon. After 18 years in Kansas, the Marvin and Aliza Goold family returned to Illinois. Robert Roy Goold returned to Fairbury in 1901.

In 1910, Robert Roy Goold married Cora Ella Craig in Bloomington. When they married, Robert was 29, and Cora was 24. Their children included Cora Christine Goold (1911-2003), Marvin James Goold (1913-1985), and John Robert Goold (1919-2007).

John R. Goold graduated from FairburyTownship High School in 1936. John served in the U.S. Navy on the LST 369 during WWII. He served in the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters and was present at Normandy, Palermo, and North Africa. In 1945, John R. Goold married Mary Ellen Wink. They had three children and farmed northeast of Fairbury. John R. Goold died at the age of 88 in 2007. Mary Ellen Goold passed away in 2022 at the age of 99.

Marvin James "Jim" Goold married Wilma Jean Maggee in 1941. They had five children and farmed northwest of Fairbury. Jim Goold died at the age of 72 in 1985. Jean Goold passed away in 2007 at the age of 94.

Cora Christine Goold married Eugene E. McKay in 1943. Cora was 31, and Eugene was 38 years of age when they married. They had two children. Christine eventually returned to Fairbury in 2001 and died in 2013 at the age of 91.

The Goold family has been in America for more than 350 years. Descendants of the family have been in the Fairbury area for almost 170 years, starting with the first land purchase by James M. Goold in 1853.

(Dale Maley's local history article is sponsored each week by Antiques & Uniques of Fairbury and Doug and Dr. Charlene Aaron)

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