Daniel Goodwin of Ancient Kittery and His Descendants

by John Hayes Goodwin


Part 1

The first record that I have noted of Daniel Goodwin in New England is a grant of land made to him by the town of Kittery in 1652. How long had he then been in Kittery? When and where was he born? When and where was he married? When and where did he die? Apparently there is no notation of birth, marriage or death, no gravestone, no probate. Some records formerly assigned to his career may, in truth, apply to a son by the same name. And this is not because Daniel was obscure but because records of the early years are scant. On a few facts we can agree. Daniel Goodwin was a pioneer, a sergeant in the local frontier force, a constable, a member of the church, a tavern proprietor, and a land owner in the parish of Quamphegan, a part of early Kittery that became Berwick and then South Berwick, Maine. He leaves to descendants eligibility for membership in the Piscataqua Pioneers (whose ancestors must have settled on either bank of the river in colonial days), in Flagon and Trencher, Descendants of Colonial Tavern keepers, and in the Goodwin Family Organization. There are several of his blood in all three.

For two centuries no comprehensive Goodwin genealogy was attempted. Then in the 1860's Captain William Frederick Goodwin (1823-1872), of Concord, New Hampshire, a war veteran, lawyer and teacher (see page 259) pioneered with a Goodwin genealogy. Unfortunately, he died before a book was completed. To Captain Goodwin the family owes immense gratitude. He contracted relations and gained data long before mandatory vital records were widespread or genealogical research prevalent. For a quarter century Captain Goodwin's papers were retained by heirs and resurfaced when a new Goodwin genealogy was in preparation.

John Samuel Goodwin, who uncovered the Captain Goodwin papers, was a Chicago lawyer, a United States District Attorney, seeking an ancestor for his Indiana line. Thanks to his persistence we have most of what we know of the Goodwins of Virginia and the volume bearing the appropriate cover title of Five Generations of the Goodwins of Kittery, Maine, published in 1898 and long out of print. Early in his research he discovered the writings of Captain Goodwin of which he comments (page iii): "...to which I have made numerous additions and from which most of the following data is taken." Of Captain Goodwin he says (page 5): "It is wholly to his untiring endeavors that the Goodwins of Maine owe the collection and preservation of their family record." The extensive appendices of the book contain materials on unidentified connections and other Goodwin families of New England.

While the Daniel Goodwin volume was in progress another New England Goodwin family was undergoing extensive research. James Junius Goodwin (1835-1915), a Hartford capitalist, cousin and former partner of J. Pierpont Morgan, financed research on his own Goodwin line and intensive research on pre-19th century English Goodwins, employing some of his most distinguished genealogical contemporaries. His interest in genealogy was keen, and a memorial biography in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (v.70, pp. 51-55) points out that J. J. Goodwin was the single largest contributor to the fund that made possible keeping H. F. Waters in England engaged in the research that resulted in Waters' Genealogical Gleanings.

The Hartford volume, ascribed to Frank Farnsworth Starr, was called The Goodwins of Hartford, Connecticut; Descendants of William and Ozias Goodwin, and was published in 1891. It was around 800 pages in length and contained much, as well, on the Goodwins of East Anglia. However, more was in store. Among the many researchers on the English Goodwins were Col. Joseph L. Chester, the Rev. Augustus Jessopp, Oswald Barron and Lothrop Withington, and the results were to be unexcelled, perhaps unrivalled. In 1921 J. J. Goodwin was deceased, but his family arranged publication of the English Goodwin Family Papers, three volumes of materials collected in the search for the ancestry of William and Ozias Goodwin. Parish registers had been widely consulted, and wills were reproduced verbatim. The reader is humble before such a monumental compilation.

In 1908, annual reunions of the Daniel Goodwin family were begun. These continued for thirty or more years. Curiously, despite extensive lists of officers reported, no genealogist was elected at the outset. In 1978 Goodwin reunions and a family organization were revived, this time with a publication and an avowed genealogical interest.


Part II

The following is basically the work of John Hayes Goodwin (1887-1964), with small exceptions that will be noted. John Hayes Goodwin was born at Old Fields in South Berwick, Maine -- erected in 1797 by General Ichabod Goodwin and generally regarded as the family hearthstone regardless of one's lineage. Old Fields is a substantial country house, with a later service wing and a large barn, built on the land that belonged to the first Daniel Goodwin. John was educated at a local private preparatory school and Berwick Academy. Afterward followed the golden days and golden years in South Berwick. He became a librarian of Berwick Academy which was so heavily endowed by his kinsmen that it was practically a family preserve. As a librarian, in 1912 he forwarded research to a relation, Harold Goodwin, a Philadelphia attorney, who advised him to make the most of his present opportunity to gather all of the records possible on local and family history. Army service in the World War intervened and carried John Goodwin overseas. His health, though never robust, had been adequate, but it was not sustained. He returned to South Berwick to undertake the Goodwin genealogy which became his life work, though little appears to have been added by him after 1940. As his health deteriorated, he passed some time in the veterans' home and later in a convalescent home in South Berwick where he died July 29th, 1964.

John Hayes Goodwin notes once approached completion, and were typed. Publication did not occur, and material continued to arrive. John's sister, Elizabeth Goodwin, occupied Old Fields till its sale. She found some disposition of the manuscript necessary, and presented it to the Goodwin descendant, John E. Frost, then Associate Librarian of New York University. It was stored there till it could be sorted. with duplications eliminated, preparatory to a permanent location. In the intrim it seemed advisable to secure a second copy more concise and more easily handled than the original, and without the frequent hand written additions. Several persons, with no association with the family, assisted in the typing. In 1984 a copy was bound and given to the Maine Historical Society together with the original papers.

In 1984 Shirley Goodwin Bennett, Alice Goodwin Sharp and Harold T. Goodwin asked that the Goodwin Family Organization be authorized to make and distribute copies since several members wishes to possess their own. Miss Elizabeth Goodwin gave permission. My own authorization (a dubious prerogative) was given with some reluctance only because the typing has never been revised and some typos (and a few misreading of dates) appear in the original, the copy, and both.

How does this differ from the original? Marginal notes added to the first half-dozen pages of the J. H. Goodwin MS are bracketed here. Another number scheme has been substituted for several reasons. Some material, added by J. E. Frost after the typing and entered by J. H. Goodwin in pen and ink, is deleted. This pertains exclusively to the descendants of Daniel Goodwin of Eliot, and, unlike the original, covers all descendants rather than concentrating on those with the Goodwin surname. This non-conforming section has been revised and updated to become again "the Goodwins of Eliot, Maine," of which a copy is in the library of the Maine Historical Society.

A few records from cemetery stones and official vital records have been added, and a section on the descendants of Ebenezer5 Goodwin (page 91), an expansion of J. E. Frost that appeared in the Goodwin Family News. J. H. Goodwin failed to include any biographical notes on his immediate family, so a few have been supplied from random recollections. All in all, the changes are minute, and generally readily apparent.
Readers are advised to check all dates, whenever possible, in original sources. Much of this material was gathered in the 1930's before citation of sources was heavily emphasized. Additions or deletions can be checked in the original typescript now in the Maine Historical Society. It is to be hoped that this compilation will be a step to encourage others to produce a more comprehensive and up-to-date Goodwin coverage with the many sources now available.

J. E. Frost
New York City
January 1985


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