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Obituary of Edward A. Goodnough

from the Wisconsin Daily State Gazette, Saturday Evening, 1 February 1890, p. 3

A Long Life Well Spent
Biographical sketch of thee Late Rev. E. A. Goodnough [Goodenough]. *
Something of the work Accomplished by Him During His Thirty-Six Years' Residence at the Oneida Indian Reservation.

         On Saturday evening, January 25, 1890, Rev. Edward Augustus Goodnough entered into rest: for the past thirty-six years rector of Hobart Episcopal church on the Oneida Reservation, after many years of devoted, faithful service for the welfare of his fellow-men, feeling that his life-work was done, he bravely, yea more, gladly, through the closing weeks of his life, knowing that his days were numbered, waited patiently, yet with a longing for death's release. He had fought the good fight and welcomed the sweet rest that is prepared for those who love their God. The peace of God which passeth all understanding was imparted to the ministering loved ones about the bedside of this stalwart Christian, his triumphant faith becoming their priceless legacy.


         E. A. Goodnough was born at Campton, N. H., in sight of the White Mountains, December 18, 1825, and was at the time of his death sixty-four years one month and seven days old. For a year or more he had not been well, having a chronic disease of the liver, he was, however, during his last illness confined to the bed but five weeks. He was the son of a Baptist clergyman, but afterward his father studied medicine, and adopted the profession of a practicing physician. The family moved westward when the subject of this sketch was yet young, and located in the vicinity of Nashotah [Wisconsin], where they continued to reside for a number of years. Here was located the Episcopal Theological college and there is a tradition to the effect that E. A. Goodnough assisted in digging the first well ever sunk on the college grounds.
         Owing doubtless to the proximity of the college, and the atmosphere of study which must have resulted therefrom, he became inspired with a desire to attend that institution, and was regularly enrolled among its students, in the year 1841. He remained there until 1852, when he graduated. He was a very close student and a hard worker, and made good progress in his college work.
         After his graduation, he for a short time filled the chair as Hebrew instructor in Nashotah college, but afterward accepted the charge of a parish at Portage, Wis. His residence in that city was brief, for on October 16, 1853, he entered upon his duties as missionary to the Oneida Indians, a post which had been offered him and which he promptly accepted, despite the onerous duties the position involved. He succeeded Rev. F. R. Haff, who was rector there from 1847 to 1852.
         The Episcopal church had long maintained a missionary at that post, the first being Eleazar Williams, who acted in that capacity from 1818 to 1830. Rev. Richard F. Cadle succeeded him, for a period of three years, when Rev. Solomon Davis accepted the responsibilities of the place. He in turn was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Haff, as previously noted. The little old church building, which did duty for so many years, was built in 1839, and here Mr. Goodnough addressed the members of his congregation each Sunday, though the medium of an interpreter, during thirty-three years, and until the erection of a handsome stone structure in 1886. He devoted his entire life to the work in which he was engaged, remained constantly at home, and, as he informed the writer of this article in a conversation about three year since, never failed to perform his duties each Sunday during all the years of his residence there, save three times, when he was prevented by sickness from doing so.
         The position of rector on the reservation is no sinecure. The incumbent of that position must not only prepare his Sunday discourse, officiate at funerals, baptisms, and other occasions, but he has besides to fulfill the arduous duties of a teacher in the mission-school for five days each week; conduct the monthly meeting, and act as adviser to his flock. In fact, as one who knew him well expressed it: He was to the Indians the Government. In the exercise of these duties Mr. Goodnough spent his life. He was naturally of a retiring disposition, and was content to sequester himself from the world in the pursuit of his holy calling. His sterling integrity and worth are testified by those who knew him well, and he was greatly beloved by the people for whose spiritual and temporal welfare he so earnestly labored. He was kindly, hospitable, and ever ready to render assistance unto the least of his brothers.
         Mr. Goodnough lent very efficient aid in bringing about and erecting the handsome new church edifice of stone, which is a pride to the reservation and lived to see his cherished project realized. As the history of this church is intimately associated with that of Mr. Goodnough, a brief sketch of it will be given here. Work toward the building of the new stone church was begun nineteen years ago by the Indians of the congregation, who manifested the greatest interest in the project. The men donated time and labor toward quarrying stone and hauling it to the site of the contemplated building. The women's society of the church manufactured useful articles, and held festivals at stated intervals, the proceeds of which went into a fund toward the new church. The annual amount raised aggregated about $200, and this was deposited in the bank until needed. In the year 1884, when Strong's bank failed, $3000 of the church building fund was deposited therein, and the greater share of the savings of years was lost. Mr. Goodnough confessed that the outlook was discouraging. He, however, succeeded in interesting many in his cherished plans and soon assistance began to flow in from the far East. One man in New York City sent $400. W. Beaumont Whitney, of Philadelphia, interested in the children of the Sunday School of which he was superintendent, and they gave $500 to the work. A lady who would give no name sent $500, and other smaller sums were received from different sources. At first what looked like a calamity, proved a blessing in disguise, for the fund soon swelled to $5000, which allowed them to proceed with the work. The cost of the church was $8,500 besides the stone furnished by the Indians, a very important item. It is a handsome edifice, built in modern style, heated with furnace, and pleasantly seated. J. Voight was the builder.
         Who can estimate the beneficent results that will crown the life-labors of this zealous man? His influence in molding the character of the members of his flock, can scarcely be appreciated. Mr. Goodnough himself was encouraged by the progress made by the Indians during his residence among them. In the conversation previously referred to, he said: "The grand work of Christianizing the Indians is still going on. They are eager and willing to be taught the ways of the white men, and exhibit a great advancement in methods of civilization. During my stay here, I have encouraged them especially to speak English, and to adopt our manners and customs. The progress they have made is owing to the church, more than to any other one thing. In the early days of the mission here, the Indians were slovenly and wore blankets. Now there is hardly one who wears a blanket, and they are usually very neat and take pride in dressing nicely. They have organized brass bands and singing societies, have purchased stream threshers and other improved farm machinery, and dwell in well-built, comfortable houses.
         Goodnough was appointed postmaster in 1861, and held the place until his death, his commission bearing the signature of Postmaster General Holt.
         On April 17th, 1854, Mr. Goodnough was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Lenora Sexton, in Christ church, Green Bay, Rev. William Hommann, performing the service. Bravely the young wife took up the burdens that fell to her lot. Hers was the task of making the new home, teaching the Indian women, not alone the lessons of the school room, but the art of sewing, bread-making, etc., and through it all endearing herself in rare degree to her grateful pupils. Six children came to gladden this blessed home as follows: Arthur D., Baraboo, Wis.; William Adams, (dead); Edwy, Bennington, Kansas; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Henry A. Simonds, Allegan, Mich.; John D., Baraboo, Wis.; Miss Alice Goodnough, Allegan, Mich. On May 20th, 1870, Mrs. Goodnough closed her life's labor, and was laid at rest in the cemetery at Oneida.
         Through the instrumentality of the late Bishop Kemper, Mrs. Frances A. Perry, formerly of Utica, N. Y., but at the time noted making her home at Madison, Wis., was induced to assume the duties of housekeeper at the parsonage at Oneida, and also those of teacher in the school. About the year 1872, Mr. Goodnough and Mrs. Perry were married at Madison, Wis.** Through the past eighteen years Mrs. Goodnough has faithfully and unfailingly performed the arduous duties lain upon her. She will remain for the present at Oneida, Mr. and Mrs. John Goodnough and Miss Alice Goodnough remaining with her.
         The surviving members of Rev. Mr. Goodnough's family are his three sisters and three brothers, as follows: Elizabeth, Mrs. F. C. Permenter, Athol, Mass.; Susan, Mrs. Charles Forbes, [Sparta?], Wis.; Mrs. Angie Forbes, Tomah, Wis.; Jerome, Tomah; William; John.

         The Funeral.

         The funeral took place at Oneida, on Tuesday morning at eleven o'clock. The church was filled with Indians, and their devotion to their loved friend and pastor was made evident by the tears that they could not restrain.
         Rev. L. D. Hopkins, of Oconto, read the opening sentences and parts of the burial service, Rev. William Dafter, of Oconto, read the lesson. Holy Communion was celebrated, Rev. F. Haff, of this city, being celebrant, Mr. Dafter reading the epistle. "Nearer my God to Thee," a hymn that was especially a favorite of the deceased and which during the peaceful, closing days of his life he had asked often to have sung, was given in the burial service, also another favorite of his, "Rock of Ages," was sung. During the communion service the hymn "Bread of the World, In Mercy Broken," was rendered.
     In accordance with Mr. Goodnough's oft expressed wish his place of burial was in the cemetery at Oneida. At the grave Mr. Dafter read the opening sentences, Mr. Haff the "committal," and concluding service. The following hymns were sung: "Abide with Me," "Nearer My God to Thee," "Jesus, Lover of my Soul," and "The Strife is O'er." The sweet-toned bell of the church tolled at the opening and close of the service.
     The following Indians were the pall-bearers: Abram Elm, John Archiquette, Thomas Cornelius, Simon Powliss, Thomas Skenandoah, Adam King, Isaac Archiquette, Cornelius Hill, Simon Hill, Thomas Johns, Solomon Johns, Joshua Skenandoah.


         *This text is available courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Though I have corrected the spellings, the obituary frequently varies the spelling of Rev. Goodnough's name, suggesting that some people may have pronounced it "good enough." However, Judith Jourdan, Oneida Tribal Genealogist, affirms that the local pronunciation is "good-no."

     ** The following entry is transcribed from the parish records of Grace Episcopal Church in Madison, WI.

Day and Date: Thursday, July 27, 1871
Place [location of the ceremony]: Residence of Bride's mother
No. [in order of the marriages recorded in this volume]: 29
Names: Rev. Edward Augustus Goodnough; 45 Oneida, Wis.
          Frances Alexand[ria?] Perry (widow); 42; Madison, Wis.
Parents: John K. Goodnough, Eliza Goodnough (decd); Joseph Loyd (decd)); Phoebe Loyd
Clergy: H. W. Spalding
Witnesses: The Rector's wife and the mother and sister of Bride

Transcribed and edited by Terry & Linda Heller, Coe College.

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