As our cousin pool begins to grow, thanks to DNA testing. we are making some headway in who matches whom.
Myself and my close cousins are descended from John Willis Goddard born 1837 on the (banks of the) Arkansas River in Cherokee territory.
We know from John Willis’ death certificate that his father was called Alias (we believe this to be Elias-they were not good spellers) and his mother was Mary, and we assumed she was a Willis due to John’s middle name. That’s where we started.
John Willis kept a diary during the tumultuous time of the Civil War, which I think started when he met his 2nd wife, Hannah Parilee Gibson. It’s obvious that he was smitten with her, and there are bits of detail that indicate he had to take the lumps that came with the relationship when his wife found out he had a girlfriend down in the woods…
In the diary, John mentions sister Isabella (who married Theophilus Hinch) and C.J. Wyatt, and there is/was a family bible belonging to Clarinda Jane Goddard Wyatt that indicates birthdays, and some relationship to John and Isabella. It is not extremely clear if she’s their full sister or not but we believe she is due to census records and her date of birth (1824).
We also knew from family lore that John Willis knew about a family member (we were told aunt) who lost horses to the Confederate soldiers in the Civil War and could not get compensated for them afterwards from the government. So John Willis was aware of family in Georgia.
For many years, I did not want to go farther back in my research on John’s paternal line, partly because it’s super fuzzy with little and confusing documentation, and partly because the man we suspected of being his grandfather (spelled Goddart in the 1820 census, so that was another reason to question it) owned slaves.
That is a hard pill to swallow, and definitely indicates that he was of a slave owning mindset…although I am not 100% sure that those weren’t family members-but there are categories for slaves and “free colored” and nothing is marked in the later category. More on that another day. But suffice it to say that I’m positive that Elias Jr’s wife had African blood…so how they rationalized slave owning, I don’t know. It was common for people with Native ancestry at that time to own slaves. That’s the last place I thought I would find them in my tree, but there it is.
After much brainstorming with one cousin, we’ve come to the conclusion that the three Goddart men in 1820 Morgan Co. GA and our Elias Goddard must be connected-this must be the same family-mostly because we think all Goddard/Goddart/Gothard folks in North Georgia at that time were part of a large extended family with the Sr. Elias also possible being one and the same man as John A. Goddard (who married Winnie Tidwell. More on that at a later date as well…)
But assuming that the two Elias Goddarts in Morgan County GA in 1820 ARE our relatives, let’s dig deep into Elias Sr., Elias Jr. and his sons.
In 1820 Morgan Co. GA there are three men named Goddart, listed as heads of household. They have to be Elias (the father) and his two sons, Thomas and Elias Jr.
Thomas we will save for another day, as his household is complicated and can be interpreted many ways…
In one household we have Elias Sr. age above 45, a wife also over 45, one son 16-26, and two daughters, 10-16. In addition there are two male slaves and four female slaves. (Ages on census).
In another household is Thomas, and in the third, is Elia (assuming this is Elias Jr.) and his bride. They are young-born 1794-1804.
We believe they married in 1819 in Morgan Co. GA.
Jump to 1830 and there are more Goddards in the state. There are a swath of them in Butts, Pike, Jasper and Jones county, and how they related, I don’t know. They could be sons of the older Elias, extended family or they could be completely new families. I do know that there was a large Goddard family that was selling slaves along the coast of SC and GA and also a family making rum in Barbados. There could be some connection, but possibly not…
There is one Mary Goddard in Jasper County GA in 1830 as the head of household with 3 boys and four slaves (a woman and three children), but I don’t think that’s her-partly because she has African ancestry, but mostly because Elias is in Hall County in 1830, just inside Cherokee Territory at Baldridge Creek, and is listed in the census with what looks to be a wife and three children, so I think THIS is them.
The categories show one son under 5 years of age, so born 1825-1830, one son born 1820-1825 and one daughter born 1825-1830 (Clarinda was born in Nov. 1824) and the female adult is age 30-39 (so born 1791-1800) and the male as well. We think Mary was born in 1801 so this is basically “close enough” for both of them.
Elias Goddard that married Nancy Russell (who we are pretty sure is Elias and Mary’s son, because his descendants match Willis as well as Goddard) had a major problem throughout his life with how old he was, giving wildly different dates, but we think he’s born 1810 to 1815..so that is early to be one of these boys, but it’s also possible he was old enough (he’s be AT LEAST 15) to be off working, hired out or somewhere in Cherokee territory where he wouldn’t be counted, or may just be a tick mark with another family, like possibly William…I think that Willis Goddard is probably the one listed as being age 5-9 and that means there could be another boy…There is also an enlistment record for five Goddard boys (Cousins?) signing up at Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory in 1841, and so I think it is possible that Elias and Mary had one other son.
1833-Removal Records, Party of 6
Removal records show that Elias (total removing 6 people) and family (including Willis’, Daugherty’s and McClures-all related) removed from Baldridge Creek (at least one document says Baldwin) which is right smack in the neighborhood where John Goddard was, married to Winnie Tidwell, who had been married to “Young Deer” a full blood Cherokee… (See map below for place names). This area is on the NW side of Lake Lanier, on what then would have been two tributaries of the Chattahoochee river.
So it is pretty obvious that Elias and Mary had at least three sons and one daughter BEFORE removing to Indian Territory. John Willis (my ancestor) and Isabella came in 1837 and 1835, so after they removed.
We know that Willis Goddard’s grandson Albert immigrated from GA to the Cherokee Nation around 1885, and there exists a photo of Willis’ daughter, Adecia Sedora who, to me clearly looks like there was some African ancestry further back in her tree. That fits with her being the granddaughter of Mary Willis, who we know also had white, Native and African ancestors.
Since we know there were more sons, and we know that Elias (m. Nancy Russel) and Willis have descendants with Willis and Goddard DNA, it’s a good assumption that these two men are sons of Elias Goddard/t who is listed in 1820 in Morgan County GA (the junior one) and in 1830 Hall Co. GA.