Like many people, I've dabbled a bit in the family genealogy via the Internet. I didn't set out expecting, as many do, to find myself descended from nobility. I expected some working people quite like most others of their time and that's what I found. This page is a capsule summary of my mother's family, the Godwins. I lived from birth until age 12 in a Godwin household.

 

 

 

My great-great-great-great grandfather William Godwin was born in New York in 1756. In 1776, he enlisted in Captain Parson's 1st Company, New York troops, as a Corporal. In 1778, he married Mary Bowman of Delaware and relocated there. Although I presume that William and Mary had a large family, the only offspring I've identified is Nathan Godwin, who was born in 1780 in Delaware. Mary died in 1800.

William and Nathan subsequently moved to Virginia and then Pennsylvania and finally to Highland County, Ohio, William died and was buried there in 1803.

Nathan (my great-great-great grandfather) married Elizabeth West from Virginia in Warren County, Ohio, in 1810. They had seven children. In 1837, Nathan and his family moved to Randolph County, Indiana, where he and other settlers founded the town of Fairview. Nathan laid out the cemetery (where he is buried) and hosted the Methodist church at his farm. He farmed 600 acres of land. He was a Republican. He died in 1875 at the age of 95.

James Godwin, Nathan's sixth child, married Catherine Dillman, an Ohio girl, in 1845. James Andrew was my great-great grandfather. They had eight children. The third oldest was Nathan (a very repetitive name in the family like James and William), my great grandfather, born in 1850. In 1854, the family pulled up stakes and headed west to Guthrie County, Iowa, and was one of the first settler families of Stuart, Iowa.

 

 

 

 

This picture above, taken in 1892, has James Andrew Godwin (my g-g-grandfather) with some of his brood. He is, of course seated in the middle of the picture with his wife Catherine. His son Nathan had already departed with his family for Missouri. The Godwins of that era apparently took to heart the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply.

 

 

When James Andrew died in 1911, the photo below appeared in the local newspaper along with the obituary commensurate with his status as a prominent Methodist and Republican.

 

 

A PIONEER IS DEAD


JAMES GODWIN SUCCUMBS TO THE INEVITABLE


After a Prolonged Sickness He Died at the Home of His Daughter in Stuart, March 11, at the Advanced Age of Ninety Two Years.

Monday there was buried in the Morrisburg cemetery, following a service at the home of his daughter in Stuart, conducted by Rev. Rink of the M. E. church, the body of one of Guthrie county's pioneers. An extract from an article published in the Herald about a year ago tells of the conditions at that early date of his settlement in Guthrie county.

"At that time Indians traversed the banks of the 'Coon on hunting and trapping expeditions and deer and other game was quite plentiful. Mr. Godwin traded the Indians corn for the first dog which he ever owned in Iowa. For several years most of the supplies for the family were secured at Fort Des Moines and later at Adel. When the Rock Island was built through this section the rock for it's culverts was quarried on the Godwin farm."

The following obituary notice is furnished the Herald:

James Godwin, son of Nathan and Elizabeth Godwin, was born in Highland county, Ohio, near Hillsborough, September 14, 1818, and departed this life March 11, 1911, at the ripe age of 92 years, 5 months and 24 days.

When eighteen years of age he moved with his parents to Randolph county, Indiana. On December 14, 1845, he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Dillman. To this union were born eight children -- Thomas, Elizabeth J., Nathan, George, J.E., J.L., Nancy M., and James A., all of whom were present except Nathan who resides in Shawnee, Okla., J.E. of Canyon, Texas, and James A., who died in early childhood.

In the year '54 with his wife and four children, he emigrated to Iowa in company with his eldest brother William and family, Judge Harbor, David and Adam Hain and a number of other pioneers of Guthrie county and their families. They landed here October 25, 1854, having spent a month on the road.

During March, 1855, he entered 240 acres of land south of South Coon river, where he erected a temporary board cabin. Soon after he built a log cabin, preparing the logs and most of the shingles with his own hands. This cabin he occupied as a home for 53 years. Still later he built a modern, comfortable house.

His wife passing to the Glory Land four years ago he soon after sold his home and divided his earthly possession with his children, spending the remainder of his days with his youngest daughter, Mrs. Wm. Hefflefinger.

He was raised by Methodist parents and he and his wife joined that church soon after their marriage. After coming to Iowa he did not identify himself with any other church until three years ago when he joined the Christian church living as nearly right as he could to the close of life.

During his prolonged illness, which confined him to the house for more than a year and to his bed for the last six months he was always patient and cheerful. He was interested in his children to the last, inquiring often about the absent ones. He asked often to hear the old familiar hymns, his favorite being "Jesus Lover of My Soul."

 

Music on this page - "Jesus Lover of My Soul"

 

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