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Milam County, Texas

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Benjamin A. Goodwin

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 447 & 448.

B. A. Goodwin - Early in 1864, while the late Civil war was still raging in the older Southern States and many good citizens of that section who were except by age or physical infirmities from military service were seeking refuge from their persecutors in this more favored section, there arrived in Milam county a caravan, travel-worn, weather-stained and exhausted in resources, having made its way over land from Columbia county, Arkansas, and settled in the eastern part of this county on Little river, where it subsequently went into permanent quarters. The head of this caravan was Thelston A. Goodwin, who had suffered severely for the cause of the South and who, though opposed on principle to secession, rendered good service to the movement in its earlier stages in the State whence he came.

Thelston A. Goodwin was born in Putman county, Georgia, June 29, 1818, and was reared and was married the first time in that State, and moved some time in the 1840s to Macon county, Mississippi, and later to Talladega county, Alabama, and thence to Columbia county, Arkansas, where he was for a number of years engaged successfully in farming. By industry and good management he succeeded at the opening of the late war in accumulation a considerable amount of property, which however, was soon swept away by the ravages of that great conflict, and at the time of his removal to this State his possessions consisted of only a few hundred dollars, invested mostly in stock, wagons and household effects, with a few dollars in cash left over.

He invested his cash in 400 acres of land lying on Little river, on which he took up his residence and where he soon resumed agricultural pursuits, which he followed successfully there for some years. Of modest demeanor, quiet, unassuming ways, he spent his time mainly about his home and devoted his attention to his personal interests. While a resident of Arkansas he had represented his county a number of terms in the State legislature and was otherwise prominent in local affairs.

Of good intelligence and pleasant social qualities he never lacked friends wherever he lived, and always succeeded in impressing himself favorably on those with whom he was associated, He came of old American stock, being a son of William W. Goodwin, an early settler of Georgia who moved into the "Empire State of the South" in Indian times and helped to fell the forests and lay the foundation of that great commonwealth.

The second wife of Thelston A. Goodwin bore the maiden name of Mary Elizabeth Avriett, and she was born in Alabama, February 8, 1828. They were married in Talladega county, Alabama, December 24, 1844, and were the parents of six children, two of whom died in infancy, the remainder reaching maturity and one dying since. The eldest, Roxana Goodwin, was married to Hon. J. M. McKinney and died, in Milam county in 1874; the second, William W. Goodwin, is a farmer living in Lamar county, this State; the next, Benjamin A. Goodwin, is the subject of this notice; and the youngest, Sarah Goodwin, is the widow of E. A. Ford and lives in Milam county. The mother died June 17, 1856, in Talladega county, Alabama.

Benjamin A. Goodwin was born in Talladega county, Alabama, January 7, 1850, and was reared in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, being a lad of fourteen when his parents moved to this State. His early years were marked only by such experiences as fall to the lot of the average farm boy. Of education he got but little, a few months attendance at the schools and one term at Port Sullivan Academy and a term at Salad, Bell county, being all of the advantages of this nature which he enjoyed.

Having been brought up on the farm he naturally took to farming pursuits, and when the time arrived for him to step out and meet the current of life for himself he married and settled on a farm now occupied by his brother-in-law, Hon. J. M. McKinney, on Jones prairie, this county, where he entered actively and energetically on the business of his life. In 1878 he purchased 148 acres of his present place, to which he moved the following year and has since continued zealously in the prosecution of his interests.

His success is probably best attested by the simple statement that he now owns 1,200 acres of splendid black land lying in one of the richest agricultural sections of the county, which when it came into his possession was practically unimproved, but all of which is now under fence and a reasonable portion of it under plow.

About 1885, in addition to farming, Mr. Goodwin began to feed beef cattle, and each year since he has turned out regularly for the market from 250 to 500 head. Liberal, active, earnest and intelligent, Mr. Goodwin pursues his own business successfully, and on all proper occasions lends his support to all enterprises looking to the welfare of the community in which he resides.

He is a Democrat "in whom there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning," and has been frequently importuned to run for office, but has never offered himself for any public position. He had been a Mason since he was twenty-two years old, zealous in the support of the principles of that order and especially in its broad and benevolent purposes.

On January 10, 1872, Mr. Goodwin married Miss Amanda Oliver, a daughter of James D. and Ava Oliver, who were natives of North Carolina. The father was born December 20, 1817, and the mother, whose maiden name was Ava Page, September 28, 1825. The parents were married April 1, 1851, in their native State by the Rev. William Ayres.

They moved to Texas and settled in Hopkins county in the early 1850s, where the mother died March 15, 1857. The father died in June, 1862, in the Confederate service at Enterprise, Mississippi. He was twice married, marrying first, October 19, 1841, Miss Nancy Floyd, of North Carolina. The children of this union were; Claudine C. Oliver, who was born September 23, 1843, and is now a resident of Alexander, Erath county, Texas; Augustus P. Oliver, who was born November 27, 1844, and is a resident of Rayner, Stonewall county, Texas; Louisa M. Oliver, who was born January 10, 1847, and is the wife of Calvin C. White, of Milam county, a sketch of whom appears in this work.

The children of James D. and Ava Oliver were; Amanda Katherine Oliver, who was born March 13, 1855, and is the wife of B. A. Goodwin, of this article; and Virginia Ann Oliver, who was born January 11, 1857. and is the wife of W. H. Liner, of Hopkins county, Texas. Mrs.. Goodwin was born in Hopkins county, this State.

Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin have had one child, a daughter, Luella Goodwin, who died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin belong to the Baptist Church, holding a membership in the church at Clarkson, Milam county. Mr. Goodwin was a member of the Advisory Council of the World's Congress Auxiliary on Farm Culture and Cereal Industry, and a member of the World's Agricultural Congresses, which met at Chicago in October 1893.

We must say a special thank you to Sylvia Turner of Georgetown, Texas, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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Created on 28 Nov 2004 and last revised on ____________