The Goff Family


Gladys Goff Lunstrum

William C. Goff (1840-1912) at age 32, and Mary Graham Goff (1842-1917) at age 30, came by train to Chico, California from Canadaigua, New York in 1872, bringing three young sons, Herbert (born February 26, 1868) at four, Arthur (born February 22, 1870) at age two, and baby William (born March 6, 1872). Young Herb could remember sitting on the hard woodenbenches, and cooking their meals in the rough wooden coaches. Frank was born in Chico, California in 1873.

They came north by covered wagon in the mid 1870's, first stopping at Harrisburg, Oregon, where Charles was born in 1875. They moved on to Dayton, Washington Territory, and from there came by covered wagon to Waverly, where they took up a homestead on land now owned by Del Cary Smith, Jr.

William C. Goff was a harness maker by trade and worked as such at Chico, Harrisburn, Dayton and in Rockford, before starting the store at Waverly in the 1890's. Herbert, the oldest boy, apparently had more schooling than any of the other boys except Charles, having attended the old Rockford Academy. He married Mary Dorsey, daughter of another early settler living near Rosalia. He homesteaded a place near the 'Hole-in-the-Ground' west of Rosalia. They later moved to Colfax where Charles came to live with them and go through school.

Charles Goff played on the old Spokane baseball team; he became a nationally famous boxer. He joined the San Francisco police force and became police chief, a position he held until his death in 1940. Young Will, Arthur and Frank all attended a one room log school that sat just south and east of the Coiff Hodgson place. They drove a team of old gray mules to school and the mules very often ran away with them. Later they all three farmed near Waverly.

The Goff's planted their own fruit orchard an raised prunes and apples which they dried in their own drying shed and marketed in Spokane.

Luella Goff was born in 1880 on the Waverly homestead. She attended Cheney Normal where she met and later married Del Cary Smith in 1900. He was one of the first young lawyers in Spokane. Luella died in 1909 of diphtheria, leaving two small sons.

Many times Mary Goff would come in from the orchard and find Indians sitting by her stove waiting to demand bread from her. They seemed to have a craving for her white bread. One time she had so little on hand that she refused to give them some. One old Indian man took his hunting knife and threatened the baby Luella in her crib and Mary had to give them what little she had, and she baked biscuits for her own family that night. The giving was not all one-sided however, for the Indians seemed to know when they were low on meat and at night would leave them a quarter of venison at the door where they would find it the next day.

Mary Goff often told of how she had wanted Herb to sit with baby Luella for her while she went to town and he, thinking he was too big for such things, took a book and climbed to the roof of the house where he read until dark. Afraid that the Indians would kidnap him, she bribed him to come down by promising to bake him a pie, which was a rare treat in those days. Fruit was very scarce when they first arrived at their homestead and Mary picked wild gooseberries and made the little jam they had, which was always saved for special occasions. She noticed one day that her jam was disappearing faster than it should. Since she always made her own ink from wild purple iris, she decided to use some of it to catch the culprit. She put a jar of her ink over the door on a shelf and tied a string from it to the cloth which covered the crock of jam. When the culprit lifted the cloth from the jam, the ink was pulled from the shelf and dumped all over him. Though he scrubbed and scrubbed at the watering trough, the ink was still there. In his hair, all over his clothes and on his skin. Though he stayed out until after dark, young Will finally had to go to the house and take his punishment.

Will Goff used to tell the following story on himself at the old Pioneer Picnics. When Arthur, Frank and Will were all teen-agers, the first Pioneer Picnic was held at 'Smythes Ford.' Having only one good pair of pants between them, the boys agreed to take turns attending during the afternoon. They all went down to the picnic grounds and while Arthur and Frank waited behind a hill in their patched overalls, Will put on the good pants and went to the picnic first. He enjoyed himself so much the other boys never did get their turns --- he stayed!

There are fifteen grandchildren of William and Mary Goff still living.

[Ed. note: The exact date Gladys wrote this history of the Goff Family is unknown.]

Last revision: 9/1/1998

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