Surname Saturday: Goodwin

As this blog is about the descendants of one Major Samuel Goodwin, it’s only right that the first “Surname Saturday” post looks at the surname of Goodwin.

John Goodwin was born near London in 1683 and came to Boston in 1712.  His wife Anne and three children followed the next year along with his younger brother William, who eventually married Jane Ashfield and settled in her hometown of Marblehead, MA.  John’s wife and infant daughter died shortly after their arrival leaving John with his two sons to raise.  In 1714 he remarried, to Lydia Sprague of Malden, MA.  Their only son, Samuel, was born in Boston January 27, 1716.

Samuel Goodwin married Elizabeth Willard, the daughter of Jacob Willard and Sarah Flint, February 15, 1739.  They settled in Charlestown and became the parents of one son and six daughters.

Back in 1628, a tract of land around the Kennebec River in Maine had been appointed to the Plymouth Colony.  After paying off debts owed back in England, the colony sold the land to four Boston merchants in 1660.  They were unable to make use of the land due to Indian disorders for many years.  Finally in 1750, the Kennebec Proprietors organized and Samuel Goodwin was appointed Agent.  He made a survey of the tract and in 1752 Fort Shirley was constructed on the eastern side of the Kennebec River.  A group of German and French Huguenot immigrants were induced to settle in the area and Samuel Goodwin brought his own family from Charlestown to settle within the confines of the fort in 1756.

In 1760 Lincoln county was created from part of York county and with it, the area around Fort Shirley was incorporated as the town of Pownalborough.  In 1761, the Kennebec Proprietors voted to construct the Pownalborough Court House.  Gershom Flagg, a noted Boston architect and himeslf a Kennebec Proprietor, designed the building.  Upon its completion, Samuel Goodwin and his family became its first residents and caretakers.  After the court itself moved to Wiscasset in 1794, the Goodwin family remained in the Court House and descendants of Major Samuel and his wife Elizabeth lived there for another 160 years.

Samuel and Elizabeth had the following children:

  1. Samuel Goodwin Jr.(1739-1798) married Ann Frances Goud 1762
  2. Lydia Goodwin (1742-1812) married Robert Twycross 1764
  3. Elizabeth Goodwin, b. 1743, d. 1818
  4. Abigail Goodwin (1746-1839) married 1) Thomas Johnson 1776, married 2) William Goodwin 1790
  5. Sarah Goodwin (1749-1831) married Nathaniel Bailey 1768
  6. Mercy Goodwin (1752-after 1837) married 1) Nymphas Bodfish 1774, 2) John Hart 1803
  7. Rebecca Goodwin (1755-1831) married John Johnson 1777

My husband’s grandmother Bertha was a Goodwin and descends from the eldest son of Samuel and Elizabeth thus:

  • Samuel Goodwin Jr. m. Ann Frances Goud
  • Samuel Twycross Goodwin m. Elizabeth Holland
  • Abiel Varon Goodwin m. Susan Small
  • George Edward Goodwin m. Mary Elizabeth Thompson
  • George Abiel David Goodwin m. Johanna Henrietta Witze
  • Bertha Elizabeth Goodwin m. John Chamberlain Silver Jr.

Webster, Hon. Henry Sewall, A. M. “Some Records of Samuel Goodwin of Pownalborough, Me., and His Descendants.” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 67 (January 1913): 27-32.

Allen, Charles Edwin. History of Dresden, Maine : formerly a part of the old town of Pownalborough from its earliest settlement to the year 1900. Augusta, Maine : Kennebec Journal Print Shop, 1931.

Goodwin, Roy. Blog comment left in response to “Descendants of Major Samuel Goodwin.” Samuel Goodwin Family Genealogy Blog, 12 May 2010.

Beerits, Henry C. and Martha Vaughan. “The Pre-Revolutionary Pownalborough Court House.”  Reprinted from the Maine State Bar Association, Bar Bulletin Vol. 17  No. 2. (A 5-page pamphlet picked up at the Court House in 2007)

Bolte, Mary.  “1761 Courthouse on the Kennebec.” (Another 6-page photocopied article picked up at the Court House.  The only attribution says “Reprinted with the permission of Down East Magazine–Camden, Maine.)


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