Search billions of records on


From the age of seven years Mr. Goforth has been a resident of Doniphan county, and has therefore witnessed much of the growth and development of northeastern Kansas. He was born in Hillsdale county, Michigan, February 5, 1855 and is a son of John Goforth, who was for some years a resident of Leona, Kansas. The father was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1806, and was a son of Richard Goforth, a farmer and gardener, who with his family emigrated to the United States in 1820. A location was first made in Canada, near Quebec, where they remained for about twenty years. John Goforth was then married and removed to Michigan, locating in Hillsdale county, where he broke the land upon which the city of Hillsdale is now built. There he engaged in teaming and logging, and was a resident of that locality when the first railroad was constructed into Hillsdale. With his team he hauled the first car to the town. Success attended him in his varied undertakings, and he acquired the ownership of a large tract of land in Michigan, but in 1862 he left that state and brought his family to Kansas, locating at Leona, Doniphan county, where he purchased the farm upon which he spent his remaining days. Before he had unloaded the wagon in which his goods were conveyed to the new home he stopped to visit a friend in the locality, and was there at the time a prairie fire broke out. The flames were rapidly approaching the house, and the men of the party were all out fighting the fire. It seemed to the ladies who were left in the house that their shelter would be destroyed and Mrs. Goforth decided to get the wagon and team out of reach of danger. Therefore she hastily hitched the horses to the wagon, but without putting on the bridles, and the team in consequence could not be managed. The horses becoming frightened ran away, throwing Mrs. Goforth from the wagon, and one of the back wheels passed across her leg, breaking the bone. The team ran on to the river, made a short, quick turn, and thus threw the contents of the wagon into the water. It was a disastrous accident and served to try the mettle of the new settlers. However, they made the best of the unpleasant circumstance, took up their abode on Wolf river, and the father, with characteristic energy, developed a good farm, upon which he spent his remaining days, his death occurring December 2, 1896. His wife passed away four years previous. Her maiden name was Perthena Boyce, and their children were: Eunice, wife of Horace Wright; Frances, wife of Charles Barton; William and John, who are now deceased; Perthena, wife of William Hickman, of Kansas City, Missouri; Ellen, deceased wife of Lewis Rockwood; George and Adelbert. The last named was a mere boy when he accompanied his parents to Kansas, and therefore almost his entire life has been past in the vicinity of Leona. He attended the country schools of the neighborhood and spent his youth in the manner usual to farm lads of the period. Upon his father's death he succeeded to the ownership of the old homestead, and has added eighty acres of land to the original purchase. He now has a very valuable property, the well tilled fields surrounding good buildings, while the neat and thrifty appearance of the farm indicates the careful supervision of the owner, who is very practical and progressive in his methods.

In 1882 Mr. Goforth was united in marriage to Miss Alice, daughter of Solomon Hiskey. Their children are: John, who died at the age of six years; Nellie, Myrtle and Frederick, at home. The Goforths have been identified with the Republican party since its organization. The father of our subject allied himself with the party of Clay and Webster, and when Fremont became a candidate of the new political organization he gave to him his support. On attaining his majority Adelbert Goforth also supported the Republican nominees, and has never wavered in his allegiance to the party. He came to Doniphan county in its pioneer days, when its thriving towns and villages were mere hamlets or had as yet no existence; when its wild lands were in their primitive condition and when the work of civilization seemed scarcely begun. He has borne his part in producing the great transformation that has placed Doniphan county on a par with other counties of this great commonwealth; and while his memory connects him with the period of frontier advancement, his active labors associate him with the era of modern improvement.