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Gooch and Allied Families


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The seventh and last child to come to Middle Tennessee was Nathaniel Gooch. Nathaniel was born 10 October 1768, the son of William and his second wife, Frances Rice. His father purchased land in Granville County, North Carolina, in September of 1764 and it is unknown whether or not William and family took possession of this land immediately. It would be reasonable to assume that by 1768 William would have moved to North Carolina and hence Nathaniel would have been born in Granville County. From Granville County, Nathaniel moved with his parents to Caswell County, North Carolina. On 7 December 1797 in Caswell County, North Carolina, Nathaniel married Martha (Patsey) Tait, the daughter of Zephaniah and Lydia Tait of Guilford, later Caswell County, North Carolina. Nathaniel lived in Caswell County, and was probably lured to Tennessee by his brothers and sisters who had left North Carolina earlier. He was living in Williamson County by 24 February 1814, probably with his brother David, as evidenced in an ad in "The Nashville Whig" of 1 March 1814. He advertised the loss of a business note to be returned to his residence in "Williamson County, head of Mill creek." Evidently Nathaniel decided to settle in Rutherford County as on 16 November 1818 he purchased 344 3/4 acres, and on 14 October 1820 he purchased another 335 acres in District 1. This land totaled 679 3/4 acres on Hurricane Creek adjoining William G. Kimbro and Major John Buchanan. It was close to Stones River and Smyrna.

Nathaniel was a farmer. It is believed that he was a physician also but no evidence has been found to support this. Nathaniel and Martha became Presbyterians in their new home since their Episcopal faith had no church in the area. Generally speaking, most of the descendants have remained in the Presbyterian church with a few returning to the Episcopal church.

Martha was born 6 November 1777 in Guilford or Orange County, North Carolina, and died 18 September 1827 at home near Smyrna, Rutherford County, Tennessee. Nathaniel continued to live at his home until his death 30 October 1841. He owned 21 slaves. His will directed that his land was to be sold and the proceeds from the same be equally divided among his four children Nathaniel and Martha are both buried in Cannon Cemetery near Smyrna, Tennessee.

The four children of Nathaniel and Martha (Tait) Gooch were:

1 - SARAH W. GOOCH was born 16 December l797 in Caswell County, North Carolina, and married 9 January 1833 in Rutherford County, Tennessee, to William Scruggs, Sr. The marriage was performed by Sarah's cousin, David Rice Gooch of Nolensville. William Scruggs, Sr. was born in 1784 in Virginia, son of Drury Scruggs. He was a farmer, had a blacksmith shop and also owned stock in the Nashville to Hillsborough Turnpike Company.

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Their home was not a log structure but is of wood with clap board, had plain door facings inside and no separate quarters for girls and boys. Originally there were 2 front doors with separate steps, but when Mrs. Kelly took possession of the home she remodeled, and made one entrance with a large screened porch. William Scruggs, Sr., had an office in the yard to the right of the front door facing northwest - same direction the house faces.

Another descendant of Nathaniel and Martha Gooch lived in this house at the same time was Mrs. Sarah W. (Gooch) Scruggs. Mrs. Scruggs had a niece (her namesake) Sarah W. Gooch Kimbro. She was the daughter of Mrs. Scruggs 's sister, Lucinda T. (Gooch) Kimbro and her husband, Joseph A. Kimbro of LaVergne. Mrs. Scruggs's husband, William Scruggs, Sr., had a nephew named William Scruggs, Jr., the son of Edward Scruggs. This nephew, William Scruggs, Jr., and the niece, Sarah W. Gooch Kimbro, were married 25 December 1844 in Rutherford County. They then moved into the Scruggs home. From this union were three children: Lucinda Scruggs, born 10 October 1845; Edward Scruggs, born 21 April 1847; and a son who died in infancy, probably born in 1849.

Mrs. Sarah W. G. (Kimbro) Scruggs died 21 May 1849, probably in childbirth. Her husband left but never remarried and the two children, Lucinda and Edward, were raised by their great uncle and aunt, William Scruggs, Sr., and Sarah W. (Gooch) Scruggs who had never had any children of their own.

There is a small Scruggs Cemetery in the field in front (north) of the home. Here are buried William Scruggs, Sr. (died 14 February 1859), his wife, Sarah W. (Gooch) Scruggs (died 20 May 1856), and their niece, Mrs. Sarah W. Gooch (Kimbro) Scruggs. There is another tombstone to a Mrs. Rachel J. Waldron, 23 October 1824 - 26 May 1851 which gives support to the fact that at one time this could have been a community burying ground. The Waldron's were next-door neighbors to the Scruggs in 1850 so it is likely this cemetery contained more burials at one time. A slave cemetery was also on the property. Today, Mrs. Kelly, aged 92, is in the Lakeshore Nursing Home, and one of her sons, Edward Scruggs Kelly, lives directly across Old Hickory Blvd. on the other corner at Hillsboro Road. Mrs. Kelly is the granddaughter of Mrs. Sarah W. Gooch (Kimbro) Scruggs and William Scruggs, Jr., and the great granddaughter of Mrs. Lucinda" T. (Gooch) Kimbro.

2 - DR. JOHN CLAIBORNE GOOCH; born 4 September 1800 in Caswell County, North Carolina; married Eliza Ann Saunders 8 December 1831 in Rutherford County; Tennessee, with his cousin, David Rice Gooch of Nolensville, performing the ceremony. Eliza Ann Saunders was born 28 July 1814 probably in Rutherford County, the daughter of Mrs. Cynthia Saunders (her father's given name is unknown). Dr. Gooch acquired his medical training at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, and practiced in the Smyrna-Lavergne area of Rutherford County.

Dr. Gooch accumulated a total of 2,154 acres 899 poles in Rutherford County and 299 acres in Davidson County near the Rutherford-Williamson county lines. In 1842 he began to build his home, "Goochland" and considered 1,600 acres to be the Goochland plantation. Goochland, located in District 3 of Rutherford County, was one mile north of the Smyrna depot and one mile east of the Nashville and Chattanooga railway as the crow flies situated about 200 feet to the north of Jefferson Pike. The site on which Goochland once stood is now on the old Sewart Air Force Base northeast of the fuel tanks on the left of the main road going into the Smyrna complex on the back nine of the Smyrna Municipal Golf Course and north of the 8th and 14th tees. Goochland was on a knoll which was altered extensively to permit construction of runways, etc., for the air base, and for 100 years (1842-1942) enjoyed a view in which could be seen the green pastures and farmland that surrounded the home. Dr. Gooch began to build Goochland in 1842 and completed it in 1845. It was the traditional two-story Greek Revival type architecture built of red brick in an ell shape. Traditional in every sense as far as outward appearances were concerned, the Dr. deviated slightly from the traditional construction when he made the outside walls 18 inches thick and the inside load-bearing walls 14 inches thick. The front porch of the home had large fluted columns that extended to the roof, the second story had the same floor plan as the first; the rooms, both downstairs and upstairs, were 30 x 30 feet with 12-foot ceilings. In 1895, the home was extensively remodeled to include porches across the front on both levels and a large 30 x 60 foot screened-in-porch was added to the side. The home faced Jefferson Turnpike and had a circular carriage road that terminated on the Turnpike. From the carriage road, a brick walkway led to the house flanked on either side by large magnolia trees, shrubs, and flowers. The home was razed in l942 when it was purchased by the State of Tennessee for a part of Sewart Air Force Base. Instead of the usual bulldozing to wreck this 100-year old home, Goochland had to be dynamited in order to tear down the extra thick walls of the structure. Dr. Gooch also took an active part in the community as well as keeping the plantation and his medical practice running smoothly. He was president and Director of the Board of the Jefferson Turnpike Company in the 1840's; was Captain, then Colonel and Commander of the 22nd Regiment, Rutherford County Militia from 1826 until his death; and was a founder and supporter of Poplar Grove Academy, a private school for grades 1-12 and the first two years of college.

Dr. Gooch died 30 November 1853. His widow, Eliza A., continued to live at the homeplace, Goochland, until her death 26 April 1877. Both are buried in Cannon Cemetery, Smyrna, Tennessee. The children received their proportionate share of their father's holdings, with one son, John (Col. Jack) Saunders Gooch, inheriting the homeplace Goochland.

Dr. John Claiborne and Eliza Gooch had 10 children, 7 of whom lived to adulthood. Most of these children lived in Rutherford County with one, Robert Saunders Gooch, living in Davidson County close to the Williamson-Rutherford county lines on the land inherited from his father. From Robert, who had 4 daughters, only one grew to womanhood. She wasMartha Tait (Patti) Gooch (1863 - 1943) who married James Elbert Rodes (l864 - 1926) of Franklin, Tennessee. Patti Gooch Rodes, as she was known, was quite active in community affairs in Franklin. She was a member of Franklin Chapter No. 14, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and did much in securing the monument for the center of the Public Square in Franklin. Another son of Dr. John's whose descendants live or have lived in Williamson County was Nathaniel Gooch. Nathaniel Gooch also became a doctor, receiving his degree from Vanderbilt University, Nashville. He practiced medicine in Rutherford County, later in 1886 moved to Nashville and continued his practice there. One of Dr. Nathaniel's sons, Christopher McEwen (Kit) Gooch, lived in Brentwood for awhile, at which time he had the first and largest turkey farm in the area having as many as 10,000 turkeys at one time. Kit also raised registered Jersey cattle and founded the Jersey Farms Milk Company.

Dr. Nathaniel has many descendants, widely scattered, but two of his grandchildren still live in the area (the children of Kit Gooch) - Mrs. Jane Gooch Ambrose (Mrs. Henry Ambrose) of Brentwood, and Lt. Col. Christopher McEwen Gooch, Jr., of Clarksville.

The son that inherited the homeplace Goochland, John (Col. Jack) Saunders Gooch remained at Goochland being a farmer and breeder of thoroughbred harness and trotting horses, Cotswold sheep and Berkshire hogs. Col. Jack was well known for his organization of Co. E, 20th Tennessee Regiment in Smyrna in the spring of 1861. He has many descendants but the only grandchild living in the area now is Jesse Claiborne Neely. Jesse Neely is the well-known coach and Athletic Director at Rice University for 27 years. After Jess's retirement in 1969 from Rice University, he became Athletic Director of Vanderbilt University; Nashville, and is now Athletic Director Emeritus. Jess and his wife; Dorothy, live in Nashville.

3 - LUCINDA TAIT GOOCH, the third child of Nathaniel and Martha Gooch, was born 24 March 1803 in Caswell County, North Carolina. She married Joseph A. Kimbro, her first cousin, 2 January 1822 in Rutherford County, Tennessee, and had 12 children. She died 14 August 1867.

From Lucinda two lines of descent have touched Williamson County - Mrs. Marion (Pearson) Kinnard, great great granddaughter who lived on the Kimbro homeplace near the Williamson-Rutherford county lines at Lavergne; and another great granddaughter, Mrs. Alice Scruggs Kelly who lived in Williamson County in the Scruggs home on the corner of Hillsboro Road and Old Hickory Blvd. For more information on both of these line, see the Kimbro sketch and the Sarah W. (Gooch) Scruggs sketch.

 4 - ALLEN TAIT GOOCH, the fourth and last child of Nathaniel and Martha Gooch, was born 11 September 1806 in Caswell County North Carolina. When he was 8 years old his parents moved to Williamson County and later they moved to District 1 of Rutherford County. On 5 September 1826, he married Elizabeth Venable Morton of Murfreesboro, the daughter of Joseph and Cisily M. Norton. Elizabeth was born 6 November 1809 in Murfreesboro and died 3 August 1865 in Valhermoso Springs, Morgan County, Alabama. Allen and Elizabeth made their home in Murfreesboro where Allen went into the merchantile business probably in the fall of 1829. By February 1837, Allen had taken a partner into the business, William McKnight, and the business became known as "Gooch and McKnight Merchantile Business." This continued to operate through October 1850. Entries from one Gooch and McKnight Cash Book, which dates from 7 February 1837 through October 1850 shows sales of hams, butter, eggs, bacon, sheep, flour, coffee, sugar, rice, lard, candles, cotton, soap, yarn, etc., with the accounts of various people. Allen Tait traveled a great deal purchasing stock for his store according to letters Allen wrote home. He traveled to Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and other eastern cities. In addition to his normal stock of goods, he also purchased a great deal of the furniture for his brothers home, Goochland. In October 1850, Allen Tait Gooch sold to Hardy Burton his storehouse and receivable notes of the merchantile business. At that time, the storehouse was located on the north side of the square in Murfreesboro and was then occupied by Misters Gardner and Shanklin. Allen and Elizabeth lived at Lot No.72 in the town of Murfreesboro from 20 February 1840 until about 1855. Prior to that, it is unknown exactly where in Murfreesboro they lived. Allen Tait surveyed the town of Milton in Rutherford County which still remains the same today. He owned property within the town of Milton when it was first formed.Allen Tait was commissioned 1st Lieutenant, 104th Regiment, Rutherford County Militia on 22 March 1832 and remained as such until about 1850 or 1855. Allen Tait evidently sold his merchantile business in preparation for a move to Alabama with his son-in-law, Jean Joseph Giers. Giers was born in Bonn, Germany. The time of his entry into this country is unknown but while he was in Murfreesboro, he gave music lessons, wrote music as well as poetry. Later he was on the staff of the "Washington Gazette" in Washington, D.C. where he was fortunate to be able to spend his winters in Washington and his summers at his home in Valhermoso Springs, Alabama, where he purchased and operated a resort hotel. Giers purchased the hotel and 1,200 acres in 1855, closed it for remodeling, and reopened it in July 1856. He named it Valhermoso Springs which meant "beautiful valley." It was located 15 miles south of Huntsville, Alabama. Giers and his wife, Mary Lucinda Gooch, her parents, Allen Tait and Elizabeth, and the rest of the family all moved to Valhermoso Springs in 1855. Evidently Allen Tait and Giers went into this business venture together and made a most successful resort hotel of that day. The Gooch family remained in residence at the hotel through 1861 and intermittently after that as shown by entries in the hotel register. All of the sons of Allen

Tait enlisted for the Civil War from that area - they were all rebels but their brother-in-law, Giers, was a northern sympathizer. Allen Tait always affectionately referred to Giers as "that damn Yankee."

Elizabeth (Morton) Gooch died 3 August 1865 at Valhermoso Springs and is buried in the Valhermoso Springs community cemetery. Her daughter and son-in-law, Jean Joseph and Mary Lucinda Giers and their children are also buried in this cemetery.

Jean Joseph Giers's brother was Carl C. Giers, the well known photographer of Nashville, Tennessee. The great granddaughter of Carl C. Giers; Mrs. Sarah Hunter (Hicks) Green (Mrs. C. William Green), lives at Devon Farm, part of which is in Williamson County. The granddaughter of Jean Joseph Giers is Mrs. Cherie Marie (Giers) Lindsey (Mrs. David D. Lindsey) of Town Creek, Alabama. Mrs. Lindsey's mother, Mrs. Delphine (Martindale) Giers, who is aged 97, came to America from Bolivia and England in 1903. She well remembers her mother-in-law, Mary Lucinda Gooch Giers, and the hotel. The hotel was abandoned in the 1940's and in 1951 the building was leveled by a tornado.

Allen Tait apparently left Valhermoso Springs after his wife died in 1865 for by 1870 he is living with one of his sons, James Tait , in Murfreesboro. He later moved to his daughters home, Mrs. Catharine (Gooch) Farrow (Mrs. George Ferdinand Farrow) in Whitehaven, now a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. There he died the 28 February 1883 andis buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee.

Allen Tait and Elizabeth (Morton) Gooch had 9 children, all born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee:

1 - Nathaniel N. Gooch, b. 28 August 1827; m. Mary A. Sellick 21 Oct. 1858 in Madison Co., Ala; lived in Macon, Mississippi in 1866; was an attorney.

 2 - John Claiborne (Big Jack) Gooch, b. 6 Sept. 1829; d. 9 Jan. 1866 in Huntsville, Ala. and buried in Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Ala.; m. Martha Jane Randolph 18 June 1851 in Rutherford Co., Tenn.; had 6 children.

3 - Mary Lucinda Gooch, b. 24 Jan. 1832; d. Spring 1909 at Valhermoso Springs, Ala., buried at Valhermoso Springs, Ala.; m. Jean Joseph Giers 5 May 1849 and had 7 children.

4 - Martha M. Gooch, b. 27 Dec. 1833, d. 1837.

5 - Harriett (Hattie) Morton Gooch, b. Nov. 1835; d. 1913 Huntsville, Ala. and buried Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Ala.; m. 1856 in Madison Co., Ala. to Theodore Acklen, had 6 children.

6 - James Tait Gooch, b. 22 Feb.. 1838; d. about l912 in Smyrna, Tenn., buried in Cannon Cemetery, Smyrna, Tenn., reinterred 1966 in Mt. Juliet Cemetery; Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; m. Anna Williams, no children. He was a book dealer in Smyrna, also owned merchantile business in Murfreesboro.

7 - Sarah T, Gooch, b. 8 Sept. 1840, d. 3 August 1865. (Other details unreadable.)

8. Elizabeth ??? Gooch, (Details unreadable.)

9. Catharine Irene Gooch, (Details unreadable.)

The second child of Allen Tait and Elizabeth (Morton) Gooch, John Claiborne (Big Jack) Gooch, left descendants that lived, or have lived in Williamson County and the surrounding areas. John Claiborne and his wife, Martha J. (Randolph) Gooch had ? children: (several names unreadable), Beverly, John Claiborne, George Washington, and James A. Gooch. Two of the sons, Allen and George, each had sons that became major league baseball players. Allen had Charles Furman (Charlie) Gooch, who played for the Washington Senators for one year (1929). George had John Beverly (Johnny) Gooch (1897 - 1975), who played in the majors for twelve years for 4 different clubs: Pittsburg Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. His longest span, nine years, was with the Pittsburg Pirates for whom he played as their first string catcher beginning in 1921. In 1925 the Pirates were the World Series Champions, defeating the Washington Senators. The Pirates were the National League Champions in 1927 and played in the World Series against the New York Yankees, but they were defeated. Johnny continued in baseball as a coach, playing manager, and scout for Pittsburg, Cincinnati and St. Louis. He also played for the Nashville Vols in 1932 and 1935. He continued to coach and manage until World War Two began, and his entire baseball club in Bluefield, West Virginia, was drafted. During the war, he owned and operated the only baseball bat manufacturing company in the U.S. as the government had closed the others in order to manufacture ax handles and other needed items. The bat factory burned twice after which Johnny quit the bat business. After the war, he continued to scout for the major leagues. Johnny Gooch lived in Brentwood on Murray Lane for several years until the house burned in 1938; he had a wood working shop in Brentwood until shortly before his death. His daughter, the writer of this very long and involved history, lives in Franklin. His son, Beverly Randolph Gooch, lives in Sunnyvale, California. The other son of Allen B. Gooch, AllenWeakley Gooch, was a pharmacist by profession and now lives in Smyrna Tennessee. Nathaniel and Martha (Tait) Gooch's line produced the only three professional sports figures in this entire Gooch family - Johnny Gooch, his first cousin, Charlie Gooch, and their second Cousin, Jesse Neely. All three of these men were born about the same time and grew up together in Smyrna.

 Taken from "The Gooch Families of Williamson County, Tennessee" written by Virginia Gooch Watson, 1979.


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