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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Source: Sheboygan Press January 16, 1915

Pioneer Of The Many Pioneers


Newton S. Goodell came to Sheboygan from Oswego, Kendall County, Illinois, with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Newton Goodell, in October, 1845 making the trip overland with a covered wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen. Five cows followed the covered wagon and each day the milk was placed in a churn and as they journeyed along the way fresh butter was produced at various intervals. They stopped wherever night overtook them along their course, always in the forests, for the roads were almost as scarce as hen's teeth. Coming from Port Washington it was necessary to cut through the entire way and there was only an Indian trail, and it took four days to make the journey from Port Washington to what is now known as Pinehurst farm. Mr. Goodell, who resides at 902 Swift Avenue and who for the past seven years has been confined to his house, gave out the above information of his early coming to Sheboygan and in his own language the following story is told:

"The night that we arrived on the site of what is now the Pinehurst farm and while mother was getting supper and father and I were caring for the stock, we heard someone in the distance shouting "Glory to God," and we saw a man coming on horseback toward our camp. We were the first white people he had observed on his entire trip, coming from Green Bay. He introduced himself as Rev. David Lewis, a Methodist preacher, on his way to Milwaukee. He accepted our invitation to remain for supper and spent the night, taking breakfast and then leaving on his way. While the Indians were plentiful there was no alarm on the part of Rev. David Lewis or our folks in camping out as the Indians seldom took advantage of the settlers. That morning we continued on, reaching what is now known as Sheboygan Falls, where we found a shanty occupied by three families, and we were given a warm welcome. Next morning father started and purchased a piece of land 2 1/2 miles west of Deacon Trowbridge and located on the Fond du Lac plank road. The next three weeks were taken up in building a log shanty and then we moved into our first Wisconsin home, and I want to tell you that it was a mighty happy family. Father cleared his land and the stock fed on brouse.

"Our first Thanksgiving dinner was of venison, vegetables, corn bread and wild plum pudding. Nothing in these days had anything like it on that Thanksgiving dinner.

"We remained on this farm for about two years. One Monday morning father started for the mouth of the Pigeon River to join a colony of settlers, with the idea of getting some flour as we were all out. He stopped at Lyman's store at the Falls and bought six barrels and ordered one sent out to the farm immediately, but in some way his orders were not carried out. As Mr. Lyman was out of flour he informed father that he would borrow a barrel and send it out and the five would follow later. While father was away, thinking we had flour, we spent an entire week living on salt pork and wild onions. All of our neighbors were in the same straights waiting for the flour, as we had agreed to furnish them with this commodity. Finally mother becoming desperate sent me to the Falls, a distance of 5 miles to meet father and tell him the flour had not arrived. In some manner we missed connections at the Falls. However, he secured the flour and continued home. In making this trip to the Falls I was pretty near scared to death. When about half way between our place and the Falls I saw a tribe of Indians. Throwing myself on the ground behind a stump I remained there until they went by, and, if you ever saw a lad travel I was that same lad.

When father arrived at home four or five of the neighbors had gathered there to get some flour. He knocked the head out of the barrel and proceeded to distribute the flour among them. All were invited to remain for supper and mother made a quantity of biscuits and we would break them off and it kept one person busy nearly all of the time, breaking off biscuits. The supper consisted of fresh biscuits, salt pork, gravy and butter. But there was a mighty little butter used that night. Later in the evening the neighbors each with a pillow sack containing flour, started for their respective homes.

"In 1847 we moved to what is known as the Pigeon River, our piece of property adjoining that known as the Blackstock farm. In those days it was a sight to see the giant pines, in some instances covering groves of many acres. The colony at the mouth of the Pigeon River lived in log shanties, each about five feet apart and in a row. A little later all of the colony left for other parts except Mr. Seaman, father of Judge Seaman, and our family. Afterwards we all came to Sheboygan. I can well remember the first school that I attended, and my class mates were Thomas Blackstock, Horace Rublee and others, well known to the pioneers. Prof. Vossberry was our teacher. The academy, as it was called. was located just in the rear of what is known as the Fountain City Park. The first merchant in Sheboygan that I can recall was Mr. Gay.

"While living in Sheboygan, father and I went out one day to cut some timber and in falling one of the trees, struck father and he sustained a broken hip which confined him to the house for six months and rendered him an invalid for some time afterwards.

"From Sheboygan we moved to the old toll gate near the Falls and there we remained for several years. The company owning the Sheboygan Fond du Lac Plank Road paid father $150 a year and all he took in after 9 o'clock in the evening. It seems that most of the traveling was done in the night time and this became very profitable to my father, so much so that the offer was later withdrawn and he was put on a salary.

I later hired out to J. J. Zufelt, a brother-in-law and father of Frank Zufelt, editor of the Telegram, and was with him for 19 years. My salary was $50 for the first years, $75 the second, and $100 the third year, and after that $2.50 a day. Mr. Zufelt operated a hub and spoke factory, the only one of its kind in this part of the state, having an exceptionally large business. Afterwards I was in the meat business in Sheboygan Falls. I have seen Sheboygan grow from a mere hamlet to a prosperous metropolis."

Mr. Goodell has served as deputy sheriff under Joseph Schrage, Louis Otte and Wilbur M. Root. Though a republican all his life time, this did not prevent Mr. Root from seeing the qualifications and appointing him to the office of deputy sheriff. For six years he was marshal of Sheboygan Falls and served as a member of the village board, and as justice of the peace. In January 1894 he entered upon his duties as coroner, becoming elected in 1893, and re-elected for a period of four terms. His residence in Sheboygan in later years dates from the time when he was chosen coroner. For a time after coming here he rented, and then purchased the residence at 902 Swift Avenue where he resides at the present time.

Mrs. Goodell is likewise a pioneer of Sheboygan, coming here in 1845, her father being James Sidney Crocker. Later he moved out into the Town of Wilson and there in 1869 Mr. and Mrs. Goodell were married. Mrs. Goodell, during the seven years Mr. Goodell has been confined as an invalid, has done everything possible to add to his comfort and if there was ever a woman who deserves a reward for faithful service it is Mrs. Goodell.


Transcribed by Kay R.

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