By 1911, when he bought a farm at Wichita, Iowa, Sherd Goff had not allowed his older children to go to high school.
The three oldest sons–Merl, Wayne, and Jennings–were farming when drafted in WWI.
While their sons were still in France, Sherd and Laura bought a Victorian house in the county seat town of Guthrie Center. Their three youngest sons got to attend high school–Willis, Perry, and Clarence.
Perry dropped out as a sophomore, shortly after he had an appendicitis. He also worked late at Cronk’s Cafe and it was hard for him to get up in the morning, so his dad kicked him out of the house–not an uncommon occurrence in this household.
Their Only High School Graduates
Willis was 21 when he finally graduated! But when they lived on the farm, his father had only allowed him to go to school in the winter.
Clarence–the seventh son as my grandmother pointed out–was just 17 and the youngest in his class when he became their valedictorian. He was awarded a scholarship but they decided he was too young to take advantage of it, so Willis used it and studied chemistry at the University of Iowa.
Having that high school education was a big benefit to these two brothers. They were the most successful ones out of a family of ten. Willis went into cosmetics in Southern California.
After riding the rails for a while, Clarence (C.Z.) eventually became owner of a heating and cooling company (Timpkin) in Omaha, and was really able to see the extended family through the Depression.
Brother Jennings was widowed in 1924, with two small children. They lived with Sherd and Laura from then on.
Then in 1930, Sherd Goff died while showing his grandsons how to shock oats near the town of Dexter, Iowa. C.Z. bought a house so that Laura, Jennings and his children, and oldest brother Merl could move to Omaha. He also provided jobs to Jennings and Merl, and regularly helped out his sister’s growing family during those bleak years.
These Goff brothers were my mother’s uncles, who visited their mother and oldest sister (my grandmother) regularly at Guthrie Center, Iowa.
Perry and Rolla were the only two I don’t remember. They never married, but arranged to have their remains sent to Guthrie Center from the east coast for my grandmother to bury.
Merl seemed to love arguing about politics. Wayne and Willis were the most outgoing to young great nieces.
J.B., Rolla, and Perry died in their seventies. C.Z. lived to be 84. (Rolla and Perry are buried at Guthrie Center.)
Three brothers lived into their nineties–Wayne to 93, Merl to 94, and Willis to 99.