The Goff reunions were part of my childhood. They were held at Springbrook Park north of Guthrie Center, Iowa, which was a WPA project during the Great Depression. We enjoyed all the food and getting to play in the water. The adults enjoyed the food and talking, talking, talking.
I only knew a few people there, but my Grandma Leora knew all of them! They were related through her father Sherd Goff’s grandparents, Nathan P. And Elizabeth (Norris) Goff.
Nathan and Elizabeth had 11 children, all born in Indiana. One died as a child and one never married. The family came to Madison County, Iowa, in 1863.
While staying with my folks right before Guy left for Vietnam in July of 1969, we attended a Goff reunion. It was held at the park in Winterset, which is the seat of Madison County. Grandma Leora rode there with us.
As the caretaker of the family photos, letters, and clippings, I learned that one year there was a mini-reunion of Goffs, and that it was held at the Sherd and Laura Goff home in Dexter, which still sits along the highway and directly across from what is now the Dexter Park.
Frank Barnes, Clarence Taggart, Wayne Black, Gladys Taggart Root, Lucille Black (Iowa’s Healthiest Girl this year at the Iowa State Fair), Aunt Mary (Goff) Bonine, M.S. Goff and Therma Black sitting.
As I combed through the letters and clippings of the Clabe and Leora Wilson family, working on Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression, I noticed that nearly every summer, one of Leora’s brothers would drive to Dexter from Omaha, pick up his mother (Laura Goff) and whoever else wanted to go to the Goff Reunion at Springbrook Park north of Guthrie Center. In 1931, Doris (about 13) and her cousin Maxine Goff (about 10) went with them. Grandmother took bananas and cut them in half to serve at the potluck. Mostly the kids chose them, and one of them ate so many he got sick. Doris had never tasted a banana before.
It was there that Doris was taken aback when her younger cousin broke the news that Doris’s mother was going to have another baby. In those days, pregnancy was not discussed with children. Doris should have noticed her mother’s growing girth, but she hadn’t.
But Doris and Maxine very much enjoyed visiting at the Goff Reunions when they were adults.
The History and Genealogy of The Nathan P. Goff Family of Randolph County, West Virginia, Delaware County, Indiana, and Madison County, Iowa. Complied by one of his great grandsons, Colonel Joseph Philip Barnes, 1972.
Are large family reunions part of your memories?