Sherd Goff was one of the seven children of John and Florence Goff. The youngest three died as children. The third and fourth both died at the age of 20. That left Eddie and Sherd (Edwin Carlton and Milton Sheridan). Eddie never married, so I told people that Sherd Goff’s children were the only grandchildren for John and Florence. I was wrong!
Last year I was contacted by a woman from Florida. She, her mother, and grandmother took DNA tests, which confirmed Eddie C. Goff as being part of their ancestry. E. C. Goff is listed as the father on the birth certificate of Irene Chappell Goff.
The great granddaugher had also learned that Ed Goff’s parents were John B. and Florence Ione (Shepherd) Goff, and wondered if I knew anything about the family. Well, Edwin Carlton Goff is listed on one of my family charts, the brother of my great grandfather.
I sent her what I knew about “Uncle Ed Goff,” which wasn’t much. I’d just learned that he was the mystery man on the right with other Goffs whom I recognized.
The only one still living in the above photo is Gary Blockley. He remembered enough about tall quiet Uncle Ed that he and the young woman have had at least one phone conversation.
The young woman has her great grandmother’s diary and records. She named E. C. Goff as the father of her daughter, called “Chappie.” Ed used to bring her strawberries. “The last story is that Eddie left at the age of 37 with Florence and John on a railway when she was in labor at the hotel across the street and she never saw him again.”
Because this is her story to tell, I’m not naming the woman who contacted me, but said that she felt like I’d sent her a missing piece, that she, her mother, and grandmother were connected to a real family. “My mother and I actually just cried on the phone! What an emotional great day this is been! My great great grandmother was 35 when my great grandmother was born and Eddie was in his late 30s as well. While her diary says that he knew and she was in the late stages of her pregnancy when he left, it makes me wonder if he actually did. Why did he not ever marry? Oh how I wish I could go back in time! She describes him as handsome, tall and very gentle. There are some stories about him having to take care of his parents and that is why he left. My great grandmother told me that when her mother was in her older years that she built a fire in the backyard and burnt all of the letters that he had sent her.”
Eddie Goff pioneered with his parents in Montana. Did they know he was leaving a woman in labor with his own child?
Did he ever wonder whether he’d fathered a son or a daughter? After his parents had died, why didn’t he try to connect with them? He died an old man alone in California, with descendants still hoping to find him.
I was hunting for something else when I ran across a small tintype, identified by Leora (Goff) Wilson as Edwin Carlton Goff, so I asked if Sasha would like it. Yes, and she okayed this blog post which publicly connects Ed Goff to his descendants for the first time.
I did not include this story in Leora’s Early Years: Guthrie County Roots. Ed Goff’s daughter was born while his brother’s family lived in northern Minnesota. I wonder whether Sherd Goff ever knew he had a niece about the same age as his younger sons.