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MAJ. WILLIAM HUNT GOFF, one of Attleboro’s well known citizens and leading public men, is a native of the Old Bay State, born in the town of Rehoboth, April 10, 1845. He is a descendant of one of the oldest families of Rehoboth, where the Goffs have figured more or less prominently, as well as in the nearby towns in Rhode Island, since about 1720, the date of which there is record of the families of Richard and Samuel Goff. From these two men have sprung a number whose names have been written high on the roll of fame in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as men in the humbler walks of life who, nevertheless, have proved themselves honorable and useful citizens. Among the best known of the name may be mentioned the late Darius Goff, of Pawtucket, and his sons, Lyman B. and Darius, of the same city; Rufus Burr Goff, of Providence; Jeremiah Goff; the late Gen. Nathan Goff of Civil war fame; the late Albert Goff, of Attleboro, and his sons, Major William Hunt Goff and Frederic Erford Goff, all men of ability and upright living.

Samuel Goff, one of the first of the name in Rehoboth, married Rachel and became the father of three children, born as follows:

  1. Constant, March 8, 1725
  2. Freelove, April 11, 1728
  3. Samuel, July 20, 1731

Samuel Goff Family

Samuel Goff (2), son of Samuel, was born in Rehoboth, July 20, 1731. He followed farming and made his home in Dighton, Mass. He died while in the prime of life. On Dec. 2, 1755, he married Miriam Bowen, and their children were:

  1. Elizabeth
  2. Hannah Anne
  3. Samuel Darius, who died at the age of eighteen years
  4. Sylvester
  5. Lydia
  6. Nancy, who both died young

In the Massachusetts records of soldiers and sailors who fought in the Revolutionary war are several of the name of Goff, among them one Samuel Goff, of Rehoboth, Mass., doubtless the one herein designated as Samuel (2). The record of his service is as follows: Samuel Goff, private, Capt. Joseph Willmarth’s Company, Col. John Hathaway’s Regiment, enlisted March 14, 1779, discharged April 12, 1779, service 30 days at Howland’s Ferry; enlisted Aug. 13, 1779, Capt. Nathaniel Ide’s Company, Col. Carpenter’s Regiment, discharged Sept. 12, 1779 – one month’s service. The company was detached from militia to serve in Rhode Island in the regiment under Capt. Samuel Fisher, travel allowed to and from camp to Providence. He enlisted Aug. 1, 1780, under Capt. Isaac Hicks and Col. Thomas Carpenter, on an alarm at Tiverton, R. I., and was discharged Aug. 5, 1780.

Sylvester Goff Family

Sylvester Goff, son of Samuel (2), made his home in the town of Rehoboth, where he was a land owner and farmer. On May 12, 1792, he married Rebecca Bliss, born July 12, 1771, daughter of Nathan and Joanna (Bowen) Bliss, and a descendant of one of the oldest families in Massachusetts. Their children were:

  1. Cyrus, born Nov. 17, 1793
  2. Molly, Aug. 15, 1795
  3. Matilda, Dec. 13, 1796
  4. Amanda, Nov. 6, 1798
  5. Henry Bonaparte, Oct. 12, 1800
  6. Joanna, Dec. 8, 1802
  7. Miriam, Nov. 29, 1804 (married May 4, 1834, Hiram Drown)
  8. Hiram, Jan. 18, 1807
  9. James Nelson, May 22, 1809
  10. Albert, July 23, 1812

On the Massachusetts records of soldiers and sailors in the Revolutionary war appears the name of Nathan Bliss, probably the Nathan above mentioned, who was a native of Rehoboth, Mass., and whose service was as follows: Nathan Bliss, Rehoboth, private Capt. Jos. Cole’s Co., Col. John Jacob’s Regiment, enlisted July 27, 1778, service five months and four days, at Rhode Island, enlistment to expire Jan. 1, 1779; enlisted Capt. Joseph Wilmarth’s Company, Col. John Hathaway’s regiment, March 14, 1779, discharged April 12, 1779, service thirty days at Howland’s Ferry; also Capt. Nathaniel Ide’s Company, Col. Carpenter’s Regiment; enlisted Aug. 13, 1779, discharged Sept. 12, 1779, service one month, at Rhode Island, company detached for four weeks’ service under Capt. Samuel Fisher; also Capt. John Perry’s Company, Col. Abiel Mitchell’s regiment, enlisted July 27, 1780, discharged Oct. 30, 1780, served three months, fifteen days, company raised to reinforce Continental army in Wooded Island, Nathan Bliss, sergeant, Capt. Israel Hix’s Company, Col. Thomas Carpenter’s regiment, marched from Rehoboth to Bristol, R. I., on the alarm of Dec. 8, 1776, service fourteen days.

Albert Goff Family

Albert Goff, son of Sylvester, born July 23, 1812, in the town of Rehoboth, received his education in his native town, and there engaged in farming until 1857, when with his wife and family he moved to Attleboro, and bought a farm on which he resided during the remaining years of his life. He died Oct. 26, 1890, and was laid to rest in Woodlawn cemetery, Attleboro. He was a man of well known integrity and industry. His wife, whom he married in Seekonk, Mass. (now East Providence, R. I.), March 6, 1843, was Ruth Ann Hunt, who was born in Seekonk, June 7, 1822, daughter of William D. and Lydia Jenks (Chase) Hunt, and granddaughter of Grindell Chase, a soldier and drummer boy in the war of the Revolution. Mrs. Goff, now at the ripe old age of eighty-nine years, is still bright and active, and makes her home on Peck street, Attleboro, her declining years brightened by the love of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In her young womanhood she successfully taught school for several years. To Albert Goff and wife were born nine children, as follows:

  1. Isabelle Alton, born Jan. 26, 1844, married James H. Reynolds, and died in Attleboro Aug. 6, 1891
  2. William Hunt was born April 10, 1845
  3. Walter Chase, born Oct. 5, 1846, is unmarried and resides at home
  4. Frederic Erford was born Jan. 17, 1850
  5. Frank Albert, born Nov. 16, 1851, married Lyda Pyle, and is engaged as a painter and decorator at Attleboro
  6. Wesley Whitfield, born Aug. 16, 1855, is a carpenter in Attleboro, where he married Caroline Crapon
  7. Emma Clifford, born June 27, 1857, is at home
  8. Anna Burnside, born in March, 1862, died in infancy
  9. Catharine Howard, born July 8, 1865, married Robert I. Gibbons, and resides in Attleboro

William Hunt Goff Family

William Hunt Goff, son of Albert and Ruth Ann (Hunt) Goff, attended the public schools of Rehoboth, Mass., until twelve years old, when he moved to the town of Attleboro with his parents, and there he also attended school. He was a student in the academy when the Civil war broke out, and was only sixteen years old when he enlisted Oct. 31, 1861, in Company H, 24th Mass. V. I., under Capt. John Dayland and Col. Thomas G. Stevenson. He took part in the campaign of Burnside in North Carolina, and served from October, 1861, to January, 1866, and was a participant in the battles of Roanoke Island, Newbern, N. C, James Island, the siege of Morris Island, Fort Wagner, Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, Drury Bluff, Bermuda Hundred, Weir Bottom Church, Deep Bottom, Deep River, Flussers Mills, Newmarket Heights, Siege of Petersburg, Darby Town Road, Newmarket Road, siege of Richmond, Portsmouth, N. C. and numerous other smaller engagements. He re-enlisted in 1864 after a short time at home, and was at the fall of Richmond where he was on duty until Jan. 20, 1866. He was discharged at Richmond with the rank of sergeant. After spending over four years, four months in the service of his country he returned home, and after a short time on the farm with his parents he learned the carpenter’s trade under Alfred Pierce, at which he worked as a journeyman until 1872, when he started in as a builder and contractor, being one of the first in Attleboro, and taking in Walton Shattuck as partner, under the firm name of Goff & Shattuck. This partnership continued until 1876, after which time Mr. Goff continued the business alone until he retired. During his building career he has constructed mills, business blocks and a large number of dwellings. Among the buildings may be mentioned the Bates , block, including the opera house, also the Horton block and the Universalist Church, Mechanics’ Mills, Inter-State car barn, Menauhant Hotel, Falmouth, Mass., and W. H. Wilmarth Co. factory at Attleboro. Among the most prominent dwelling houses are those of William H. Smith, J. C. Cummings, Gideon M. Horton, C. A. Marsh, etc.

Major Goff was one of the organizers in October, 1887, of Company I, 5th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, in Attleboro, and was its first captain, a position he held for nearly nine years until he resigned, in May, 1896. He served four years as assistant inspector on General Bancroft’s staff, with rank of major. He has been a stanch supporter of the Republican party and has filled positions of trust and responsibility in Attleboro. He was selectman for nine years, seven of which he was chairman of the board; for eleven years he was member of the board of assessors, ten of which he was its chairman; was superintendent of streets for six years and overseer of the poor for four years, and was a member of the Republican town committee at different times, serving as chairman for two years.

On Dec. 17, 1876, Major Goff was married to Clara E. Shaw, a native of Lawrence, Mass., daughter of John and Paulina (Dimond) Shaw. To this union have been born six children, as follows:

  1. William Hunt, Jr., who now resides in Worcester, Mass.
  2. Rena May, who married Frank Rounseville, of Attleboro
  3. Howard Clarence, who died aged fourteen
  4. Herbert Bancroft, of Attleboro
  5. Clara E., who died aged one year
  6. Anna Grace, at home

Fraternally, Major Goff is a member of Ezekiel Bates Lodge, A. F. & A. M., King Hiram Chapter, E. A. M., Attleboro Council, E. & S. M., and Bristol Commandery, Knights Templar, and Aleppo Temple, Mystic Shrine, at Boston. He is a member of Hope Chapter, Eastern Star, at Attleboro; of William A. Streeter Post, G. A. E., at Attleboro, of which he is past commander; the A. 0. U. W. and B. E. O. E. Mrs. Goff and daughters are members of the Murray Universalist Church. Major Goff was president of the Universalist Club when it was in existence. He is one of the most public spirited citizens of Attleboro, and has the honest esteem of all who know him.

William Hunt Goff, Jr. Family

William Hunt Goff, Jr., became a member of Company I, 5th Regiment Mass. Volunteer Militia, at the time his father was captain of that company. He later became a corporal and sergeant. Upon the outbreak of the Spanish war, he went out as a sergeant of the 5th Regiment, and came from the war as first sergeant of Company I. Soon after he was elected first lieutenant of Company I, and shortly afterward was elected captain and served three years until his resignation. He married Marie Johnson.

Frederic Erford Goff Family

Frederic Erford Goff, son of Albert and Ruth Ann (Hunt) Goff, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., Jan. 17, 1850, and was but seven years old when he came to the town of Attleboro with his parents. He attended the local school, and remained on the farm until seventeen, when he took up market gardening in Attleboro, finding a sale for his product in the markets of Providence, Pawtucket and Attleboro. He continued at this work for some years and then he entered the jewelry shop of Sturdy Brothers, and worked at that business for a period of ten years. He then in 1885 took up the business of painter and paper hanger, establishing himself in Attleboro, and for the past twenty-five years he has been one of the leading contract painters in the town, building up a successful business.

Mr. Goff is a Republican, but he is not a politician. He belongs to Company C of Attleboro, and to the Fire Department.

On May 9, 1878, at Taunton, Mass., Mr. Goff married Rosanna B., daughter of Joshua Sears, and this union has been blessed with the following children:

  1. Lillian, who married Edward Richie, and has Ruth and Frederick
  2. Laura, who married Charles Perkins, resides in Newport, R. I., and has George, Grace and Dorothy
  3. Fred J., in the painting business with his father
  4. Florence, who married Richard Sherman, resides in Newport, R. I., and has Mildred and Catherine
  5. Albert, at home.

Hunt Family Connection

The Hunt family to which Major William H. Goff and Frederic E. Goff belong in maternal lines, is of the ancient town of Rehoboth, Mass., which years ago included a number of towns in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, among them Seekonk and Attleboro, Mass., and East Providence, Barrington and Pawtucket, R. I., and is of 260 and more years’ standing there. To the Seekonk-East Providence family, with which this article deals, and the head of which was the late William Donnison Hunt, belongs the latter’s son, Simeon Hunt, M. D., a graduate of Dartmouth College and long a leading physician and surgeon in and about his native town and a public official in the town of his residence – East Providence.

The family history of the late William Donnison Hunt and the family genealogy is set forth in the following, the arrangement being chronological:

Peter Hunt Family

Lieut. Peter Hunt was at Rehoboth, Mass., in 1643, a proprietor, a freeman June 4, 1645, and admitted as such June 5, 1651. He was a town officer. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Judith Smith, who came from County Norfolk, England. Mr. Hunt’s will was probated Dec. 26, 1692. He was buried Oct. 21st of that year. His widow remarried and died in 1724, the widow of Isaac Williams. The children born to Peter and Elizabeth were:

  1. Sarah, born Jan. 21, 1646
  2. Judith, born April 12, 1648
  3. Peter, June 11, 1650
  4. Enoch, Feb. 28, 1652
  5. Elizabeth, March 1, 1654
  6. John, Oct. 15, 1656
  7. Mary, June 15, 1658
  8. Ephraim, March 31, 1661
  9. Tabitha, Sept. 14, 1663
  10. Daniel, Feb. 14, 1665
  11. Benjamin, Sept. 29, 1668
  12. Nathaniel, Dec. 31, 1670

This Peiser Hunt is made by the compiler of the genealogy of the Hunt family (1862-63) a son of Enoch Hunt, who came from Titenden in the parish of Lee, England, was at Weymouth, Mass., 1640; town officer, 1651; his wife Dorothie was formerly widow Barker. Enoch Hunt died before 1647, she surviving him.

Ephraim Hunt Family

Ephraim Hunt, born March 31, 1661, married Rebecca, and they were residents of Rehoboth, Mass. Mr. Hunt died May 9, 1694, and his widow remarried, marrying Nov. 22, 1697, David Carpenter. The children born to Ephraim and his wife were:

  1. Daniel, born July 12, 1687
  2. John, March 9, 1688
  3. Sarah, Oct. 16, 1690
  4. Hannah, June 26, 1693

John Hunt Family

John Hunt, born March 9, 1688, married Dec. 11, 1712, Susanna Sweeting, and they were residents of Rehoboth, Mass. He was called Lieutenant Hunt. He made his will April 23, 1751, and he died Oct. 15th of that year. His children were:

  1. Sarah, born in 1716
  2. Susanna, March 26, 1718
  3. John, Feb. 20, 1719
  4. Isaiah, July 16, 1721
  5. Hannah, Oct. 1, 1722
  6. Simeon, Jan. 15, 1724
  7. Elizabeth, Aug. 21, 1726
  8. Levi, Dec. 22, 1730
  9. Molly, March 17, 1732

Simeon Hunt Family

Simeon Hunt, born Jan. 15, 1724, married Elizabeth Donnison and they were residents of Providence, R. I. Their children were:

  1. John, born July 11, 1755
  2. Simeon, May 3, 1757 (died Jan. 12, 1758)
  3. Simeon (2), born May 4, 1761

John Hunt Family

John Hunt, son of Simeon, was born July 11, 1755, and died May 31, 1819. He married Ruth Straight, and their children were:

  1. Simeon, born March 11, 1789, died in 1872, in the town of South Cortland, N. Y.
  2. Eliza D., born April 24, 1791, died in Providence, Sept. 18, 1872
  3. Nancy, born June 7 or 9, 1793, died Aug. 1, 1794
  4. John, born Aug. 8, 1795, died Aug. 31, 1795
  5. John Donnison, born July 2, 1796, died Aug. 16, 1796
  6. William Donnison, born Dec. 29, 1797
  7. Mary Ann, born Oct. 3, 1800
  8. Abby S., born April 11, 1809

All excepting the last two were born in Providence, and they in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

William Donnison Hunt Family

William Donnison Hunt, born Dec. 29, 1797, owned in the early part of the last century a large tract of land where Watchemoket Square, East Providence, is now located and what afterward was known as the Capt. Mauran farm. In about 1836 he sold his properties in East Providence (then Seekonk) and purchased a large farm in the eastern part of the town, near the Rehoboth town line, where he spent the remainder of his days. He was a most successful farmer, noted for miles around for his skill in this occupation. He was a man of strong character and excellent judgment. A friend of education, he gave to his children superior advantages and seven of them became teachers in the surrounding towns of Rehoboth, Swansea, East Providence, Pawtucket and Taunton. He was one of the select-men of Seekonk for a number of years and a member of the General Assembly of Massachusetts. On Feb. 19, 1821, he married Lydia J. Chase, sister of Samuel Chase, a United States senator from New York and a relative of Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, cabinet officer under President Lincoln, and governor, and United States senator from Ohio. Their children were:

  1. Ruth Ann, born June 7, 1822, of Attleboro (mother of Maj. William H. and Frederic E. Goff)
  2. John, born March 6, 1824, was a member of the Massachusetts General Assembly from Rehoboth, where he carried on farming (he married Charlotte Arnold)
  3. William D., born Oct. 19, 1825, died Oct. 28, 1846
  4. Sarah Chase, born Oct. 15, 1827, married Horace G. Smith and died in Rehoboth
  5. Elizabeth Peck, born Feb. 11, 1830, married George H. Carpenter and died in Rehoboth
  6. Catherine Jenks, born Feb. 11, 1832, died in Rehoboth
  7. Samuel M., born Feb. 17, 1835, died at Gold Hill, Nevada, in 1894, unmarried
  8. Simeon, born April 27, 1837, is a well known physician of East Providence
  9. George Henry, born Dec. 16, 1839, died in February, 1905, in Rehoboth, unmarried