For forty years Fred C. Goff has been continuously connected with the shoe trade and is now secretary and treasurer of the Racine Shoe Manufacturing Company. The thoroughness with which be has mastered every phase of the business has been one of the strong forces in his growing success and he has earned for himself an enviable reputation as a careful business man who, in all of his dealings, is known for his prompt and honorable methods, which have won for him the deserved and unbounded confidence of his fellowmen.
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Mr. Goff was born in Steuben County, New York, November 13, 1858, a son of Warren W. and Lucina (Pixley) Goff, who were likewise natives of the Empire state, where the father carried on business as both a farmer and contractor. His father was William W. Goff., who built the first brick house in Steuben County, where he was a pioneer settler and became an extensive land owner. He also owned a large carding mill and was prominently associated with the early development and progress of that section.
Fred C. Goff supplemented a public school education by a course in the high school at Hornellsville, New York, and for two years read law, but decided that he preferred other business pursuits rather than law practice and in 1876 made his initial step in the shoe trade. In 1895 he came to Racine and organized the Racine Shoe Company, becoming superintendent of the factory. In time this was merged into the Jones-Earl Shoe Company which in 1902 was taken over by the Racine Shoe Manufacturing Company, with Fred C. Goff as the general manager. He continued as such until 1914, when he was elected president of the company and in 1916 he became secretary and treasurer. This is one of the large manufacturing interests of the state and its output not only covers a large territory in the United States, but is also sent extensively to foreign lands. Under the guidance of Mr. Goff in his various official relations the business has rapidly developed along substantial lines until employment is now furnished to about two hundred operatives in the factory, while the house is represented upon the road by fourteen traveling salesmen. With the growth of the business Mr. Goff has taken over more and more of the stock until he is now the heaviest stockholder.
In 1882 Mr. Goff was united in marriage to Miss Ella S. Burrell, of New York, and to them has been born two daughters: Mary E., the wife of George S. Bliss, of Racine; and Fannie, at home. Mrs. Goff is a daughter of Allen Minor Burrell, a second cousin of General Benjamin Butler. Her father has in his possession the watch that was taken from Benjamin Arnold, the Revolutionary war traitor, when he was captured. Both Mr. Goff’s family and his wife’s family are of English lineage and both were established on American soil in colonial days. Politically Mr. Goff is a republican and his broad reading enables him to support his position by intelligent argument. He belongs to the Commercial Club and the National Chamber of Commerce, while his fraternal relations are with the Masons and the Elks. His position, established by the consensus of opinion on the part of his fellowmen, is that of one of Racine county’s most prominent, capable and respected citizens. In no sense a man in public life he has, nevertheless, exerted an immeasurable influence on the city of his residence: in business life as a promoter of extensive manufacturing and commercial enterprises; in social circles of Racine as a man of a charming personality and unfeigned cordially; in polities by reason of his public spirit and devotion to the general good, as well as by his comprehensive understanding of the questions affecting state and national welfare.