Goff Family History
This article is dedicated to all the descendants of Henry Clay and Finecia Nell (Necy) Reid Goff. Many of their descendants still live in the Grapeland, Percilla, Waneta, and surrounding communities. Many of them live away, but they have fond memories of growing up in that area. It will always be “home” to this family. The Goff Family came to this country from Ireland during the 1800’s and settled in Cherokee County and Anderson County. Henry Clay Goff was the son of Elijah and Nancy Carter Goff. He had five sisters and two brothers. The family had a hard time during the Civil War. Elijah served in the Texas Infantry from 1861 to 1865. During that war, a man could hire someone to serve in his place in the Confederate Army; in return that man was responsible for the care of the fighting man’s family. Elijah Goff was hired by another man to serve in his place. His wife, Nancy Goff, died during this time and the man who had hired Elijah failed to take good care of the children. They had very little to eat and for the last three months before Elijah returned from the war, they only had Irish potatoes. One of the children, Henry, said he never cared for potatoes again. Later, Elijah married Martha Jenkins and they moved to the Goff farm, located near Waneta and Muse communities. They had 5 children. It is said that Martha went to a spring nearby, their source of water, to wash clothes. She laid her small child on a quilt and looked up to see a panther poised on a tree limb ready to spring on her child. She grabbed her gun and killed the panther before it jumped. The water in the spring was cool and Martha put her containers of milk in the good, cool spring water. Once, Henry went down to the spring and skimmed off all the rich cream that formed on top of the milk and ate it. His sister got a spanking from their stepmother Martha because she thought the sister had eaten the cream. Henry Clay and Nell (Necy) Reid Goff had twelve children. When Henry first married Necy, they lived near the Muse Baptist Church. While living there, their three oldest children were born: Nan Goff Foster, Mattie Goff Dunnam, and Ira Goff. Henry planted three sycamore trees at this home. One of the sycamores is still living. Necy’s parents died in the early 1800s and her brother, Mack Reid and her sisters came to live with the Goffs. Henry and Necy Goff moved to the old Goff farm, where Henry had lived when he was younger. There they had nine other children, Elmer Goff, Earon Goff, Flora Goff Johnston, Eugenia Goff, Van Goff, Andy Goff, Clarence Goff, Cornelia Goff Lively, and Lorenza Goff. As young children, the Goffs worked hard but they also played hard, having fun riding horses, calves and hogs. Cornelia Goff’s arm was broken when she was thrown while riding a calf. Accidents of this kind were common to the active Goff children. Clarence, while watching his brother Van split logs for wood to use in their fireplace and cook stove, stood too close and was hit on the forehead. His sister, Flora, grabbed him up and carried him bleeding to the house. His mother, Necy, applied one of her “poultice cures” and he soon healed up. Necy Goff and her granddaughter Joy were once attacked by a boar hog at the barn. Necy attracted the attention of the hog while Joy ran to the house. The hog ripped Necy’s leg open, but she calmly came limping to the house and applied a “poultice of soot.” Houses in those days had long porches and an open-ended hallway down the middle of the home so that all the rooms opened onto the hall. The porches were nice to sit on for a nice cool breeze. On the end of a porch, you would find a shelf, containing a bucket of water, a dipper for pouring and drinking, and a pan for washing hands and face, and a bar of soap. Nearby on the wall hung a mirror, towel and comb for grooming oneself. One day, when his parents were gone, Earon Goff decided to show their dog himself in the mirror. Thinking it was another dog; he attacked the mirror and broke it. Of course, Earon received a spanking when his parents returned home. All the Goff children took their turn “getting in trouble” during their years of growing. Andy, accompanied by his brother Clarence, was sent to the spring for a cool bucket of water. On the way, Andy decided he would take Necy’s old setting hen down to the spring and give her good dousing, so may she would quit sitting on her nest. Not thinking of the consequences, Andy doused the old hen in the spring before he got the bucket of water. Needles to say, when he got back to the house with a bucketful of water and feathers, he was in for his share of trouble. The Goff children attended several schools. First they attended the old loni located about a mile from the Goff home. Later they went to Old RedPrairie School which was located where the beautiful home of Bob and Hazel Sutton Scoggins now stands. It was a long walk from the Goff farm. Old Red Prairie (Prairie) School was near a spring. The wooden box used to enclose the drinking water for the children is still there. In October of 1899 Eugenia Goff died at the age of eight with scarlet fever. In those days doctors did not believe in breaking the fever with cool water. She died from the effects of very high fever. The Goff family worked hard and raised most of their food. Necy Goff canned tomatoes, and peaches which she dried for pies. Pork was “put down” in salt to preserve and beef had to be dried. World War I brought about a shortage of many goods. When flour was short, cornbread instead of biscuits was eaten. Breakfast at the Goff home was served at 4 a.m. every morning on weekdays so that the family could be at work in the fields early. Clarence helped his mother each morning by grinding the coffee beans in the grinder on the kitchen wall and by putting the ground coffee into a pot of boiling water. These beans had to be roasted in the oven before grinding. The kitchen was a separate room connected to the house by a porch for safety in case of fire. The oldest son of Henry and Necy Goff, Ira, went toGeorgia to a telegraph and railroad business college. He hoped to get an education and job to be able to help his brothers and sisters. After college he got a job in Fresno, California, teaching children. He also attended a business college there. In May, 1905, Ira suddenly disappeared. According to his last letters, he was very ill with terrible headaches. The doctors could not help him and the pain was so unbearable that he felt that he was dying. Rewards were offered and a search was made for him by the police, but no clues to his disappearance could be found. His trunk with all of his belongings was returned home. Twenty years later, a letter was received from him. He was living in Lewiston, Idaho and had married Sarah Booth of Salt Lake City, Utah. Sarah had found a picture of his brother, Elmer, in his wallet and asked who he was. When she learned of his family, she begged him to write. Later, Ira came home for a visit and it was a happy reunion for the whole family. Ira had written home before, but the family had moved and the letters were not forwarded to them. No one knows how the last letter found its way to his family. Ira and Sarah Goff had one child that died very young. Later Sarah died and Ira married her sister Eva Booth. He came back to visit his parents twice more, the last time being in the 1930’s when his father was ill. Ira Goff died August 18, 1947. He died the day before his niece; Edythe Goff (daughter of Clarence) married Neal Hand. Ira Goff killed a large black bear while he lived in California. He sent his mother one of its paws to hang on the porch. The Goffs were a happy and healthy family. Lorenza lived to be 85 years old. He died in July, 1984. Clarence, a veteran who served in the infantry during World War I, died July 27, 1985 at the age of 89. Flora Goff Johnston died February 3, 1986 at the age 96. One member of the Henry Goff family still lives and cares for she, Cornelia Goff Lively, age 88. Walter Williams, uncle of Necy Goff, lived to be 117 years old. He was reportedly the last living confederate veteran. He died inHouston in 1959.