Joshua Gilpatrick Goodwin (1805-1897), dairy farmer; Israel W. Goodwin (b. 1823), tanner
c. 1800 – Israel W. Goodwin House - 204 Portland Street - and the Joshua Goodwin Farm
This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Israel W. Goodwin was a tanner living here in the mid-1800s with his wife, Sarah Joy Goodwin. The Boston and Maine Railroad ran next to this property. Tanneries were also associated with the nearby Lambert (Ferguson) House on Portland Street and the Hodsdon House on Agamenticus Road.
The Israel W. Goodwin House in recent times
Israel W. Goodwin was born on August 8, 1823, and in 1845 he married Sarah Joy. Old Berwick Historical Society archives include an 1857 deed showing the sale in Berwick of an engine house and steam engine belonging to Goodwin, and about the same time, his tannery was bought by Joseph Goye, a tanner, and neighbor Robert Hodsdon, whose house is at 31 Agamenticus Road. It is thus believed that Israel W. Goodwin may have died about the time the map shown here was drawn about 1856. His son, Benjamin, married in Tamworth, NH in 1869. By 1872 (Atlas of York County) the house was owned by E. H. Flagg.
It’s not known who built the house, but a property nearby was called a "yoking place" in 1789. Portland Street in the late 1700s was a route through which ox teams brought mast pines out of Berwick and Lebanon, and took them to Salmon Falls River landings such as Quamphegan. Israel W. Goodwin’s great grandfather seems to have been Benjamin Goodwin (1722-1786), perhaps Benjamin II, a "master carter" engaged in the mast trade. Master carter is a term used for one who cut and hauled log masts. Born somewhere in South Berwick, this Benjamin Goodwin eventually moved to Kennebunk.
Israel Goodwin’s grandfather, Benjamin Goodwin III, was born in 1741 and was a Kennebunk resident throughout his life. Israel’s father, another Benjamin Goodwin, was born in Kennebunk on May 10, 1781 and became a farmer there and in Lyman.
The Joshua Goodwin Farm, 1883. Pictured are Joshua G. and Sarah Nichols Goodwin and their sons, David N. Goodwin and Benjamin Goodwin, and their families. Photo courtesy of Chuck Oliver.
Behind the house and slightly to the left stood one of the farm's two barns. In the above photo, the rock wall and wooden fence rail in the foreground led to the other barn, out of sight to the left. The drive to the south (left) side of the house is clearly in evidence. A section of fencing at the right indicates that a later drive to the north had not yet been built at the time of this photo.
Joshua's great great-grandson, Chuck Oliver, who lived on Portland Street in the 1930s, writes: "The house looks exactly as I remember it as do the south drive and the entrance to the lower barn. The upper barn was no longer there by the time I came along, but I do recall hearing, as a boy, that in years past some barn was moved to a new location."
The Joshua Goodwin Farm, 207 Portland Street, stood on what was known as Goodwin Hill. It supplied dairy products to residents of South Berwick Village into the early 20th century.
Goodwin Hill, viewed from Butler (Powderhouse) Hill, is in the distance in this photo at right from the turn of the last century. The Joshua Goodwin Farm is in the upper right hand corner. The Israel W. Goodwin House, owned by Joshua's brother, is out of view at right. The intersection of Portland Street and Agamenticus Road, where the soldiers' monument was erected by the town about 1898, is at the center of the photo.
Joshua Goodwin Farm photo courtesy of Chuck Oliver.
The Joshua Goodwin farmhouse was a duplex in later years, and the Goodwins occupied the half to the left. The kitchen was at the back of the house and opened through a door into a long front room divided by a sliding door (normally closed). The front half, the parlor, was usually reserved for company, the rear half being the sitting room. The barn in the photo at left was destroyed in a snow storm at Easter, 1932, a few years after this photo was taken.
Chuck Oliver writes of the above photo that between the large tree and the porch on the north (right) side of the house, a bit of shingled wall may be part of the old upper barn. Chuck has a personal recollection of the tree behind the barn at left, "a tall elm tree most of whose trunk is hidden behind the barn, a tree quite clear in my memory for a number of reasons. A large gash extended most of the vertical length of its far side (that facing the house), the result of a lightning strike. Also, Uncle Ed allowed me to use his old BB gun with which I would sit on the porch steps and fire away at that tree, aiming in particular at the gash.
"The other tree between the house and the barn does not appear to have changed very much in the interval between the taking of the two photographs and indicating, perhaps, that the difference in time was not great...
"The lower barn looks exactly as I remember it, but one feature I had forgotten until I spotted it here. The structure at the near corner was a two (maybe three) hole outhouse, the long multi-pane window being located above the bench. Entrance was by a separate small door in the far side where it extended beyond the front face of the barn."
Of his great Uncle Ed, Chuck also recalls that he was a lifelong South Berwick resident "and for many years a clerk at Rideout's Hardware store as well as a deacon in the First Baptist Church. I remember him not only from early 1920s visits prior to our move to South Berwick but more vividly from 1927 (when we moved there) until his death in 1956. After the loss of his wife in 1939 he finally left 207 Portland St and spent his final years as a member of our family at 105 Portland St."
The Joshua Goodwin Farm property became part of a golf course. A local resident who once lived in the Joshua Goodwin farmhouse says the topography of the hill has been changed.
(Summary by Wendy Pirsig from archives at the Counting House Museum. Updated December 2020. Sources include: Daniel Goodwin of Ancient Kittery, Maine, and His Descendants, by John Hayes Goodwin, 1985; and Joshua G. Goodwin family information from Chuck Oliver. David Nichols information from research by Gillian Cusack, Old Berwick Historical Society, and from "Old Houses of South Berwick" by Margaret Foote.)