Ichabod Goodwin (1819-1869) and John W. Goodwin (1825-1911), brothers on opposite sides of the Civil War


Ichabod Goodwin (1819-1869) and John Wallingford Goodwin (1825-1911)Ichabod Goodwin (1819-1869) and John Wallingford Goodwin (1825-1911) were grandsons of the second wealthiest man in South Berwick, Gen. Ichabod Goodwin of Old Fields . Described by a contemporary as "a staff to lean upon in all parish and educational affairs," Gen. Goodwin (1743-1829) was a merchant and ship owner with ties to Portsmouth docks and shipyards at Pipe Stave Landing near the Hamilton House, and the major-general of militia for York and Cumberland Counties. A founder of Berwick Academy in 1791, he was president from 1826 to 1828, during a time of the school's expansion, just before his death at age 86.

    Gen. Goodwin in his final years must have looked with hope and pride to these two new grandsons, the first children of Maj. Andrew Goodwin (1784-1843) and Elizabeth “Betsey” Wallingford. Her grandfather, Col. Thomas Wallingford of Rollinsford (then Summersworth), NH, was a Salmon Falls sawmill owner and one of the wealthiest men in New Hampshire. 

    (New Hampshire's governor during the Civil War was another famous Ichabod Goodwin from the Berwicks who attended Berwick Academy. Born in 1794 in present-day North Berwick a grandson of Gen. Goodwin's brother, Gov. Goodwin was a bit older than these boys though of the same generation. His home is preserved at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth.)

    The two young brothers attended their grandfather's academy in South Berwick. The elder, Ichabod Goodwin, inherited his namesake's homestead at Old Fields. After graduating from Bowdoin in 1839, he taught at New York University, at a school in Flushing, NY and at Bowdoin, and then studied law and was admitted to the bar. He practiced law in South Berwick and engaged for two years in civil engineering. In 1850 he married Sophia Elizabeth Hayes, daughter of Hon. William Allen Hayes and Susannah Lord, of Academy Street.

    In 1856 he became Berwick Academy's 20th preceptor (principal or headmaster) since its founding in 1791. Author Sarah Orne Jewett , a student from 1861 to 1865, later wrote, “Mr. Goodwin's scholars… remember him with love and gratitude and owe to him much of their knowledge of good books.” Berwick Academy's official history, The Old Academy on the Hill by Marie Donahue, describes Goodwin as “greatly beloved and admired” by his students, who presented him with a silver cup kept long afterward in the headmaster's office. Student Susan Hayes Ward later described Goodwin as having been her most inspiring teacher. “He loved the study of language, any language – Greek, Latin, German, Spanish, French, all delighted him,” she recalled. “He appreciated the beauty and power of words.”

    Even before the Civil War, Goodwin was said to have admired Abraham Lincoln, and read his students passages from the Lincoln-Douglas debates and his speech at Cooper Union. In 1861 when Goodwin left the academy, he secured a government position in Washington where he remained for several years until his health failed. He died at age 50, leaving one son, William Allen Hayes Goodwin.

    Meanwhile, his younger brother, John Wallingford Goodwin, had a longer and considerably different life, particularly during the Civil War years, and no less interesting. After Berwick Academy he graduated from Bowdoin at only 19, a year younger than his brother had. He became a civil engineer, and right away went to work building railroads in Massachusetts and Vermont. In 1848, he went south, and began making surveys for what later became the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. He was still in Alabama when the Civil War broke out.

    So while his brother arrived in Washington for a job in the Lincoln administration, John Wallingford Goodwin became a member of the Mobile Rifles, which became a part of the 3rd Alabama regiment, C.S.A, and eventually held the rank of Major in the Confederate Army.  Civil War records show he enlisted as a sergeant in the 3rd Alabama Infantry, Company K, on April 24, 1861 for a one year enlistment. He was detached to the Brigade Quartermaster on May 1, 1861. This was made permanent on May 18, 1861. He was appointed Major in the Quartermaster Department on July 19, 1861 and confirmed on December 24, 1861. He served in various capacities until March 9, 1865.  He was transferred to Norfolk to work on fortifications there, and, in 1862, as a part of Gen. Bragg's staff, took part in the battles of Corinth and Chattanooga. In the fall of 1862, he was made military superintendent of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, continuing as its chief engineer and general superintendent after the close of the war.

    There is no sign that John W. ever returned to South Berwick. He and his wife, a Georgia Smith, had four children, who all remained in the South.  From the 1870s, John W. helped build the Texas Eastern and Western Railroad, the Texas Central, the Southern Pacific, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe, and the International and Great Northern. In 1883 he returned to Tennessee as division superintendent of the East Tennessee Virginia and Georgia Railroad. In 1887, he left for the Norfolk and Western Railroad, remaining there until his death except for a brief period, when he was chief engineer for the construction of the Lynchburg and Durham railroad, which in 1892 merged with the Norfolk and Western.

    A search of the internet reveals that some of John W. Goodwin's papers from the Norfolk and Western and other railroads were housed at the Papers Manuscripts Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He died in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1911 at the age of 86.

    One more little piece of the Goodwin family emerges from the genealogical records: Ichabod and John W. had a little brother Andrew, named for their father. Andrew Jr. was born about 1838 while they were in their teens and entering Bowdoin.

    We don't know where Andrew and John W. are buried. Ichabod rests with their grandfather, Gen. Goodwin, and other relatives in Old Fields Burying Ground in South Berwick.

    (Summary by Wendy Pirsig with research assistance from Herbie Geiler, Arthur Stansfield and S. Kent MacNown. Sources: Vital Records of Berwick, South Berwick, and North Berwick, Maine, 1993, foreward by Dotty Keyes; “The Old Town of Berwick” by Sarah Orne Jewett, 1894; Daniel Goodwin of Ancient Kittery, Maine and His Descendants by John Hayes Goodwin, 1985; The Old Academy on the Hill by Marie Donahue, 1992; South Berwick (Maine) Record Book cemetery records, by John Eldridge Frost, 1967; History of Rollinsford, NH , 1973; Records of the First and Second Churches of Berwick, Maine , ed. Joseph Crook Anderson, 1999; Hayes Genealogy, 1936; The Berwick Scholar,1887, article, "My School Days,” by Sarah Orne Jewett. Information about John Wallingford Goodwin's Civil War service contributed by Arthur Stansfield April 26, 2012. Updated December 2020.)