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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 8 - Catherine Gougar Goodman

This Pioneer was not a Utah Pioneer, but her story is well worth noting.

South of the Alfred Immell home near the Chillicothe-Columbus pike, west of Kingston, Ohio, has been erected a fine monument to mark the last resting place of Catherine Gougar Goodman, the first white woman settler in Ross County, of whom there is any positive record.

The monument was erected by her descendants headed by Ex-Mayor Oliver P. Goodman of Kingston. Many of the family live in Green Township and Chillicothe. The spot where the monument stands had been cleared by Catherine Goodman herself and it was her request that she be buried there. It is now visited by many tourists, standing as it does on historic ground; -- ground where she herself was held captive by the Shawanese Indians. The inscription on the monument reads,

In memory of Catherine Gougar, pioneer wife and mother, born in New Jersey, 1732, captured by the Indians 1744 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and for five years held a captive at and near this place. Sold to French-Canadian Traders, she served in Canada for two years. Finally gaining her freedom, she returned to her former home only to find her parents gone and herself homeless. She lived with friends until 1756 when she married George Goodman, who died in 1795. With her son, John, came to Ohio in 1798 and by a strange fortune, settled on this spot where she had been held a captive while with the Indians. Died in 1801 and lies here in the place chosen by herself and cleared by her own hands. This monument erected by her great great grandchildren in 1915.

Her parents emigrated to Northumberland County, PA, when she was a little girl and later moved to Berks County, being among the early Pioneer families in that part of the county. In 1744 when she was 12 years old, she and a little brother were captured by Indians. Her father [and brothers] were killed in the fight, but her mother [and a sister] had gone to a spring some distance away earlier to get water and were not discovered by the Indians.

The Indians took Catherine and her younger brother westward and on the third day the little boy was unable to keep up with the march. Catherine saw two Indians lagging behind with him. After a while the two again joined the march. The sister saw a little fair haired scalp hanging to their trophy belt and recognized it as being that of her little brother. She knew then that he had been killed. Catherine was held captive for five years but was not unkindly treated. As stated above, she was traded to French-Canadians, who took her to Canada where she remained two years.

Finally returning to Pennsylvania, she found her mother [and sister] dead and the cabin home abandoned. She remained with friends there until her marriage with George Goodman in 1756. Six children were born to them, four sons and two daughters. In 1798, Mrs Goodman, then 66 years old, came to Ross County, Ohio with her son John, who took up land in what is now Green Township.

His mother recognized the places where she had lived when a captive of the Shawanese Indians. She had brought with her a left handed sickle made for her in Berks County in 1757. On this sickle, is cut the name of R. W. Shaw, possibly the name fo the man who made it. (The sickle is in the possession of Alice Goodman of Kingston, Ohio.) With this implement, the aging pioneeer helped to clear a spot which she recalled as one of the scenes of her Indian captivity. Here she lived and died, and at her request, she was buried on the spot she had cleared. A monument has been erected by her descendants, who still live on the original tract, to mark the last resting place of a pioneer mother whose strange experience has seldom been equaled.


Ohio Cues, PERSI: OHCU, Volume 23, Issue 1, October, 1973.

OHGenWeb NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or for presentation by other persons or organizations.
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This file was contributed for use in the OHGenWeb Ross County by: Cheryl Wise
You can find her story at

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