November 10, 2010

Ancestors Henry G. Goodrich and R. D. Harper

I don't know much about my great-grandfather Goodrich but an email question about his wife Alida Belle prompted me to look him up on Google. He married Alida Belle Harper (as I mentioned here) and their daughter was my grandmother.

From a scanned-in 1865 report of Philadelphia's North Broad Street Church, I see that they were married by that time for both were listed as teachers with her using the name Alida B. Goodrich. Henry also held some offices in the church, which is not surprising since family lore says that Alida's father was a Presbyterian minister and the report lists "Rev. R. D. Harper, D.D." as "our beloved pastor."

By searching Google books I found an death notice for Henry G. Goodrich in an old book from 1915 called "The Locomotive," which was a report from the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. It starts out:
"Henry G. Goodrich, of the firm of Goodrich and Wickham, General Agents for The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, at Philadelphia, Pa, died at Atlantic City, N.J., on April 28, after an illness of about a year.
Mr. Goodrich was born at Berlin, Conn., September 19, 1846. His parents were natives of Connecticut. His youth was spent on his father's farm, and his early education was obtained in the country schoolhouse nearby.
He removed to Philadelphia at the age of 21, and in the Spring of 1867, with Mr. E. A. Corbin, formed the firm of Corbin and Goodrich, to represent The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. "
It goes on about his final illness (a cold and then heart trouble), his membership in the church, and "He was a director of the Presbyterian Ministers Fund, believed to be the oldest life insurance company in the country, and a very prosperous one."

Eventually Alida Belle went to live with her daughter in the Chicago area, and my mother (who was a child then) called her "Lila." As far as I know, my aunt is the only person left who remembers Lila. By that time Lila did not have surviving siblings.

The church report mentioned above gives me the name of Lila's father, Dr. Harper. With that I found his 1890 obituary from in the archives of the New York Times. He died suddenly at the age of 66. He left two daughters and a son, all grown.

It states that he was pastor of the North Broad Street Presbyterian Church for 19 years. Born in Washington, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Western University at Pittsburg in 1848 and studied theology at United Presbyterian Seminary at Allegheny City. For a long time he was pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Xenia and later of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis "of which President Harrison is an elder."

Postscript: I found more information on Dr. Harper including this picture. Looks like I have material for another post.

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