1827 - John Milton Goodenow

M. W. Brother John Milton Goodenow was born in 1782 in Westmoreland, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, of Puritan parents. His formal education was received in the public school system over one school of which we later presided. He later unsuccessfully managed a country store. In 1811 he moved to Canton, Ohio and began the study of law, being admitted to the practice of law in 1813. He thereupon moved to Steubenville and set up his practice. In this same year he was married to Mrs. Sarah Lucey (Wright) Campbell. He was later reported to have married a second time to which marriage two daughters were born, but records of this marriage are not to be found.

His profession as an attorney required that he follow the Circuit Judge on his quarterly rounds throughout the eastern part of Ohio. The Circuit Judge was Brother Benjamin Tappan, with whom a bitter controversy eventually developed when Goodenow felt that Brother Tappan was responsible for his failure to secure a county office. At a later point in their careers, Judge Tappan held that crimes under the English Common-law should be held as crimes by Ohio Courts in the absence of specific state legislation. Brother Goodenow felt, to the contrary and produced an able treatise, which was generally approved by Ohio judges, and to this day Ohio has no common-law crimes, as such, a fact for which M. W. Brother Goodenow is to some extent responsible.

In 1817 he was appointed collector of the District Taxes for the 6th Collection District of Ohio. In 1823 he was elected a member of the State House of Representatives.

Defeated for Congress in 1826 by his brother-in-law, John C. Wright, Goodenow was victorious over Wright in the Jackson landslide of 1828, serving from March 4, 1829 until April 9, 1830 when he resigned as a result of having been chosen a judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio. Because of ill health he was forced to resign this position in the summer of 1830. In 1832 he moved to Cincinnati where he was elected Presiding Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. His irascible disposition is reported to have made him unpopular with the lawyers in Cincinnati, however, and he held this office for only two years. In 1835 he set up an office in St. Clairsville where he practiced law, but with little success.

He felt that his services to the Democratic Party had not been fittingly rewarded, and in his embitterment he immigrated to Texas in November of 1837. His health failed him and in the following year he decided to return to Ohio; he did not reach his destination, however, as death overtook him in New Orleans on July 20, 1838. Nova Caesarea Harmony Lodge No. 2 of Cincinnati conducted Masonic services and interment was in Spring Grove Cemetery Section 84, Lot 6 & 7, Cincinnati, Ohio.

M. W. Brother Goodenow received his Entered Apprentice Degree on February 6, 1822 in Erie Lodge No. 3 at Warren, Ohio. The Annual Reports of Erie Lodge No. 3 report Brother Goodenow as having received his Fellow Craft and Master Mason Degree both on the same night February 13, 1822. That same Annual Report of Erie Lodge does not carry Brother Goodenow as a member in good standing for that year, nor does it indicate that he withdrew from Erie Lodge.

The record of Steubenville Lodge No. 45 indicates that Brother Goodenow visited their Lodge on August 1, 1822 and was admitted on September 26, 1822. He was carried as a member on the records of Steubenville Lodge until the report of 1829, when he is listed as a member living in the vicinity of Steubenville Lodge, but not a member thereof. A similar notation is carried in the reports of 1830 and 1831.

M. W. Brother Goodenow served Steubenville Lodge No. 45 as Senior Warden in 1822 and 1823. There is no record of his ever having served Steubenville Lodge, or any other Ohio Lodge, as Worshipful Master. Steubenville Lodge No. 45 voted for Brother Goodenow to represent Steubenville Lodge No. 45 at the Grand Lodge Session of 1823 and 1826.

At the Grand Lodge Session held in January 1827 at Columbus, Ohio M. W. Brother John M. Goodenow was elected and installed as Grand Master of Masons in Ohio the only elected office he ever held in Grand Lodge. For some reason he did not preside over the succeeding session of the Grand Lodge of Ohio held in Columbus in January of 1828; R. W. Brother Thomas Corwin, Deputy Grand Master, presided over that Session.

There are no records to indicate that Brother Goodenow reaffiliated with Steubenville Lodge No. 45, or any other Lodge subsequent to 1829.

The Grand Lodge library contains an 1829 printed copy of an address given by M. W. Brother Goodenow to the Brethren of Steubenville Lodge No. 45 on the evening of the Anniversary of St. John The Evangelist, December 27, 1828. It is a defense of Masonry against the Anti-Masonic forces at sway during that period. It is some one hundred pages in length, leading one to believe that Masons in those days were better listeners than we of today are.

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