Los Angeles County
GOODRICH, BEN, Attorney at Law, Los Angeles, California, was born on a farm near Anderson, Grimes County, Texas, September 23, 1839, the son of Benjamin Briggs Goodrich and Serena (Caruthers) Goodrich. He is descended from a notable Texas family, his father having been one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a member of the Constitutional Convention which formed the Republic of Texas. He later served as a member of Congress of the Republic of Texas.
Mr. Goodrich married Mary F. Terrell in Grimes County, Texas, May 17, 1865, and to them there were born three daughters, Mary (wife of W. C. Read), Sarah (wife of Judge J. A. Street, of Salt Lake City), and Cora (Mrs. Robt. D. Clarke, of Peoria, Ill.).
Mr. Goodrich received his early education in private schools of his section, later attending St. Paul’s Episcopal College, at Anderson, and Austin College, at Huntsville, Texas. In 1861, however, at the outbreak of the Civil War he left his studies and enlisted in the Confederate Army, as a private in Company G. Fourth Texas Regiment, serving under General John B. Hood. Later he commanded Company D, Eighth Infantry, serving as First Lieutenant and Commander of the Company under General Dick Taylor, during the greater part of the War.
In the battles against General Banks, conducting the Red River Campaign, Lieutenant Goodrich and about 800 other Confederates were taken prisoners by Banks’ forces at Pleasant Hill, La. and were held in captivity eleven days, when they were set free because of the inability of Banks to get his gunboats and transports down the river. Lieutenant Goodrich continued to fight for the Confederate cause throughout the South and was one of the last men to lay down arms.
Returning to his home in June, 1865, Mr. Goodrich began the study of law under Judge John R. Kennard, of Anderson, and after his admission to practice was in partnership with Judge Kennard for two years. He next formed a partnership with Major H. H. Boone, subsequently Attorney General of Texas. In 1877 this partnership was dissolved, Mr. Goodrich moving to Sherman, Texas, where for the next three years he was in association with W. C. Brack.
In 1880, Mr. Goodrich moved to Arizona and there began a career which placed him, in time, among the leaders of his profession and made him one of the most important men in public life. He practiced at Tucson for a year, but moved to Tombstone when Pima County was divided and Cochise County formed from part of it.
He began practice at once, in partnership with Honorable Marcus A. Smith, eight times Territorial Delegate to Congress from Arizona and later United States Senator from Arizona. Within a short time Mr. Goodrich was one of the active factors in the politics of Tombstone and Cochise County. In association with Mr. Smith, he figured in numerous State and local campaigns and through their leadership the Democratic party was carried to victory on many occasions.
In 1883, Mr. Goodrich was elected Treasurer of Cochise County and held office for two years. After a short period in private practice he was elected, in 1887, to the office of District Attorney. During this period he also served as a member of the Code Commission for the revision of the laws of Arizona.
Leaving Tombstone in the latter part of 1888, Mr. Goodrich went to Phoenix, where he formed a partnership with Judge Webster Street, afterwards a member of the Arizona Supreme Court, and remained with him until 1890, going at that time to San Diego, California. He was in partnership there with Hunsaker & Britt for two years and with Mr. Hunsaker upon their removal to Los Angeles, in 1891. Subsequently he formed a partnership with A. B. McCutcheon, which lasted five years.
Mr. Goodrich is known as one of the leading mining lawyers of the Southwest and for many years acted as counsel for several of the largest copper corporations in that section. In 1902, he returned to Tombstone to attend to the legal business of the Tombstone Consolidated Mines Company and the Imperial Copper Company, and remained there for nine years. During this time he again took a prominent part in politics and in 1907 served as a member of the Territorial Council, or Senate of Arizona. He had the distinction of introducing in that session of the Legislature the first bill ever offered in Arizona providing for woman suffrage.
This measure failed of adoption at that time, but the question continued a political issue until it finally was adopted by popular vote at the general election, November 5, 1912.
Mr. Goodrich was one of the most highly esteemed public men in Arizona and it has been said that his removed to Los Angeles, in 1911, prevented him from being chosen first Governor of the State of Arizona.
Since locating in Los Angeles Mr. Goodrich has maintained an extensive law practice, devoting himself largely to mining, corporation and probate practice. Among other notable cases, he had charge of the estate of the late Colonel W. C. Greene of Cananea copper fame.
Colonel Greene died leaving a large estate, but owing to the magnitude of his operations, the property was greatly entangled and upon Mr. Goodrich fell the part of the legal work connected with the settling of the estate, which is still in process of administration.
Mr. Goodrich has no fraternal affiliations except the Masons, of which he has been a member for many years.
Transcribed 5-1-09 Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I, Page 257, International News Service, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta. 1913.
© 2009 Marilyn R. Pankey.