Biography of Major William Goforth

Interesting Ancestors & Relatives of the
Harlock and O'Grady Families

If you're related to me, then they are part of your family too!


Major William Goforth
Judge of Hamilton County, Ohio and member of the Northwest Territory legislature

(my 5g-grandfather)

b. 1 APR 1731 Philadelphia, PA - d. 2 NOV 1807, Columbia, Hamilton Co., OH
m. Catherine MEEKS 18 MAY 1716, New York City, NY

William GOFORTH was one of the most influential men in the formation of the Ohio commonwealth and champion of popular education. He arrived in Ohio in January, 1789 after serving as a Major in the Revolutionary War.

He was born In Philadelphia, PA on 1 Apr, 1731 at 6:15 AM to Aaron Goforth, Jr. and Mary Poole. William was one of six known children born to Aaron and Mary. It is believed that this branch of the Goforth family arrived in America from England abt. 1700; their family came from Hull, Yorkshire, England. Little is known of his early years. He is not to be found in records beyond the Goforth family bible until 1774 when he was 43 years old.

William married Catherine MEEKS on 18 May 1716 in New York City, NY at the age of 16 yrs (William was 29 yrs). She was the daugther of Samuel MEEKS and Jemima DEGREE. They had nine known children born to them over a 17 yr. period. The family lived in New York City until abt. 1776 when the family is recorded to have been residing in Philadelphia, PA.

He served on the Committee of Safety and was a member of the famous "One Hundred" of New York City. In 1774, these committees had been appointed by the merchants of the city to urge concerted action among the several Colonies and also a General Congress as the means of making such action effective. They had been dissolved as the General Assembly was still under Tory influence. On Apr, 23, 1775, the day following the news of the Battle of Lexington had been received, the citizens broke all bounds, seized several vessels and many stands of arms, and took absolute possession of the city. They met, on May 1, 1775, and reorganized the Executive Committee. It was thenceforth known as the Committee of Resistance, the Provisional War Committee, the Committee of One Hundred, or the Committee of Association. The first act of the Committee was the disarming of all persons known as "non-associates", who refused to help the cause of the Province against the Crown.

Goforth entered the army as captain (1775) and was in the first New York regiment under Col. Alexander McDougall in the Canadian Campaign. He was at the battle of Three Rivers and was promoted major for service in the field. He resigned from his commission and engaged in the manufacture of salt, then so much needed.

He traveled in the early part of 1789 to the Northwest Territory with the original group of pioneers that settled the area around present Cincinnati, Ohio. He was well associated with the affairs of Hamilton County, Ohio and the city of Cincinnati. Besides his giving of his time in judical matters, he perhaps is best known for his habit of keeping a journal of his daily affairs. His journal has been included in "The Cincinnati Miscellany", by Charles Cist, pub. 1845

He was a merchant in New York, Philadelphia, and Hamilton County, Ohio (1789-1807), Hamilton County judge (1790), member of the Northwest Territory legislature (1799), and president pro tem of the Ohio constitutional convention (1802). He died at Columbia, Ohio, in 1807, at the age of seventy-six. He is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinatti, Hamilton Co., Ohio.

View his family web card.



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