Sunday, November 09, 2008

John Goff

John Goff, also known as “Gaff,” was born 1843 in Noble County, Indiana, the son of Robert (b. 1793) and Mary (b. 1802).

Pennsylvania natives Robert and Mary were married sometime before 1825 when they were living in Ohio. They resided in Ohio for some years and were quite possibly living in Columbia, Meigs County, Ohio in 1840. In any case, between 1838 and 1843 moved to Indiana. By 1850 John was attending school with his siblings and living with on the family farm in Washington, Noble County, Indiana. John eventually left Indiana and came to Michigan sometime before February of 1863.

According to one source John enlisted as a private on November 22, 1861, in Company G, Forty-fourth Indiana infantry, and was mustered in the same day. He allegedly deserted on October 7, 1862.

In any case, John stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old farm laborer possibly living in Maple Grove, Barry County when he enlisted in Company B on February 26, 1863, at Maple Grove for 3 years, and was mustered the same day at Detroit (he was possibly related to William Goff of Company A); he may in fact have been a substitute for one Porter M. Harvard or possibly Harwood, who had been drafted March 10, 1863, for 9 months from Maple Grove.

Interestingly, John enlisted with another Noble County resident, John Winebrenner – although Winebrenner was put into Company D – and they both credited Maple Grove, Barry County.

John joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, was a provost guard in Division headquarters from September 21 through October of 1863, and was wounded slightly in the hand in early May of 1864. His friend John Winebrenner wrote home to his own mother on June 19 that John had in fact been wounded in the hand on May 1 at the Wilderness.

In any case, John was subsequently hospitalized and remained absent in the hospital when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was apparently admitted from the general hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to Camp Parole hospital at Annapolis, Maryland on June 21, 1864. (There is however no record of his being taken prisoner and subsequently paroled, so how and why he came to be at Camp Parole in Maryland remains a mystery.) He was quite possibly promoted to Sergeant. (In later years he claimed to have served in the Forty-fourth Independent Infantry.) In any case, John remained absent sick until he was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It is not known if he returned to Michigan. He did, apparently, return to his family home in Indiana.

John was probably married to Sarah (b. 1850), and they had at least six children: Freling W. (b. 1867), Melissa (b. 1868), Winnie (b. 1870), Callie (b. 1871), Howard (b. 1873) and Arlo (b. 1877).

By 1880 John “Gaff was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Green, Noble County, Indiana and he was in Green, Indiana in 1889. In 1902 John was living in Churubrusco, Indiana, when he testified in the pension application of Barnet Hopkins.

In 1880 John applied for and received a pension (no. 357881).

John died on November 6, 1917, in Indiana, and was presumably buried there.

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