Bidwell Lore – William Goodrich, Part II

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 102! This week we continue our new series on Captain William Goodrich and share more about his life in Stockbridge and his time in the Revolutionary War.

William Goodrich, Jr., moved from Sheffield to Stockbridge, where around 1768 he married Sybil Woodbridge, daughter of Timothy Woodbridge. They had two children, a son William, who died as a young child, and a daughter Experience. 

William’s marriage to Timothy Woodbridge’s daughter greatly enhanced his social standing, scaling the caste system from Yeoman to Gentleman in just a few years. Sybil died June 21, 1782, at age 40, and what follows is her cemetery inscription: 

Mrs. Sybil Goodrich
wife of William Goodrich, Esqr.
& daughter of the Hon Timothy
Woodbridge, Esq. She died
June 21st 1782 in the 40th year
of her age.
William Goodrich
Son of Mrs. Sybil
Goodrich: he died June 10,
1771 Aged 1 year & 4 months

Image of the resolve granting William Goodrich a license to keep an Inn, in 1772-1773
The above, from the 1772-73 Province Laws, shows the granting of William Goodrich’s Inn License.

William Goodrich owned a tavern at what is now 28 Main Street, the southwest corner of Main and South Streets. The land was granted in 1750 to Stockbridge Mohican Moshenamauk, who sold it to Jacob Tusnnuck, and his wife Mary Wotaumaunnukmut, who then, in 1773, sold it to William Goodrich. [1] From Deed Book 13, page 93:
“….is the one half or mostly of the Lot of Lands laid out by the Proprietors to Mossheenaumack and the lands of which afterwards the estate of Quanpaunwos the wife of the said Mossheenaumack excepting one acre which Quanpaunwos sold to the said William in her life time lying on west side of said lot on which stands the House and barn of the said William one half of the remainder of said lot hereof conveyed to be divided equally between the said William and Elizabeth Weeoonnaupek in such manner as the said William and she shall agree to divide said lot The whole estimated to contain two acres be the same more or less….”

Of course, the term “sold” should be taken with a grain of salt as almost all the land sales were, in some form or another, schemes to dispossess the Mohicans of their land in Stockbridge. At the time that Goodrich operated a tavern in Stockbridge, Benjamin Willard, Enos Curtiss, Samuel Brown, and Elijah Williams, Esq., also held licenses as Innholders. Acquiring a license in 1773, Goodrich appears to have been one of the early licensed Innholders who was able to make a living as a tavern owner in Stockbridge. To obtain an Innholders license required a petition to the colonial government, after first obtaining the blessing of the board of selectmen.  

A mezzotint by Thomas Hart of Benedict Arnold from 1776. Arnold wears a blue coat with yellow trim, a peach colored vest and pants and a red sash. He has a sword at his waist and a black hat with fold trim. His left hand is at his waist and his right arm is open to the right. he stand outdoors with a tree over his left shoulder and town visible over his right shoulder.
Image: Thomas Hart, Colonel Arnold who commanded the Provincial Troops sent against Quebec, through the wilderness of Canada and was wounded in that city, under General Montgomery. London, 1776. Anne S. K. Brown Collection, Brown University, via Wikipedia.

“In a November 2, 1774 letter to Rev. Samuel Kirkland the Rev. Stephen West wrote, ‘we are making preparations for war. One man in four is to be immediately inlisted… Everything forebodes the next to be a bloody summer. The Canadians, it is expected, will fall upon us.’ Two regiments were headed by John Patterson of Lenox and John Fellows of Sheffield. William Goodrich, a son-in-law of Timothy Woodbridge, was captain of one Stockbridge militia company, and David Pixley was first lieutenant. Stockbridge Indians became minutemen in this company, with twenty-four-year-old Jehoiakim Mtohksin, son of Johannis, as second lieutenant.” [2]

In 1775, Goodrich was appointed a commander for a company of Stockbridge Mohicans. Although he still owned the tavern, his attention was given to soldiering. He participated in Benedict Arnold’s disastrous march to Quebec (more on that in a later installment) and when he returned from imprisonment in Quebec in 1777 he found his tavern closed. [3] In addition, he found that on the neighboring corner a new tavern had opened up with Silas and Anna Bingham as proprietors (see Bidwell Lore about Anna Bingham HERE). It seems likely that the closing of his tavern might have motivated him to continue to serve in the Continental army.  

Samuel Barney of New Haven, Connecticut, a soldier in the expedition to Quebec, kept a diary of which several entries are included below:

“September the 16th 1775. Had this book of one Mr. Jones of Newbury Porte. [4] The book cost nine copper.

Wednesday December the 27th. This morning arose well and it snowed, and we had orders to go into Quebec and all paraded, but it cleared up and we did not go.

Sunday December the 31st. Last night we went to scale the walls. General Montgomery was killed and all our people that got into low [5] town are took prisoners. Major Meigs come out on a parole of honor.

Monday, January the 1st. This morning it was very stormy and we had to retreat. The Colonel [6] is wounded.

Wednesday, January the 3d. This morning arose well. Lieutenant Cooper is dead and William Goodrich [7] too. It is very warm and Sergeant Liman [8] and James Moore is gone home.” [9]

From Benedict Arnold’s Journal:
“This day Capt. Goodrich’s Company kill’d my dog, and another dog, and Eat them, I remain very unwell.” [10]

Both Captain Hanchett and Captain Goodrich survived the assault on Quebec, but were taken prisoner and held by the British until fall of 1776, returning home in 1777. Hanchett left the army after being released. Goodrich stayed in the army for most of the war, although serving on an intermittent basis as was the practice during the Revolutionary War.

As a side note, you may remember the name Captain Oliver Hanchett from last week’s Bidwell Lore. He was born in Suffield, Connecticut, on August 7, 1741, and was a sergeant in the French and Indian War. He married Rachel Gillet on May 29, 1766, and they had eight children together. In 1763, prior to his marriage, he had a son out of wedlock with Sylvia Woodbridge, the future sister-in-law of William Goodrich, as we told you about last week. Oliver and Sylvia’s son was named Oliver Hanchett and he was raised by his grandparents in Stockbridge. At age 15 in 1778, he enlisted in the army and served in Massachusetts and Vermont. Sylvia went on to marry Phineas Morgan, a Cordwainer, [11] who purchased the land at what is now 30 Main Street, home of the Red Lion Inn, from Rhoda Quanpaunwos [12] in 1768. [13] 

Goodrich sold his tavern in 1782 to Captain Isaac Marsh [14].  Marsh’s ledger book No. 125, page 2: “William Goodrich, Jr. August. To your boarding and room began July 24 13 weeks to 24th October. To your daughter Speedy [15] board Began July 29th to Aug 10 2 weeks at 5 per week. Speedy went away to Hartford Aug 10.”

Next week, more about William Goodrich and his dealings with the Mohicans in Stockbridge.  

1.  Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Book 13, Page 93
2. The Mohicans of Stockbridge, Patrick Frazier, 1992, Pages 193, 194
3. Around 1900 the “tavern” was moved to the west side of Lincoln Lane at Main Street
4. Newburyport
5. Lower
6. Benedict Arnold
7. He was captured, but not dead
8. Abner Lyman
9. The diary of Samuel Barney of New Haven, 1775-1776
10. Benedict Arnold’s Journal, page 139
11. The maker of fine shoes
12. She inherited the land from her father Muhshenanmauh who was given the land in a 1750 grant
13. Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Book 15, Page 434. Then sold to Abraham Brinsmaid, a tailor, who in turn appears to have leased it to Silas Bingham in 1775.
14. Berkshire Middle Registry of Deeds, Book14, page 220
15. Experience, aka Speedy