Biography of George W. Goodwin

GEORGE W. GOODWIN. – Mr. Goodwin enjoys the no slight distinction of having been the first settler of the now populous Yakima valley, and also has the great credit of still leading in its business and political affairs, and is one of those who gives tone and trend to popular ideas in the community.

He was born in Illinois in 1846, and is the second son of Lewis H. and Priscilla Thompson Goodwin. His early years in that state were spent in an abundance of work on the farm in the summers, and in winter by obtaining his education at the public school. In 1865 the family crossed the plains with ox-teams, and, having the courage belonging only to self-made and self-directing people, located a claim in the then virgin fields of the Upper Yakima. This was between the sites of two cities as they stand to-day; and therefore every step in the growth of these places, one of which is almost certain to become the capital of the new state of Washington, has been taken under Mr. Goodwin’s eyes, and a large part done under his direction or with his cooperation. The cabin in which the family first lived was the first in the old town. It was not long before the shadow came to cloud the brightness of its hearthstone. The mother, who had accompanied the little unbroken household on the wearisome journey of the plains, died, after a short illness, on the 17th of December, not long after their arrival. One dreary day, when the wind swept the damp snow over the plains, and the fogs denied every cheering ray of the hidden sun, a little band of ten or twelve persons followed this pioneer mother to her last home. They buried her on the highlands not far from the river bank; and around that lonely grave of the first white woman has since grown Yakima’s city of the dead.

Mr. Goodwin and his father were among the first to keep stock; and their store was the first in that region. In both lines of business our subject was very successful. In 1873 he engaged extensively in opening and operating the Beshapal mines, seventy miles northwest of North Yakima; but, the rock proving of inferior grade, the enterprise failed. Leaving capital and partners in the mines on the Swank river, from which he has received a good return and in which he has unbounded confidence, he returned to the valley and engaged in real estate enterprises, and has been active in promoting business operations of various sorts. His own property interests in the two cities of Yakima and in Prosser have become very extensive. If disposed to fall back upon his means already acquired, without further effort or anxiety, he is abundantly able. But his easy course of life is forbidden by his active disposition, and his desire to promote the business and moral prosperity of the place.

Being a man of very strong temperance views, he accepted a nomination as member of the lower house of the legislature of the territory in 1886 upon this issue; and, notwithstanding the combined opposition, of the railroad and the liquor interests, which stuffed the ballot boxes with as many as six hundred illegal votes, he was defeated by but thirteen majority. Of such a defeat, Mr. Goodwin feels proud. He consented, also, to head the ticket on the same issue in the city election, with a similar result. He has a force of character and a standing in the community which will not suffer by defeat in a good cause.

In many ways he has contributed to the growth of the city; and his elegant and commodious offices in the bank building impress the stranger favorably with the business of the place. His magnificent stone residence is a great ornament to the city.

Mr. Goodwin was married in Michigan April 16, 1889, to Mrs. A.V. Bailey, a resident of New Jersey.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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