Biographical Sketches of Early Gooch Emigrants and Early Gooch family history


Click on one of the entries below for information

Matthew Gough

Matthew Gough is the first person by this name to appear in Virginia. Little is known of him, though he appears to have held a position of some stature in the colony. Matthew arrived by 1639 and settled on a tract named "Warwick" in Henrico County, Virginia and served in the House of Burgess, Grand Assembly from 1642 to 1644 for Henrico County. Hotten's list of emigrants to Virginia show transport for a Matthew Gowgh, age 28 years aboard the "Constance" and a Matthew Gough, age 22 years transported on the ship "Safety". The only genealogical information on Matthew is found in the Branch family that claim Matthew had a daughter Elizabeth that married Thomas Branch (1623-1694). I have seen no record to prove this relationship. In fact William Byrd's "Title Book" mantions the Henrico lands of Capt. Mathew Gough and for want of a will or heirs the land reverted back to the state and granted to Capt. Thomas Tegg [ref: VA Magazine of History & Biography, vol 23, pg. 220].

Nathaniel Gough

There is only one reference to Nathaniel, as a member of the House of Burgess for Jamestown in 1642. No further record is known and no families claim him.

Lt.Col. Henry Gooch of New Kent

Most Gooch genealogies trace their roots to Henry Gooch, but they have not done this by research, but by pure speculation. Lt. Col. Henry Gooch is probably one of the few early Gooch men that one can document a male heir. It is established by record that he was in Virginia by 1656 when he is appointed Justice of the Peace for York County, a position of high rank. Many quote a source that Henry Gooch served as the administrator for Maj. William Gooch's estate adn show this as proof of a family connection to the Gooches of Suffolk, England. This is wholly undocumented and I have found no such record or any link to Maj. William Gooch. Even Hening, the Virginia historian, calls Henry the "supervisor" for Maj. William's estate, again no source is quoted and it is not believed to be true. Another undocumented piece of information that is often quoted is that Henry married Jane Jones, daughter of Rev. Rowland Jones. There is very little evidence of this beyond Jane naming of a son "Henry Gooch" in her will. Though there is no doubt Jane married a "Gooch", it is not clear which Gooch she married, though no doubt she had some connection to Henry as reflected in the naming pattern of her children.

Despite the speculation on Henry and his connections to the various Gooch families, it is quite clear that Henry did marry and have issue. His wife is well documented as the widow Millicent Goodwin Kinsey. Millicent is the sister to Maj. James Goodwin the Speaker to the House of Burgess; they were probably from a Middlesex County, England family. Millicent had married Robert Kinsey, whose death and subsequent transfer of property to Henry Gooch provides us with the best documentation on Millicent. York deeds record Henry Gooch transferring Kinsey's property to a merchant Jonathan Newal in March of 1664. One of these deed states that the property belonged to Robert Kinsay lat of York county which was purchaed by Henry Gooch who married Millicent the relict of Robert Kinsey [ref: York DB, pg. 46-7, 1664]. By Millicent, Henry had one son William. It is difficult to positively identify this William Gooch in any existing documents, but due to his parents' relative high social standings, it is a good guess he is the same William Gooch "of King & Queen Co." who is found as a surveyor for Col. William Claiborne in Essex County, VA and is probably the same William who married Ursula Claiborne, granddaughter of the Secretary of State Col. William Claiborne. There is another William Gooch about the same age, who is the son of John Gough and had married Alice Thacker of Middlesex Co., VA. This William served in the House of Burgess and died about 1699/1701 leaving his widow in King & Queen County. One of these William Gooches may also be the "son-in-law" (or step-son) mentioned by Jane Jones Gooch of King & Queen County in her will found among the papers of King William County in 1701; or could this be one more William Gooch to confuse us all?

Lt. Col. Henry Gooch is by all evidence of the surviving records, a man of high status in the Virginia Colony. After being appointed a Justice in 1656 he is found on the Governor's Counsel in 1657, than serves as Commissioner of York County in 1658 and by 1662 is found as High Sheriff of York County. Surviving patents show that Henry Gooch and William Pullam obtain 2500 acres along the Chickahominy River and it is known that Henry had a plantation on the Pamunkey River. In 1676, Henry's fortunes take a turn. In the famous Bacon Rebellion of that year, Gooch found himself confronted by the rebel Maj. Whaley and apparently joined them, though appearently reluctantly. Henry was brought into court in 1677 and fined 6,000 lb. of pork for his participation (some accounts say tobacco, rather than pork). The records of the Rebellion are the last we hear of Henry Gooch. Many suspect that Millicent died and Henry took a second wife Jane Jones, who in her will names a "son-in-law" William; son-in-law being a term used at that time for "step-son". Knowing that Henry had a son William it is quite possible she is his second wife.

Jane Jones Gooch of King & Queen County

Jane Gooch of King and Queen County, Virginia is certainly a key link in identifying possible ancestors to the Gooches of Tidewater Virginia. Jane is named in the will of her brother Rev. Rowland Jones. Rev. Jones died in 1688 and left his sister Jane land until her death. Rowland Jones is said to be the son of another Rev. Rowland Jones who was minister of the small parish of Wendover near Oxford, England. Rev. Rowland Jones Sr. is said to have left a will dated 1665, but I have not seen the original and the abstracts are not conclusive. Rev. Rowland Jones of Virginia was a wealthy man of high social standings in the colony; one of his descendants is Martha Washington.

Jane Jones is known to have married by 1688, when she is called Jane Gooch by her brother's will. Jane is named again in a deed as a "widow" in 1699, whcn she purchases 100 acres on the Pamunkey Neck; part of this land was once controlled by the Pamunkey Indians and granted to the Crown in 1699. In April of 1701, Jane patents 80 acres in King & Queen County, Virginia where her name is also found on a surviving tithe roll for that county in the same year. In 1701/2 the will of Joane Gouge is proved in King William County naming her children: Henry Gooch, Rowland Gooch, Joan Peak, Elizabeth Dickenson, and "son-in-law" William Gough [ref: King William Record Book 2, pg. 42-4]. He will was witnessed by Charles Carr, Thomas T. Duttler & John Lattiner; one or all may be of some relation to her. It is possible that Jane's son Henry is the man found in Caroline County, VA and whose will is noted in the Order Book for 1768. Rowland Gooch could quite possibly be the namesake of the numerous Rowland Gooches that are found in subsequent generations. The 1704/5 Rent Roll for King William Co. lists William Dickason, Thomas Dickason, and John Peek all men who may be the husband of Jane's daughters. The name John Peake is later found in the records of Stafford County, VA.

Maj. William Gooch

Maj. William Gooch (1627-1655) is a well documented early pioneerr of Virginia. As discussed in my section on Gov. William Gooch of Virginia (click here) he may be the uncle to the later Governor of Virginia and thus a member of the Gooches of Suffolk, England. His tombstone, which is one of the oldest surviving tombs in Virginia, identifies him as a man of high rank and position, but a man who died young. Maj. William arrived by 1650 when he was deeded 1050 acres in Westmoreland County, Virginia; land that was later reverted back to state due to abandonment. Surviving records indicate William had a relationship with Robert Vaulx, a London merchant of Quaker background. Gooch and Vaulx patented land in the Virginia Neck of at least 6000 acres. William was appointed Justice of the Peace for Yourk Conty 1652 and later as Commissioner and Councilor. He served in the General Assembly and House of Burgess from 1652-54. Nothing is known of William 's wife, but it is known that William had an heir, a daughter by the name of Anne who married first Capt. Thomas Beale Jr. (1647-1679) whose tombstone provides us with a great deal of information on Anne. Anne married secondly William Colston, the clerk of Rappahannock County, VA; she had issue by both marriages. The Gooch name did not pass down through this line.

John & William Gough/Goffe of King William Co.

John and his son William Gough of King William County are often neglected by Gooch historians as potential ancestors to the Gooch famlies of Virginia. Like many of the people listed in this section, John and William were men of high rank and wealth and their position and land holding provide us with their names and families. The earliest record of John Gough (or Goffe) may be the patents along the Arracaico Swamp in New Kent granted in 1663 and 1664. From these records are indication that he had acquired large land holdings in the area. Much later in 1680 a Capt. John Gough is mentioned on the Board of Trade for New Kent [ref: VA Mag of H&B, Vol. 1, pg. 234]. In 1685, John makes a deed for his son William who is engaged to Elizabeth Dixon [re: York Deed, 23 Sep]. The same year Elizabeth is named in a deed as the daughter-in-law (step-daughter) to John Rodgers & his wife Agnes. In 1685, John Goffe is mentioned again in deeds as residing in New Kent and his wife is mentioned as well, but not by name. In 1688, a William Gough marries Alice the daughter of Henry & Eltonhead (Conway) Thacker, who is a niece or kinswoman to numerous powerful men in the colony including Ralph Wormsley the wealthiest man in Virginia at that time [ref: Middlesex Co., VA, Christ Church Register, 31 may 1688]. Alice is connected to John's family, since she is found as heir to William Gough of King & Queen County on land believe to have been patented by John Goffe. The last record we have of John Gough is a deed dated the 23rd of September 1685, which appears to serve in lieu of a will for land to his son William. Following the believe year of death of John Gough, William Gough is appointed a Justice in King & Queen County. In 1697, William Gooch renews a patent on 1225 acres originally granted to "his father John Gough" [ref: King Wm Co., Bk 9, pg 96]. Willam Gough serves in the House of Burgess for King & Queen County from 1699 to 1701; his death is noted in the "Executive Journals, Council of Colonial Virginia." From various records we are able to determine that William Gough of King & Queen County had at least one son (probably the eldest) name John who inherits land through Alice Thackers' family. Records in Middlesex Co. and in Spotsylvania Co. suggest William also had sons Ralph Gough, the Sheriff of Spotsylvania and namesake of Ralph Wormsley and William Gough who is found as a witness in Middlesex among Alice's kinsmen.

Unfortunately, there are not records that clearly indicate the fate of William's children or if William had any siblings. It is also not clear if the Gough/Goffe name is actually a varient of Gooch or is a completely different name. Although the two Gooch widows Alice and Jane are residents of the same county in Virginia at the same time, there is no evidence of kinship. William, son of John could certainly be the "son-in-law" that Jane Jones Gooch refers to, since he died about the same time as she did.

The Gooches of Louisa Co., Virginia

Louisa County, Virginia is an important county for Gooch research. Mrs. Maxine B. Dark of Hardy, Arkansas has done an excellent job researching and analyzing the records of this county and I am much indebt to her for her guidance and assistance in pulling together the following information.

In the 1870 Census of Virginia the Gooch name had dwindled to numbering under forty people in the state. Sixteen of those people lived in Louisa County. Louisa County was also a nature place of emigration to those families living in the New Kent/ Hanover County region of Tidewaters Virginia, thus many of the Gooch people mentioned in records of this area are likely to be ancestors. That portion of research done by Mrs. Evelena Gooch Singleton of Bowling Green, KY on these Louisa County Gooches is valuable to anyone tracing their lineage from this area.

The earliest reference to Gooch in Louisa is not a person, but a place "Gough's line" which is referred to in a 1743 deed for land in Fredricksville Parish of Louisa. This indicates the presence of the family very early on in the history of the county and may suggest that earlier grants for New Kent and Hanover, now lost to time, would have identified the actual Gooch land owner.

Louisa County tax lists between 1767 and 1773 indicates four Gooch men who either owned land or were poll taxed. The first Gooch found on tax records is Rowland Gooch, who we assume is the Rowland Gooch died in 1794 and left a will. The second Gooch to turn up in the tax record is Thomas Gooch who appears as an overseer for Cornelius Dabney; a wealthy planter of King William County. By 1778, Thomas no longer serves as Dabney's overseer, but has purchased land very close to Rowland Gooch in Trinity Parish. A James Gooch also appears near Thomas about this time, but never seems to be listed as a land owner. Finally, the other Gooch that appears in Louisa is Stephen Gooch who appears as a land owner in 1775, but who is listed as a resident of King William County, Virginia. Throughout these records there is a sense that these men are all related, though no conclusive evidence has been discovered to define their kinship. Thomas' move from one parish to another occupied by Rowland Gooch may be an indication of kinship. Rowland's on John appears in his father's household in 1774 when he is poll taxed, suggesting his coming of age. The following year John is not taxed in or near Rowland, but rather his tax is paid for by Stephen Gooch of King William County for the years 1775-1777. The difficulty in assessing these various records is that we know so little about the ages of these men nor do we really find records that clearly define kinship.

Stephen Gooch of Louisa

Probably the best information on the Gooches of Louisa is on the Stephen Gooch line. Stephen eventually leaves King William County, VA and settles in Louisa by 1780 [ref: tax records]. Stephen and his family are defined by two key documents. One is a transcript of his family Bible that was published in a genealogical magazine by Mrs. M.E. Tola Gooch. This Bible indicates that Stephen Gooch married Mary Pollard and had issue: Thomas (c1772-1844; married Martha Tisdale); Stephen Pollard (1776-1840; married Catherin Dickenson); Elizabeth (1778-aft1854; married James Nelson); Mary (1782-1859; married John Thompson); Susannah;; Anne Pembleton (died 1840; married Peter Mickelborough Daniels); Louisa Jefferson (1793-1859; married Thomas Wood); and James Gooch. The Douglas Register also helps document the marriages of many of these children. This identification of Stephen Gooch is further corroborated by the "Dictionary of Alabama Biography" (1921) in the sketch of Albert Gallatin Gooch, a civil servant, who served as secretary to two Alabama Governors. Albert G. Gooch was born in 1805 in Aspen Grove, Louisa County, Virginia to Thomas and Martha (Tisdale) Gooch, which the biography states were "former natives of King William Co., VA and veteran of the War of 1812". The biography goes on to identify Stephen and Mary (Pollard) Gooch. Though the rest of the biography is less clear on the family lineage and is filled with all sorts of less credible references to the Gooches of Suffolk, it does provide a reference to their being three branches of the Gooch family of which Stephen was apart of the "Lower Virginia Gooches"; associated with Lt. Col. Henry Gooch. The identity of the two other branches is less clear, but this statement indicates that as early as 1921 and perhaps earlier there was some oral history about different branches of the family. Based on the births of his children, Stephen Gooch would be closer in age to the sons of Rowland Gooch of Louisa and compared to John Gooch of Caroline and Granville County he would is same age as John's grandsons.

Rowland Gooch of Louisa

Rowland Gooch of Louisa is another Gooch ancestor of importance, since he left good records and had a large family. Rowland is often confused with Rowland Gooch of Granville who was about the same age. Both men left wills to distinguish their individual families.

The first myth about Rowland Gooch that should be dispelled is the identity of his wife, Unity Gooch. Rowland's will and the will of his son William identify Unity's first name; however, there are no records that indicate Unity's surname. Researchers starting with Evelena Gooch Singleton are quick to identify her as the "famous" Unity West, which is completely false if not ridiculous. The Unity West that Mrs. Singleton refers to could not have been Rowland's wife. In Virginia, there were two Unity Wests of note. Unity West, the daughter of Nathaniel West of "West Point" was a member of the Virginia elite; the West family is well documented and connected to titled familes in England. This Unity West married William Dandridge of "Elsing Gren" and died in 1753 many years before Rowland or his son made their wills. The only other Unity West was actually Unity, the daughter of Maj. Joseph Croshow of "Poplar Neck" who married Col. John West. This Unity West also was a member of the Virginia elite and died sometime after 1664, several generation before Rowland. So the bottom line is that the only association between the wife of Rowland Gooch and the well known Unity Wests is their first name. Perhaps she was a relative, but no evidence states this and the first name alone is not enough proof to even hazard this assumption. Common sense also comes into play here, since Rowland Gooch was a small land owner with on a few slaves and his wealth certainly would not have commanded a wife of elevated birth and wealth. However, if you look at naming patterns among his children the family names of Pumphret, Liner, Claiborne, and Logan all provides much more rational clues to Unity's family associations.

Rowland Gooch left a will probated on the 08th of December 1794 in Louisa. This will along with other wills and the Douglas Register provide the following family for Rowland. Many of Rowland's children settled in Lincoln County, Kentucky where they left issue. The family of Rowland and Unity Gooch are: William Gooch (c1750/1-1780; married Liviniah Clements, had issue all daughters); Rowland Gooch (c1753-1815; married 1st Sarah Wood, 2nd Rhoda Murphy; removed to KY); Claiborne Gooch (c1755-aft 1830; married Mildred Thomson; had issue); John L[ogan?] Gooch (c1758-1820-30; married Elenor; had issue removed to KY); Liner Gooch (1760-1826; married 1st Rhoda Turner, 2nd Sarah Skidmore; had issue & removed to KY); Pumphret Gooch (c1765-1823; married Mary Wagstaff; had issue); Gideon Gooch (c1768-1813, married Rosa Settle; had no issue); Elizabeth Gooch (married Joseph Wright; removed to KY).

Finally, as for Thomas and James Gooch of Louisa, little is really known of them. They are too old to be the children of Stephen Gooch and were probably nephews. I have done no research on them. In addition to these two Gooch men there is one interesting reference to a Joseph Gooch in Louisa County. Joseph Gooch, Gent. and Thomas Jackson were appointed to view the way from the main road that leads to Charles Allen's Ordinary to Henson Creek [ref: 25 June 1745, Louisa Co. O.S., pg. 155]. The interest in Joseph is that John Gooch of Caroline names a son Joseph and this name in addition with John's use of the names Gideon and Rowland, and the further use by John's children of then names "Pumphret" and "Claiborne" all are indicative of some commmon ancestor. Looking at ages, I suspect John Gooch to have been an uncle of Rowland of Louisa and perhaps a great uncle to Stephen Gooch. However, looking at wealth holdings there is a sense that John Gooch of Caroline was wealthier than Rowland, though Rowland probably died young considering the date of his will, just one year after John's.