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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN ALBRIGHT GOFF, who is now living in retirement on his farm in the town of Homer, Cortland County, N. Y., comes from one of the oldest and best known families in the county. Both paternal and maternal ancestors were of Revolutionary stock. The first authentic history we have of his paternal ancestors is that of William Goff, who fled from England in company with a Mr. Whalen, and settled in America. They were among the judges that passed sentence on Charles I, so on the accession of Charles II to the throne they were compelled to leave the land of their nativity and seek a home in the New World. Upon coming to this country they settled in the State of New Hampshire. One of the descendants of William Goff was Major John Goff, the great-grandfather of our subject.

Major Goff was a native and lifelong resident of Bedford, New Hampshire. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits all his life, except the years which he spent in the war. He was a major in the French and Indian War, and his patriotic ardor and martial spirit found full vent on many a hard contested field of battle. He was a brave and valiant soldier, and was ever eager to discharge his full duty and more.

One of his sons, Samuel Goff, was a native of the Granite State, and for some years he followed the occupation of a farmer at Goffstown, a village named and christened Goffstown in honor of the Goff family. When the Revolutionary War broke out he enlisted in the Continental Army and rendered valuable aid to the cause of Independence. When the war was over, he returned to Goffstown, where he again followed farming. About the year 1832, he retired from active work and moved to East Homer, where he spent the remainder of his days with his son Benjamin.

Benjamin Goff, the father of our subject, was born in 1782 at Goffstown. In 1798, when he was but sixteen years of age, he emigrated to this state and settled at East Homer. For a time he made his home with John Albright, but after his marriage he located on a portion of the Albright estate. It was then almost an unbroken forest, and during the remainder of his life he was actively engaged in placing it in cultivation. After enduring many hardships, and passing through the usual experiences incident to pioneer life, he succumbed to the inevitable in November, 1847.

Mr. Goff was united in marriage with Elizabeth Albright, a daughter of John Albright. John Albright served in the Revolutionary War, a portion of the time under General Washington, with whom he was well acquainted. He also participated in the campaign against the Indians, during which he received a severe wound which permanently disabled him for further military service. He was granted a pension, and as a reward for the work he had done he received a tract of six hundred acres of land where the village of East Homer is now located, and upon which he subsequently settled. The tract was then thickly covered timber land, but under his supervision and by his own labor, it was cleared and made into a fine farm. The estate now comprises a number of farms. Mr. Albright was well and favorably known in his neighborhood, and many of the older settlers pleasantly recall stories of his war experiences. By his first wife Mr. Goff had four children, three daughters and one son, John Albright. After Mrs. Goff’s death, he married Catharine Albright, by whom he had one child.

John Albright Goff was born on the Albright farm at East Homer, September 30, 1809. He was reared at East Homer and received his education in the district schools. He remained there and engaged in farming until the year 1849, when he located on another farm in the town of Homer. He conducted this farm of one hundred and sixty acres for a number of years, after which he sold it and bought a smaller farm of thirty acres, upon which he now lives in practical retirement.

He was united in marriage with Elizabeth Thomas, a daughter of Arnold and Audrey Thomas of Willet. They reared five children, namely: Mary M. of Homer; John T., who was serving in the Civil War, when he was taken sick with pneumonia and died at Fort Tottin in 1861 — he was a member of Co. G. 76th Reg. N. Y. Vol. Inf.; Mrs. Frances E. Phillips; Mrs. Anna R. Donaldson, deceased, of Homer, N. Y.; and Herbert W., deceased. Mr. Goff’s ancestors were all Whigs, and he formerly belonged to that party, but is now a Republican.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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