head view photo
W. J. Goff Family about 1886
View Goff newspaper items
Location of Residence 1847-1944
Son of Racine County pioneers, William P. Goff and Lovisa Whitman,1 William James Goff was born 18 August 1846 in Yorkville, Wisconsin. Married Emma Jane Ball 13 November 1872 in Burlington, Wis.2


  • They had four children;
    • 1) Clara Lovisa, born 12 Nov. 1874, and married to Louis A. Belden, 10 February 1900, died 25 May 1954.
    • 2) Blanche Emma, born 15 Feb. 1877 and married to Alvin Baker 28 June 1906 in Rockford, died 10 March 1930.
    • 3) Della Jane, born 24 Apr. 1883, died 7 February 1917, Rockford, Illinois.
    • 4) William James Romanzo, born 2 Jun. 1893 and, married to Helen Craig 6 Nov. 1921. He died in 1982, burial in Indianapolis, IN. Helen was born in 1894 and died in 1955.
  • Their children's birth registration records show he was engaged in the following occupations:
    • Agent 1877,
    • Bookkeeper1883,
    • Lumberman1893.3
    • In 1878-9 he was in sales...
    On 12 December 1878 '
    Local News... Mr. J. W. Goff, of Burlington, has placed on our table a bottle of Dr. Shepard's Ointment, which he is now selling... Mr. Goff's word is sufficient to convince us of its superiority.'4 'Mr. James W. Goff, of Burlington, has taken the agency of the Singer Sewing Machine for the territory formerly occupied by Mr. F. H. Grube, and will keep an office to exhibit machines in the Drug Store of H. Stoetzer, Burlington. Machine attachments, Extras, oil, needles, etc., consistently on hand. Mr. Goff will also continue to take orders for fruit and ornamental trees and shrubbery, until time to make his spring delivery'......'The phonograph is no longer among the things that are unknown to this community. On Wednesday evening it was exhibited at the Baptist church by Messrs. Peck and Goff before an audience that was as large in proportion as it was eager in its curiosity. Mr. Peck introduced the garrulous instrument with a little sketch of Mr. Edison, the inventor. Most of our readers no doubt know it. The phonograph itself is very simple in construction: a cylinder, a strip of tinfoil, a crank, a diaphragm and needle, together with a mouth piece and funnel, constitute this wonderful machine.

    'The tests made by the exhibitors justified all that is claimed for it. It reproduces every kind of sound or noise that enters the mouth-piece -- not very loud, to be sure, but strongly accurate in all details. The audience were amused with the tests, which were various, and embraced everything from whistling to cornet playing, and from "Jack and Jill," to Halleck's version of Bozzaria' cheer to his band.

    'A number of magic lantern views finished the entertainment. The German M. E. Church, for whose benefit this exhibition was given, realized, as we are told, considerable from the receipts.' 5

    "W. J. Goff took his departure for Rockford, Ill., on Tuesday, where he has secured employment and will make his future home. Mrs. Goff and daughter went to Honey Creek for a short visit before going to Rockford", December 1901.6
    William died 12 Sep. 1909 in Rockford, Ill. '

    DEATH OF WM. J. GOFF--Salesman For Wheeler Lumber Company Expires After Long Illness.--William James Goff, a salesman for the Wheeler Lumber company of this city, died at 5:15 Sunday morning at his home, 223 North Third street.

    'Mr. Goff had for weeks been suffering from stomach trouble and Bright's disease.

    'He was born in Yorkville, Wis. Aug. 18, 1846, and resided in that state the greater part of his life. He was married to Emma J. Ball in 1872 and in 1901 moved to Rockford.

    'Mr. Goff is survived by his wife, and three daughters, Dell J. Goff, of this city, Mrs. Louis A. Belden of Roscoe and Mrs. Alvin L. Baker of Honey Creek, Wis., and a son, William J. R. Goff. A brother resides in Topeka, Kan.

    'Funeral arrangements have not been definitely arranged, as the two absent daughters and his brother have not arrived. The pall bearers were selected from his Bible class. They are Messrs. Wilbur, Robieson, Dr. Boyle, Waterman, Rider, and Hoover.'7

    • Source (19), page 422.
    • Source (6), 25 Nov. 1872, Pg. 3.
    • Source (10).
    • Source (11), 12 December 1878
    • Source (37), 8 March 1879.
    • Source (33), 7 December 1901
    • Source (9), Monday 13 Sep. 1909