Maurice James (Jim) Godfrey (1835 - 1930)

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Birthplace: Lower Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Death: Died in Crookston, Minnesota, United States
Managed by: Jessica (Nitch) Collette
Last Updated:

About Maurice James (Jim) Godfrey

Barge Builder, Mississippi River Boat Builder and Carpenter.

1880 United States Federal Census: Location: Frand Forks, Dakota Territory Occupation: Carpenter 1. Hattie E, Godfrey - age 21 - Daughter- Teacher 2. Nelly B. Godfrey - age 20 - Daughter - Seamstress 3. Minnie A. Godfrey - age 17 - Daughter - Seamstress 4. George Godfrey - age 15 - Son 5. Charles Godfrey - age 13 - Son 6. Eva Godfrey - age 10 - Daughter 7. Willie Godfrey - age 10 mo. - Son

"James Godfrey lives in Osceola. His wife is craze. She is in the Insane Asilum at Madison, has been there about a year. James works at wagon making and steamboat building as he can get work. He was master workman on a boat built for Mr. Trent at Osceola last summer." -Letter from John Sibley Godfrey, 11 Feb 1877

A letter from M.J. Godfrey to M.C. Webster Osceola Mills, Polk CO., WI 14 Feb 1877........ "Now a word about myself and my family. I am living in Osceola now. I moved to Osceola to Taylors Fall shortly after you was here. Built a house on Mill Street above Garlly's house on that street going from the Kingman Mill for my work was down near that mill in a wagon shop for Collins and Folsom. I was foreman of the shop between 3 and 4 years. I sold my farm and went into business and got badly swindled and lost most that I had. Then had a good deal of sickness. Our youngest child died and Myra that is my wife suffered mental derangement for over 3 years. And finally over one year ago took her Madison to the Insane Hospital for the medical treatment. And I am glad to say that she is recovering. I have 6 children. Hattie, my oldest is 18 years old. She is teaching school. Nellie, my next, is 15 years old and Minnie is 13 years old. They are home with me keeping house and going to school. My two boys George and Chalres are 12 and 10 or most so. Eva, my youngest girl lives with my mother. I suppose father wrote to you about the death of Eunice's husband who dies last December." -From your Cousin, M J Godfrey-

"From Helen Gibson, correspondent. The following is from the journal of Maurice James Godfrey - "My parents were John S. and Sarah Wright Godfrey. I was born in the province of Nova Scotia in the town of Lower Stewiacke, County of Colchester, on February 28, 1835. We were forty miles from Halifax and twenty miles from Truro, the county seat, and seven miles from the Stewiacke River. The tide came up from the Bay of Fundy, where plenty of fish came up in the spring to spawn. Here I went in the spring to catch smelts with a scoop-net, and when we caught plenty we would dry them so they would keep for further use. When I was three months old, father moved to Calais (Town of Crawford) in the state of Maine, where we lived for four years. Then we moved back to Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. In the Wallace Settlement on the highway between Halifax and Pictou, one hundred miles distant the stage made daily trips, carrying passengers and the mail. We soon moved from the Wallace Settlement to Grandfather Wright's, about two miles north, where Grandfather had a farm and Uncle Daniel had a new place that Grandfather had given him, and he built his own buildings. After living there a few years, we moved to the Sibley Settlement three or four miles East, and lived in the Richardson House. Old Mr. Richardson was the Baptist minister, but had some time before moved to the city of Sydney, Cape Breton. We moved into the old Sibley place. There was a large family of Sibleys. Henry, the oldest son, had a good farm in Middle Stewiacke and had a brick kiln. I went there to get brick for Grandfather's new house that my uncles were building. Joseph Sibley owned two farms in the Sibley Settlement. Six families lived in the settlement quite close together and some lived quite a ways off. We had a good small schoolhouse and quite a large school. When I was eight years old we lived in the Wright Settlement, where there was no school. Only two families lived there at the time. Our folks sent me to Grandfather Godfrey's winter term of school. Aunt Rebecca Godfrey was the teacher. I had to commence at my ABC's and Aunt said I learned fast. It was some time before I went to school again. We moved into the Sibley Settlement and lived near the school house on the old Sibley place. Joseph Sibley was a cooper and churn maker and made churns, water buckets, chairs with bottoms made of ash splints such as they made baskets with. Father would put the splint bottoms on them in the evenings. We lived on the Joe Sibley farm four years until he sold it to his brother-in-law, Barney Knowles, and then we moved to Grandfather Godfrey's, half a mile off the main road. My uncles Elisha and Charles both were away in the State of Maine. They had a large new house, two fire places and brick oven in the center of the house. We lived there two years or more. In 1849 we got ready to move West. Our family was large by this time: Mary Ann, 16; James, 14; Elizabeth, 13; George, 10; Arthur, 8; Charlotte, 6; Eunice, 4; Kate, 2; and Pauline, six months old....nine children. Mother got help and clothed up the family well in homemade clothes. Father sold off the stock and we got ready and started for the West. We had no folks out West and had no particular place to go. We decided to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and we went down the Stewiacke River on the out-going tide to Peteta. At Peteta we got a sailing schooner to take us to Boston, and we had a rough time aboard the vessel for six days. At Boston we took a train to Albany, New York, and there we took a canal boat to Buffalo. We were eight days on the canal boat, coming up the Erie Canal. It was a fine trip up the canal. I had never seen such a fine country before. Apples were ripe and good. Sometimes I would drive a station fifteen miles and get fifty cents for it. We got to Empire. We were there three days in Buffalo before they got loaded, ready to start on the trip through the Lakes. We came to Detroit. There the steamer made another stop of three days, and some of the passengers left the boat and took the train to Grand Haven. Another steamer came and took our load, passengers and all. We were crowded then. We were some time getting through Lake Huron and had to get a lighter to take some of the freight, but we got through at last and got into Lake Michigan. Then we met a bad storm and heavy seas and had to run into Manatowauk and lie until the storm was over. Then we came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and stopped at a hotel. Father looked around somewhat to see what he could find in the way of work, but the prospect was not very flattering. Wages were very low, fifty cents a day. A man with a team came into the hotel to see if he could find anyone who wanted to go out in the country where he lived. Father talked with him awhile and concluded to go with him to Delafield, twenty-five miles away on the stage road that goes across the state to the Mississippi River. We went out that day twelve miles to Brokville (probably Brookfield) where we stopped that night. They wanted a girl to help in the hotel, so Mary stopped with them, and we continued on our journey to Delafield. Delafield was like so many towns of today. We could not find a house to live in and we had to take an old tumbleddown house out of town for a short time. Later we got a better house and the children went to school. We would have spells of sickness, but we all lived through it. In the spring we moved two miles west to Summit County. We were a mile and a half from the school, which was at Summit Corners. There was a village there and a hotel, where the stage stopped and changed horses, a church and store, and some shops. It was a good rich farming country all about there and land was clear. In the fall of that year, 1850, Uncle James Wright came out with his family and Aunt Mary and four children, and they stayed with us. Daniel, the youngest boy, died there, and they moved North to Oshkosh (probably Oconomowoc), about six miles, where a Mr. Herd had a sawmill and factory, where Uncle James Wright worked and sister Mary got work there also. In the spring Uncle James and his family went West to St. Croix and father went with them. There were no railroads in the state in those days, and a team took them across the state of Wisconsin, to Galena, a river town where the Mississippi River boats came and took them to Stillwater, Minnesota, twenty-five miles from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. The St. Croix River is the state line between Minnesota and Wisconsin, and smaller boats run up the St. Croix. Father came back to Summit in August and a short time later we moved to Tailors Falls, Minnesota, one mile southwest of St. Croix Falls in 1851. That winter of '51 and '52 father went in the lumber woods or camps, as they called them those days. Uncle John Lane was teamster and Button was cook, Cowen (Stillwater men) was second chopper. We moved to our homestead on Osceola Prairie, Wisconsin (1852), three miles from Osceola village, seven miles south of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. I had lumber from Osceola sawmill to build a house, which I hauled to Clouse Creek, now Troutmere where we could get it with a wagon in the spring. I helped father build our house on the land father had preempted on Osceola Prairie. That summer in '52 I worked for Nelson McCarty. He had a large farm a mile north of our claim. I had twenty dollars per month, worked for five months, then came home and worked on the house, getting it ready to live in through the winter. Father went into the woods in 1852 to work for P. Fox on Wood River Lake. I went into the woods for Abe Ayers and Sons on Wood River. When father came out of the woods in the spring of '52, he brought a pair of oxen with him and we commenced getting ready to raft logs to Cedar Bend below Osceola, cutting rafting poles and building our camps to be ready as soon as the logs came. The boom then for catching all the logs was above Osceola one mile. Logs of each mark were brilled in small rafts and dropped down to the mill, and rafting works that were to run down the Mississippi were rated with poles and lock down. What we called a string was eight logs wide and sixteen logs long, sixteen feet wide and 1000 feet long. Eight strings would make a raft. In the spring of 1853 father and Uncle James Wright went into the woods to lumber on the South Fork of the claim above Clam Lake. In '53 I went in as cook and cooked on the drive. We did not get our logs out of Duck Lake on the first rise of water and the crew went down river. I stayed to keep camp. There came a good rise in June, and the crew came up and we got the logs out and through Clam Lake. The crew went down again and left brother George and me to stay with the camp. The Maddens brothers were surveying that part of the state and came there. I sold them the supplies and we took the batteau boat, like a wanaggen boat, and came down to our house. We had some more crops down home and found something to do in haying time. We hired David Wallace. Father and I went up to the lumber woods to put up hay at our old camp. Part of our work was below Clam Lake and part up the river. We put the hay up on the south fork first, then we came to the foot of Clam Lake, went over to Yellow River, a portage of 2 1/4 miles, packed our tent and tools and went to haying. That was a fine meadow, open country. Mosquitoes did not trouble us so much as at Clam Lake, where they were very bad. Father was taken sick and we had to carry him 2 1/4 miles. We made a stretcher with our hay poles and blankets and three of us carried him 2 1/4 or 3 miles to our boat and brought him to Tailors Falls. We got a doctor, left him at the hotel, hired a man and went back and finished haying, then brought all of our kit down. There was no one up there then but the Chippewa Indians. We came home to do our harvesting, make ready for winter to go back to lumbering on Clam River. It was the custom to have a ball, which they called a public dance. I took Miss Ellen Wright, my cousin, to Tailors Falls. There is where we did our trading and got out supplies for the lumber camps. The ball that night was at the Cascade Hotel, and there was a good large company present. Each one who attended the dance bought a ticket and it was numbered. When they were ready for the ball to start, they called the numbers. When they came to my number they skipped it, so I stepped up to the caller and asked, "Why did you not call number eight?" "I did," he said. "No, you did not," and then he called it and I took my lady and went on the floor. I had no trouble after that. In the bar room, no bar was kept, but the room the men used for a sitting room was called a bar room, there came two rough looking men and what they wanted was a mystery to us. I heard them saying that if these men commenced a row we would get Joshua Taylor, who was the only man in town that could handle Harrison Sholts. The men looked around awhile and then went away without making any row. I will tell you later why Shoults and Thomas were there at that time. We went up to Tailors Falls with our Batteau boat that time, the day Sylvanus Bush asked me if I would go with him up to St. Croix Falls, one mile up the river. My boat was at the landing below the Falls. What we call Tailors Falls is only a very rapid shoot of the river at the head of the Dalles. In low water there is a boulder near the center of the channel that is dangerous for navigation. Above the Dalles the river spreads out, is shallow and rapid. I went up to St. Croix Falls with Sylvanus Bush. We landed below the sawmill and went up by the boarding house that William Bush kept for the mill men on up the street, above which was the Main Street. At that time Bush looked around very carefully and we came back to Tailors Falls with my boat. When night came I went to the ball with my lady. I saw no more of Mr. Bush until the next day. Henry Bush, his brother, had a house at Tailors Falls. Mrs. William Bush had a younger sister Mahalia Thomas, whom she wanted to marry Sylvanus Bush. I think Bush wanted her, but she did not want Bush. She was in love with James Pane. On this day she slipped away from her sister's watchful care and found Jim Pane. They crossed the river above the dam, got a justice of the Peace to come from Tailors Falls and there on the bank of the river were married. But as so the Bush outfit got the bride from the groom and made a prisoner of her. There was no Justice of Peace at St. Croix Falls, so Pane went to Balsam Lake, twelve miles to get a writ of replevin to get his wife back again, but before he got around the Bushes took her over to Tailors Falls to Henry Bush's house with the intention of sending her to Galena, Illinois on the boat that was at the landing about ready to go. Before they got her aboard, Pane returned and found where his wife was. A good crowd was gathered about the house, across the street from the hotel. Henry Bush was inside with a gun in his hands. They had Mrs. Pane in the barn, trying to keep her still, but she heard the crowd outside and called out, "Jim, take me out of here. " Then the crowd broke down the door and crowded in the house over the door that had fallen on Mr. Bush. Bush said, "I surrender, I surrender. " And they took the gun out of his hands and a man broke it on a rock, got Mrs. Pane, and carried her out. I remember how she looked as they brought her out in her stocking feet. Mrs. William Bush drew a pistol from her bosom before a man could stop her and shot out the window, but the ball went high and lodged in the stable across the street. Father and A. Seavey (Ambrose Seavey married Eliz.Ayers) heard it whiz by them. No one was hurt and Pane got his wife 0. K. In the winter of '54 and '55 1 went into the lumber woods again to cook for father. We logged on Clam River again on South Fork half the time and below the lake part of the time. Father Fenlason was our teamster, R. Robeson, head chopper, twelve men in all, and we did a fair winter's work. The company was Taylor, Fox, Godfrey, Wright and Ramsey (Wm.). It was on upper South Fork of Upper Clam; we got our drive down to the Rapids at the mouth of Clam River, then hung up for want of water. That was the last lumbering and driving I did for many a year. I bought a set of tools, went to work at carpenter work and worked for Fenlason, helping to build Seth Ayer's house for Harm Crandell, and built a barn for William Ramsey. This summer I was building barns and I built a barn for Joel Nason and a barn for father. I took preemption on 160 acres at Cedar Valley, town of Alden, moved up on same. Horse Creek ran through my land. I had meadow, timber and farm land. I lived at Horse Creek six or eight years. I lived on the Wallace Place in '61, where Nellie was born. In '66 1 moved to Osceola to help build steam boats and sold my place at Horse Creek and bought a farm near father on Osceola Prairie, called the Fathkey Farm, consisting of 117 acres. I still lived in Osceola, building boats and went to building wagons and sleighs. In 1868 1 moved up to Tailors Falls to run the wagon shop for W. H. C. Folsom. I built a good house at Tailors Falls on the road leading down to the saw mill and Folsom's shops and lived there four years. I will go back a few years in my journal. I was married December 4, 1855 to Myra A. Fenlason, daughter of Freeman and Mrs. Harriet Fenlason. We were married at the bride's home in the town of Farmington by Justice Harmon Crandal. Mrs. Crandal, Mrs. Fenlason, Mrs. Sarah Godfrey, my mother, and Evelyn Fenlason were the witnesses. My daughter, Hattie E. was born November 20, 1858; Nellie V. was born July 4, 1861 at Wallace Place; Minnie A. born February 22, 1863 at Horse Creek; George E. born February 23, 1865 at Horse Creek; Charles I. born April 21, 1867, Osceola; Evelyn M. born June 12, 1869, Tailors Falls, Minnesota; James M., born May 12, 1873, Farmington; Hattie and Monta were born in father Fenlason's house, Nellie was born in the William Wallace house, near father's farm, George was born in the Tyler house at Horse Creek, Minnie was born at my own house at Horse Creek. I lived on my farm and the Tyler farm at Horse Creek four or five years. Mine was a hay farm and I cleared and broke ten acres on the forty my house stood on. I had 40 S. E. that was good dry land, 40 west side that was meadow land, and a tamarack swamp with some good timber on it. I did not improve my farm as much as I ought to have done, as I worked out a lot of the time. I went on the drive three seasons, was a cook some of the time. I had horses, some of the time oxen. I got a barn frame for Jerry Mudgett and put it up for him on his farm near Osceola. Willie Maurice, our youngest boy, was born August 31, 1879, died January 1, 1882 at Stillwater, Minnesota. When we lived at Tailors Falls I went to Lakeland, Minnesota to help John Irish build a steam boat for the Munch Brothers. The spring was very late when the navigation opened. From Lakeland I came to Stillwater and worked for Isaac Staples at Carpenter work, took sick there and had the typhoid fever. When I was able, I went home and was laid up for over two months, then went back to Stillwater. I went to work for Seamore and Saben. They were building a mill outside the prison and I went to work on that and worked until Christmas, when I went home to Tailors Falls. I never went back on account of my wife's condition of health, but made arrangements to go and take charge of a crew of men to build trucks for their threshers. But I could not leave home until after I took my wife to the hospital, and then I did not want to go. I moved back to Osceola, where I had a house. While there, I built the Maggie Reaney (boat) for William Kent and put the bow on a barge for Fracom, a wood dealer. (the next two pages are missing from the journal) ...plans for Capt. Zimmerman for a large wheel pleasure boat for Lake Minnetonka. My family came from Grand Forks and we lived upstairs over Swain's shop awhile, then moved onto the North Hill in Mrs. Staples house. Little Willie, our youngest, died January 1, 1882, aged two years, six months. We went to Osceola Prairie to the Hale Cemetery, where I had a lot and where Montie was buried. We did not get the Zimmerman boat to build. I spent a lot of time on those plans. I made a grain barge of the hull of the 'Mark Bradley' for the Knapps, and finished it April 15. Then I went to Moorhead and built a small steamboat and a fleet of barges for the government, finishing July 14. I went to Grand Forks out twelve miles to Stickney near where Hattie lived. Jim helped me hay on my place. He had five horses. Charlie ran the rake and I ran the team on the mower. Jim Sutton and George hauled and stacked. We put up fifty tons of hay. Jim had to go home to harvest and I came to Grand Forks. I was at Dr.______, took dinner with him while there. They telephoned him to come and Dr. Old, Mr. Stiles and I went with him. We found Mrs. Stiles sick with typhoid fever. He had a farm over in East Grand Forks, forty acres of wheat ready to harvest. He had a pair of mules and one horse, no harvester. I had a harvester, so I took the job of harvesting and stacking his crop and plowed the forty acres of land, engaged a threshing machine to thresh, but they disappointed me and did not thresh. I could not get any machine to thresh until cold weather. Then I went to work at carpenter work at East Grand Forks, which had taken a boom. I had taken a job from a contractor to put in the store front and had to use some of the lumber that was in the Stagen. I went up to get the lumber. I wanted the Stagen broken down. I got a bad fall which laid me up a long time. When they threshed the wheat I was not able to work. It was taken from the machine to the elevator. Mrs. Stiles had died and his son-in-law lived at Bismarck where they had taken Mr. Stile. A neighbour, James Sullivan had charge of the threshing. When I went to get my pay for harvesting, I found that the crop had been mortgaged. Sullivan knew all that, but kept it from me. I had to take the team for my pay and that kept me there all winter. The boys and I got some work with my team, putting up ice. I made a bargain with Mr. Dunn, Stiles' sonin- law, to put in the crop on this forty. He was to find the seed. The 14th of March I went to Osceola, Wisconsin, to my old home to build a steamboat for Oscar Knapp & Sons. The boys thought they could put in the crop on this 40, and Jim Sutton said he would help, but when they tried to get the seed from Sullivan, he said he could not tell until he got his own in whether he would have any to spare. That was a put-up game. He did not intend to let them have it, for he wanted that 40 acres, as it joined his place. I do not know whether he has got the 40 acres or not. It was an A-No. I acreage. I have never gone back to Grand Forks to live, but I have been back to build steamboats for the Red River Transportation Company, J. J. Hill, the railroad man, and one for the U. S. Government. When I was building the boat and barge at Moorhead, Minnesota, I had Charlie with me. Charlie got the diphtheria from the children in the house where we boarded and one of them died while we were there. Charlie could not talk well for quite a while. At Moorhead, Knute Nelson gave the 4th of July oration. Nelson was then the governor of Minnesota, now U. S. Senator and also Moses Clapp, formerly of Hudson, Wisconsin, gave an oration. When I arrived at Osceola the snow was still deep and the ice solid in the river. Knapps did not have anything ready to build with. They got the lumber at Tailors Falls, brought down on the ice. I had the deck of a barge to lay the boat down on. Laying down a boat means laying the water lines and stern rake the full size. We work from the center. A Model is one-half the size on a 1/2 inch = 2 inch scale. We have to put that into feet. We wanted a floor half the width of the boat and 35 to 60 feet long. So I laid the steamer Cleon Knapp down on the deck of a barge. There was a small warehouse close by which I used for a shop. It had poor light and I had a stove that smoked. I would work in the shop making patterns, then go out and lay out the frames which I had there. The snow was very bright and my eyes became sore, so I had a hard time. It was a hard matter to get help that was good. After awhile I got Dan McDonald who was a good ship carpenter and caulker, and we got along better. My eyes hurt me so much that I had to do the overseeing with one eye. My eyes were two years and more getting well. They are all right now, but I am an old man, 85 1/4 years old. Mrs. G. was with Minnie in Stillwater. Minnie and Nellie were both married. Mrs. G. and Minnie came up to Osceola and moved into sister Kate's house by father's on the prairie three miles out of town. When I built the Cleon Knapp I got James Wilkins, a ship carpenter, at Grand Forks to come and help me. When I got the boat done in the fall we went over to St. Paul and Minneapolis to the State Fair, then to Excelsior. As we were going aboard one of the big side wheel steamers, Capt. May met me and hired me to go to Okoboji, Iowa, to build a steamer. He told me what he wanted. We went back to Osceola and went to work for Mr. Sutton on the new flour mill until Capt. May sent me money, then I made the model and patterns for the propeller boat which he wanted me to build when I was ready. I went to Wilson, Wisconsin, where I got the lumber, had the beams sawed out, got the planking planed, bought the lumber to build a shop and went to Minneapolis for hardware, canvas, paint, oils and trimmings for the boat, and had it shipped to Okoboji, Iowa. My son, George, and James Wilkins went with me to M. J. Smith's, who kept some boarders and I hired some carpenters there. When the hull was finished, we went back, George and Wilkins to Osceola, I to Excelsior, then to Minneapolis. In the spring we went back and finished the boat. It was a nice fast boat. There was money in that trade, if rightly handled, but Capt. May sent his son who was not old enough to understand how to handle the business. George went to Wakuta, Minnesota, and built a side wheel boat. When I came from Okoboji, I went to Osakis, Minnesota, and built a propeller boat for Westmann. Then I went to Minneapolis and George Florida hired me to work on his flourmill, Harry Young was the millwright. I worked there until December. I went from Rockford to Excelsior with a load of lumber and flour which I bought of George Florida. I rented May's store, which was not in use as a store any more, as Capt. May moved to Casland, North Dakota. The upper rooms were living rooms. Minnie kept house for us, and the boys were with us. I built two launches that winter, the Virge and Minnehaha. I rented the Virge to the St. Louis Hotel for $500. 00 for the season. That fall I went to Stillwater and built the Verna Swain for D. M. Swain. I built the boat complete with the cabin and pilothouse and it was a fast fine boat. Capt. Streckfus of Davenport, Iowa, bought the Verna Swain, and ran her from Lyons to Davenport for many years. D. M. Swain built many boats and ran them on the Illinois River and the lower Mississippi River. When I had finished the Verna Swain I worked on the Exposition Building at East Minneapolis, then went to Hennepin Island to build a dredge boat for the St. Anthony Power Company. . . .dwelling houses, and nearby a number of sheds, a mill, engine and boiler. The yard was in a run down condition, the track was bad, and I had to do a lot of repairing to the ways and cradles to get them in condition to haul out boats. It is a good point for a yard, the boat place between St. Paul and LaCrosse. There was the Chippewa River work and the Mississippi River work. There were at that time a great many raft steamboats on the river, but there are none now. Lumber rafts are a thing of the past. . . . After I had lived awhile in Wabasha, my daughter Hattie came to visit me. The house we were living in that winter was cold, and it was a very cold time of the winter. Hattie had taken a very bad cold on her way. She had stopped in Minneapolis to call on her Aunt Kate Brown. After she left the car line she had to wade through deep snow to get to the house, and when she reached our house her cold was very bad. The next day she was able to visit George and Celia, but after that she could do no more visiting. I had the doctor right away, but with all we could do, we could not make any impression on the disease, and in seven days she died. I will mention something about Hattie. Sometimes the children thought I was partial in my judgement, but I do not think I was. Hattie was a very good scholar, she studied hard, always had her lessons, and was the best reader in the normal school, when she attended there. I will mention what P. B. Walker, a good lawyer, said to me. He had two boys who attended school with Hattie. He said he would give a year Is work if either of his boys could read or speak a piece like Hattie Godfrey could. Now another lawyer, L. K. Standard (Luke K. Standard's daughter is married to Russell Lundberg of Tailors Falls) had a boy who attended school with Hattie, and was about the same age. I met him one time. I had not seen him for years, and when he asked me about my children, I told him about Hattie's death. He said, "Too bad, d--- smart girl, Hattie was. " Hattie was three years older than her next sister, Nellie. She was not well and I had to take care of her much more than I did any of the other children. Hattie was more company than most children. One lady of talent said that Hattie was the best conversationalist she had ever met. Chester Knox was six years old when I married his mother. He came right into the house and grew up with us, commencing work in the shop when he was sixteen or eighteen, and learned his trade right with me. He had three good trades, and was an all around number one mechanic. He was with me when I was away from home at Rainy River of the North to Honduras, Central America, and to Denver, Colorado, and also here on Grand River. It is no wonder I miss him so much, but Frankie, his son, is growing up to be a lot of company. There are none of my children near me now. I live here at Grand Rapids, Michigan, the children all live in Minnesota, except Min, who is in Montana. I came here from New York the last of March, 1905, to build two riverboats like the Mississippi River Boats, for the Grand River Navigation Company. I built the Grand and the Rapis. The boats were 27 x 135 feet, 5 ft. hole, 220 tons each, with oak frames, and fir planking. They were good riverboats. Chester came back from New York to help me and the men from Jeffersonville, Indiana, men who had been with me to Alaska and also some ship, then went to Clinton to build the Wonder No. 2 for Lafayette Lamb. It was a good winter for work, and I finished the boat March 15th, then went. to Burlington to set up some machinery for the Kelley Sand Company. April 15, Mrs. G. and I went to Pierre, South Dakota, for the Northwestern Railroad Company, and I worked there until June first, then went from there to Ball Club, Minnesota, where my son George and his family lived. I visited there and at Bemidji, where Min lived, until July 5. At that time Slater had his sawmill at George's place and three or four houses nearby. On the fourth of July we had a big celebration with a fine dinner and supper. The Declaration of Independence was read by a woman who was a Hamline University Alumnus, The oration was given by a local preacher. There was a big crowd and they had a good time. There was a dance at night. On the 5th of July I went to Platte, South Dakota, on the Missouri River, to build a boat, the C. T. Oldhem, which I finished October 13. We then visited at Wabasha, took Nellie to Rochester to Dr. Mayo to consult him. Later she had a tumor removed. On October 18, 1906 we went to Alma Center to visit sister and John Buckley and their children, then returned to Lyons. From Lyons we came to Grand Rapids, Michigan. We rented rooms on 93 Turner Street. On December 20 Capt. Pulber came and hired me to go to Honduras to build a steamboat and barges for a New York Fruit Company. January 22 1 arrived at New Orleans, where we remained a week before we could get a steamer to take us to Honduras. Chester Knox and John Hodgens met us at New Orleans. They had gone to Missouri a month before. We wrote them to meet us at New Orleans. January 31 we left New Orleans for Porto Cortez, Central America, arriving there February 5. We went to La Feebes Hotel. The Capt. rented a house and we moved into it and took our meals with Whitemores. We remained there three weeks, waiting for our goods to come. Then we took the steamer El Capitan, to our place up the Ula River, 35 miles distant. We landed at seven p. m. at what was to be our home for the next two years, 26 months. We had two women with us, Mrs. Egelston and Mrs. _____. There was an old man, Thomas Phillips, who kept the place, a native stopping in one of the poor shacks. The mosquitoes were very bad. We had some cots that we made at the Port. I had the model of the steamboat I was going to build. I got the use of the town hall and laid down my boat and got ready to make my patterns. There were some sheds on the place that we could live in until we built the house. We hired a carpenter at Porto Cortez to build the house. We had to wait for our sawmill to come before we could get lumber to build. The sawmill and engine came, and for a foundation for the engine I took two saw logs, put some timber under them, and my stay bolts in them to hold the engine, then set up the saw. We had been in the timber and cut logs, had ten oxen, a good teamster, a set of high logging wheels. As soon as we got lumber sawed I put up a good sawmill. We had a planer, and the men cleared off a good patch. We had a hunter for hunting, who kept us in fresh meat. We had a steam launch, though not a very good one, but we kept busy. I had my patterns all ready; as soon as I got the lumber I went to work on the steamboat. We had a good band saw and Knox was a good sawyer. It was ten miles over to the railroad. We cleared out a road so we could use the wagon to cart goods over the road. We were hindered much about getting our freight from Porto to our plantation. Our boss had had a fuss with the other company and they would not bring our freight and the mill and machinery to us. We had to take one frame up to where the railroad came to the river, away above us and make a raft and float it down. Under those disadvantages we were delayed much, but notwithstanding all that, we got our boat completed in good shape and running. On the 21st we got our mill, which came August 18, 1907, ready to run, and we went to work, sawing lumber for the mill. We had good water to drink. In March 1908 we launched our steamboat. On July 18 Mr. Pierce and his wife and a Miss Greene came over the trail on horseback, and when they came to our fence, he had to dismount to open the gate. When he mounted, the bronco threw him and his head struck against a stump, which broke his skull. We took him right to Porto, but there was no help for him . . . he died the next day. His wife and Miss Greene returned to Ohio. Knox had one letter from Miss Greene since he came home. I finished one barge and another one was well under way. I built some Quincy skiffs and Lighter to take the fruit from the bank out to the vessel in deep water. On January 1, 1909 Mr. Phillips came to take charge of the camp. March 3, Knox went home and I went back to camp to build a tug for William Pierce, a merchant of the Port. I took some men, and goods and hardware for the tug and finished the tug. On May 1, I started for home, arriving there the 14th of May, 1909. 1 remained home all summer, and worked some for Bunker. In September I went to New York to see Fulton and Hudson Parage. I worked some for Bunker in November and December. January 18, 1 went to Denver to build to an excursion boat for the Land Park Amusement Company and I finished it in four months. Then I spent some time looking about at the beautiful scenery of Colorado. I was at Golden and up on the mountains at Mineral Springs, then went up to Pikes Peak, then to Rocky Ford, where by brother-in-law Charles Fenlason, lived. He met me at the train. I arrived home May 22, 1910 and in June we started on a trip to see the children and my sisters. We went to Alma Center first, where Eliza and her children lived. Charlotte came while we were there. We stayed there for a week. Uncle Elisha and Aunt Lane's families had lived there, but had gone west. June 28, we left Alma Center and went by way of Chippewa Falls and Duluth to Ball Club, 136 miles northwest of Duluth, Minnesota, where George lived. August 10, Grace and Luella Walton were drowned, the same day Jimmie Sutton was shot to death in Cashmere, Washington. Less than two years from that time Willie Walton was drowned in the same place his sisters were drowned. I now have four less grandchildren. Celia and I went up to Crookston and attended the funeral of the girls, but I did not get word of Willie Walton's death until some time after it happened. January 10 I arrived at George's and helped him all winter. In the spring I went up to help Maurice build his house. April 5 I came back to George's. My wife was there. Celia was at the hospital at Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Her brother Harry Oches, died the 8th of April. They took his remains to Chaska, his old home, for burial. George and his wife and a crew went up to Cutfoot to repair a steamboat. I stayed on the farm and put in the crop. At this time Alex and Nellie Spencer were living across the river on George's place, and they later moved back to Wabasha, where they still live. We remained at George's until September, when I went to Bemidji and Crookston to see Minnie and Eva. While at George's I made a set of plans for a steam-boat for Peace River, Alberta, British Northwest. We came home in September. Chester and Nellie had a fine boy born to them, little Frankie. I spent the winter of 1913 at George's. May 1914 I went to work for the government at Cohasset, building some house boats, a dredge, and a launch, and then came home in November. December 5, 1914 I went to Minneapolis to help George build a steamboat for the Rum River Boom Company, and then I came back home in March. Chester has been sick much of the winter. He never was real well after his sickness of pneumonia, two years before at Ball Club. On April 27, 1915 he died from heart failure in our place at 948 Chatham Street, Grand Rapids. My wife and I were then living at 761 Bridge Street. I am working some in my own shop and build rowboats. Once in a while I work for Jesek in the boat shop and make a garden. Nell lives two blocks east of us.. The girls are at the Sister's Academy. Frank is at home with his mother, going to school. They are all doing well. The winter of 1918 we spent with Frank Knox in Florida at Brads Town and Myacka City. I was at Bay City and worked in the shipyard there. Now, October 20, 1920, I am at home. October 31, 1889 I was married to Carrie Knox. She had three children, Frank, a man in business in the East, who was married about the same time; Maude about sixteen, who later attended Hamline University; and Chester aged six. Many things have happened since that time. Frank is still in business in New York and Florida, and Chester married and had three children. He died April 27, 1915. Nell is taking good care of the children, and they are going to school and learning well. They are fine, bright children, Frank, nine, Carrie M. seven, and Elizabeth Ann, five years of age. I have three children living: Nellie V. Spencer, Minnie A. Carter, and Eva M. Walton . Five have died: Hattie E., Charles I., George E., and James and William. The last two were my younger children, one and a half and two years of age. Hattie was married. She left a husband and three children, Fred Sutton who is teaching in high school in California; Nettie is married and lives in the state of Washington. She has three children. James Sutton, Jr., died some years ago at Cashmere, Washington."


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Maurice James (Jim) Godfrey's Timeline

February 28, 1835
Lower Stewiacke, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada
December 4, 1855
Age 20
Farmington, Polk Co., Wisconsin, USA
November 20, 1858
Age 23
July 4, 1861
Age 26
Wallace Place
February 22, 1863
Age 27
Horse Creek
February 23, 1865
Age 29
Horse Creek, Wisconsin, United States
April 21, 1867
Age 32
Osceola, WI, USA
June 12, 1869
Age 34
Taylors Falls, MN, USA
May 12, 1873
Age 38
Farmington, WI, USA
August 31, 1879
Age 44