William Osborne Goode

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William Osborne Goode

Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Inglewood, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, United States
Death: July 3, 1859 (60)
Wheatland, Boydton, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Boydton, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Chesterfield Goode and Lucy Herbert Goode
Husband of Sarah Tazewell Goode and Sarah Maria Waller Goode
Father of John Littleton Goode; William Henry Goode; Tazewell Goode; Sarah Catherine Goode; Captain William Osborne Goode, II and 7 others
Brother of Martha Hamlin; Elizabeth O Bailey; Agnes Eppes Williamson and Edward Goode
Half brother of Herbert Claiborne Cocke and John Ruffin Cocke

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Osborne Goode

William O. Goode of Mecklenburg County graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1819, studied law, and was admitted to the bar and began practice in Boydton in 1821. He was a member of the House of Delegates, 1822-23, 1824-33, 1839-41, 1845-47 (resigned as Speaker December 31, 1846), 1852-53; the Constitutional Conventions of 1829 and 1850; and the U.S. House of Representatives, 1841-43, 1853-59. He was chairman of the Congressional Committee for the District of Columbia. While he was Speaker of the House, the Clerk was George Wythe Munford. On many occasions in Congress, in the Virginia Assembly and in State Conventions, he spoke ardently on behalf of gradual emancipation of enforced servitude.

I unveiled his portrait by Catharine S. Rice on October 7, 1983 in the House Chamber at the State Capitol in Richmond, Va.

From The South Hill Enterprise article dated October 12, 1983 following the unveiling of the portrait on Oct 7, 1983 from Dr. Shelton H. Short III's presentation:

"William O. Goode, life-long resident of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, was born at "Ingleside" in 1798 and died at "Wheatland" in 1859, both tobacco, wheat and horse raising plantations near Boydton, Virginia. He was the son of John Chesterfield Goode who served in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Lucy Herbert Claiborne, whose cousin became Governor of Louisiana. He was widowed twice and fathered eleven children. His first wife was the daughter of Governor and Mrs. Littleton Tazewell of Williamsburg. His second wife was Sarah Maria Massie of "Blue Rock" in Nelson County, Virginia, granddaughter of war for independence battle hero, Major Thomas Massie, at Yorktown in 1781. William O. Goode studies law at the College of William and Mary. During the 1830s and 1840s he served in the Virginia House of Delegates and became its speaker at a time when all of present West Virginia was included within the Old Dominion. During the 1840s and 1850s, up until his death just prior to the war of 1861-1865, he served in the U.S. Congress and was chairman of the District of Columbia Committee. At the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1830 he sponsored a plan for gradual reducement of enforced servitude. A gentleman who was far ahead of his times. Although an Anglican-Episcopalian by faith, Methodists named him to the first Randolph-Macon College Board of Trustees and he wrote their original charter about 1829. He donated land at "Wheatland" for St. James' Episcopal Church as long as the land was used for religious purposes. The church, in 1842, was moved to Boydton, the land thus reverting back to "Wheatland".

US Congressman. Born in Inglewood, Mecklenburg County, Virginia, he was an 1819 graduate of the College of William and Mary and from 1821 maintained a law practice in Boydton. He later purchased an estate in the area, which he called "Wheatland". Bewteen 1822 and 1852 he served 14 terms in the State House of Delegates (three of them as Speaker), and was a member of the State Constitutional Conventions in 1829, 1830, and 1850. Throughout his legislative career Goode was active in debates on slavery, advocating gradual emancipation, and this stance impacted his fortunes on the national stage. His first run for the US House of Representatives (1832) ended in defeat. In 1840 he was elected as a Democrat to represent Virginia's 4th District in the Twenty-Seventh Congress, serving from 1841 to 1843, but was subsequently not renominated by his party. Only during the 1850s, with Congress bitterly divided between North and South, abolitionists and pro-slavers, were Osborne's moderate views more welcome to that body. He won election to the Thirty-Third and three succeeding Congresses, serving from 1853 until his death in Boydton. He died before taking his seat in the Thirty-Sixth Congress and would not see the slavery issue decided by the Civil War. A cenotaph in his memory was erected at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)



About Cedar Crest 1571 Jefferson Street, Boydton, VA 23917 (private home)

William Osborne Goode, son of John Chesterfield Goode, built Cedar Crest in 1821. William Goode, a College of William and Mary graduate, was licensed to practice law in Mecklenburg in 1821. He served as state and national representative. His political career began in 1822 when he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. He died in 1859 while serving in the United States Congress.

Goode married Sarah Bolling Tazewell in January 1820. The couple lived at Cedar Crest until her death at age 22 in 1825. After marrying his second wife, Sarah Massie, the couple moved to Wheatland, near Christiansville (Chase City). Their son, Colonel John Thomas Goode, was a Virginia Military Institute graduate, commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1854. He served as the U.S. Army Commander of the Western Frontier in Utah. At the outbreak of the war, he returned to Boydton and joined the Confederacy as Colonel. After outstanding performance at the Battle of Saylor's Creek, he was commissioned a Brigadier General although the commission did not receive approval before the evacuation from Richmond at war's end.

Major-General P.H. Sheridan very briefly made the house at Cedar Crest his office in 1865 at the close of the Civil War. After the surrender in Appomattox, on April 25, 1865, Sheridan and his cavalry arrived in Boydton on their way to rendezvous with the Sixth Army Corps. The objective was to travel south to engage the army of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, which had not surrendered. He headquartered at Cedar Crest, while his soldiers encamped around or near the Episcopal Church, Randolph Macon College and the town of Boydton. On April 26, Sheridan and his troops moved on toward South Boston, where, upon their arrival the following day, he learned Johnston had surrendered.

This property was placed under a historic easement with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Included in the easement are the house and many historic dependencies-two barns, a smokehouse, chicken coop, shed, garage, silo, kitchen and servants' quarters.

Source: http://sovahomefront.org/_site_cedarcrest.php



William Osborne Goode (September 16, 1798 – July 3, 1859) was a nineteenth-century American politician and lawyer from Virginia.

Personal life

Goode was born to John Chesterfield Goode and Lucy Claiborne Goode at their plantation "Inglewood" in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

Goode graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1819. He was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1821 and set up a legal practice in Boydton, Virginia.

Goode married twice. In 1820, while in law school, he married Sarah Bolling Tazewell of Williamsburg, Virginia. She died July 9, 1825, aged 22, after childbirth. In 1829 he married Sarah Maria Massie. They had several children together. She died April 14, 1844.

Political career

Goode served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1822–23. He was re-elected in 1824 and afterward, expecting to serve through the term ending 1833. He gave up his seat to make an unsuccessful 1832 run for the United States House of Representatives. During that time, he also was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829.

Goode was re-elected to the House of Delegates (1839-41). He was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1840, serving from 1841-43. He was elected again to the Virginia House from 1845–47, and was elected as Speaker. He served as delegate to the second Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1850.

Elected back to the US House of Representatives in 1852, he served three terms, from 1853 until his death in 1859. He became chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia from 1857-58.

Goode died in Boydton on July 3, 1859. He was buried at his nearby plantation of "Wheatland".

Electoral History


Goode was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 75% of the vote, defeating Independents Richard H. Baptist and a man identified only as Marshall.


Goode was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 65.34% of the vote, defeating Whig Wyatt Cardwell and Independents William C. Flournoy and William S. Scott.


Goode was re-elected with 61.27% of the vote, defeating American Littleton Tazewell.


Goode was re-elected with 75.97% of the vote, defeating an American identified only as Collier.


Goode was re-elected with 63.79% of the vote, defeating Independent Democrat Flournoy.

Legacy and honors

A cenotaph was erected in his memory at Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C..

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William Osborne Goode's Timeline

September 16, 1798
Mecklenburg County, Virginia, United States
October 26, 1820
Age 22
November 20, 1822
Age 24
April 8, 1824
Age 25
April 27, 1825
Age 26
September 15, 1830
Age 31
July 13, 1832
Age 33
Virginia, United States
October 28, 1833
Age 35