Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Dec 26

John Goe and Goes Station (Part II)

Posted on December 26, 2019 at 1:00 PM by Melissa Dalton

This week we continue our discussion of Goes Station and how the property eventually became what we know today as the old powder mills.

When we left off a couple weeks ago, John Goe, the son of Samuel Goe, had just purchased several tracts of land in the area. Before we move on, we want to give you a little more information about John and his family. John Goe was born in Pennsylvania in 1797, and married Catharine Crawford on April 24, 1824 in Greene County, Ohio (Fig 1). The couple had a large family, and from what we can gather from the census records and John’s will, we believe John and Catharine had nine children: Bernard, George, Samuel, William, John, Aronet, Rebecca, Mary, and Henrietta (although only six were named in John’s will).

Fig 1. Marriage Record A p 155 (JPG)
Fig 1. Marriage Record A p 155 (Greene County Archives)

Around the time that John acquired the land in 1838 (as discussed in the last blog), the Little Miami Railroad was established, being incorporated in 1836. The Little Miami Railroad was built to connect Cincinnati to Springfield, and was only the second railroad to be built in Ohio. Construction on the line began in 1837 and was completed in 1848, with a section running through Xenia, and along the Little Miami River. This meant the railroad ran along Goe’s property as well.

In 1845, two brothers, Lorenzo and Alvin Austin, were interested in purchasing some of Goe’s land (as well as Andrew Galloway’s adjacent lands), with a special interest in the old scythe mill. The Austin Brothers had a black powder mill in Akron, Ohio, and were looking to expand their operations. The brothers acquired 8.04 acres from Goe, and 2 acres from Galloway (Fig 2).

Fig 2. Deed Record No 24 p 37 (JPG)
Fig 2. Deed Record No 24 p 38 (JPG)
Fig 2. Deed Record No 24 p 39 (JPG)
Fig 2. Deed Record Vol 24, pgs 37-39 (Greene County Archives)

As the Little Miami Railroad grew, so did their needs. In 1857, they approached John Goe about obtaining a right of way through his property. An agreement was reached that they would have access to a strip of land that was 66 feet wide, with 33 feet on either side of the tract. Additionally, the Railroad built a stone water station on this land, in which the stone was furnished by Goe, and the water was from a spring on Goe’s property and accessed by a pipe. In all, Goe was paid $300 for the right of way (equivalent to just over $8000 today) (Fig 3).

Fig 3. Deed Record No 35 p 415 (JPG)
Fig 3. Deed Record No 35 p 416 (JPG)
Fig 3. Deed Record Vol 35 pg 415-416 (Greene County Archives)

It is important to note here that for some reason, much of the literature about local mills and the railroads claim that it was William Goe, supposedly the son of Samuel Goe, who sold all the land to the railroad around 1846, and that as part of the deal, William requested that the depot (station) had to be named Goe. However, Samuel Goe did not have a son named William, nor was there a William that owned any of that land during that time. Additionally, it was Samuel’s son, John who acquired most of the family land after his father’s death. We reviewed all the records and we did not locate a right of way or deed from any Goe to the Little Miami Railroad until 1857. We believe the mix up with names may have occurred because John and his brother, Thomas, both had sons named William, so it is possible that the names just got switched at some point (Fig 4).

Fig 4. Image of the 1855 Greene County Atlas of Goes Station area (JPG)
Fig 4. Image of the 1855 Greene County Atlas of Goes Station area (Greene County Archives)

According to the 1860 Census and Non-Population Schedule, John had a rather large farm (about 220 acres) and his real estate was estimated to be worth $11,000 (Fig 5). In 1872, John sold his farm to J. H. Dickey for $80 per acre, for a total of $17,798.40 (Fig 6). He drew up a will shortly after selling the land, and made sure to direct his heirs to collect any remaining balance due by Dickey upon his death as he had not paid in full (Fig 7). On March 15, 1873 (just over a year after signing his will), John Goe passed away, leaving his six living children a healthy inheritance.

Fig 5. 1860 Census with Goe family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 5. 1860 Non-Population Schedule with Goe outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 5. 1860 Census & Non-Population Schedule (

Fig 6. 1874 Greene County Atlas of region of Goes Station (JPG)
Fig 6. 1874 Greene County Atlas of region of Goes Station (Greene County Archives)

Fig 7. Will of John Goe, Record Vol L p 111 (JPG)
Fig 7. Will of John Goe, Will Record L p 111 (Greene County Archives)

The history of Goes Station and more specifically, the gun powder mills, continues. Follow us over the next few weeks to learn about the tumultuous history of the mills.

Until Next Time!

Greene County Archives


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