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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Armsted Goatley

Coming to California during the period of her most rapid growth in population, it so happened that Armsted Goatley found himself in Placerville on the day that the state was admitted into the Union, September 9, 1850, prepared to engage in mining. Between that day and the day of his death, April 23, 1904, he watched with interest the rapid development in this western commonwealth, and none was more keenly alive to her possibilities than was he. His mining experience was but a stepping stone to his real accomplishments in the west, his later and more profitable years being passed as a rancher in Sonoma county, and the work which he laid down at his death has been ably continued by his widow.

Mr. Goatley was of southern origin, his birth occurring in Kentucky in 1828, and he remained in the south until the attractions of California at the time of the gold fever proved too strong to be resisted longer. As stated, he reached the mines of Placerville on the day when the state was celebrating her admission into the Union, September 9, 1850. The records make no special comment as to his success as a miner, but it is known that he ultimately gave it up to undertake ranching, and at the time of his death was proprietor of one of the most thrifty and prosperous ranches in Sonoma county. Here on three hundred and fifty acres which he owned four miles west of Petaluma he undertook dairying on a large scale and as he was one of the first in the country round about to venture upon this branch of agriculture he rightly claimed the distinction of being a pioneer dairyman in this section of country. Forty head of cows of the Jersey and Durham breeds now constitute the dairy, besides which there are six horses and over one thousand chickens. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Goatley has continued the maintenance of the ranch along the lines which he had found to be successful, and she is also making a success of the undertaking.

Before her marriage Mrs. Goatley was Miss Charlotte Langford, born in Somersetshire, England in 1849. She came to California in 1884, and the following year she was married to Mr. Goatley in Oakland. Two children were born of their marriage, John L., and George A., the latter of whom graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1910, with a degree of B. S., and later engaged as an electrical engineer in San Francisco. John L. has the management and supervision of the ranch.

Mrs. Goatley was one in a family of ten children born to her parents, George and Caroline (Lloyd) Langford, who were born in England in 1825 and 1827 respectively. Besides Mrs. Goatley the children born to them were as follows: Thomas; George; John; Charles; Sarah, Mrs. Morton; Sophia; Mary, Mrs. Walters; Emma; and Amelia, Mrs. Watson, all residents of Eureka, except Mrs. Morton, who lives in San Francisco. Mr. Goatley has three sisters, viz.; Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Sims, whose families reside in Missouri, and Mrs. Martin, whose family are in California. One daughter, Mrs. R. F. Allen, is a resident of Petaluma.

Throughout his life Mr. Goatley espoused Democratic principles, and always voted for the candidates of that party. He was a member of the Methodist Church South and was a trustee of the church in which he held membership. He was also identified with the Grange, wherein he met his fellow-ranchers socially, and they as well as all who were brought in contact with him in any way mourned his death deeply, for they lost a true friend and well-wisher.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011