DAVID W. GOOCH is one of the oldest of the native born citizens now living in this county. He is carrying on a blacksmith shop in Atwater, where he has made his home for a number of years, and where his reputation is excellent. He has a good war record, although he was not able to remain in the service as long as he wished, being discharged on account of physical disability. He, however, did what he could to maintain the Republic and when he could no longer fight her battles, he could and did use all of his influence for the encouragement and support of those who were stronger than he.
The families which Mr. Gooch represents belonged in the Southern States, and he shows in his manners and habits of thought the influence of heredity. His father, Clayton Gooch, was born in Virginia, but went from that State to Kentucky when he was quite young. He attained to his majority in the Blue Grass State and continued to reside there until early in the ‘30s, when he came to Illinois. He had married Sarah Jeffrey, an estimable Kentucky lady, and in his journey hither was accompanied by her and five children. They traveled overland in a large wagon drawn by six horses and settled on Government land, in what is now North Palmyra Township, this county. Mr. Gooch soon had a two-story double log house on his land, in which his son David W. was born, February 25, 1838. The father improved his farm and resided upon it until his death. After that sad event the widow lived with her sons and died under the roof of William. She had reared five sons and two daughters.
The gentleman of whom we write was reared on the farm and received his education in the pioneer schools, conning his lessons in the old fashioned schoolhouse, whose picture is historical. For many years after the family settled here there were no railroads in this section, and the father marketed his grain in Alton and brought his supplies from there. The mother cooked by a fireplace and clothed her children in homespun, which she herself prepared. Mr. Gooch looks back to primitive times when the settlers lived primarily upon the products of their farms and the game which could be secured in the vicinity, and seeing the present condition of things he rejoices in what he has beheld of progress, and in the prosperity of the people of this locality.
In 1856 young Gooch left the farm and began an apprenticeship at the blacksmith's trade. He served two years as an apprentice, then did journey work until the breaking out of the Rebellion. At the first call for troops he enlisted in Company K, Seventh Illinois Infantry, and upon the expiration of the three months for which the enrollment had taken place, he re-entered the service in the same company. His discharge was dated September 14, 1862, and prior to his being disabled he had fought bravely and borne hardships uncomplainingly, glad that he had the strength and spirit to serve his country. As soon as his health was sufficiently restored he resumed his trade, and after few a years at Shaw's Point Township, he went to Girard and operated a shop there until 1884. That year he established himself in Atwater.
Mr. Gooch has a pleasant home which is made attractive by the lady who became his wife in September, 1865. She was known in her maidenhood as Miss Cynthia Carpenter. They have one child living, a daughter, Sadie. Mr. Gooch was Supervisor of Shaw's Point Township at the time when the county debt was refunded. His political support is given to the Democratic principles and policies. He is well and favorably known as a reliable citizen and a thorough workman at his trade.