George Gancelo Goding joined the Bells Methodist Church in 1866 and was an active member for sixty-three years, serving eighteen years as Sunday School Superintendent. He was also a member for many years of the Masonic Lodge #978 and the I.O.O.F Lodge, both of Bells.
George Goding, the son of George and Betsy (Bumpus) Goding, was born 28 August 1836 in East Livermore, Maine. His parents move to Lowell, MA, in 1838 where he and his brother Eldridge grew up. They often worked in the lumber camps and factories. Both dreamed of a life at sea, so when old enough, Eldridge spent his summers on coasting and fishing vessels. And at age nineteen, George went to work on a revenue cutter.
But rumors of the western gold rush took George from his life at sea. Early in 1859, he and his cousin Jonas Goding started out for Pike?s Peak, Colorado. By the time they reached the Missouri River, they met with people who were returning home disillusioned from the gold fields. Disappointed, but still eager for adventure, the cousins decided to try their luck in Texas. Living off the land, they traveled by wagon and oxen across vast prairies, seldom seeing any other people. Once they were almost eaten by a pack of hungry wolves who surrounded their camp, edging closer and closer as the night progressed. The only thing that saved them was that they had gathered plenty of wood and were able to keep the fire going all night.
On 15 December 1959, the Goding cousin crossed Red River at Colbert?s Ferry, Indian Territory, into Texas, and made their way to Farmington in Grayson county. In December 1861, George enlisted in the Confederate Army at Sherman and served under Captain Tom Shannon. He was in many hard-fought battles, but was never wounded nor captured. He served the duration of the war and received an honorable discharge 25 May 1865. He was awarded the Cross of Honor for distinguished service during the Civil War by the Dixie Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Jonas Goding did not remain in Texas long, as he was in Warren, Illinois by 28 February 1862 when he married Sarah A. Conley. But in the spring of 1878, Jonas left Warren for Nebraska, settling in the Kingston district. Some of his descendants can still be found in Nebraska.
In 1852 Eldridge Goding, wanting to continue his sea adventures, left MA. He stopped for a few months seeking gold in California, but soon was back at sea. He continued his seafaring life until 1866, visiting Europe thirteen times, making six voyages around Cape Horn and six times around the Cape of Good Hope, and crossing the equator twenty-five times. He visited many parts of China, India, and Australia. By 1876, he was in Seattle, WA, and married. There he owned and operated two steamships for a time. When elderly, George and Eldridge did get back together as the picture of them proves.
When the Civil War was over, George G. Goding settled near Bells where he engaged in the insurance business and bee keeping. He married Nancy P. Williams 1 February 1870. The Williams family had come to Grayson County from Virginia in 1859. Nancy Williams Goding died soon after the birth of her only child, Nancy P. Goding, born 14 December 1892. This daughter married L. A. Brown and they had five children: Nelson, Floyd, Fred, Roman and Pauline Brown.
George Goding soon took a second wife, Lydia A. Williams, sister to his first wife. He and Lydia were married on 22 December 1872 at Bells and became the parents of six daughters: Mary Elizabeth/Betty, Sallie Francis/Fanny, Eula Virginia, Stella S., Nora and Nora?s twin. The old Goding home is located on the highway to Sherman within the city limits of Bells and is still lived in today.
Betty Goding, born 13 September 1873, married F. M. Foster, 20 February 1898. They lived in Leonard, TX, where he practiced dentistry. They had no children.
Fanny Goding married Joshua Hale Fox, 6 September 1906, at Bells. Joshua was a widower with four children ranging in ages from fourteen to six years of age. Joshua and Fanny had one child, Aletha Lydia Fox, born 19 November 1909, at Caddo, OK. Aletha married Homer Turner 16 April 1929, and had six children: twins who died at birth, Bill, Kenny, Betty, and Joe Turner.
Eula Goding, born 15 August 1877, married Fred Hughes. She had no children and died in 1929. Stella Goding and one of the twins died as infants. The other twin, Nora Goding, born 7 December 1889, married James U. Hughes in 1901. Their children were Jewel, Thelma Jane and
George G. Goding died 10 July 1929 and is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery at Bells.
Compiled by: Lora B. Tindall
RESOURCE LOG: Genealogy of the Goding Family by Frederick W. Goding, 1905, pp 108-110; Gravestone Reading Rose Hill Cemetery, Bells, TX; Family Word of Mouth Stories; Confederate War Records; Family Photo