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View Tree for Isaac GoodnightIsaac Goodnight (b. January 07, 1782, d. October 14, 1869)

Isaac Goodnight (son of Hans Michael Goodnight and Mary Landers)255 was born January 07, 1782 in Harlan Station , Mercer Co., Ky.256, 257, and died October 14, 1869 in Three Forks, Warren Co., Ky.258, 259. He married (1) Elizabeth McMurray on September 05, 1805 in Lincoly Co., Ky.259. He married (2) Mary Ground on July 24, 1828 in Warren Co., Kentucky260, 261, daughter of Robert Ground and Rhoda Long. He married (3) Rhoda Godbury on July 07, 1848 in Barren County, KY261. He married (4) Frankie Dickerson on September 04, 1862 in Warren County, Kentucky261.

 Includes NotesNotes for Isaac Goodnight:
During the year that Isaac Goodnight was born, 1782, Thomas Grenville was sent from London to Paris to open American Revolution peace talks with Benjamin Franklin. Preliminaries were accepted by Great Britain and America. Joseph Priestley wrote "A History of the Corruptions of Christianity", James Watt invented the double-acting rotary steam engine, and the Bank of North America was established in Philadelphia.
Wives were (1) Elizabeth McMurray, (2) Mary Ground, (3) Rhoda Godbury, (4) Frankie Dickerson. Other information furnished by the book "PLYMOUTH ROCK TO THE PACIFIC" , Dan Yarbrough, descended through Jacob Goodnight, and the Warren Co., census 1810-1870. Some information from the Kentucky Register, Vol. 3, 1935.

Isaac, the posthumous son, is listed in a tax list for Lincoln Co., in 1799. After marrying in 1805, he migrated soon thereafter to Allen Co., in southern Kentucky, where he spent the remainder of his life. He married 4 times, 15 children were born to him and many of his descendants lived in the vicinity of Smith's Grove.

In the 1810 Warren Co., census it shows 1 male under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 female under 10.

According to a letter written by S. W. Goodnight to Porter and Thomas Goodnight on Dec. 24, 1883 from Ashmore, Ill. ," Isaac lived about 15 miles above Bowling Green on big Barren river. Raised a large and respectful family of both sons and daughters and lived to a great age."
SOURCE: Donald E. Collins, 5400 W. Hustis St., Apt. E, Milwaukee, WI 53223

Picture of Isaac Goodnight and of the old homestead, newspaper articles, and write-up about family homestead furnished by Donald Collins.

The Isaac Goodnight homestead was probably one of the oldest homes in Warren County, if not the oldest. It was quite a mansion for its day, a two story structure with eighteen inch thick walls, two recessed panelled front doors and large chimneys at each end. The inside was built to accommodate boys and girly and keep them separated as there is a closed stairway on each side and no connecting door on the second floor. The massive fireplaces were still there and the chair rails remained through the years, as well as the panelling under the staircases.

This house burned about 1976. It was replaced with another house. Don Collins saw the original house before it burned.

The house was built by Isaac Goodnight, a tanner and farmer by trade and a large slave owner. He and his slaves make the bricks for the house. His tombstone reveals that he was born in 1782 and tradition in the family is that he was the first white child born in Kentucky. (I believe this has been proven wrong.

In his youth Isaac Goodnight was bound out to learn the tanner and saddle makers trade, an occupation he continued until his death.

In 1805 he married Elizabeth McMurray, of Mercer County , the daughter of Thomas McMurray, and three years later moved to Warren County and settled on the north side of the Barren River, in an area later called Three Forks. According to Court Records he began buying land in 1815.

Ten children were born to Isaac and Elizabeth McMurry Goodnight. Elizabeth died in 1827 and he married secondly, Mary Gound. She bore him five children. His third wife was Rhoda Gadberry eight years older than her husband. She died in 1860 after twelves years of marriage. Isaac certainly believed that it was not good for a man to live alone so he took unto himself a fourth wife, Frances Dickerson. She was thirty nine years his junior and survived his many, many years.

Isaac's first three wives are buried in the family cemetery across the road from the house, as well as the old pioneer and a number of his descendants and slaves.

One of Isaac Goodnight's most distinguished descendants was the Hon. I. H. Goodnight of Franklin, Kentucky. He was born in 1849 and attended Cumberland University, where he studied law. His first venture into politics was a seat in the Kentucky Legislature in 1877. Later he represented the Third Congressional District in Congress. Another descendant was Judge Thomas Goodnight, of Allen County, who inherited the home place on Barren River. He, in turn bequeathed it to his son Isaac Henry Goodnight, whose daughter Mary married J. E. Moulder, The moulders lived in the house making the fourth generation to reside there. The Moulders had the original title to the property written on Sheepskin and signed by Patrick Henry who was at that time the Governor of Virginia. In 1950 the land came into the possession of Mr. & Mrs. B. M. Smith, who cherished the tradition of the house.
SOURCE: The Louisville Times Newspaper, Sep. 5, 1903 furnished by D. Collins.

When the Indians killed Isaac's father, Michael Goodnight, Elizabeth, his mother, was expecting him. They had returned to NC to get their household effects. They were a part of a caravan composed of other pioneer families who were guarded by 30 armed men. No serious mishap befell the train until the train was within half a day's journey of the fort at Harlans Station. All seemed secure, but at midnight, Sep. 1, 1781 the fearful cry of the savage was heard followed by gun short, screams and confusion. Michael Goodnight was killed in the first onslaught and his son, John was severely wounded, but he succeeded to make his escape. Mrs. Goodnight, who was in a delicate condition at the time, fled into the dark forest. Many of the emigrants were massacred, but a few escaped to the fort where the alarm was given. A party was made up to search for Mrs. Goodnight and she was found two days later in the woods lying prostrate upon the ground in a semi-conscious state, her face covered with a blanket. She was taken to the fort and four months later, Jan 1, 1782, Isaac Goodnight was born. A curious circumstance, preserved in the family traditions, is that from his birth until the day of his death, Isaac could never go to sleep without a cover over his face.

The youth of Isaac Goodnight was spent at the fort with his mother and he was known as one of the strongest young men and best Indian scout and fighter in the settlement.
Source: Nancy Sterling Tyler & Donald E. Collins

The Goodnight family cemetery is located on the Three Forks Rd. #1089 off Coles Bend Rd. on the farm of B. M. Smith.
Isaac Goodnight was a member of the Masonic Lodge #1822 in Warren Co., Kentucky.
Source furnished by Margaret R. Bates:

Information on this family line, particularly Michael, the father of Isaac Goodnight and his children, was found in "The Good(K)night (Gutknecht) Family in America" by S. H. Goodnight. This book, publishing date, unknown, was written by a descendant of Michael Goodnight through his son, Henry, names Scott Holland Goodnight, who was born 16 Jan 1875 in Holton, Kansas.

Additional information was obtained from the family records of Rosemary Filyaw, Evelyn Barclay, Elsie Davis, Dan Yarbrough, Nellie V. Grabs, Mary M. Baker, and the GedCom file of Dianne Thurman, all descendants. Ms. Thurman lists several references as well, and they are listed as they occur.

Kelli Goodnight lists a child Charles Goodnight b. Macoupin, IL and died in Mercer County, KY. This Charles was to have married Charolette Collier who died in 1883 in Oran, Palo Pinto County, Texas. She cites the son of Charles Goodnight, Jr. and Charles Patman of Clarendon, Texas. I wonder if this is the famous "Charlie Goodnight" who married but had no children? In any case, I do not believe this Charles is a child of Isaac Goodnight and Elizabeth McMurray.

Information on the family of Robert L. Lawrence and Martha Goodnight comes from records of Mamie G. Hayes. More information about Mrs. Hayes can be found with her family group.

See also notes on Thomas M. Goodnight -- Kentucky: A History of the State, 1886. The biography gives the dates of Isaac's marriages and other information.

Family sources which like to say that Isaac Goodnight was the first white child born in Kentucky are mistaken. Settlers, including families, had been coming to Harlan Station for nearly 10 years before the Goodnights arrived. To assume none of them had children makes no sense.

Other sources of information:
Cemetery records -- Goodnight family Graveyard, Three Forks,
Warren County, KY
Cemetery records -- Rehoboth Cemetery, Mansfield, Tarrant Co., TX
Marriage Records, Warren County, KY
US Census, 1810, Warren Co, KY, p. 255 or 256
US Census, 1820, Warren Co, KY, p. 60
US Census, 1830, Warren Co, KY, p. 109
US Census, 1840, Allen Co, KY
"Plymouth Rock to the Pacific," by Wesley Mulleneix, p. 154
Tax Lists, Lincoln County, KY

The family home of Isaac Goodnight in Three Forks, Warren County, Kentucky was in the early 1930s shown as a two-story brick home with chimneys on each end of the house and two recessed paneled front doors. The walls were 18 inches thick. Isaac is said to have made each brick by hand that went to build this home. It is located about 15 miles north of Bowling Green on the big Barren River. A small covered porch adorned the front, and a root cellar was at one end of the house, also with a fireplace.

The home was divided by a a wall with no connecting door on the second floor, and a closed stairway on each side, thus separating the boys from the girls.

Other frame buildings were added, one of which is visible in an old photograph of the home. This building appears to be living quarters as well and could possibly attach to the house. The photos were taken in fall or winter. Dried corn stalks are seen standing in the field, right up to the side of the house. The house burned down since the photos were made. Across from the barn lot, on a hill, is the Goodnight family graveyard. (The house burned in about 1976 and was replaced by another house.)

The house was built by Isaac Goodnight, a farmer and tanner by trade. He was a large slave owner and he and his slaves made the bricks for the house.

The tall painted monument to Isaac Goodnight is located at the family cemetry at Three Forks. The cemetery is on Three Forks Road off Coles Bend Road on the farm of B. M. Smith. Three of Isaac's wives, Elizabeth McMurray, Mary Ground, and Rodah Gadberry, are also buried there. (Kelli Goodnight adds that some family members believe that Frances Dickerson Goodnight is also buried there.) Isaac's stone lists his birth and death dates, and also says, "Initiated into the Masonic Fraternity in 1822," and "He professed faith in Christ and united with the Baptist Church in 1908." Near the top of the spire is the Masonic emblem. There are 15 known graves in the cemetery:

Benjamin Neal 28 Aug 1908 - 13 Aug 1836
Mary Neal Wheatley 13 Jun 1813 - 30 Dec 1862
Sarah Gadbury 25 Feb 1776 - 3 Feb 1858
Anna Lawrence 1891 - 1892
Robert Goodnight 22 Sep 1837 - 20 Mar 1838
H. H. Goodnight 21 Apr 1834 - 4 Jan 1895
I. H. Goodnight 5 Feb 1848 - 13 May 1901
Isaac Goodnight 1 Jan 1782 - 14 Oct 1869
Elizabeth Goodnight 23 Apr 1787 - 29 Sep 1827
Mary Goodnight 29 May 1800 - 29 Nov 1848
Rodah Goodnight 10 Mar 1774 - 9 Apr 1860
Emily N. Goodnight 3 Oct 1830 - 8 May 1907
Charles Rector 29 Sep 1833 - 4 Jun 1898
Mary Moulder 12 Sep 1874 - 25 Mar 1904
Myrtle Moulder 2 Jan 1885 - 29 Oct 1908

The two Moulder women are two of the three wives of Jack Moulder. Mary was the first; Myrtle was the second, and third was Lotty Lawrence, daughter of John A. & Cynthia Payne Lawrence. One of Jake's sisters married Johnny Phillips, and lived on the Goodnight farm. After "Mr. Johnny" died, "Miss Mondy" had a home for life. When she moved from an old log house, which was probably the original home, the house and grounds reverted back to the Goodnight family.

Extract from letter written 20 Jan 1855 by "Grandfather Goodnight to Isaac S. Goodnight in Texas:

"Son and Daughter, this is to let you know that on yesterday evening we received a great feast in letters which was so gratifying to me you can't conceive. One from you and one from Rachel and one from Sarah C. Curry and one from Catherine Jamison and one from Jacob Goodnight, and all well. Murdock fetched them from the post office late in the evening. ...I was also gratified to hear that you liked the country very well, but have some inconveniences with it. This I would look for. We are to have those things or we might get too lazy. I was also glad to hear that you got out there safe and sound and that you are at work and got plenty of the fat of the land to eat and that you are on the gaining hand in health. You now have gained 20 pounds in weight." He speaks of hard times among the neighbors and says, "you say you don't know whether you will ever see us again or not...My son, it is a long road to come to say howdy and fare you well, for you can't make a support for your family and go abroad for him that won't provide for own household is worse than an infidel and has denied the Lord that brought him." He tells of his tanning business and says that he sent the demi-john to Bowling Green for oil and that Murdock would fetch it on Monday. He tells of trying to collect some accounts saying, "I got a warrant for William Meek and I got to find out that he was not to pay for he had nothing. He owes Totty $100 and can't get a cent so I stopped at that. ...John Murdock has sold his place and has said he wanted to move this spring and I told him last night that he had better stay until Fall, he would starve himself and family. He talks of going by water."

3 May 1858:

Writes that it was raining that day and crops were very late with many cold washing rains and he fears they will be sorry in Kentucky that year. A frost came April 27 that he was afraid had killed the fruit and mast.

Burial: Goodnight Graveyard, Three Forks, Warren Co, KY
The Longhunter, Vol. XIX, Issue 4, pg. 11-12
Isaac Goodnight

(tells traditional story of death near Harlan Station)
Birth of Issac Goodnight 1 Jan 1782 "on the first hour."
Marriage in 1808 to Elizabeth McMurry Move to Warren County, near Three Forks, north of Barren River (KY) after marriage; living on large tract of land secured "through a grant signed by Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia."
Became member of old Bays Fork Baptist Church. When that church was divided, he went with the group that formed the Rocky Springs Baptist Church.
"Isaac Goodnight was the 22nd child of his father, and he was father of 21 children. He passed away on October 13, 1869 at the age of '87 years, 9 months, 12 days and 3 hours."
Article from The New York World, "Three Lives in Four Centuries," ca 1907:

New York World

It is not often that the span of three lives stretches into four centuries, but Mrs. Martha Lawrence, who recently died in Warren County, Ky., was the granddaughter of a man who was born in 1694. Moreover, her father was the first white child born in Kentucky.

Michael Goodnight (probably Gutnacht in the original German), born in Germany in 1694, emigrated to Virginia in 1708. He marrie dearly and one of his sons was present with George Washington and Daniel Boone at Braddock's defeat. He removed subsequently to North Carolina, where he became many years later an ardent supporter of the Revolution, in which several of his sons fought. His first wife dying, he remarried in his old age. When he was past 80, he penetrated to the Kentucky wilderness on an exploring expedition with 30 men under the celebrated borderer James Harrod. He returned to North Carolina for his family, intending to bring them to Harrodsburg, which others of the party had chosen as the site for the first settlement in Kentucky.

But when they were within a day's journey of the fort they were attacked by Indians at midnight of Sept. 1, 1775. Michael and most of the party were killed, but some escaped in the darkness. Among them were Mrs. Goodnight, whom men from the fort found two days later lying unconscious in the woods.

Four months later a son, the first white native of Kentucky, was born to Mrs. Goodnight at Harrodsburg, and was named Isaac. He was of great vigor and courage, and while yet a boy he became one of the most famous Indian fighters in Kentucky.

(A curious tradition that has been passed down through the family says that throughout his entire life, Isaac could never go to sleep without a cover over his face.)

(In 1805, he married Elizabeth McMurray of Mercer County, and three years later moved to Warren County and settled at Three Forks. He began buying land in 1815. Ten children were born to this marriage.)

(Elizabeth died in 1827 and Isaac married second, Mary Ground. They had five children.)

(Isaac's third wife, Rhoda Gadberry, was 8 years older than her husband. She died in 1860, after twelve years of marriage.)

(Isaac believed it was not good for a man to live alone, so he took a fourth wife, Frances Dickerson, 39 years his junior. She survived him for many years.)

He lived to be 93 years old, surviving the civil war four years (although an elder brother had fought in the French and Indian war more than a century earlier), was married five times and became the father of 21 children. His last surviving child, Mrs. Lawrence, who has just died was 78 years old, and left several great-grandchildren.

The fifth (??) wife of Isaac Goodnight, the man who was born the year the cannon were thundering at Bunker Hill, has only been dead a few years. One descendant of his recently represented the Third Congressional District of Kentucky in the lower house of congress, and many others are of prominence in their native state.

It is a singular fact that the grandfather of an American woman who has just died was born when Mary and Dutch William were on the throne of England, when Louis XIV reigned in France and the Battle of Bienhelm was not yet fought.
From History of Mansfield, Texas, 1996, p. 249

Michael Goodnight was a Baptist and a refugee from religious persecution in his native land of Germany. Isaac Goodnight, born 1782 near Harrodsburg, Kentucky, was bound to William Hays at the age of sixteen to learn the saddler's trade at Standford, in Lincoln County, Kentucky. At the age of 21, he became a professor of religion under the preaching of Rev. William Finley.
Notes for Elizabeth McMurry:
Source: Nancy Sterling Tyler, Dallas, TX

Cemetery Location: Goodnight Family cemetery. Located on Three Forks Road #1089 off Coles Bend Rd. on the farm of B. M. Smith.
Notes for Mary Ground:
In the year that Mary Ground was born, 1800, a plot to assassinate Napoleion was discovered in Paris, U. S. federal offices moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D. C., the new capital city, and Thomas Jefferson wins the U. S. presidential election. Goya painted "Portrait of a Woman", William Hershel discovered the existence of infrared solar rays, Eli Whitney made muskets with interchangeable parts and Bill Richmond (1763-1829), a former Negro slave, became one of the first popular boxers.
Source: Ground Newsletter, Jan. 1985

Mary Ground stayed on the farm of her father until 1828. She was 28 years old when she married Isaac Goodnight who was 46 years old and lived only a short distance from the Ground place. Isaac's wife, Elizabeth McMurray, had passed away leavinag him with 10 known children. Mary died in Three Forks and is buried in the Goodnight Family Cemetery.
Notes for Rhoda (Godbury) Gadberry:
WFT #1286, Vol. 4 stated that Rhoda married Isaac Goodnight on 7 July 1848. Property was bought in Barren Co., Kentucky in 1822-1828-1837-1845 and sold in 1854 by Rhoda.

The parents of Rhoda (Godbury) Gadberry were Nathaniel Gadberry, 1755-1851 and Margaret Unkown, 1750-?. Nathaniel owned property in Rowan Co., NC. Listed in 1800 Census of NC, Rowan Co.

The brothers and sisters were:
Thomas Gadberry,ll-married Sarah McKie

Sally Gadberry (Sarah Gadberry, b. Feb. 25, 1776, d. 03 Feb. 1858--Buried in Goodnight Cemetery in Warrren Co., Kentucky at Three Forks)

Anne Martha Gadberry-married Flemming Short

Greene B. Gadberry-married Joanna Loyd

James Gadberry-married Elizabeth Elliott

Nathaniel Gadberry, ll-married Mary Elizabeth Slagle

More About Isaac Goodnight and Elizabeth McMurray:
Marriage: September 05, 1805, Lincoly Co., Ky..261

More About Isaac Goodnight and Mary Ground:
Marriage: July 24, 1828, Warren Co., Kentucky.262, 263

More About Isaac Goodnight and Rhoda Godbury:
Marriage: July 07, 1848, Barren County, KY.263

More About Isaac Goodnight and Frankie Dickerson:
Marriage: September 04, 1862, Warren County, Kentucky.263

Children of Isaac Goodnight and Elizabeth McMurray are:
  1. Catherine Goodnight, b. May 20, 1806, Warren County, Kentucky263, d. WFT Est. 1830-1900263.
  2. James W. Goodnight, b. May 26, 1809, Warren County, Kentucky263, d. January 09, 1839, Barren County, KY263.
  3. Abraham Goodnight, b. June 23, 1811, Warren Co., Ky.263, d. December 11, 1811, Warren Co, Ky263.
  4. Mary (Polly) Goodnight, b. June 13, 1813, Smith Grove, Warren Co, Ky263, d. December 31, 1862, Warren Co, Ky263.
  5. Christina Goodnight, b. August 15, 1815, Warren Co, Ky263, d. 1881, Kentucky263.
  6. Thomas McMurray Goodnight, b. November 04, 1817, Warren Co, Ky263, d. January 08, 1898, Gainsville, Allen Co., Ky.263.
  7. +Elizabeth Goodnight, b. January 31, 1820, Near Bowling Green, Warren Co., Ky.264, 265, d. October 11, 1881, Cedar Hill, Dallas Co. Texas266, 267.
  8. Sarah Goodnight, b. February 13, 1822, Smith Grove, Warren Co, Ky267, d. May 21, 1882, Warren or Allen Co., Ky267.
  9. +Nancy R. Goodnight, b. February 08, 1824, Smith Grove, Warren Co, Ky267, d. date unknown267.
  10. Rachel Ann Goodnight, b. December 08, 1825, Smith Grove, Warren Co, Ky267, d. date unknown267.

Children of Isaac Goodnight and Mary Ground are:
  1. +Martha Goodnight, b. February 13, 1829, Warren Co., Kentucky268, 269, d. July 08, 1907, Three Forks, Warren Co., Ky.270, 271.
  2. +Isaac Shelby Goodnight, b. June 08, 1830, Smith Grove, Warren Co., Kentucky272, 273, d. March 09, 1897, Mountain Creek (near Mansfield), Tarrant Co., Texas274, 275.
  3. +Jacob Goodnight, b. April 17, 1832, Smith Grove, Warren Co., Kentucky276, 277, d. October 26, 1898, Rio Vista, Johnson Co, Texas278, 279.
  4. +Henry G. Goodnight, b. April 02, 1834, Smith Grove, Warren Co., Kentucky280, 281, d. January 04, 1895, Warren County, Kentucky282, 283.
  5. Robert Goodnight, b. September 22, 1837, Smith Grove, Warren Co., Kentucky284, 285, d. November 29, 1838, Warren Co., Kentucky286, 287.
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