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(drawing by Doug Sinclair, based on a photograph)

Horace's signature on his second marriage record

Horace was born and raised in the Clerkenwell neighborhood of London, at the time known for manufactures of fine instruments. Horace, like his father, was a watch-case maker. He entered his hallmarks on 17 February 1816 and 14 May 1818. His marks were "HG" in intaglio without a surrounding punch for goldwork. Cameo punches had his initials divided by a pellet and the same surrounded by a rectangle with cut corners.1 He may have taken over his father's business, since he lived and worked at 23 Coppice Row, the same address as his parents' residence and his father's shop.

Horace and his first wife Sophia Bendy, his first cousin, had four children. She died in 1829 and he married Ann Amelia Stoddart in 1831 at St. John's Chapel in Clerkenwell. Anna was a daughter of Robert Stoddart, a second generation watch and clock maker, also of Clerkenwell.

St. John's Chapel, along with other parts of Clerkenwell, sustained major damage during the German attack on London in World War II

Poor health conditions in London and a lawsuit brought by relatives may have motivated the family to move to the United States shortly after Horace married Ann. Jane Bradford Gooch has relayed an oral tradition that his uncle Albert Gooch gave Horace significant amounts of money as a gift. Albert's family thought of it as a loan, and wanted it back after he died. Albert was Horace's brother and didn't die before 1831. If the story has a basis in truth, it was his uncle Isaac Woodroffe who made the gift - or loan. Isaac died on 2 April 1831, 23 days before the Gooch's left London, and the interested party may have been his widow.
     Horace was in bankruptcy court in 1828.2 Uncle Isaac may have helped him recover. If so, did Horace's father also help? Thomas Gooch left real estate leases to all his children. Some got extra in cash. Horace was given 23 and 24 Coppice Row, but no cash, and he was one of three children who were not to receive any of the residue of the estate. He continued his business after the bankruptcy, but the details of this haven't been seen.
     Clarissa (Stoddart) Gooch's diary gives their arrival date in New York City. This points to their ship being Hannibal, mastered by Capt. Frederick Hebard. Clarissa said that Horace got on the ship in Portsmouth, not London. It was routine for passenger ships to stop in Portsmouth on their regular trips from London to New York. After Horace got on the ship she reports mostly calm sailing. They arrived in New York City on 4 June. Hannibal was part of the London Line run by John Griswold, and his ships anchored at a pier at the foot of Pine Street. The Gooch children would come on the same ship later that year. The advertisement below is from a Portsmouth paper for the upcoming trip Hannibal made with Horace, Ann and Clarissa.

The area of waterfront on the East River in New York City that included the London Line pier. This image was drawn in 1856 but wouldn't have looked much different when the Gooches arrived.

After Horace, Ann and Clarissa left London, the contents of 23 and 24 Coppice Row were advertised to be sold on 7 July 1831.3 The ad is similar to one for his grandfather John Gooch's estate in that it gives a more detailed look at his business and property than you would otherwise have unless an inventory was taken, in probate for instance. The ad seems to include the leases for the properties, but it must refer to a sublease. Thomas Gooch owned the leases when he died. Horace surely sold them as soon as he was able. Maybe he was given the proceeds from the rest of the goods, but maybe not if he had to pay his father back.

On 12 October 1831 the children sailed into New York with what must have been a conspicuous display of their household goods, including several pianos and a harp. With the rent of their home advertised three months earlier, did they stay with Thomas and Ann Gooch in Chiswick until they left?
     Capt. Hebard's daughter Flora was listed just before the children, and she may have agreed to look after them during the trip. Horace decided they should settle in Ohio on the advice of someone about good places to farm. He and Ann went there to see for themselves and must have sent word to London to have the children come over. They supposedly bought property while they were there, but the deed for what would become their home is dated the following year. The whole familiy left New York in late December or early January. Apparently they would have waited until Spring, but Ann was pregnant and Horace was eager to get to Ohio. Clarissa kept a diary of the trip. They sailed up the Hudson River to Albany, then hired sleighs to take them across the state. They went to Olean Point and hired a flat barge with a small cabin to take them down the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. They had to endure the worst of the New York snow-belt weather, problems with drunken sleigh drivers and surely plenty of bad advice. Horace apaprently felt they could pilot the barge themselves, which lead to numerous mishaps and ultimately it sank. Ann had her baby before they got to Ohio. They made it to Cincinatti with only some water damage. The family settled on a rural spot on the outskirts of the town, actually in the very south of the village of Avondale, where Horace had a very comfortable brick house built. He named it "Beech Grove." A history of the Cincinnati suburbs from 1870 describes it as "a roomy edifice, well known to those familiar with the early history of the Lebanon Pike, as the place improved by Horace Gooch, about the year 1835, then called Beech Grove Female Seminary." This is a reference to this school that Horace's wife Ann ran. Horace was undoubtedly involved, but if so, no specifics have been found. He also tried his hand at raising chickens on a large scale, but this failed.4

Family tradition has it that he couldn't afford the new house (Clarissa reports that Horace was impulsive and romantic, and this may be more evidence of it), and the Gooch's moved to Walnut Street in downtown Cincinnati by 1838. The Gooches continued the school there, which was across the street from Cincinnati College. The Cincinnati directory of that year refers to it as Anna's. They had moved the school to Elm Street (east side between 4th and 5th) by 1846, when the directory refers to it as Horace's. While Horace may have been involved in some way, an ad in one of the city's directories shows Anna being the principal, so to speak.

The Gooch's school was on this block of Elm Street, Cincinnati, and probably in the building shown here as occupied by U. P. James.

The last move for Horace was to Cheviot, a hamlet in Green Township north of Cincinnati. Unlike Beech Grove, we don't have an image of that place. He died of stomach cancer and was buried in the Episcopal Cemetery in downtown Cincinnati. He was reinterred in the Gooch plot at Spring Grove Cemetery on 25 July 1860. Ann had purchased the plot and was buried there 5 days later.

At his residence, near Cheviot, on the morning of the 11th inst. HORACE GOOCH, in the 56th year of his age - many years a resident of Cincinnati

Horace Gooch's will:5

I, Horace Gooch of Green Township, Hamilton County and the State of Ohio, being of sound and disposing mind and memory do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testimony hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made. First, I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Anna Amelia Gooch all my furniture, goods, chattels, monies and shares in and about my house [?] where of every kind or nature whatsoever for her whole and sole use and benefit and also my real estate in which [?] live and a lot in the grave yard on the Lebanon Road. Secondly whereas as my life is insured in the Ohio Life & Insurance Comp for five thousand dollars, which sum of five thousand dollars I give in trust to my executors hereinafter named for the purpose as follows. I desire the amount to be placed out at interest as they may think fit, taking proper good and ample security for the same, the interest whereof to be paid to my wife during her life and at her deceased the amount, namely five thousand dollars, to be divided share and share alike amongst my eight children (provided always) if my wife should die before my children should attain the age of twenty one, in that case the interest of the five thousand dollars to be applied to the maintenance and education of my four youngest children (namely) Horace, Anna, Charles and Fanny or such as may be living at her deceased when the youngest shall have attained the age of twenty one, then the five thousand dollars to be divided amongst my eight children or as many as may be living, but if any of my children should die leaving issue, his or her share to be divided amoungst such issue. Third, I hereby authorize any executors to advance any sum not exceeding one thousand dollars on my real estate should my wife desire it for the purpose of freeing the same and pay my debts. Fourthly, I hereby appoint my wife Anna Amelia Gooch, Thomas Kelsall and Henry Gooch my executors, in the event of their death or refusing to act either of them the remainder to elect new ones. In witness whereof I have this day set my hand and seal this Eighth day of December One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Seven.

H. Gooch.

The witnesses were Noble S. Johnson, Benjamin Benns, Jr., and John Ade. The will was presented and accepted at court on 21 January 1848.

children of Horace Gooch and Sophia Bendy:

i. Emma b. 17 April 1818
ii. Sophia b. 17 February 1820
iii. Isaac b. 12 August 1821
iv. Laura b. 28 February 1823?

children of Horace Gooch and Ann Amelia Stoddart:

v. Horace b. 8 May 1832
vi. Anna Amelia Gooch b. 13 December 1833
vii. Charles b. 16 December 1834
viii. Clara Fanny b. 9 February 1836

vital records sources: Horace's birth, marriage and death dates are in a family Bible owned in 2010 by Patrick Verdier. His baptism on 14 February 1792 is in the records of St. James Church, Clerkenwell, London. His first marriage is in the records of St. Ann Blackfriars parish, London. His second marriage is in the records of St. John the Baptist (also known as St. John of Jerusalem) Chapel, Clerkenwell, London. His marriages were also reported in The Times of London, the second in the 25 March 1831 issue. His death is noted in The Cincinnati Daily Chronicle, issue of 12 January 1848, p. 1. Henry Gooch's papers are in Box 19, case #C 10342, 5/23/1866.

2. Perry's Bankrupt Gazette, 17 April 1828.
3. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser, 30 June 1831, 1.
4. John B. Shotwell, A History of the Schools of Cincinnati (Cincinnati:1902), 543.
5. His probate papers are recorded in will book 14, p. 582, (probate court) and his probate file is case #C A2814 (Box #3?).

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted