Anna and Horace Gooch

.....Horace Gooch, born in 1794 and raised in the Clerkenwell neighborhood of London, was a gold watch-case maker and cameo puncher for watch cases. By a first wife Horace had four children. He married Ann Amelia Stoddart in 1831. The Stoddarts, who lived at 61 Red Lion St. in Clerkenwell, were also fine-metal workers. Ann was born in 1799. Her sister Clarissa, born in 1811, moved with Horace and Ann to the United States.

61 Red Lion St., London, many years after the family moved away. The neighborhood was less prosperous and the Stoddart's house became a mission. It is no longer standing.

.....Poor health conditions probably played a big part in motivating the family to move to the United States in 1831. There was a famously bad cholera epidemic in London in the early 1830s, which took away various family members including Anna and Clarissa's parents. Most likely on the ship Hannibal, Anna and Clarissa sailed from London on 25 April 1831 to Portsmouth, England, where Horace boarded, then on to New York City. The New York Evening Post reports that the 447 ton packet ship (so-called for its transport of mail) arrived the evening of 3 June.

Clarissa (Stoddart) Gooch

.....Horace and Ann went on to Cincinnati to purchase land and returned to New York. In October they entrusted the same ship and captain, Frederick Hebard, to bring their children over with their household goods, including several piano-fortes and a harp. They arrived on the 12th of the month. Horace was impatient to make their move and decided to leave for Cincinnati in early winter. Clarissa, then 20 years old, kept a diary of the trip. They sailed up the Hudson River to Albany, then hired sleighs to take them across the state. At Olean Point Horace bought a fifty-foot long barge with a cabin to take them down the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. They encountered poor accommodations through most of the trip, made worse by New York snow-belt weather. They also had problems with sleigh drivers and bad advice - Clarissa mentions that Horace tended to be romantic and gullible. The trip on the barge was difficult and ultimately disastrous, but all survived. Just short of Cincinnati they had to pause for Ann to have a baby - Horace, Jr.

Horace Gooch, Jr.

.....Clarissa married Horace, Sr.'s, brother Henry in 1841 and they had a daughter Rosina, who died as an infant. She was named for Clarissa's sister - one of various family members who apparently died in the cholera epidemic. After Henry's death Clarissa lived with Horace and Ann's daughter Anna Amelia Smith and her family. The harp traveled with the Smiths during their many moves. The last family member to have it was Virginia Carpenter, who donated it to the Crane Museum of the Montclair, NJ, Historical Society. When it was given to her by Stanton M. Smith it needed repairs and replacement parts. While on a trip to London not long after World War II she decided to look for the factory that made the harp over 100 years earlier. She found it, apparently standing alone or nearly so in a neighborhood leveled during the Nazi "blitz" of the city. Not only did the factory have a record of Clarissa's purchase of the harp but they were also able to supply Virginia with the parts she needed.

.....The following transcript of the diary is based on a typed copy. The original apparently was written in a tiny hand to conserve space and after the pages were filled in the normal way, more was written at an angle over the first. Notations are placed within square brackets.


Horace Gooch's biography page
Ann Amelia (Stoddart) Gooch's biography page

all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted