rare collection of letters and journal entries authored by James S.
Griffing and J. Augusta Goodrich span the period from 1841 to 1882. James
and Augusta grew up within one mile of each other in an area known as
Goodrich Settlement, west of Owego, in Tioga County, New York.
James attended the Owego Academy before earning a scholarship to
Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. To defray the expense of room and
board while attending college, James
taught select schools in Kensington and Westchester, Connecticut as well as Tunkhannock,
Pennsylvania, and Kings
Ferry, New York. He wrote letters to his fiancÚ Augusta from each of these
locations and other eastern seaboard cities he visited while in
college, including such places as Baltimore, New York City, and Washington
After graduating from Wesleyan
in 1852, James peddled maps in the Midwest to repay his college debts -- an occupation that
took him to most of the major cities in
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Early in 1854,
he joined the Methodist ministry in Indianapolis and started a church. No
sooner than his church was completed, the Northern Indiana Conference reassigned him to the Kansas & Nebraska
Territory, just opened for settlement. Here in late 1854, after an
overland journey in covered wagon, Rev. James Griffing began his career as
a circuit rider. A year later, he returned to
Owego to marry Augusta and together they returned to "Bleeding Kansas"
where James labored for twenty-five years as a Methodist
minister in Kansas. His last years were devoted to assisting the
freedmen who came to Kansas in large numbers following the end of
The Diaries & Letters
of Ralph Leland Goodrich
Read the diaries & correspondence of Ralph L.
Goodrich (1836-1897), younger brother of Augusta Goodrich. Ralph graduated from
Hobart College in 1858, taught school in the South on the eve of the American
Civil War, and then joined the 6th Arkansas (Confederate) Infantry. Read
This page was last updated on 02/16/11.