The origin of the name "Goode" is unclear. There are several variations including Gode, Good, Goad, etc. It is possible that it was derived from Good, meaning righteous or morally upright.
   According to Goode's "Virginia Cousins" The first Goode we have a record of was Richard Gode or Goode, born about 1320 in England. His descendant, Walter Good, born 1500-1510, married Joan Whitston, daughter and heir of William Whitston. By this marriage the Goode family came into the possession of the manor or barton of Whitston, in the north of Cornwall. It remained the homestead of the family in that country until the name became extinct.
   Again, according to "Virginia Cousins", the first Goodes to come to America were two brothers, John and Richard. They were children of Richard Goode of Whitley or elsewhere in the vicinity of Whitstone. Son Richard who came to America was from Cornwall and may have come to America via New England. He was born in 1630-40 and died in Old Rappahanock, Virginia. John Goode, grandson of the immigrant Richard was born in early 1700 on the James River, Virginia. Tradition says that he was a soldier in the Continental Army and perhaps in the Indian wars of Braddock before that. He moved to Kentucky and died in Lincoln County, Ky. about 1800.
    Son Richard Goode, born 1730-40, fought with distinction at Braddock's defeat, was a major in the Continental Army, serving in the battle of Guilford Courthouse and in operation about Ft. Decane. He started from Stokes Co., N.C. for Kentucky in 1802 but broke his leg enroute. Gangrene set up and he died at Abington, Virginia and was buried there
    Charles B. Goode was a son of Major Richard Goode. He was born about 1770-80, moved to Williamson Co., Tennessee in early 1800 and to Alabama about 1825. He settled near the Elk River on the highway (now Hwy 72) on the east end of Lauderdale Co. He was proprietor of the Stagecoach Inn for a long time. He died there about 1840.
   A new publication "False Flags-Untangling the Goode Family Controversies" by Michael G. Goode has a different story. The paperback publication does not address the Richard Goode line, supposed ancestor of our Goodes, but it does address John Goode the immigrant. It is evident to that author that the lineage of John Goode is not through the Cornwall Goodes as given by Goode's "Virginia Cousins". Apparently there were several John Goodes in the area and their origins are not completely established. John Goode the immigrant (c1630-1709) was likely born in the midlands of England, possibly in the Berkshire area. He could be the John Goode mentioned in the Marmaduke Goode will mentioned in Virginia Cousins. John the immigrant apparently came to Virginia by way of Barbados. If Richard Goode, our ancestor, was indeed the brother of this John Goode as shown in "Virginia Cousins", then he may have came to Virginia the same way as John. Unfortunately, the "False Flags" publication does not mention our Richard Goode. We can only say that the English origin of our Goode line is very obscure at the present.

    Published Goode genealogies shows that Charles B. Goode, son of Major Richard Goode, had a son Milton and also a son Nathan. Son Nathan was supposed to have gone to Mississippi, fought and was killed in the Civil War. Milton was born about 1807-9 in Kentucky. He married Letty(Lettie) Lentz in 1828, about the time he came from Kentucky to Alabama. Milton's family was listed in the 1840 Limestone Co. census report but there was no male of his age recorded. More than likely Milton was gone somewhere although the census taker could have simply made a mistake. Both Milton and Letty were listed in later census.
    The 1870 Limestone Co., Alabama census reports produced a real puzzle. It shows that Nathan and Letty were living in Limestone County, Alabama with a large family of Ramseys in 1870 and there was no Milton.  Because of this record we originally thought that Milton and Nathan were one and the same person, being named Milton Nathan Goode. Unfortunately, Mr. Mike Anthis ( pointed out some public records that makes it clear that there were indeed both a Milton and a Nathan.
    A possible explanation (presently unproven) is that Milton died before 1870, earlier than the 1874 date we estimated. Nathan's wife Hulda died in Mississippi before 1870 also. Nathan at age 71, possibly incapacitated and needing care, went back to Alabama to live with his relatives. He was in the household with several Ramseys and his brother's wife, Letty. If she gave the information to the census taker then that would explain some of the inacuracies in that report in regard to Nathan. It is a stretch but presently we have no better explanation for the census record showing Nathan and Letty together in the 1870 Limestone County census.
    One additional unsubstantiated report is that Letty later married Matthew Ramsey.
    James Washington Goode, son of Milton and Letty, was born in Limestone County in 1830. He died in 1917. He first married Melinda Lentz but she died between 1872-77. James then married Hannah Casteel by 1878. Hannah was a sister of Abraham Bud Casteel. Since Abraham had previously married Nancy Jane Goode, daughter of James Washington Goode, that made for some interesting family kinships. Abraham Bud Casteel was both son-in-law and brother-in-law to James Washington Goode.

    The census ages for these families have some unusually large errors. The age of James Washington Goode in 1900 was given as 61 years when he was actually 69. The census ages of his daughter Nancy Jane also varied considerably.

Mildred Parham writes concerning her grandmother, Nancy Jane Goode; "All the family gathered the 31st of July to celebrate Grandpa's birthday. We never did celebrate hers and I always was sorry. She did not know even the month in which she was born. Years later when I looked at her tomb rock I was amazed to see a birthdate. Why didn't we find that out while she lived? She was a little bitty woman, less than a hundred pounds. I remember how little her waist was and how quick she moved around. She never had teeth. When I suggested that we buy her some teeth, my mother said she had not had teeth in so long a time that her gums were gone. She used to say she liked for me to stay with her because I did so many things for her. 'Just like a grown person', she said. So I worked that much harder. I never saw her again after I married and moved to Arkansas. She died soon after (Nov. 26, 1936)."


1. George Brown Goode, The Goode's Virginia Cousins
2. Limestone & Lauderdale County, Alabama Federal Census reports
3. Limestone County Courthouse records
4. Family Records
5. False Flags-Untangling the Goode Family Controversies by Michael G. Goode

Goode Photo Album