Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter 7: The Early Years, 1901–1916 - The Goodriches: An American Family
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Chapter 7: The Early Years, 1901–1916 - Dane Starbuck, The Goodriches: An American Family 
The Goodriches: An American Family (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Early Years, 1901–1916
We sat on the old-fashioned benches
Beguiled with our pencils and slate,
We thought of the opening future,
And dreamed of our manhood’s estate;
O days of my boyhood! I bless you,
While looking from life’s busy prime,
The treasures are lingering with me
I gathered in life’s early time.
“old no. 21”
After having served on the Winchester School Board for thirteen years, James Goodrich was one of three local men appointed in July 1912 to the Winchester Library Board. In 1906, a group of nine women, including Elizabeth and Cora Goodrich, had established the Winchester Association for the purpose of raising funds to build a town library. They began soliciting subscriptions but fell far short of raising a sufficient amount. Finally, in 1916, the Andrew Carnegie Foundation contributed $12,000 to the local library board, and a library was built on East Street on the site of the old Winchester High School, which the five Goodrich brothers had attended. Today, a new addition to the library houses the James P. Goodrich Room, built with funds contributed by the Winchester Foundation, which Pierre established in 1945.1
Pierre Goodrich was introduced to politics at a very early age. By the time he was five, his father had already served as Randolph County Republican chairman and had been appointed Republican chairman of Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District. In 1901, when Pierre was seven, James Goodrich was selected chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, a position he held for the next decade. During Pierre’s formative years, he was almost certainly exposed to dozens, if not hundreds, of local, state, and national political figures.
According to those who still remember Pierre when he was a teenager, he was not particularly athletic, and his mother was constantly fearful that he would take on some sort of dangerous activity. Cora Goodrich often admonished Pierre to safeguard himself from even the most benign activities. For instance, she was strongly opposed to her son’s swimming. She would relent to his pleas to go to a nearby pond only if he promised not to get wet,2 and she would grant permission for Pierre to play baseball only if he promised he would not run.3 Cora Goodrich could be gracious, but she was also a worrier when it came to the expenditure of money or anything to do with Pierre. It was Cora who directed Pierre into such safe activities as reading, music, and dancing.4
“Pierre’s mother would often call and ask, ‘Do you know where the boys are at?’” said the late Mrs. Francis (Mary) Simpson, a lifelong resident of Winchester. Simpson’s two older brothers, John and George Jaqua, were Pierre’s childhood friends. “Cora’s constant checking up on Pierre aggravated Jim Goodrich,” said Mrs. Simpson. “He would say to Cora, ‘Why don’t you just leave the boys alone?’”5 James Goodrich had experienced and survived all kinds of youthful bumps and bruises.6 He did not think that a little of the same thing would hurt his son.7
A comical account of Goodrich family relations was published in a local Winchester newspaper in 1911. According to the article, James Goodrich had presented his wife with a new car on her fiftieth birthday (June 26, 1911). Jim had invited Cora and Pierre to go touring in Indianapolis, where Jim Goodrich had set up a law practice in 1910 under the firm name of Robbins, Starr and Goodrich. After spending the afternoon riding and viewing urban Indianapolis, the three headed eastward toward Winchester, barely escaping disaster.
Pierre, [only sixteen], who has had quite a deal of experience as a driver, wanted to take the wheel, but Jim insisted, that upon their first voyage, they would have an older head, and a steadier and more experienced hand at the helm. . . .
. . . Unfortunately he was not careful in his choice of roads, and presently discovered that they were well out on the Rushville road. . . . Jim promptly executed a forward turning movement then a backward movement in the direction of the sign board, the speed increased despite his frantic manipulation of the wilderness of levers, brakes, wheels, screws and other trigger work about him, and the machine collided with and bore down upon sign board, fence and all obstructions, and plunged into the cornfield up to the hub. . . . By the united efforts of Jim and Pierre, aided by the somewhat incoherent instruction of Mrs. Goodrich, and the yielding earth, the machine finally came to a full stop. A council of war was held, Mrs. Goodrich held the balance of power and Pierre was installed at the wheel and Jim, the indomitable, but outvoted, was relegated to a back seat, where he sat chafing at the monotony of a 30 mile speed.8
James Goodrich later regained the driver’s seat only to wreck the new car in Anderson, Indiana. The elder Goodrich was a poor and impatient driver, obtaining countless speeding tickets in racing about the state: He would speed until caught, pay the fine, and then race off again until the next encounter with a patrolman. He also experienced several automobile accidents, the most serious being in 1918 when he collided with a streetcar in Indianapolis, which nearly cost him his life.9 One anecdote about James Goodrich’s driving habits may say it all. One weekday, he was returning from Indianapolis to Winchester when he picked up a hitchhiker. The following week, on his return to Winchester along the very same route, the same hitchhiker appeared beside the roadside. Goodrich stopped to give the man another ride, but the hitchhiker refused, stating that he would be crazy to ever get in a car again with James Goodrich behind the wheel.10
Pierre Goodrich had, from childhood, an almost insatiable curiosity about everything. During Pierre’s teenage years, his father once bought a used car. Pierre methodically took the vehicle apart to see how it was built and then put it back together.11 In this sense, father and son were much alike. James Goodrich once lit with a match gasoline that had spilled out over his automobile’s gas tank. After extinguishing the fire, the garage owner asked Goodrich why he would do such a stupid thing. Jim Goodrich’s response was that he was curious to see what would happen.12
As a youth, Pierre was a constant visitor to the town’s excellent bookstore. The store was operated by a succession of retired school superintendents who, Pierre remembered, were rather broadly educated.13 He traveled to Mexico during the Christmas holidays of his senior year in high school, and the southern adventure gave him an opportunity to play cowboy when he donned a “38-40 Winchester-Carbine rifle,” with which he shot down coconuts, and to explore by horseback Guadalajara and southwestern Mexico near Manzanillo.14
On the evening of June 3, 1912, Pierre received his diploma from Winchester High School as one of twenty-one graduating students. Goodrich, like his classmates, had to write a graduation composition based on an assigned topic. His friends Ralph Bales and Tom Veech were given the topics of, respectively, trade relations with South America and the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. Carl McCamish and Pierre were assigned the more esoteric subjects of, respectively, the evolution of nations and universal peace.15 The commencement speaker was Dr. E. H. Lindley of Indiana University, whose address to the thirty-seventh graduating class of Winchester High School was “The Power of Man.”16
After graduation, Pierre’s close friend Carl McCamish went to Ohio State University to study medicine. Tom Veech journeyed with Pierre to Crawfordsville, Indiana, to matriculate at Wabash College. Pierre would be gone from his hometown to college, law school, and the military for the next eight years. At Wabash College in September 1912, Goodrich pledged with Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, one of the few social organizations in which he took any long-term interest.17 The fraternity, then located at 217 College Street, housed approximately twenty young men from other small communities throughout the Midwest, including several close friends of Pierre’s: Phil Magner of Morris, Illinois; Howard Plummer of Kokomo, Indiana; and Fred Van Buskirk of Roann, Indiana. Goodrich was known as “Frisky” to his schoolmates, a group of young men with whom Pierre fit in well.
Wabash College would play an important part in the Goodrich family’s lives. James Goodrich served as a trustee of the college from 1904 to 1940 and held the position of chairman of the board from 1924 to 1940. John Goodrich, Pierre’s first cousin, attended Wabash briefly in 1912 before returning to Winchester. Perce G. Goodrich, Pierre’s youngest first cousin, graduated from Wabash in 1930. Others who later became associated with Pierre also had strong Wabash connections: John Macy, Jr., Goodrich’s first law partner (B.A., 1912); Dr. Russell Engle (1915–17), a lifelong friend and business partner; Bill Hunter, Pierre’s personal attorney in Winchester (B.A., 1937); and Albert Campbell, Pierre’s longtime law partner, who later became director of development at Wabash from 1962 to 1976 and was selected nonalumnus of the year in 1974.18
Wabash left an indelible impression on Pierre. Published in a college pamphlet at about the time Pierre became a student, Wabash’s creed reflected the rigorous educational approach applied at the small liberal arts college: “[Wabash] believes that the best foundation for culture and for vocational pursuits is thorough training in a few studies rather than a smattering of many things. Habits of mind, rather than mere information, count largest in the long run. The foundation of the educational process is Discipline, and Discipline is not secured by superficial pursuit of many studies.”19
During Goodrich’s undergraduate days, he participated in several extracurricular activities. In addition to writing for the school’s newspaper, The Bachelor, he participated in the Shakespeare Club, Greek Chorus, the YMCA cabinet, and the Wabash Board (the school’s student government body). Goodrich was especially fond of Professor Jasper Asaph Cragwell, who taught mathematics and apparently was at his best during the time Pierre studied under him. Cragwell, a true individualist, often walked around campus in his bare feet.20
In May 1915, Goodrich was one of two juniors elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the national honorary fraternity. A year later, in May 1916, Pierre graduated at the top or near the top of his class (out of sixty-two graduating seniors) with a B.A. in Humanities.21 Receiving his degree was not the end of his relationship with Wabash. In 1940, Pierre assumed his father’s position on the board of trustees, a position he would hold for nearly thirty years. Wabash held a special place in Pierre’s heart, because it was there that he established close friendships with such people as the college’s eighth and ninth presidents, Frank Sparks and Byron Trippet, and dean and economics professor Benjamin A. Rogge.
At Wabash, Pierre was required to watch his money closely.22 Goodrich’s secretary Rosanna Amos recalls, “I remember Mr. Goodrich telling me that apparently his parents were not given to just letting him have money just because they had money. . . . They knew how hard the wealth came, and they didn’t just let him run free with it.” At Wabash and later at Harvard, Pierre had to keep a written ledger of literally every penny he spent.23 Cora Goodrich, who was primarily responsible for her son’s strict accounting of expenditures, was known for her extreme frugality. In fact, Cora Goodrich’s efforts to economize were renowned among her family and friends and were often humorous.24 Yet, interestingly, her parsimonious attitude centered mostly on her family’s personal expenditures. There were many other instances throughout her life in which Cora Goodrich was extremely generous.25 Emma Lieber, wife of the former Indiana conservation commissioner Richard Lieber, remembers Cora as a charming, self-confident, “very straight-laced lady” who was amazingly naïve at times.26
Pierre’s own thrifty nature was an eccentricity that many early friends and associates recall. For instance, Pierre was notorious for wearing old scuffed shoes and rumpled suits,27 and in the early days, when the collars of his dress shirts became frayed, Goodrich would have them turned and resewn rather than buy new ones.28 John Thompson of Winchester remembers that Goodrich attended the opening of a branch office of the Peoples Loan and Trust Company on May 18, 1968, wearing pleated pants and suspenders. The suit had been out of style for more than a decade. “When Pierre was jokingly asked by Bob Oliver [a Winchester attorney] where he got his suit,” Thompson recalled, “Pierre told us that he had found it in the attic the night before.”29
On another occasion in the early 1920s, Goodrich asked Russell “Buss” Moorman, a Winchester dentist, to repair and clean a saxophone for him. It purportedly took Moorman a couple of days to tear apart, clean, and overhaul the instrument. When Moorman returned it to Goodrich, Pierre gave him twenty-five cents.30 But like his parents, Pierre could also be generous for a cause that he believed in. Goodrich’s underlying attitudes about wealth and its proper use reveal much about the influences on him as a youth and the things he thought truly important.
James P. Goodrich
[1. ]“The Winchester Community Library,” in Randolph County History: 1818–1990, p. 179.
[2. ]This story was mentioned by three people whom the author interviewed: Ralph Litschert, November 10, 1991; Mary Johnson, January 1, 1992; and Elizabeth Goodrich Terry, November 16, 1991.
[3. ]Perce G. Goodrich, interview, May 2, 1993.
[4. ]Florence Dunn, interview, July 18, 1992.
[5. ]Mary Simpson, interview, April 12, 1992. Mary Simpson’s husband Francis served on the board of directors of the Peoples Loan and Trust for more than fifty years under both James and Pierre Goodrich and was a lifelong friend of Pierre.
[6. ]James Goodrich recalled the rough games that he and his classmates used to play during recess at school. He and his brothers were also very independent. See Goodrich, “Autobiography,” pp. 21–22.
[7. ]Moreover, James Goodrich often became upset with Pierre because of the latter’s hesitant, indecisive nature (Henry Regnery, interview, October 3, 1992; Perce Goodrich, interview, May 2, 1993).
[8. ]Winchester (Ind.) Journal, June 29, 1911, p. 1, col. 5. There was no byline indicating authorship of this account. It is likely, however, that the article was written by either John Macy, Jr., or Jesse T. Moorman, both of whom were close friends of the Goodriches’ (Moorman is also mentioned in the article). The article is too lengthy to quote in full, but it concludes humorously: “This morning [James Goodrich] started for the City [Indianapolis] in his machine. J. T. Moorman wired Dr. Conrad as follows: ‘Goodrich leaves this city [Winchester] at 8 a.m. per motor, bound for Indianapolis via Anderson. Will arrive at Anderson at 8:30, keep the children and automobiles off street.’”
[9. ]Many accounts of James Goodrich’s driving habits exist. One can be found in “James Putnam Goodrich,” in Randolph County History: 1818–1990, p. 517: “The Governor did . . . have an inclination to exceed the highway speed limits, and perhaps was a bit aristocratic in his approach to tickets. It was said that he simply paid as he went, speeding down the highway until a patrolman would stop him, paying the fine, and then speeding on until the next patrolman stopped him.”
[10. ]Carl “Barney” Thompson, interview, April 18, 1996.
[11. ]Pierre Goodrich told the story about taking the car apart to Rosanna Amos when she worked for him as a secretary in the 1960s. “I’ve never met anybody who had the curiosity that Mr. Goodrich had about everything under the sun,” said Amos (interview, December 10, 1991).
[12. ]Perce G. Goodrich, interview, May 2, 1993.
[13. ]Letter from Pierre F. Goodrich to Felix Morley, May 1, 1959, Felix Morley Collection, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, Iowa. At the time, Winchester did not have a public library, although it was common for the wealthy citizens of a community to have substantial private libraries. The Winchester town library was not established until July 18, 1911. That was the summer between Pierre’s junior and senior years at Winchester High School. Even then, the library’s collection consisted of 970 books located in a front room of a residence on Franklin Street. See “The Winchester Community Library,” in Randolph County History: 1818–1990, pp. 179–80.
[14. ]Pierre recounted his Mexico trip as a high school student in a letter to Gustavo R. Velasco, February 16, 1969, Pierre F. Goodrich Papers, box 2, Hoover Institution.
[15. ]“Commencement Day Is Named,” Winchester (Ind.) Democrat, May 2, 1912, p. 1, col. 3.
[16. ]“Commencement Exercises Held,” Winchester (Ind.) Democrat, June 6, 1912, p. 1, col. 6.
[17. ]It is probable that Goodrich chose Phi Gamma Delta because John Macy, Jr., Pierre’s close friend and second cousin, had pledged to the fraternity. Macy had matriculated at Wabash four years before Pierre, in 1908.
[18. ]“Wabash Honorary Alumnus Award Goes to Campbell,” Indianapolis Star, May 23, 1974, p. 43, col. 7.
[19. ]Wabash’s creed further stated: “The patience to be thorough, the concentration to understand and the persistence to grasp and to apply, are traits that most clearly mark off the truly educated and disciplined fellows; and they are precisely the three traits which are most overlooked and neglected in the modern school and college curriculum. When discipline is withdrawn, dawdling quickly enters and the habit of dawdling is as corrupting to the intellect as it is to the morals” (“Creed,” Wabash College: Pure American [Crawfordsville, Ind.: Wabash College, 1918], p. 4).
[20. ]See Byron K. Trippet, Wabash on My Mind (Crawfordsville, Ind.: Wabash College, 1982), p. 185. A list of extracurricular activities Goodrich participated in, as well as his picture, appeared in the June 1916 issue of The Wabash. Cragwell was known for his unconventional thinking and individualistic views. Norman Baxter, interview, February 15, 1993.
[21. ]Wabash does not disclose the rank of graduating students. It is fairly clear, however, that Goodrich was at the top of his class, at least in his junior year, because the tradition at Wabash was that election to Phi Beta Kappa was based primarily on class rank. In 1914, the year before Goodrich’s election to Phi Beta Kappa, the only two juniors who were selected to the honor fraternity were ranked first and second in their class, according to an article in the May 15, 1914, issue of The Bachelor. Therefore, Goodrich’s selection as one of two juniors would seem to indicate that he was either first or second in his class. See “Phi Beta Kappa Honors to Twelve Wabash Men,” The Bachelor 8 (May 15, 1915), p. 1, col. 1 (“P. F. Goodrich and W. L. Kessinger, members of the present Junior class, also made the society with high honors”). The division of Humanities that existed when Goodrich attended Wabash included the departments of classical languages and literatures, German, Romance languages and literatures, English, and philosophy.
[22. ]Mary Miller Johnson, who lived next door to the Goodriches in Winchester when Pierre attended Wabash, remembers a particularly curious event when Pierre was an undergraduate. In addition to being neighbors, the Goodriches and the Millers are related. “I remember Aunt Cora coming to my mother with a letter in her hand from Pierre who was at college. Aunt Cora said that Pierre had written to her and one of the things he had asked was whether it would be all right for him to have ice cream after his Sunday evening meal,” said Mrs. Johnson (interview, January 1, 1992).
[23. ]Rosanna Amos, interview, December 10, 1991.
[24. ]At the Goodrich mansion, there was a natural spring in the basement that ran all the time. Mrs. Goodrich believed that it was wasteful for the spring to run continuously. She repeatedly turned off the spring despite her husband’s warnings that if she continued to do so, she would kill it (that is, divert the water elsewhere underground). She refused to listen, and eventually the spring stopped flowing. Perce G. Goodrich, interview, November 9, 1992. According to Harry Fraze, undertaker, former mayor of Winchester, and town gossip, Cora Goodrich was known to wear undergarments with holes in them and would refuse to buy new ones (interview, October 26, 1991). Cora Goodrich’s niece, Elizabeth Goodrich Terry, recalls, “Aunt Cora would walk several blocks just to return a penny if it was owing to someone” (interview, November 16, 1991). Mary Simpson, a longtime member of the Winchester Presbyterian Church, recalls that Cora Goodrich had a fur coat that she would wear only to church, after which she would return it to a cedar chest. The coat smelled so much of cedar that its smell soon permeated the church when Cora Goodrich entered the sanctuary. Moreover, Mrs. Goodrich continued to wear black lisle stockings long after they were out of fashion, because she had purchased many of them before World War I (interview, April 12, 1992).
[25. ]Apparently, Cora Goodrich’s largest individual contribution was eleven thousand dollars toward the cost of building a library in 1940 in Lynn, Indiana, in honor of her parents, Jonas and Amy Frist. She also contributed toward the statue of the doughboy on the Winchester Courthouse square and to the church (Elizabeth Goodrich Terry, interview, November 16, 1991).
[26. ]To illustrate Cora Goodrich’s naïveté, Lieber recalls one occasion when she and her husband and the Goodriches were in Germany: “Once when ordering a ticket at a railroad station, Mrs. Goodrich made this remark: ‘Isn’t it too stupid that they call the city of Cologne Köln in Germany, when everybody knows it to be Cologne?’” Emma Lieber, Richard Lieber (Indianapolis: privately printed, 1947), pp. 97–98.
[27. ]Many people interviewed recalled that Goodrich often wore rumpled clothes. Dale Braun, February 17, 1992; John Kidder, October 10, 1991; Arlene Metz, November 10, 1992. Janet Fuller recalled her parents’ telling her that they had seen Goodrich at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis, sitting on a bench reading a newspaper. They thought he looked more like a homeless person than an individual who was probably the richest citizen in Indianapolis (Janet Fuller, telephone interview, October 29, 1991).
[28. ]Rosanna Amos, interview, December 10, 1991.
[29. ]John Thompson, interview, December 20, 1991.
[30. ]Mary Thompson, telephone interview, July 11, 1992.