Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Family of George and Deborah Godette

Charles Weiker of Fremont, Ohio shared this story and these images of his family. At Find A Grave, you'll see further images and information posted by Godette family members.

James Godette, Jr.
The family of George and Deborah Godette’s French connection derives from Jean Gaudet, the progenitor of Gaudet/Godette descendants in North America. He was born ca. 1575 in Martaize Vienne, France. He and his family along with his brother Aubin Gaudet arrived in Port Royal, Acadia in 1636. Jean Gaudet was a farmer who raised cattle and sheep and cultivated his acres of land in the Annapolis Basin for over 30 years, caring and providing for his family in his new homeland. Jean Gaudet died in the year 1672 in Port Royal, Acadia.

Nearly a century later, between 1755 and 1762, it became a very tumultuous and tragic time for Acadians. It was in those years that the British authorities decided to enforce the deportation orders. Acadians were stripped of their rights and placed on overcrowded vessels bound for unrevealed destinations. The events were horrendous and marked the memories of the exiled and their descendants for decades to come.

Acadia, Annapolis Basin

As with so many of those who were exiled; George Godette’s definitive destination cannot be fully documented due to the uncertainties of acceptance and survival of the assorted deported.  What can be determined within his timeline of exiled events is his connection by marriage to Deborah George, whose family is documented to be living in Craven County, North Carolina as early as 1753. Deborah’s brother, Peter, was listed in a Company of Foot Soldiers commanded by Captain Abner Neale by Commission bearing the date of April 11, 1753 for the District between the Head of Slocombs Creek to the Head of Turnagain Bay.  The first known record in Craven County, North Carolina for George Godette, himself, is his being excused from paying taxes in September of 1780 due to the fact that he was crippled.

Among the children of George and Deborah Godette were Peter Godette and Deborah Godette. Deborah married Isaac Perkins, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War. He enlisted for three years, was granted a pension, which was repealed and later restored.

Peter Godette married Sarah Barber in 1797 in Craven County, North Carolina. They were the parents of John Godette, who married Clarissa Jackson. The laws of North Carolina allowed free people of color to have a license to carry guns. The names of John Godette and his sons William Godette and James Godette appears on lists dated September 1851; June 1852; and September 1854.

As mixed raced people they were free and had rights, but conditions before the start of the Civil War became unsettled and unsatisfactory for them. The relationships between ethnic groups was of a fluid nature among early working class people, before legalized slavery and stringent laws unnaturally and unnecessarily strained and defined color lines.

For whatever the reasons, decisions were made within the family of John and Clarissa Jackson Godette. Some of the family would remain in Beaufort County, North Carolina and continue their lives there. Those who chose to stay were: John and Clarissa Godette, their son, William Godette and his family; and their daughter, Ellen Godette Cannon and her family.

Those who chose to go with a group of 60 people for the migration to Ohio were three of John and Clarissa Jackson Godette’s children and their families: Elizabeth “Patsy” Godette Laughinghouse; James and Elizabeth Driggers Godette; and John and Linda Godette Blackwell. They left before the start of the Civil War and made their way northward to Ohio, settling in the communities of Oberlin, Pittsfield, and Kipton in Lorain County; Fremont in Sandusky County; and Elmore in Ottawa County.
Godette Family Home in Pittsfield, Ohio (ca. 1860s)
James Godette, Sr. and Elizabeth Driggers Godette; and two of their daughters, Henrietta and Josephine

They were true pioneers in the very sense of the word, as are many of their descendants to this day. Among them were two of the sons of James and Elizabeth Driggers Godette of Lorain County: William and Alfred Godette. The two brothers moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where they joined the city’s fire department. William Godette joined in 1885 and rose through the ranks to captain during his 41 years of service. Younger brother Alfred joined in 1909 and died fighting a fire in 1921, the ultimate sacrifice for service.

William Godette, St. Paul, Minnesota

The new St. Paul Fire Department Headquarters and Station 1 is now named the William and Alfred Godette Memorial Building to honor their memories. It was formally commissioned and opened in September 2010

Alfred Godette
1874 - 1921
(Courtesy of Find-a-Grave)

1 comment:

Rodney Pike (rwpike) said...

This is my family. It's great to see their faces. My mom did extensive research on our ancestry as did my wife's mom. My wife and I intersect at Jean Gaudet. We were among those who made it down to Louisiana. If you know anymore about this family please contact me.

Rodney Pike
Gonzales Louisiana