John J. Goodfellow biography

JOHN J. GOODFELLOW, county surveyor of Tarrant county, with his home in Fort Worth, has a unique record as a county official. He has been identified with the county surveyor’s office almost continuously for a quarter of a century ante-dating all present officials of the county. With the exception of two years he has been continuously in the position of county surveyor since 1888, and his record is in all points a most enviable one.

Mr. Goodfellow was born in Randolph county, Missouri, in 1856, his birthplace being on his father’s farm, which was situated adjoining where the city of Moberly has since grown up, at that time there being nothing there except the railroad section house. Mr. Goodfellow’s parents were Moses and Nancy (Beale) Goodfellow. The father, who was born in Meigs county, Ohio, in 1820, in 1841 became an early settler of Randolph county, Missouri, and in 1869, having traded for two hundred and five acres of land in Tarrant county, moved to this part of Texas and became one of the first settlers. His residence was near the eastern line of Tarrant county, and, as a successful farmer and public-spirited citizen, made that his home till his death, which occurred in October, 1897, when seventy-seven years of age. The place is still known as the Goodfellow homestead, as Mrs. Nancy Goodfellow, the mother, whose native state was Kentucky, still lives there, aged seventy-seven years, and is in good health.

Reared on the old homestead and receiving his early education on the common schools, Mr. Goodfellow made his preparation for a career by completing a surveying and engineering course at Palmyra Institute. He continued to make his home on the paternal farm until 1880, having during 1879-80 taught one term of school, and then was appointed to a position in the surveyor’s office, under Surveyor W. G. Finley, now deceased. With the exception of the two years from 1896 to 1898 he has been in the surveyor’s office ever since, either as deputy or county surveyor, and no other county official can show such a long and continuous record. In 1887, he was appointed as county surveyor to fill a vacancy, in the following year was elected to the office and has been re-elected every two years, with the exception of the one term mentioned above. Besides his work as county surveyor he has done and still does a large amount of surveying for outside parties in Tarrant and other counties, he being a most capable representative of his profession.

While he makes his home in Fort Worth, Mr. Goodfellow owns a fine place of a thousand acres in Tarrant county, sixteen miles north of Fort Worth, known as the “Goodfellow Timber Reserve.” This is one of the beautiful spots in the county, with a combination of forest and lake and farm that make it an attractive resort, especially in the summer time. He here conducts a hog, goat and cattle ranch, does some miscellaneous farming, and the lake is stocked with black bass.

Fraternally Mr. Goodfellow is a member of Woodmen Lodge No. 2, at Fort Worth. He married Miss Lou Swann, of Arlington, this county, and their five children are: Olive, Lillian, Eulah, John J., Jr., and Louise, all at home.

B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 66-67.