Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Canal Company Executive, County Commissioner, and Farmer Arthur Goody [otd 03/06]

Commissioner Goody.
J. H. Hawley photo.
Prominent farmer and Jefferson County Commissioner Arthur James Goody was born March 6, 1871 in Cache County, Utah, 10-15 miles northwest of Logan.

His father, Arthur Joseph, had come to the United States from England in 1863, when he was in his early teens. The parents – Mormon converts – followed a year later and settled on land north of the Great Salt Lake. By 1870, Arthur Joseph had married and moved to the area where Arthur James was born.

In 1883, the family took up a homestead a mile or so east of Lewisville, Idaho. Lewisville, located 12-14 miles north of Eagle Rock (now Idaho Falls), was one of several towns founded after the Utah & Northern Railroad laid tracks through Eastern Idaho in 1879. Arthur James worked on the family farm until he was twenty-two years old. (Although not “technically” correct, newspaper accounts of the time commonly referred to Arthur Joseph as “Sr.” and the son as “Jr.”)

Then, in 1893, Arthur Jr. married and built a home in Lewisville. He also bought some unimproved farm land a mile south of town. With improvements to that tract, and purchase of additional acreage, Arthur soon developed a highly successful mixed-crop farm operation of his own.

Arthur participated heavily in local civic affairs, including eight years as a Jefferson County Commissioner. He also served sixteen years as a school trustee. Arthur spent four years on the Lewisville town board and, after the village incorporated in 1904, served a term as mayor.

Arthur took an active interest in various irrigation projects. That included working with his father on some of the precursors to the Great Feeder Canal, which went into operation in 1895 [blog, June 22]. Later, he served on the Board of Directors of the Little Feeder Canal Company (Idaho Register, May 23, 1902). Four years after that, he represented Lewisville at a national Irrigation Congress held in Boise (Idaho Statesman, July 22, 1906).

In the spring of 1909, Arthur Sr. moved to Idaho Falls. (His wife had died three years earlier.) Not long after, Arthur Jr. bought his father’s ranch property and thereafter ran both operations. Under the title “Crops Fine at Lewisville,” the Idaho Falls Times reported (November 7, 1911) a remarkably productive year for his farms. On his original property, Arthur raised wheat, oats, alfalfa, sugar beets, apples, and raspberries. On the other, he raised more hay, grain, and sugar beets, as well as potatoes, plumes, prunes, and currants.

Headgates, Great Feeder Canal.
Early in the Twentieth Century, farmers had begun to form cooperatives under various titles like “Farmers’ Society of Equity.” They hoped to present a united front in dealing with banks, shippers, and farm product buyers. The Idaho Falls Times reported (January 21, 1913) an organizational meeting in Lewisville, at which Arthur was selected as President of the local chapter. He was associated with the group when it became the Intermountain Farmers Equity.

Besides his farm interests, Arthur held stock in a regional mercantile company. By 1920, he was President of the Great Feeder Canal Company, a position he held for many years. He passed away in September 1943. In 1990, the original Goody homestead qualified as an Idaho Century Farm, being still owned by a descendant of Arthur Joseph Goody.
References: [Hawley]
Louis J. Clements, Centennial Farm Families, Upper Snake River Valley Historical Society, Rexburg, Idaho (March 1991).
Mary Jane Fritzen, Eagle Rock, City of Destiny, Bonneville County Historical Society, Idaho Falls, Idaho (1991).
John L. Powell (Ed.), “Great Feeder Canal Company,” Records Collection, MSS 31, Arthur Porter Special Collections, BYU-Idaho (January 23, 2002).

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