Bio of John M. Goodwin
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

MR. GOODWIN was born at Baldwin, Cumberland County, Me., September 3, 1822. He was fitted for college at the old Academy at North Yarmouth, and was graduated from Bowdoin College in the class of 1845. He taught school for a while in York and Washington Counties, and afterward pursued his legal studies in the office of Hon. Samuel Wells, afterward Judge of the Supreme Court and Governor of the State, and, on the appointment of Judge Wells to the Supreme Bench, entered the office of Edward Fox, afterward Judge of the United States District Court of Maine, and in 1848 was admitted to the Bar of Cumberland County. He first entered upon the practice of law at Mechanic Falls, but remained there only a short time, returning to Portland, where he formed a partnership with Henry Carter, who is at present a leading member of the Essex County, Mass., Bar, and now and for many years Judge of the Municipal Court of Haverhill. This partnership continued for a limited time, and when dissolved Mr. Goodwin removed to Biddeford, where he has ever since resided.

As soon as his law practice had become fairly established, he took an active interest in politics. He was the only Democrat in the family, and had the courage of his convictions through a series of years when, from various causes, the Democratic party in Maine was disintegrating, and when it cost something to remain a Democrat in many communities. In 1855 Mr. Goodwin was nominated for the State Senate, by the Democracy of York County, and was elected. He was then thirty-one years of age, and was the youngest member of that body. In 1862 and 1863 he was elected to the lower house, and in both years was a prominent member of leading committees. In the last-mentioned year he was voted for by both parties, although originally nominated by the Democrats. He was what was known as a “War Democrat.” He has been President of the Biddeford City Council, City Solicitor, Treasurer, and for several years was Supervisor of Schools of Biddeford. In 1876, when his party was casting about for a strong man to head its gubernatorial ticket, Mr. Goodwin was urged by several county delegations, representing nearly half of the State Convention, to allow his name to be used, but he declined. Later in that year he was nominated for Congress by the Democrats of the First District and made an unusually strong run. He was once tendered the empty honor of a nomination for Attorney-General, and once that of a nomination for United States Senator by the Democratic minority in the Maine Legislature.

Mr. Goodwin is still, at the age of seventy-one years, engaged in the practice of his profession at Biddeford, although most of his time is occupied in attending to his personal affairs, to the interests of estates of which he is trustee and to those of the York County Savings Bank, an institution of which he has been President and Trustee since its organization in 1860, and which now has over a million dollars on deposit.

In 1850 he married Harriet P., youngest daughter of the late Hon. Benjamin J. Herrick, of Alfred, and by her has had five children, — Francis J., George B., Mary Isabel, Henry H., and William B. Of these all but the daughter are living.

Mr. Goodwin long ago took rank as one of the ablest lawyers in the State, as a ripe scholar and a business man of rare good judgment. But for his life-long practice of hiding his light under a bushel, he would have been even far more prominent and influential in public affairs than he has been.


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