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Goodell, Roswell E.

Born: 1825-10-21 Connecticut

Died: 1903-10-19

Roswell E. Goodell was a businessman, local government official, and soldier. His family moved to La Salle County, Illinois in 1834. After his father's death in 1838, he took charge of the family farm. At age fifteen, he received appointment as deputy postmaster for Ottawa, Illinois. He later relocated to Chicago, where he worked as a store clerk before returning to Ottawa to serve as deputy county recorder. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, he enlisted in Company I of the First Illinois Infantry at the rank of private. He was appointed postmaster of the Northern Division of the U.S. Army, and served for one year before returning home, where, in 1850, he was elected sheriff for La Salle County. In November 1853, he married Mary Jane Matteson, daughter of Governor Joel A. Matteson, and they eventually had six children together. Goodell was a Democrat when he met Abraham Lincoln while working together on matters concerning the Illinois and Michigan Canal, yet the two became friends. Goodell served as secretary of the Illinois Senate in 1852-53, then as cashier of a bank headquartered in Joliet, Illinois before becoming an executive with the Chicago and Alton Railroad. At the start of the Civil War, he organized the Twentieth Illinois Infantry, then contracted with the federal government for military supplies. He died in Denver, Colorado.

Illinois Mexican War Veterans, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 1 November 1853, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Will C. Ferril, ed., Sketches of Colorado (Denver: Western Press Bureau, 1911), 1:268-69; Thomas William Herringshaw, Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography (Chicago: American Publishers, 1909), 2:602; Gravestone, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, CO.