John Goode Jr.
John Goode Jr. portrait, between 1865 and 1880
|3rd Solicitor General of the United States|
May 1885 - August 1886
|Samuel F. Phillips|
|George A. Jenks|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Virginia's 2nd district
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1881
|James H. Platt, Jr.|
|John F. Dezendorf|
|Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor|
March 4, 1877 - March 3, 1881
|Gilbert C. Walker|
|Jonathan T. Updegraff|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Norfolk County|
|Henry S. Bowden|
|Member of the Confederate States House of Representatives from Virginia's 6th district|
February 22, 1862 – March 18, 1865
|William M. Burwell|
|Jesse S. Burks|
|Born||May 27, 1829|
Bedford County, Virginia
|Died||July 14, 1909 (aged 80)|
|Resting place||Longwood Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Emory and Henry College|
Washington and Lee University School of Law
|Allegiance||Confederate States of America|
|Unit||Jubal Early's Staff|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
First Battle of Manassas
John Goode Jr. (May 27, 1829 – July 14, 1909) was a Virginia Democratic politician, lawyer and slaveowner who served in the Virginia House of Delegates representing Bedford County before the American Civil War, for which he voted during the Virginia Secession Convention, then served in the Confederate Congress and on the staff of General Jubal Early during the conflict. After the conflict, he moved to Norfolk, again won election to the House of Delegates, and then represented Virginia's 2nd congressional district for three terms during the postbellum United States House of Representatives and lastly represented Norfolk and was elected chairman of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1902. Goode also served as the acting Solicitor General of the United States during the presidency of fellow Democrat Grover Cleveland.
Goode was born in Liberty, Virginia, the county seat of Bedford County, Virginia and which was renamed Bedford during his lifetime. The firstborn son of plantation owner John Goode (1796-1876) and his wife, the former Ann Leftwich, would have several younger brothers and sisters. His paternal grandfather, Edmund Goode, had fought in the American Revolutionary War, then moved from Caroline County westward to the Peaks of Otter area of what became Bedford County. His maternal great grandfather, Joel Leftwich had fought in the American Revolutionary War and War of 1812, rising to the rank of General. He received a private education suitable to his class, attended the New London Academy and graduated from Emory & Henry College in 1848, then studied law at what became Washington and Lee University School of Law under Judge John Brockenbrough.
On July 10, 1855, on the Isle of Wight, Goode married Sally Urquehart (1832-1890), a physician's daughter from Southampton County, and by 1870 their family included two sons, Richard (b. 1858) and John Breckinridge Goode (1864-1917), and a daughter Mary (b. 1856). By 1880, their household also included the boy who would become their longest surviving child, James Urquhart Goode (1873-1944), as well as three Black servants--butler, nurse and cook.
Admitted to the bar in 1851, Goode lived with his parents on a plantation with 39 enslaved individuals in its workforce, as well as started a private legal practice and his political career. That same year, Bedford voters elected Goode a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, but he only served one term. By the 1860 census, the younger Goode owned several enslaved individuals.
With the impending dissolution of the United States in 1861, Bedford County voters elected Goode to the Virginia secession convention, alongside former Congressman William L. Goggin, who had represented Bedford County years earlier in the House of Delegates, then in the U.S. House of Representatives for most of the decade between 1839 and 1849. That convention passed the Ordinance of Secession in April, and voters ratified it in May, following a meeting with orations by Goode, Goggin, James F. Johnson (who would become the Virginia Senate's president pro tempore 1861-1865), and William M. Burwell.
Goode then volunteered to fight, joining Company A of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry as a private on May 11, 1861, as did Dr. Reginald H. Goode (the company's assistant surgeon) and Pvt. Thomas R. Goode under the command of Capt. William R. Terry (a VMI graduate who would later be promoted to General). Goode then took leave to continue to participate in the Secession Convention as it established an alternate government for Virginia through June. Cavalryman Goode fought at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. Bedford County voters then elected Goode to both the First Confederate Congress and the Second Confederate Congress, and he served from February 22 1862, until the war's end. During the recesses of that body, he acted as volunteer aide on the staff of Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, a fellow lawyer and Secession Convention delegate from nearby Franklin County, first from October 5, 1861 through December 1862, and again in 1864.
After the war, Goode resumed his law practice, but moved to the state's Hampton Roads area by 1867. Like many high-ranking ex-Confederates, Goode had his civil rights restored under the provisions of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. After W.H.C. Ellis resigned in early 1866, Goode and A.F. Leonard came to represent the city of Norfolk in the state House of Delegates for the December 1866 and March-April 1867 sessions. However, Norfolk voters replaced Goode and Leonard with the Radical Republicans Henry S. Bowden and A.S. Segar in 1869. Nonetheless, he became the primary speaker at the 1875 dedication of a monument for Confederate war dead in Bedford, assisted by W.W. Berry (although the monument was later relocated from Piedmont hill to Longwood cemetery).
Goode continued his legal practice in Norfolk, and came to practice law in Washington, D.C., after his election to Congress as discussed below. He also became a member of the boards of visitors of the University of Virginia, William and Mary College, and the Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College. He also wrote a memoir of his life, "Recollections of a Lifetime".
In 1875, Goode defeated former Vermonter and three-term Republican incumbent James H. Platt Jr. to represent Virginia's 2nd congressional district, thus attended the Forty-fourth United States Congress as a Democrat, and won re-election to the Forty-fifth United States Congress and the Forty-sixth United States Congress, serving from December 6, 1875, until March 3, 1881. He was Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor during his last two terms. He had defeated Republican businessman John F. Dezendorf in 1878, but lost to Dezendorf in the November 1880 election.
Goode was an active Democrat, and part of what sometimes became known the Staples Organization (a predecessor of the Byrd Organization), serving as a presidential elector in 1852, 1856, and 1884, and attending the Democratic National Conventions of 1868 and 1872.
In May 1885, President Grover Cleveland, a fellow Democrat, appointed Goode as the acting Solicitor General of the United States, and he continued as such until August 1886. During that time, Goode visited British Columbia to represent the United States in an extradition case.
Although he had long lived in Norfolk and Washington D.C., Goode continued to own property (and have family) in Bedford County, whose voters elected Goode and John Thompson Brown to represent them at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1901 and 1902. Fellow delegates unanimously elected Goode the convention's president. In his acceptance speech, before deliberations had begun, Goode (to applause) denounced both Congressional Reconstruction and the Constitutional Convention of 1867-1868, "Congress not only committed a stupendous blunder, but a crime against civilization and Christianity when, against the advice of their wisest leaders, they required the people of Virginia and the South, under the rule of bayonet, to submit to universal negro suffrage." That convention ultimately stripped not only the 1868 state constitution's clauses denouncing rebellion against the United States and explicitly outlawing slavery, it also strictly forbad education of white and colored children in the same school. Disenfranchisement became the subject of much debate; delegate Carter Glass explained how it would inevitably cut 4/5ths of the negro voters. Thus, large sections of the final document restricted voting to war veterans and their sons, property owners who paid at least $1000 in taxes during the previous year, and any man who could give a satisfactory explanation of any portion of the state constitution, as well as allowed the legislature to establish further voting restrictions. Despite pre-convention promises that voters would have a choice of ratifying the final document, the delegates voted to proclaim it as in effect as of July 10, 1902 and never submitted it to voters. Lawyer, former Confederate and Readjuster John S. Wise pursued two federal cases which contested that lack of submission, as well as delegates' intent to disenfrancise colored voters, but federal judges relied on an 1895 case arising out of the South Carolina convention to find they lacked jurisdiction. Supreme Court Justice Brewer elaborated, that in the William Jones case, the U.S. House of Representatives seated his opponent despite complaints, noting "the thing sought to be prohibited has been done and cannot be undone by order of court" so the U.S. Supreme Court declined to get involved. By the 1904 election, fifty percent fewer white and ninety percent fewer black men voted.
Goode survived his wife by more than a decade. He died at the age of 80 in Norfolk and his remains were buried in Longwood Cemetery in Bedford, Virginia.Goode, a community in Bedford county, was named in his honor.
Samuel F. Phillips
| Solicitor General of the United States
George A. Jenks
|U.S. House of Representatives|
James H. Platt, Jr.
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district
John F. Dezendorf
Gilbert C. Walker
| Chairman of House Education and Labor Committee
Jonathan T. Updegraff