The Goodell/Goodale Family Papers, 1750-1905

Biographical Note

The Goodell/Goodales were an important family in the history of both Amherst and Belchertown. Moses Goodell (1777-1854) and his wife Susanna Pettingill Goodell (1778-1848) had eleven children, several of whom had fascinating careers outside of this area. Ira Chaffee Goodell (1800-1877) moved to New York City where he became a well-known artist in oils. Nathaniel Dudley Goodell (1814-1890) and his brother Noble Thomas (1806-1862) ventured through the Isthmus of Panama to seek their fortunes in the California gold fields. Nathaniel remained in California, settling in Sacramento, and became one of the premier architects of that fledgling city. The remainder of the children lived and worked in Belchertown and Amherst for many years.

Note: The variant spelling of the name is not unusual for the period. Both forms are used interchangeably by all members of the family, sometimes in the same document.

Scope and Contents

The Goodell/Goodale Family Papers consist of some 630 items, including account books, deeds, letters and other papers. Of particular interest is the correspondence of Ira Chaffee Goodell with his family, which describes his work as an artist in New York in the nineteenth century. His account book fills in many details of that work. Nathaniel Dudley Goodell's letters to his brothers Ira and Asahel and his father Moses describe his journeys through the jungles of Panama and life in California during and after the gold rush of 1849. The large collection of deeds delineates land transaction patterns of an established family in Belchertown and Amherst. The collection is important not only for the papers of Goodells who left western Massachusetts, but also for the light shed on the area and its life in the nineteenth century.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


The base of the collection was a gift of L. W. Goodell in 1928 and 1934-1935. Other items have been added in the following years, and new items may be added at any time.

Preferred Citation

(Folder name), Goodell/Goodale Family Papers, Special Collections, Jones Library, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Related Materials

"Sacramento and the Gold Rush", a 1937 essay by Keith P. Pattengill based on the Goodell Family Papers. 

Maps-World-1822: A large world map created by Ira Goodell in 1822, housed in the Map Case.

Pansy Park folder in the Manuscript Collection.

Bound collection of L. W. Goodell’s seed catalogs from 1876-1904 can be found in Special Collections under MASS.TOWNS/Belchertown.

See the 19th and 20th-century Newspaper Indexes in the Special Collections Reading Room for articles on Pansy Park and members of the Goodell/Goodale Family.

Collection Inventory

11Goodell, Angelo – Correspondence – Calendar 
[Angelo (b. circa 1842) was the son of Ira Chafee Goodell.]

12Goodell, Angelo – Correspondence1849-1863
13Goodell, Angelo – Correspondence1864-1871
14Goodell, Angelo – CorrespondenceUndated
15Goodell, Asahel – Account Books
[Asahel (1810-1900) was the fifth son of Moses and Susannah.]
16Goodell, Asahel – Account Book1842-1854
17Goodell, Asahel – Deeds1836-1870 (not inclusive)
18Goodell, Asahel – Papers
Personal papers
1834-1899 (not inclusive)
19Goodell, Asahel – Receipts1837-1888 (not inclusive)
110Goodell, Ella C. – Deed 
[Ella was the wife of Wesley M. Goodell, son of Asahel.]
1896 August 21
111Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Account Book
[Ira Chaffee (1800-1877) was the eldest son of Moses.]
3 July 1819 – 
26 April 1873
21Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Art
Three photographs of paintings attributed to Ira Chaffee Goodell owned by the Stone House Museum in Belchertown.

22Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Biography
Two copies of an article by Suzanne and Michael Payne in Antiques & Fine Art Magazine.
2015 Autumn
23Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence – Calendar 
24Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1822-1832
25Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1836-1837
26Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1838
27Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1839
28Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1840
29Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1841
210Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1842-1843
211Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1844-1845
212Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1846-1848
213Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1849-1854
214Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1855-1856
31Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1870-1872
32Goodell, Ira Chaffee – Correspondence1874-1875
33Goodell, L. W. – Flowers 
Pictures of Pansy Park, news clippings, seed catalog

34Goodell, Moses – Correspondence – Calendar 
35Goodell, Moses – Correspondence 1813-1839
36Goodell, Moses – Correspondence 1840-1854
37Goodell, Moses – Deeds1799, 1815, 1822, 1829, 1849
38Goodell, Moses – Deeds1822-1852 (not inclusive)
39Goodell, Moses – Will1853
310Goodell, Nathaniel – Deeds 
[Nathaniel (1740-1814) was the father of Moses.]
1764-1798 (not inclusive)
311Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Biography
Various papers and one news article about N. D. Goodell.
[Nathaniel Dudley (1814-1890) was the sixth son of Moses.] 
1974, 1984
312Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Buildings, East Coast
Information about buildings that Goodell was involved with, primarily the Otis Company mill buildings in Ware, Mass. 

313Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Buildings, West Coast
Information about various buildings in California that Goodell designed. 

Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Elevation 
314Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Gold Rush
Paper written by Michael J. O’Hara
1979 February 7
315Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Insolvency
Appears to be a notice of the third meeting of the creditors of N. D. Goodell.
1847 July 3
316Goodell, Nathaniel Dudley – Sgromo
Masters’ thesis by Vito Joseph Sgromo about the houses and building designed by Goodell.
1987 Summer
317Goodell, Newton F. W. – Correspondence
[Newton (1822-1840) was the youngest child of Moses.]
318Goodell, Newton F. W. – Matrimony
Eight sheets, headed “Matrimony versus Celibacy, spoken in the Brick School house, Logtown, Mass.”
1840 January 28
319Goodell, Robert – Deed (Copy)
[Robert (1601-1682) came to America in 1634, and was the 3rd-great-grandfather of Moses.]
1666 January 6
320Goodell Family – Biography 
Paper titled “Culture and Community: The Worlds of Ira and Asahel Goodell – A Middle-Class Family in Transition, 1820-1860”, written for an AC history class.
1985 December 18
321Goodell Family – Clippings 
322Goodell/Goodale Family – Correspondence – Calendar 
323Goodell/Goodale Family – Correspondence 1836-1854
324Goodell/Goodale Family – Correspondence 1865-1905, undated
325Goodell/Goodale Family – Genealogy
Pieces of information about various family members

326Goodell/Goodale Family – Miscellaneous