7 Degrees of Separation

The blog post theme this week is “favorite find”. To be honest, my favorite find is whatever I’ve just discovered. Any find is exciting for me. Let me tell you about my most recent find – which happens to be my favorite today!

I’ve been researching my dad’s HUTCHISON family. For background, the line goes from my paternal great-grandfather, Mark DRAKE to his father Ervin Alonzo (also known as Poppy), Poppy’s mother Hester MITCHELL DRAKE, Hester’s sister Mary Louise MITCHELL, and finally to Mary’s daughter Amanda Jane THOMAS who married Idaho’s 7th Governor, Francis Robert “Frank” GOODING. When I discovered that my 1st cousin 4 times removed had married the former Governor of Idaho I had to laugh. My husband and I lived for 10 years in Idaho and not one day of that 10 years did I know of this family connection to Idaho. I was well aware of my husband’s family connections and I was aware that I had some distant family who had lived there at some point but I was completely unaware of any connection to a former governor of Idaho.

Mary Louise Mitchell Potter Thomas

I was researching Mary MITCHELL only because I’ve had such a difficult time finding her parents (and my 4th great grandparents), Mordica Elias MITCHELL and Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL HARTMAN. So much of a hard time that I had resorted to researching the children in an attempt to figure out where the family was and who really belonged in this family (as well as who didn’t). I had already looked into the two oldest children of Mordica and Lucretia – two sons named James Harrison MITCHELL and John West MITCHELL. I had already looked into the oldest known daughter as well – a daughter named Susan M. MITCHELL. By this time I was getting desperate but I continued. Next in line was Mary Louise. I was about to give up on Mary when I made the completely unexpected discovery that her daughter was married to Francis R. “Frank” GOODING ~ former Idaho Governor, former Idaho state Senator, and former US Senator from Idaho. Perseverance pays off!

Amanda Jane Thomas and Frank Gooding

In attempting to figure out how Frank GOODING would have met Amanda Jane THOMAS, I began looking at Frank’s life. Frank was born in England. He immigrated to the US with his family when he was about 7 or 8 years old. His family settled in Michigan and then moved to Mount Shasta, California in1877. BINGO! Amanda’s family had moved to Shasta County, California in the late 1850’s or early 1860’s. The information I’m working with says that Lucretia (Amanda’s maternal grandmother and my 4th great grandmother) died in California but I have no proof of this. However I do know that by 1860, Amanda’s mother (Mary Louise MITCHELL POTTER THOMAS, my 3rd great grand-aunt) was living in Shasta County, California with her brother – James Harrison MITCHELL. In 1860, Amanda’s mom was going by Louisa rather than Mary. I can only presume Louisa was pregnant with her first child, Adeline, at that time since a 10-year-old Adeline POTTER shows up on the next census and a later court case names Adeline as a daughter of Benjamin F. and Mary Louise MITCHELL POTTER.

Divorce of Mary Louise MITCHELL POTTER and Benjamin F. POTTER. Image from Newspapers.com, The Red Bluff Beacon; 15 May 1862; Red Bluff, California.

As for the 1860 census, Louisa’s last name was listed as POTTER because she was married to Benjamin F. POTTER in Saint Louis, Missouri, just a few years prior to showing up in California. Mr. POTTER was not living with the MITCHELL family in 1860. All the researchers on Ancestry claim Benjamin POTTER died around 1861. I have found no proof of his death but I did discover that Mary Louise filed for a divorce from Benjamin F. POTTER in 1862 in Tehama County, California. The divorce must have been granted because on 21 October 1862, Louisa married Samuel M. THOMAS.

In 1870, Louisa and Samuel THOMAS were living in Shasta County, California with their family including the future Senator’s wife, Amanda Jane. Frank GOODING and his family were still in Michigan in 1870. In 1877, Amanda’s father Samuel passed away in January and later that year, Frank and his older brother moved to Shasta County, California.

In 1880, 18-year-old Amanda was living with her mother and siblings in Shasta County, California. A 21-year-old Frank GOODING was living in nearby Gasspoint, Shasta County, California, raising turkeys for a living. On 1 June 1880, Frank and Amanda married and they moved to Idaho in May of 1881. Frank would go on to be elected Sheriff in Ketchum, Blaine County, Idaho.

The family also lived in Shoshone, Lincoln County, Idaho for a while. They built a home there and limited rooms are available for rent in the home. If you’re interested, you can request more information from Lincoln County Historical Society in Shoshone, Idaho where I found this photograph of the home:

The home the GOODING family built in Shoshone, Idaho. Photo found at https://www.lincolncountyhistorical.org/themansion.html.

In 1898 Frank was elected to the Idaho legislature (Senate). Two years later he was reelected to the Senate. While serving in the state legislature he had the honor of serving as President Pro-Tempore. In 1904 he was elected Governor of Idaho and served two terms. In 1918 a special election was held to elect someone to finish the term of the US Senator James Brady who had died in office the previous year. Frank lost to the opposing candidate, however that candidate resigned from office early and Frank finished his term. Frank went on to win his own 6-year term representing Idaho in 1920 and was re-elected for a second term in 1926. Frank succumbed to cancer while serving his second term as US Senator. One final accolade for Frank is that in 1958 he was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.

1921 photo of Frank GOODING from Library of Congress website.

Because of his efforts to pursue and hold accountable the murderers of his predecessor–Governor Frank STEUNENBERG– Frank GOODING had to move out of his home and be under constant guard because of bombings and other threats to his life. In his lifetime, Frank also founded the town of Gooding, Idaho, and the county of Gooding was named after him. Frank was instrumental in bringing the State School for the Deaf and Blind and Gooding College into Gooding, Idaho. Frank’s endeavors were financially beneficial to the area of Gooding, Idaho. He brought in tourists with the hotel he built. History of Idaho has some great pictures of GOODING’s Lincoln Inn.

Original Gooding College building. Photo found at Only In Your State website. In the 1940’s it was converted into a Tuberculosis Hospital and is said to be haunted.

Frank was successful in getting the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind moved from Boise to Gooding. Here is a 1906 photo of the school found at APH Museum:

Amanda lived for another 18 years. She died in 1946 and was buried next to Frank in Elmwood Cemetery in Gooding, Gooding, Idaho.

Obituary of Amanda Thomas Gooding. Obituary of Amanda Thomas Gooding. Image from Newspapers.com; The Idaho Statesman; 8 Apr 1946; Boise, Idaho.

Side Notes

When I lived in Idaho I was a junior paralegal at a large law firm and my job entailed working on Superfund mining cases, so the story of the mining dispute that led to the assassination of Governor Frank STEUNENBERG (and then Governor Frank GOODING’s later involvement in bringing people to justice) was very interesting to me. If you’d like to read about the dispute, what led to it and how it ended, I recommend going to this website: http://www.3rd1000.com/history3/events/cdamines/1892-1899.htm. I found it interesting that John HAWLEY, the founder of the law firm I worked for in Boise, once represented the miners in their litigation and later he would lead lawsuits against the miners. Clarence Darrow once referred to John HAWLEY as the “god-father of the Western Federation [of Miners]”. James HAWLEY’s family founded the law firm where I worked on Superfund mining cases.

If you can’t get enough information about Pinkerton detectives, you might plan a trip to the Idaho State Archives in Boise, Idaho, and have a look at their James H. HAWLEY collection which includes the “Pinkerton Papers” regarding the investigation of the assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Interesting side note: to earn extra money during my college days at Boise State University, I did contract work for Pinkertons researching court records and doing background checks on people. It was during my college days at BSU that I was fortunate enough to take a class under Hawley, Troxell, Ennis & Hawley paralegals who saw potential in me and got me hired on at the firm. So, to go back to all this old Boise and Idaho history is, in a small way, to relive some old memories for me.

The one thing I found most odd during this research session was that I was unable to locate any photographs of Amanda THOMAS GOODING. There are photos of Frank GOODING, but none of Amanda. I emailed the archivists at the Idaho State Archives to ask if they have any photographs of Amanda THOMAS GOODING. I heard back from archivist Erin Bostwick right before publishing this blog post and she attached two watermarked photos of Amanda. I’m posting the photos with the watermarks and will be ordering un-watermarked copies of the photos from the Archives later this week.

Photo of a young Amanda THOMAS GOODING courtesy of archivist Erin Bostwick at Idaho State Archives.
Photo of an elderly Amanda THOMAS GOODING courtesy of archivist Erin Bostwick at Idaho State Archives.

If you would like un-watermarked, high-resolution copies of these photos, fill out this form and attach $10 per photo. The details of the quality of the photos is on the form. Just an FYI, these photos are low-res in addition to being watermarked. Photos you order from the Archives will be high-res and look much nicer.

If you’d like to learn more about Lincoln Inn (built by Frank) go to; the original Lincoln burned but it’s been rebuilt and you can stay there when you’re in that area. You can find the new Lincoln Inn at https://historiclincolninn.com/.

Photo found at https://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/digital/collection/alaskawcanada/id/1512/.

You can also stay in The Senator’s Suite at the Historic Gooding Hotel Bed & Breakfast.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about our connection to the 7th Idaho Governor, Frank GOODING. If you ever get a chance to visit Boise, Idaho, I highly recommend doing it. While you’re there, take side trips to the Archives and to Gooding if you can. Boise is a beautiful place and that area of Idaho is one of my favorite places in the world.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Resources Utilized for This Post

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