Ghosts of Main Street — True Treasure

January 17, 2019

By Julie Traynor

This week’s ghost isn’t really a ghost. It is the result of a great black and white, 5”x7” glossy photograph being reunited with the news item for which it was taken and the roughly 500 words, give or take, to tell this picture’s story.

In 1950 local freelance writer Fern Berry had been a full time employee at the Marion Press just over a year. As a desk girl she took ads, wrote news items and tidbits for the Locals and answered the phone. The freelance writer in her liked local history and human interest stories. She had the proverbial nose for them and she had heard that early Clare county resident Mary Goodrich had a good tale to tell. So Fern headed for Winterfield Twp. where she got the story and snapped this wonderful photo of Mrs. Goodrich.

As the photo says on the reverse, in Fern Berry’s handwriting, “Mrs. Mary Goodrich, 93, holds priceless shawl, 200 years old.” That works. 

As the photo says on the reverse, in Fern Berry’s handwriting, “Mrs. Mary Goodrich, 93, holds priceless shawl, 200 years old.” That works.

The story to be told regarded the shawl which the then 92 year old Mrs. Goodrich is seen proudly displaying. The finely woven and brightly colored lambs wool shawl had belonged to her grandmother; and according to Mrs. Goodrich came to America from England with her family when her grandmother was a small child. The shawl was a highly prized and treasured family heirloom. It had been passed down to Mary Goodrich from her grandmother. She was extremely proud of it and its long lineage. The story more than likely appeared in the Grand Rapids Press.

Perhaps the real story here was that of Mrs. Goodrich and her late husband, Carlos and the family’s long ownership of the farm. The Goodrich’s came to Winterfield in 1906 where they took 80 acres in section 32 of Winterfield Township. By 1950, son Carlos and his wife Anna owned and operated the family farm; another son Maurice, and two daughters all lived in the Detroit area. Carlos and Anna had two children. Son Carroll joined his father and raised his family on the farm.

The Winterfield into which the Goodrich’s came was a vastly different place than it was 44 years later, and even more so today. Much of the arable land in the Grandon area, where the Goodrich farm was located, had yet to be cleared, although it was in progress. Logging was still happening and would for nearly 20 more years. Mrs. Goodrich recalled the days when her husband had only to cut down nearby trees for firewood. The forests were still thick and the Goodrich’s worked hard to clear the land.

At the time this photo was taken Mary Goodrich lived in her own home, did her own cooking and housework. She continued to do so and reached the respectable age of 96. She attributed her longevity and remarkable good health to a life of hard work on the farm.  She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery next to her husband in 1954.

Mary Goodrich’s son Carlos passed the family acres to his son Carroll who continued to farm the acres and raised his family on the farm where he grew. Carroll Goodrich, a lifelong Winterfield resident only recently passed away after a long and happy life on the farm. The Goodrich family farm in Winterfield remains within the family to this day and likely is the real family treasure.

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