Role in Ravensworth – owner parcels 1.1.3.6, 1.1.3.7, 1.1.6.7 and 1.1.6.10

William H. Gooding was the second of two sons among the six children born to William and Jane (Davis) Gooding, Jr. He married twice to (1) Margaret R. Howard (1808-1844), with whom he had five children, and (2) in July 1847 Mary Jewell (1800-1855) with whom there were no additional children. Children:1

  • Ann Rebecca Gooding (1829-1890)
  • Jacob Gooding (1833-1864)
  • William Beale Gooding (1839-c.1910). Served as Clerk of the Fairfax County Court from 1865 to 1866, under the Union-controlled administration of the Restored Virginia Government headed by Governor Francis Pierpont.2
  • Philip Peter Gooding (1841-1923). Civil War: voted for secession; served as a Private, 17th VA Infantry, Company D (“Fairfax Rifles”) from April 1861 and until paroled at end of war in April 1865; wounded at Ware Bottom Church June 18, 1864; furloughed and later captured. Married Martha F. (1858-1930). Relocated to Cairo, IL, where the 1910 federal census recorded him as owner and manager of a hardware store. Both Peter and Martha are buried in Fairfax City Cemetery.3
  • William D. Gooding (1843-1865). Civil War: voted for secession; enlisted as a Private in 35th Battalion, VA Cavalry, Company C in October 1862; wounded June 9, 1863 at Battle of Brandy Station, which the National Park Service credits as “the largest cavalry battle ever fought on the North American continent.” Later joined Mosby’s partisan rangers (43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) and died in action on January 12, 1865 near Hillsboro, VA. He is listed on the Confederate Monument in the Fairfax City Cemetery.4

William H. Gooding bought three Ravensworth parcels totaling 660 acres between 1839 and 1853. His land bordered both his father’s and brother Peter Gooding’s lands.

He was a slaveholder who built a successful business in farming and amassed substantial property – as shown in this summary of Gooding family property in 1860. His house was located on Little River Turnpike on the west side of the intersection with Guinea Road.

William H. was often commissioned by the Fairfax County Court to perform official functions, as revealed in the court’s Minute Book. In 1845, he was assigned to supervise elections at Fairfax Courthouse and recommissioned many times in succeeding years through 1865 to supervise elections there and in Annandale. In 1847 and 1850, the court appointed him as overseer for the poor, responsible for attending to the needs of the county’s poor residents and for managing related public funds. He received a contract to install a pump in the county’s public well in 1848 and was paid $35 for the work. In 1851, he was appointed Commissioner of Roads.

Apparently respected for good judgment, fairness and skill in land survey, William H. received several court commissions to conduct surveys and resolve disputes. In 1850, during the building of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad (O&ARR), he was assigned to view land crossed by the railroad and assess damages to landowners. In 1856, he was appointed referee in suits against the O&ARR and to set compensation to a land owner for land taken by the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad. He was several times commissioned to appraise and divide the estates of deceased residents, including that of Richard Fitzhugh on the death of his widow in 1856.

When assigned a public function, William H. would have had security bonds posted by others to underwrite his performance. Similarly, as a man of property and some wealth, he often posted security bonds for others charged with public functions, including for David Fitzhugh of Oak Hill in 1850 and again in 1856.

Like the wider Gooding family, the Civil War found William H.’s immediate family divided. On May 23, 1861, he voted for secession. With his home in hotly contested territory, he moved to Fauquier County, VA for about a year, returning home in the spring of 1862.5 Two sons, Philip and William D, also voted for secession and fought for the Confederacy. Both were wounded and William D. was killed in action. A third son, William Beale, did not vote for secession and held an appointed position in the Union-controlled county court in 1865.

A few months after the war ended, in August 1865, William H. received a license from the Fairfax County Court to operate an ordinary. With his father and brother Peter both dead, he appears to have taken a lead role in resuming the family hospitality business.

  • Gooding’s Tavern continued operations on Little River Turnpike until 1879, when the building was destroyed by fire.
  1. Gooding family genealogy provided by (1) Kathe Gunther, Family Group Sheet for William Gooding, unpublished genealogical document, and (2) Maddy McCoy, historian and historical preservationist, developer Slavery Inventory Database for Fairfax County, Virginia.
  2. Ross De Witt Netherton and Ruby Waldeck, The Fairfax County Courthouse, 2009, 107.
  3. William Page Johnson (II), Brothers and Cousins: Confederate Soldiers and Sailors of Fairfax County, Virginia (Iberian Publishing Co., 1995), 64.
  4. Ibid
  5. Edith Moore Sprouse, Fairfax County in 1860: A Collective Biography (The Author, 1996), 760.