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Nathan Goff Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nathan Goff Jr.
Nathan Goff, Jr. - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from West Virginia
In office
April 1, 1913 – March 3, 1919
Preceded byClarence Wayland Watson
Succeeded byDavis Elkins
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
In office
March 17, 1892 – March 31, 1913
Appointed byBenjamin Harrison
Preceded bySeat established by 26 Stat. 826
Succeeded byCharles Albert Woods
Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Fourth Circuit
In office
March 17, 1892 – December 31, 1911
Appointed byBenjamin Harrison
Preceded bySeat established by 26 Stat. 826
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1889
Preceded byBenjamin Wilson
Succeeded byJohn O. Pendleton
28th United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
January 7, 1881 – March 4, 1881
PresidentRutherford B. Hayes
Preceded byRichard W. Thompson
Succeeded byWilliam H. Hunt
Personal details
Born(1843-02-09)February 9, 1843
Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia)
DiedApril 24, 1920(1920-04-24) (aged 77)
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Resting placeOdd Fellows Cemetery
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Political partyRepublican
ChildrenGuy D. Goff
  • Waldo Goff (father)
RelativesLouise Goff Reece
Residence(s)Clarksburg, West Virginia
Alma materNew York University School of Law (LLB)
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Union Army
Years of service1861–around 1864
Unit3rd West Virginia Infantry Regiment
4th West Virginia Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Nathan Goff Jr. (February 9, 1843 – April 23, 1920) was a United States representative from West Virginia, a Union Army officer, the 28th United States Secretary of the Navy during President Rutherford B. Hayes administration, a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and of the United States Circuit Courts for the Fourth Circuit and a United States senator from West Virginia.

Early life and education

Born on February 9, 1843, in Clarksburg, Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia),[1] to Waldo Goff, who had five times won election to represent Harrison County in the Virginia House of Delegates. Goff attended the Northwestern Academy in Clarksburg and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.[2] He received a Bachelor of Laws in 1866 from New York University School of Law.[1]

American Civil War

Although his family owned several slaves, they favored the Union. During the American Civil War, Goff joined the Union Army in 1861; enlisting in the 3rd West Virginia Infantry Regiment.[2] He later became a major in the 4th West Virginia Cavalry Regiment.[2]

Postwar career

Goff became editor of the Clarksburg Telegraph beginning in 1866.[1] Admitted to the bar, he began his private legal practice in Clarksburg from 1866 to 1867.[1] He won election to the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1867 to 1868.[1]

Goff then became the United States Attorney for the District of West Virginia from 1868 to 1881, and from 1881 to 1882.[1] He served as the 28th United States Secretary of the Navy in 1881.[1]

However, Goff failed to win election to Congress as a Republican candidate in 1870 and 1874.[2] He was also the Republican candidate for Governor of West Virginia in 1876 and 1888, but voters instead elected the Democrat.[2]

United States representative

Goff was elected as a Republican from West Virginia's 1st congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 48th, 49th and 50th United States Congresses, serving from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1889.[2] He was not a candidate for renomination.[2] Following his departure from Congress, Goff resumed private practice in Clarksburg from 1889 to 1892.[1]

Federal judicial service

Goff was nominated by President Benjamin Harrison on December 16, 1891, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the United States Circuit Courts for the Fourth Circuit, to a new joint seat authorized by 26 Stat. 826.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 17, 1892, and received his commission the same day.[1] On December 31, 1911, the Circuit Courts were abolished and he thereafter served only on the Court of Appeals.[1] His service terminated on March 31, 1913, due to his resignation.[1]

United States senator

Goff was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1913, but did not immediately take his seat, preferring to remain on the federal bench, and served from April 1, 1913, to March 3, 1919.[2] He was not a candidate for reelection in 1918.[2] He was Chairman of the Committee on Conservation of Natural Resources for the 65th United States Congress and Chairman of the Committee on Industrial Expositions for the 65th United States Congress.[2]


Goff died on April 23, 1920, in Clarksburg.[1] He was interred in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Clarksburg.[2] He was the last surviving member of the Hayes Cabinet.


Goff was the father of West Virginia United States Senator Guy D. Goff and grandfather of United States Representative from Tennessee Louise Goff Reece.[2]


Goff's home at Clarksburg, the Nathan Goff Jr. House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It was delisted in 1994, after demolition in 1993.[3]


The World War II destroyer USS Goff was named in his honor.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Nathan Goff at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l United States Congress. "Nathan Goff Jr. (id: G000255)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Thomas Davis
Political offices
Preceded by 28th United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by United States Representative from West Virginia's 1st congressional district
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 26 Stat. 826
Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Fourth Circuit
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Seat established by 26 Stat. 826
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by United States Senator (Class 2) from West Virginia
Served alongside: William E. Chilton, Howard Sutherland
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 17 July 2022, at 01:44
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