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William L. Goggin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Leftwich Goggin
William Goggin.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1847 – March 4, 1849
Preceded byShelton Leake
Succeeded byPaulus Powell
In office
May 10, 1844 – March 4, 1845
Preceded byThomas Walker Gilmer
Succeeded byShelton Leake
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1843
Preceded byArchibald Stuart
Succeeded byHenry A. Wise
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Bedford County
In office
Preceded byEdmund Pate
Succeeded byThomas P. Mitchell
Personal details
BornMay 31, 1807
Bunker Hill, Virginia
DiedJanuary 3, 1870(1870-01-03) (aged 62)
Liberty, Virginia
Resting placeGoggin Cemetery, Bunker Hill, West Virginia
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Mary C. Goggin
Elizabeth C. Goddin
Alma materWinchester Law School
Professionlawyer, politician
Military service
AllegianceConfederate States of America
Branch/serviceConfederate Home Guard
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

William Leftwich Goggin (May 31, 1807 – January 3, 1870) was a nineteenth-century Whig politician and lawyer from Virginia.

Early and family life

Born near Bunker Hill in southern Bedford County, Virginia, to Mary Otey Leftwich (1789-1854) and her husband, Pleasant Moorman Goggin (1777-1831), Goggin was descended from prominent families in the area, though only one sister (the future Sarah Steptoe) lived long enough to marry. His younger brother Stephen died in 1844 and his sisters Julia and Lucinda barely survived their father. He received a private education suitable to his class, including at the Pisgah Meeting House, then attended the Winchester Law School in Frederick County, Virginia.[1] In May 1830, Goggin married Mary Cook (1813-1835), though their daughter Sarah survived her mother.[2] In November, 1840 Goggin remarried in nearby Franklin County, to Elizabeth Cook, who survived him. Although several of their children died as infants,[3] Betty (1845-1868), William L. Goggin Jr. (1848-1861) and Samuel Cook Goggin (1850-1928) reached adulthood. The last followed his father's path into law and politics, including a term in the Virginia Senate and also served as clerk of the Bedford County court until his death.


After admission to the Virginia bar in 1828, Goggin moved to Liberty, Virginia, the county seat of Bedford County, Virginia, and began his legal practice. He also farmed using enslaved labor. Liberty was incorporated in 1839, with James F. Johnson, William M. Burwell, John Goode Jr., and Goggin as its leading orators and politicians (and would be renamed "Bedford" after the Civil War).[4] In the 1850 federal census, Goggin characterized himself as a "farmer" and owned 18 enslaved persons.[5] He owned 30 enslaved persons in 1860.[6]

Bedford County voters elected Goggin as one of their representatives (part-time) in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1835, and he served one term from 1836 to 1837, but declined to seek re-election.[7] In 1838 Goggin won election as a Whig to the United States House of Representatives representing Virginia's 5th congressional district (then consisting of Bedford, Amherst, Nelson, Albemarle, Greene, Orange and Madison Counties), and also won re-election in 1841 and 1843 serving from 1839 to 1843, the latter after he unsuccessfully contested the election of Thomas W. Gilmer, but eventually won the off-year election when Gilmer resigned early, so Goggin served again from 1844 to 1845. He later returned for a third time and served from 1847 to 1849, during which time he became chairman of the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads. He also was selected one of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by President Millard Fillmore.[8]

In 1859, Goggin ran for Governor of Virginia as the Whig candidate, but lost to Democrat John Letcher. Bedford County voters elected Goggin as a Unionist, as well as Democrat John Goode Jr. to represent them at the Virginia Secession Convention in 1861, but after Lincoln's inaugural address, Goggin advocated for secession.[9] Goggin's son and namesake enlisted in the 11th Virginia Infantry as a lieutenant on May 15, 1861, as the Civil War began, but fell ill by July and died in September 1861. During the war Goggin became captain of Home Guards for the Confederate Army.

Afterward, he received a pardon from President Johnson on September 16, 1865, and continued practicing law until his death on January 3, 1870, near Liberty, Virginia. He was interred in his family's burying ground, Goggin Cemetery, near Bunker Hill, West Virginia.

Electoral history

  • 1839; Goggin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 52.64% of the vote, defeating Democrat Archibald Stuart, Jr.
  • 1841; Goggin was re-elected with 56.54% of the vote, defeating Democrat Stuart.
  • 1843; Goggin lost his re-election bid when he was not renominated.
  • 1844; Goggin was re-elected with 50.75% of the vote, defeating Democrat William Fitzhugh Gordon.
  • 1845; Goggin lost his re-election bid when he was not renominated.
  • 1847; Goggin was re-elected with 50.93% of the vote, defeating Democrat Shelton Farrar Leake.
  • 1849; Goggin lost his bid for re-election.


  1. ^ Parker pp. 131
  2. ^ 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Southern District, Bedford County, Virginia, Family No. 921, p. 124 of 194
  3. ^ 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Southern District, Bedford County, Virginia, Family No. 1533, p. 214 of 225
  4. ^ Lula Jeter Parker, Peter Viemeister (ed), Parker's History of Bedford County, Virginia, p. 18
  5. ^ 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Southern District, Bedford County, Virginia p. 39 of 55
  6. ^ 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Southern District, Bedford County, Virginia p. 40 of 64
  7. ^ Cynthia Miller Leonard p.
  8. ^ A History of Bedford County, reprinted from the 1884 Edition of Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia p. 5
  9. ^ Parker p. 131

External links

  • United States Congress. "William L. Goggin (id: G000256)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2008-10-19
  • William L. Goggin at The Political Graveyard
Party political offices
First Opposition nominee for Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Shelton Leake
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 20 February 2022, at 18:20
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