Colorful might be a word to describe someone larger than life, someone who is bold and different according to Amy Johnson Crow our guide through 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. There is one woman who best fits this description in our ancestral line, Phoebe Newton Goodell Judson. The mother of Lynden, Washington. Born in Vermillion, Ohio in 1831 and died in 1926 in Lynden, Washington.
Phoebe is the first cousin of my 3X Great Grandmother Lois Emerette Goodell Totten. Emerette’s mother, Elmina Brigham Goodell, died in 1843 in Lodi, Ohio, when Emerette was little more than one year old. Emerette was sent to live with her cousin Phoebe Newton Goodell’s family in Vermillion, Ohio, for several years and was raised by other relatives in Lockport, Niagara County, New York.
Holden and Phoebe Goodell Judson
The Goodell’s were a family of strong faith, both Emerette’s father, Joel Charles Goodell and his brother Jotham Weeks Goodell, Phoebe’s father, as well as the girl’s grandfather William Goodell were ministers and missionaries. Jotham Goodell, Phoebe’s father, first traveled the Oregon Trail in 1843, settling on the banks of the Willamette, in Oregon. Little did Phoebe think at age 21 she would follow in his footsteps with her husband Holden Judson and their two year old daughter, Annie Judson. Leaving Vermillion, Ohio, by wagon to Sandusky City and by train to Cincinnati and traveling by steamer to St. Louis they continued their journey to Kansas Landing, or as we know it, Kansas City. They purchased their wagon and oxen and prepared for their journey on the Oregon Trail to Puget Sound in 1853.
Photo from Linda Bitterlich
Phoebe wrote a journal of her travel on the Oregon Trail and settling in the Washington Territory when she was 95. She wrote ” The greater portion of our journey across the plains seems more like a dream than a reality, but this, my first ride in a ‘prairie schooner’ is as fresh in my memory as though it had occurred yesterday.”
Her journal was later published as a 315 page book titled “A Pioneer’s Search For An Ideal Home.” All of this information was introduced to me when my my sister Linda and I attended an “Aunt Phoebe” reunion in Washington many years ago. We met cousin Karen Parsons in Seattle and headed for Whidbey Island to witness first hand the places Phoebe and Holden Judson and their daughter Annie lived. My sister Sharon was in the Whidbey Island area and joined the reunion. Annie, Phoebe and Holden’s daughter, married the son of Isaac Ebey who was an original settler on Whidbey Island. Isaac Ebey built a “hotel” for arriving ship passengers and Phoebe and Holden Judson lived and worked there for a short time with their daughter and her husband.
Isaac Ebey’s home/boarding house. We were unable to go inside but were able to wander all around it.
Ebey’s Landing and home is a National Historic Reserve managed by the National Park Service. Access to the property is limited. Ebey’s landing is located on Whidbey Island near Coupville, Washington.
This Historic marker above describes the community founded by Phoebe and Holden Judson. Lynden is a city north of Seattle not far from the Canadian border. There is a museum to visit there with a wealth of information about the Judson’s.
A huge risk was taken by the pioneers during the Indian Wars. Isaac Ebey was killed and his head was never found as the story goes that I heard.
If you would like to read the book A Pioneer’s Search For An Ideal Home let me know I have a couple of copies of the book. I would highly recommend this book for my cousins and their children. It describes the daily life of a pioneer woman crossing the plains on the Oregon Trail.