Memorial Dedicated for Revolutonary War Patriot Daniel Goff

In June of 1754, a generation before the Declaration of Independence was signed, Samuel and Diana Goff, free people of African descent, welcomed newborn son, Daniel, into their growing family.  Daniel Goff was born during a difficult and changing time in Colonial Virginia.  

In September of 1777, Daniel enlisted in the Virginia Continental Line for a period of three years. He appears on the rolls of the 5th, 11th, 14th and 15th regiments.   His DSCN9157service rolls provide evidence of how many miles he covered over the next three years.  He suffered the brutal winter encampment at Valley Forge under the command of General Washington, then fought at the Battle of Monmouth before heading south to Charleston, South Carolina. He finally ended his service where it began, in Chesterfield, Virginia.   Daniel recalled serving under both General Washington and Lafayette, as evidenced in his pension statement. He was one of five identified Goff brothers who served in the War for America’s Independence.

In the late 1780s, Daniel Goff made his way to Kentucky in the company of Campbell County pioneer, Major David Leitch, a Scottish native who served in the Revolutionary War.   Sometime in the 1820s, Daniel Goff made his way to Boone County. Around the same time, Alexander Marshall purchased property on Gunpowder Creek, and may have hired Daniel Goff to help the family establish their farm and homestead.  The 1830 U.S. Census for the Marshall family includes a free man of color in the 55-99 year-old range, among the residents; Daniel Goff was about 76 years old at the time.   

In 1833, at the urging of General Taylor, Daniel Goff applied for his pension in Boone County. In his affidavit on Goff’s behalf, Taylor recounted the numerous conversations he had had with Daniel about his service, over the more than forty years they had known each other.  Taylor also expressed concern for the aging man’s welfare and future.  His statement that he “felt much for this poor colored man who had become old and infirm,” must have made an impact; the pension was approved.

Daniel Goff received his last pension payment in 1843, indicating his demise at the age of 89.  In all probability, he was buried in the Marshall family cemetery, on the outer edge, among the enslaved people who also found their final resting place there.

Daniel Goff’s life and service was memorialized in a ceremony and reception hosted by Boone County Public Library on Saturday, September 29, 2018.  A marker provided by the Daughters of the American Revolution will be dedicated on the property that was once part of the Marshall homestead, where Goff lived out his final years.

Exerpts take from "Daniel Goff Biography by Hillary Delaney, Boone County Public Library Local History Associate"