John Walter Goddard

Rome Tribune
Rome, Georgia
April 1, 1903,
Transcribed and submitted by: 

Walter Goddard

Was Name of Dead Man Found in River Monday

The dead man who was found in the Coosa River a mile below Rome Monday afternoon was Walter Goddard, of Cartersville.

Parties from Cartersville came up to Rome yesterday and identified the body.   It was at first thought that the dead man was Charles F. Goodard, as papers made out in that name were found in his pocket when a search of his clothes were made.

Goddard was about 25 years old and unmarried.   His father was so overcome at the news of the young man’s death that he is confined to his home and could not come to Rome.

An inquest was held at noon yesterday and the verdict of the jury was that Goddard came to his death by accidental drowning while attempting to cross the Etowah River near Cartersville in a boat about ten days ago.

The body was shipped to Cartersville yesterday afternoon for interment.


News and Courant
Cartersville, Georgia
April 2, 1903, page 1

Drowned In The Etowah

Body Found Floating in the River at Rome.

Goddard Loses his Life In Attempting to Cross The Etowah — Boat Upsets and he is Thrown Into the River

The report from Rome Monday evening that the body of a young man was found floating down the river at that place, with papers in his pocket identifying him as Charles F. Goddard, of this county, proved to be Walter Goddard, who has been missing from his home in the Stamp Creek district since March 19th.   He is a brother of Charles F. Goddard, and the young men lived with their father, John B. Goddard, about ten miles up the Etowah River.

Walter Goddard left home on Monday the 16th March, to work at the Akin leadmines in Allatoona district, and expected be absent about two weeks.   On the Thursday following, the mines were shut down and the young man started to return to his home across the river.   When he reached the river it is supposed that he attempted to pull himself across in a bateau by a wire at Webster’s Ferry, and in some way the boat capsized.   He was alone and not being able to swim, the current swept him along and he was drowned.

He failed to return home at the appointed time, which was last Saturday, and his parents began to grow uneasy about him but thought that he was probably still at the mines.   No news was received of him until the report came from Rome of the recovery of the body at that place.   He was about twenty five years old, and a hard working young man, well thought of by his neighbors.   His remains were brought home Tuesday evening.   The following account of the finding of the body, which has been in the river since March 19th, is from the Rome Tribune of Tuesday morning:

Yesterday afternoon, about two o’clock, the body of a white man was seen floating down the Etowah River. The authorities were notified to look out for the body, and it was taken from the Coosa River near the golf links by two negro boat hands employed on the steamer Willie C. Wagnon.   The river is very high and the current being swift, the body was floating rapidly.

The man appeared to be about 25 years old, and his clothing, being searched, two tax receipts were found bearing the name, Charles F. Goddard.   The tax receipts were made out by the tax collector of Bartow County, and an effort is being made to find out if Charles F. Goddard is the name of the dead man.   The condition of the body when found indicates that the man had been dead about ten days. It is thought that the man had been murdered as there were marks of violence on the body, besides a bullet hole in his head.

The report that a dead man was found in the river spread rapidly over the city.  In a few minutes, a large crowd collected on the bank of the river where the body was taken out, but no one present could identify the dead man.   Since the above was placed in type, Coroner Sudduth received information from Cartersville that the dead man is Goddard.

His father lives a short distance from Cartersville, and will arrive in the city sometime today.   An inquest will be held as soon as he arrives.   The body has been taken to the Hanks undertaking establishment, and will probably be sent to Bartow County for burial.


News and Courant
Cartersville, Georgia
April 9, 1903, page 1

No Foul Play Suspected

Capsized Boat Supposed to Have Caused Young Goddard’s Death

The relatives and friends of young Walter Goddard, whose body was found at Rome, last week, do not credit for an instant any supposition that he met with foul play, as was intimated by a Rome correspondent. He was not a revenue informer, knew nothing about distilleries and was never known to take a drink.  If he had an enemy, no one knows of it.   He was well thought of by everybody.

Goddard went to the river two weeks ago last Thursday.   Jim Hight and old Mr. Chandler were the last who saw him.   The river was up and the wire used for pulling a bateau across was broken and the bateau gone. It is supposed Goddard, pulling at the wire, broke it and the boat capsizing.   Being unable to swim, Goddard drowned.

In Goddard’s pocket was found a pocket book belonging to J.A. Knight.   This he had gotten from Knight while the two were at work, two months before his death, to put some papers loose in his pocket in.   He had never given it back.   In the book was a $2 bill and seventy cents in silver.   Goddard’s coat in which was a large pocket book with $10 in bills in it was never found.

Goddard was the son of Mr. J. B. Goddard, who was, for twenty years, an engineer on the W & A Railroad, but of late years has been farming.   The young man was engaged to a Miss Going, of Allatoona, and the married would have occurred near if not actually on the day of his burial.

The funeral was one of the most largely attended of any ever known at Stamp Creek, 300 or 400 people being present.   Rev. H. G. B. Turner conducted the services.


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