John Noble Goodwin HouseThis house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Both this house and one across the street torn down in the 1990s seem to have belonged to the family of Congressman John Noble Goodwin (1824-1887), who practiced law from the building known as the Odd Fellows’ Block. He served as state attorney and prosecuted important arson and murder cases in South Berwick in the early 1850s. In 1854, he was elected to the Maine State Senate, and in 1860 to Congress. During the Civil War, Lincoln appointed him the first governor of the territory of Arizona.Jewett

Read a Jewett story with a character like Arizona Governor Goodwin.


John Noble Goodwin was a North Berwick native who attended Berwick Academy and Dartmouth College, graduating in 1844. In the 1850s he lived on Main Street, South Berwick.

Goodwin's role in local arson and murder cases occurred during the temperance controversy; please see Rum, Murder and Arson: South Berwick’s Struggles of 1845-1855. In 1854 Goodwin was elected to the Maine State Senate. In 1860 he was elected to Congress as a Republican.

Congressman John Noble Goodwin was associated with several properties in South Berwick village, as shown at right on an excerpt of a map covering Portland and Main Streets in about 1860.

John Noble GoodwinWhen Goodwin lost his reelection bid in 1862, Lincoln appointed him, in 1863, chief justice of Arizona, then a largely unsettled new western territory where silver had just been discovered and battles with Native Americans were being fought. As the party of new officials made their way west, the governor Lincoln had appointed suddenly took ill and died. Lincoln appointed Goodwin in his place, as the Arizona territory’s first governor, based in the frontier capital of Prescott.

In Prescott, Governor John Noble Goodwin is still remembered today, and his log cabin, the first governor’s mansion, preserved at the Sharlott Hall Museum.

Scenes in and around Prescott, Arizona:


Country around Prescott

Goodwin Street and the Courthouse

Gurley Street with Thumb Butte.

Governor's Mansion

Governor's Bed

Governor's Desk

Display case with Goodwin's photo.

Granite Creek


Granite Creek, where prospectors panned for
gold in John Noble Goodwin’s day,
still flows through Prescott


After being succeeded as governor, Goodwin represented Arizona in Congress through 1867, then retired from politics. He died in California in 1887 and was buried in Augusta, Maine. (Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, /bioguide.congress.gov)

(Photos by Wendy Pirsig.  This page was revised January 2010.)

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