John Goddard, American, 1723–1785


cabinetmaker; joiner


Newport, Rhode Island

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John Goddard was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on January 20, 1723/4, to Daniel Goddard (1697-1764), a housewright and shipwright of Dartmouth, Newport, and South Kingstown, and Mary (Tripp) Goddard (born 1700).(1)

He became a freeman of Newport in 1745, shortly before marrying Hannah Townsend (1728-1804), daughter of Job Townsend. Historians presume that John apprenticed in the shop of his future father-in-law. Establishing his own shop around the time of his marriage, he was patronized by many of Rhode Island's leading citizens, including merchants Moses Brown, Nicholas Brown, and royal Governor Stephen Hopkins among others.

Goddard's workshop used slave labor, as evidenced by the fact that in 1767 he sold a slave to Newport merchant Aaron Lopez for one year for the sum of thirty five pounds.

When John died in Newport in 1785, his shop contained five joiner's benches. Two of his sons, Stephen and Thomas, worked in his shop at the time. Three of his sons, Daniel , Job, and Henry had moved to Nova Scotia.(2) His son Townsend Goddard was possibly active as a cabinetmaker in Providence at the time.

Benjamin W. Colman

1. Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850,

2. Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 195-200.