In 1752 two brothers, Hans Michael and George Gudknecht came to America seeking freedom from oppression in their nativeGermany. They Americanized their name to Goodnight and their descendants later changed it to the present Goodnight. After living in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, Hans Michael and George settled in Harlan Station in Mercer County, Kentucky. The original Goodnight home there was used by the Union Army in 1862 for a hospital and to house Confederate prisoners. There is a marker at the site which states: “Erected by the United States to mark the burial place of an unascertained number of Confederate soldiers said to have died while prisoners of war at the Goodnight farmhouse from wounds received at the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862 whose graves cannot now be identified and whose names are unknown.” The Goodnights of Grapeland descended from Hans Michael Goodnight and his second wife, Mary Landers, through their son, John, who was one of nine children. However, the John Goodnight line was almost over before it started. In 1781, Hans Michael and his family, along with a caravan of other pioneer families were traveling back to Kentucky from North Carolina. They made it to within a half day journey from home without any serious mishaps. They pitched camp for the night thinking all was secure, but at midnight they were attacked by Indians. John was severely wounded but managed to escape. Mrs. Goodnight, who was expecting another child at the time, fled into the forest and was found by a search party two days later. Her child, Isaac, was born four months later on January 1, 1782. Hans Michael, along with several others, was tomahawked and scalped. John survived this frightening ordeal to grow up, marry, and father ten children. He remained on the original land from his father and died on- Christmas Day in 1786. He is buried in the family cemetery near Perryville. John’s tenth child was a son named Jacob who married Susan Hankla and they were the parents of eight children. Their second son was born in 1835 and was named Thomas D. Goodnight. Thomas D. came to Houston County, Texassometime around 1857. He was married to Mary Ann Brinson and they were the parents of two sons, Malcom Wallace (1865-1907) and Thomas Sweeny (1870-1936). Thomas D. Died in 1878 and it is thought he may be buried in an unmarked grave in San PedroCemetery.
Malcom Wallace Goodnight & Descendants
Malcom Wallace married Della Tyer in 1904 and they were the parents of two children, Lora (1905-1942) and Wallace Malcom (1907-1984). Malcom Wallace is buried in San Pedro cemetery and Della later married Archie Wall. She died in 1977 and is buried inEvergreen Cemetery. Wallace Malcom married Annie Mae Rials in 1926 and they were the parents of four children: (1) Ipha Mae, born in 1926, is married to Ray Morrow and they reside in Crockett, Texas. They are the parents of two daughters. Jill is married to Steven McGuckin. Jane is married to Jim Mattox and has two daughters, Kathryn Morrow and Julie Michelle,) 2) Willis Duemont, born in 1929, is married to Jeanette Lively. They live in Grapeland and are the parents of four Thomas Sweeny married Dora Louise Williams in 1902. He died in 1936 and she died in 1957. Both are buried in Denson Cemetery. He had kept the X’ in his surname and his tombstone attests to this fact. They were the parents of two children: (1) Jack, born in 1906 and died in 1980, was married to Edna Mae Ivey. They had four sons and one daughter. Their first son, Jack Jr. was born in 1926 and is the father of three daughters. Jean is married and has three children: Denise. Heather and Christopher; Judy is married to Tommy Haney and has one son, Jeffrey Harrison; Dorothy is married to Steve Miller and they have two sons, Jason and Brian Goodnight Miller. Jack, Jr. is retired from Shell Oil Co. and resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Their second son, Thomas Jerry, was born in 1930 and is married to Hazel Carnes. He is the father of five children: Michael David, Jerri Lynn, Charles Richard, Thomas Jerry Jr. and Molly Marie. Jerri Lynn has a daughter, Nicole and Thomas Jerry Jr. has a son, David Jack. Jerry, Hazel and Molly live in Townsville, Queensland in Australia and Jerry Jr. lives in Sydney, Australia. Their third son, Morris Elton, born in 1932, is manned to Lena Finch. They have three children. James Elton is married to Deborah Howard and they have a daughter, Angela. Edward Paul has a daughter, Lesley. Staca Lynn is married to Ferrell Dancer. They are all residents of Grapeland. Jack and Edna’s fourth son, Bobby Mitchell, was born in 1942 and is married to Linda Hardtner. They have one son, David Wayne, who is in the USMC. They live in Pineville, La The daughter, Betty Jane, born in 1945, is married to Bob Morgan Jones. They are the parents of two sons, Jason Morris and Lamar Steven and they are Grapeland residents. Laura Mae, born in 1908, is married to Alvin Jones and they live in Palestine, Texas. They have two daughters. Billie is married to Charles Lasiter and they are the parents of four children; Marsha Kay, David, Philip, and Jeff. Thelma is married to Wayne Coker. The Goodnight family has the distinction of claiming not one but two cousins who have their names and accomplishments recorded in the history books of America. Colonel Charles Goodnight descended from Hans’ brother George. He is perhaps best known for blazing the Goodnight- *Loving Trail in the 1800’s. He owned the largest ranch in the Texas Panhandle near where the town of Goodnight is today. The other famous cousin is Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States. His great-grandmother was Rachel Goodnight Young, as sister to John Goodnight and daughter of Hans Michael. (Our family owes special thanks to the untiring efforts of Duemont, Jeanette and Hazel Goodnight in tracing our ancestors all the way back toGermany.)