Isadora Elizabeth Beebe

Goodrich and his second wife, Dora Beebe in Pineywoods Creek, Alabama -- possibly on their honeymoon tour in 1875.

Goodrich’s second marriage was to Isadora (“Dora”) Beebe, born about 1843. Dora was the daughter of Hiram A. Beebe (1817–1897) and Mary C. Ellis (1819 —    ) who were married 14 November 1838 in Towanda, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Dora had an older sister, born about 1840, named Georgia and a younger sister, born about 1856, named Nettie. According to Kingman’s book, Early Owego, Hiram Beebe “learned the printers’ trade at which he worked as a journeyman until 1838, when he became editor of the Bradford Democrat at Towanda PA. In January 1843, he came to Owego [NY] and was editor of the [Owego] Gazette thirty-seven years. He was president of the village of Owego in 1852, 1861, and 1871, and in 1874 and 1875 he had charge of the state department of public records at Albany.”

[18 August 1875] Fashionable Wedding.

Goodrich-Beebe. At the residence of the bride’s father, on the evening of the 18th inst., by the Rev. J. H. Kidder, Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Ralph Goodrich, Esq., Clerk of the U.S. Circuit Court, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Miss Dora A. Beebe, second daughter of Hon. Hiram A. Beebe, senior editor of the Owego Gazette.

The family residence was exceedingly tastefully arranged. The lawn and shrubbery were adorned with numerous Chinese lanterns, while the portico was gay with flags and flowers, and the interior of the mansion was a blaze of light. Rich natural flowers in profusion perfumed the air, while the array of youth and beauty did ample honor to the bride and bridegroom.

Among the prominent guests present, we observed the following: Hon. Stephen B. Leonard and lady, Hon. John J. Taylor, Hon. A. H. Miller and daughter, Hon. Joseph Powell, M. C., of Towanda, uncle of the bride, Mr. and Mrs. Porter, and Mrs. Brayton, of Glen Mary, Frank E. Platt, Esq. and daughter, Mrs. Charles Platt, Mrs. A. P. Storrs, Jr., Miss Fanny Platt, Stephen Goodrich, Esq. and lady, Dr. Charles Eastman and wife, Mrs. and Miss Peck, W. L. Hoskins and lady, David Easton, wife and daughter, Arba Campbell, Esq., and daughter, Charles Campbell, Esq. and wife, Mr. and Mrs. W. Isbell, Miss Jennie Stone, Hon. T. I. Chatfield and lady, John R. Chatfield and lady, Rev. Wm Leonard and lady, of Brooklyn, Mr. and Mrs. Mabee, of Owego, Mrs. Couton of New York [City], Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hovey, of Troy, Pa., Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Skinner, of Owego, Mr. and Mrs. Baker, of Bath, uncle and aunt of the bride, H. N. Hubbard, wife and son, Mrs. Lynde and Mrs. Trull, of New York [City], Miss Packhauser, of Brooklyn, Mrs. E. S. Sweet, and Mrs. Col. N. W. Davis.

After the interesting ceremony, the central event of the evening, a rich and varied repast, was served, consisting of all the luxuries and delicacies of the season, prepared in the most appetizing manner. Outside, from amid the shrubbery, a brass band discoursed most excellent music, while Smith & Paris’s Cotillion Band in the back parlor, at intervals delighted the audience. About ten o’clock the carriages began to arrive and adieus were spoken. — The happy pair started on their bridal tour on No. 12, intending to visit several of the more important eastern cities and watering places, among them Albany, Saratoga, New York, Long Branch, and Boston.

We wish the happy pair long life, and as much bliss as can be enjoyed on this terrestrial sphere.

Dora’s Notice of death in the Owego, NY, newspaper:

OWEGO TIMES, Thursday, April 23, 1891.

Mrs. Isadora Elizabeth Beebe, wife of Hon. R. L. Goodrich, Clerk of the United States Circuit Court, Little Rock, Ark., died in Indianapolis, Ind., early on Tuesday morning last, aged 48 years. Mrs. Goodrich had been in poor health for several years, and about two months ago was taken to Indianapolis for better medical treatment. She had an operation performed on Saturday and died from its effects Tuesday morning. She was a daughter of Hon. H.A. Beebe, formerly editor of the Owego Gazette. She is survived by a loving husband, father, two sisters and a large circle of friends.


Letters related to the relationship between Goodrich and Dora Beebe prior to their marriage in August 1875:

Letter Number 193

Forty-three year-old Francis [“Frank”] S. Platt writes her cousin Ralph Goodrich from Owego NY.  The letter describes her interactions with Dora Beebe, the daughter of Hiram A. Beebe (editor of the Owego Gazette) on the eve of their engagement. Their engagement was a well kept secret for many months thereafter; they were not married until August 1875.

Owego [New York]
December 14, 1874

My dear cousin Ralph,

As I was gazing out of the window this noon, who should open the gate but your beloved Dora [Beebe]. You can imagine my surprise and how I ran to the head of the stairs with open arms, exactly as you would have done!  Well, she looks as bright and happy as anyone I ever saw, although she says she did not care to come back to Owego excepting to see a few choice kindred spirits. So it must be from some other cause that so much brightness comes. Well, she acknowledges that her future looks cheering & pleasant – and she is greatly in earnest. There is not the least coquetry or flirting in her, and you need not fear it at all. When I asked her if her family were all pleased or if they made an objection, she replied “it would not make any difference to me if they did, but fortunately they do not.”  So you see she is perfectly decided & evidently quite happy in her choice. She talks very freely & honestly with me, also sensibly, and appears to think you a little too good for this earth & fears something will happen to you – that you will not live long, or something of that kind. I have laughed and laughed at her lover like rapture’s but it does not seem to make any difference, she goes on talking just the same. It is quite refreshing in my old age to hear these lover’s stories again & I have quite renewed my age in listening to them.

Dora has just been down again this evening and only one subject of conversation seems to interest her. Now it is the ring! She wishes me to tell you (& I think she is in the right) that she cannot possibly get the ring, if she were in New York it would be different & even then she would much prefer you to give her what you like best. She will think more of an engagement ring than anything else in the world, or anything else you would ever give her either now or in the future, & for that reason wants you to sent it to her, or at least feel that you were the means of getting it. Now Ralph, if I can help you in anyway, I shall be very glad to do so. I send to a lady in New York for everything a person could want. I would trust her taste sooner than my own, & if you would like me to, I could write her & no one know anything about it here. Or why could you not send to Tiffany yourself if that would be more satisfactory. I do not like to suggest or interfere in such a matter & should not if Dora had not urged my doing so. I have an old fashioned ring that is just the right size for her and will enclose it. If you want me to send, you must tell me about how much you want to pay & what style of ring. If not a solitaire. I have discovered by a little jumping that Emerald is her most favorite.

Another little matter that I told Dora I would write you about, and which I trust will not offend you is in regard to your envelopes with your name on the back. If you could use others at present, it would not subject her to so many remarks. Her letters go to her father’s office & the boys there of course see them all as he is not here much & it is rather annoying to her, especially as she does not want the engagement announced till after she has the ring at least. Do I make it clear & are you provoked? She said she would not speak to you about it and her father advised her not to also, but I told her I was sure you would not care & offered to do so myself. I see you are both very quick to take offence, & I fear these constant hits will make trouble between you, and I know that would make her very unhappy. Ralph, I think truly and honestly that Dora is devotedly attached to you and she would be very unhappy if anything came up to cause a separation. She read me part of your letter where you blamed her for writing ‘so coldly & formally” & appeared to feel it very much. The poor child was worn out & wrote hurriedly, but I suppose it is all right now & an old story by this time. She looks perfectly tired out now, but after a good rest will probably feel better. She wonders what you can see in her to like &c &c. – the same old story!

I shall look anxiously for your next letter & hope you will forgive me if I have taken too much upon myself. Remember, I am interested in you both & that all this is a secret between us three. No one else knows a word about the ring. Dora has told Anna about the engagement – also Sarah Peck & her own family of course. No one else knows it. What will Sarah & Steve say now! Have you told them? I wrote you yesterday & have nothing in the way of news to add. With love & kind wishes.

Ever yours affectionately, — [Francis] “Frank” S. Platt

Letter Number 217

Forty-three year-old Francis [“Frank”] S. Platt writes her cousin Ralph Goodrich from Owego NY. Though not dated, the letter was probably written about the time as letter number 193, if not earlier. It appears that Goodrich corresponded regularly with Miss Platt in the fall of 1874 seeking advice in his courtship of Dora Beebe.

Private & Confidential — to be consigned to the flames as soon as read!

You asked me in one of your letters Ralph, what I meant by “terribly nervous.”  With all of your dictionaries (English, French, German, &c. &c.) one would suppose you might have understood the meaning of the word before this. As the affair has progressed so far, it will not be best for me to give you anything but the pleasantest side of adorable’s nature. I am anxious to know how it is coming on (the affair, I mean). You & Dora [Beebe] are both becoming more…

I fear you think I have repeated to Dora what you have said in regard to her. Believe me, I have not, unless some message you sent her that of course I was bound to deliver. Emma may have said some things in a joking manner but we have tried to be discreet and cautious. She evidently does not like it because we do not say more & learn more explicitly “how the land lays.”  Now Ralph, burn this immediately. I am so tired writing I find I am constantly making mistakes in spelling as well as writing. Excuse all & make sense out of it if you can. It is more than I can do sometimes.

Letter Number 194

Hiram A. Beebe writes to Ralph L. Goodrich giving his blessing to the impending marriage proposal from Goodrich to Beebe’s thirty-one year old daughter Dora. At the time the letter was written, Beebe was in charge of the State Department of Public Records in Albany NY.

Albany, [New York]
December 16, 1874

Ralph L. Goodrich, Esq.

My Dear Sir:  Your letter, which I received yesterday, did not take me altogether by surprize, having already been made acquainted to some extent with its purport, so that I am prepared to answer it without embarrassment.  I have known you and of you for many years, and my acquaintances and information have given me a favorable opinion of your character and worth. If, therefore, you and my beloved daughter, Dora, find yourselves constrained by mutual affection to unite your destinies “for weal or woe” in “holy wedlock”, the proposed union, I am happy to assure you, not only has my cordial consent but will be entirely agreeable to me.

Hoping that my daughter may prove to you a good wife, as I believe she will, and that you and she may enjoy a long life of happiness and prosperity together, I beg to assure you that I am and shall remain, most sincerely & Very Truly Yours, — Hiram A. Beebe

Letter Number 201

Mary Clarissa [Goodrich] Horton writes her brother Ralph Goodrich expresses surprise in discovering that he and Dora Beebe of Owego NY are engaged. Only one paragraph of the letter is transcribed here.

[Owego, New York]
May 9, 1875

…The Hon. H. A. [Beebe] was pretty full of benzine and was telling a dozen or more his family affairs and mentioned that his daughter Dora corresponded with a Mr. Goodrich of Little Rock, formerly of Owego. They did not say whether he felt himself honored or not by it. That is the reason that I asked you if you write to her. I thought it was not possible for you had only met her a few times. But then “love goes when it is sent” as the old saying is. You did not tell me when you were to step into the state of matrimony.

[Your sister] – Mary C. Horton

When Ralph L. Goodrich sat down to write a letter to his sister Augusta in March 1878, he used a first generation Sholes & Glidden typewriter manufactured by the Remington Arms Company. Less than 5000 of these typewriters were sold during the 4-year period of production.

Clerk’s Office, U.S. Courts,
Eastern District of Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas

March 13, 1878

My Dear Sister [Augusta] & All,

Yours received with the your usual degree of punctuality, which is to say the least, commendable with your cares and duties and so many correspondents. I don’t have so very many to write to, to be sure, but I don’t write very long letters, and I am getting sadly out of the habit. I am so used to writing short business letters of two or three lines that I feel when I get as far as the fourth or fifth line, I ought to stop. And it is up-hill work to drag myself along any farther. My work is so confining and I get so tired that all animation, all spirit is knocked completely out of me, and I get more stupid than I really am. I get so lazy, or something else, that I cannot read an exciting novel with much relish. [My wife] Dora takes considerable of the correspondence off my hands and I make them aware of my being alive by adding a line or two.

We have gotten partially settled down in our home – only one or two rooms furnished as yet – but we hope to complete it in course of time. I have had a photograph taken of it and will send you one if they are finished when I mail this letter. Everybody says we have the prettiest place in town and it has not been too, nor so very expensive either. But it has left me in debt considerably and which I expect to work out of in good time should the fates permit.

The Goodrich Home at 805 S. Main Street in Little Rock. Though too small to see without magnification, Goodrich and his wife 2nd wife Dora are at the front stoop.

If [your son] John likes teaching, he is entitled to more credit than I deserved. He doesn’t intend to make that his profession, does he? I should hope not, unless he has an iron constitution, an even temper, and a soul above vexations of every kind – in short, almost a saint.

We had a very cold spell of a few weeks in January. Since then, the weather has been variable, but never too cold for our thin blood and bilious natures. The trees are already trying to leaf and violets are in bloom. And so is other stuff the real name or botanical name of which I can’t remember.

In the picture of the house, you will see your brother and sister [near the front steps] if you get a stereoscope with magnifying power enough to snatch us out of our apparent littleness. The architect never left us the plans of the house and he agreed to make us some but never has. The house is of brick, contains six rooms, halls, kitchen, servants and storerooms.

I couldn’t get along without my writing machine. I would have been broken down before this without it. I will send you a sketch of the lower floor of house. Dora sends love to you all. Write soon.

Affectionately, — Ralph L. Goodrich


According to the 1878 Little Rock Directory, Ralph L. Goodrich worked as Clerk, U.S. Court, with an office on Main Street at the northeast corner of 4th Street. His residence is listed on Main Street at the southeast corner of 8th Street.

The 1880 Little Rock Directory lists Ralph’s residence at 805 S. Main Street.

The Arkansas Gazette, 8-15-1897, p14, c.1, reads, “With all the requirements necessary to a very brilliant life, [Ralph L. Goodrich] lives very quietly in his beautiful and capacious home at the corner of Eighth & Main Street in this city which he built in 1870…”  [Date should have been 1877] Goodrich died less than two months after this Gazette article and was buried in the Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.

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