Biography of John Stanton Gould


History of Columbia County, New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis

Published by Everts & Ensign

Philadelphia, PA



Between Pages  198 & 199


      John Stanton Gould was as born at Newport, Rhode Island, on the 14th day of March, 1812.  He was of Quaker parentage, and to him one of the most precious facts was the bravery of his ancestor, Daniel Gould, who was whipped at Boston the day that Mary Dyer and her companions were hung.  He was whipped for his unfaltering allegiance to conscientious opinions.  Another of his paternal ancestors figured conspicuously the same day, though in a very different manner.  Colonel Edward Wanton had under his command a regiment of cavalry attendant upon the execution.  Returning home, he laid aside his sword, remarking to his mother, "Mother, I much fear that we have this day been killing the people of God."  Soon afterwards he too became a Quaker, and removed for greater religious liberty to Rhode Island, where he became governor, and left a large family of sons, three of whom in their turns also became governors of the same State

     Mr. Gould was educated at the Friends' school in Providence, Rhode Island; and at fourteen years of age he was allowed by his parents to select out of several excellent opportunities the one he would most desire for his success in life.  He chose deliberately to come with Benjamin Marshall, a relative, to Stockport, Columbia Co., N. Y., in whose print-works he was chemist for several of the earlier years of his life.

     In politics, Mr. Gould was an old-line Whig, and possessed in an eminent degree the confidence and friendship of Horace Greeley, whose cause he espoused in the Liberal movement of 1872.  While he never courted political favors his abilities early brought him before the people, who elected him to the Assembly in 1847.  In 1858 he received the nomination for State senator, but was defeated by William G. Mandeville.  In 1867, Mr. Gould was elected as a senatorial delegate to the constitutional convention, and bore a prominent part in the discussions and deliberations of that body.

     Always deeply interested in matters of a humanitarian nature, the organization of he State Prison Association was an object of his earnest solicitude.  He was early called to the councils of the board, and was subsequently made vice-president of the organization.  In this position his broad and philanthropic views found full scope in devising means for the amelioration of the condition of the inmates of our prisons, and many of the measures instituted for the reformation of the dangerous classes were the suggestions of his fertile brain.

     Greatly interested always in agricultural matters he had from early life familiarized himself with the science of farming, and his lectures and writings upon the subject gained for him a wide-spread reputation.  Upon the subject of scientific farming he had no superior, and his writings in relation thereto are among the most valuable contributions relating to this topic.  His knowledge of this and kindred matters marked him as one admirably fitted for the office of president of the State Agricultural Society, which position he most acceptably filled for one term.  His lecture upon the subject of "Grasses" before the State Agricultural Society was one of the most masterly productions ever presented to that body.  He was professor of agriculture in Cornell University from the founding of that institution to the time of his death.  As director of the Farmers' National Bank of Hudson, a position held by him for many years, his presence always insured sound advice and clear judgment.

     He was early identified with the public school system in this locality, and was for four years superintendent of pubic schools in the city of Hudson, in whose welfare he always maintained the greatest interest.  He had a wonderful command of language, and a happy faculty of imparting his knowledge to others, which made him ever a welcome addition either to the public platform or the social circle.  As a lecturer on education, on scientific topics, or on agriculture, but few excelled him.

     Mr. Gould departed this life on the 8th of August, 1874, aged sixty-two years.  He had been twice married, his second wife surviving him.  His only son, who attained to manhood, William Ashby Gould, died in the year 1872; the remaining children are daughters. 

     We quote the following just tribute to Mr. Gould's character from the Elmira Gazette of the date of his decease:

     "The news of the death of this man will fall heavily on a wide constituency of friendship and acquaintance.  Without ostentation and without effort, he had gained a place in the hearts and minds of the middle classes of the people of this State which few men occupy, and one other holds with the confidence which was reposed in him.

     "Mr. Gould was an educated man in a double sense.  He had the advantage of a liberal education, and to this acquirement he added the fuller education which comes of constant study and untiring devotion to applying scientific truths to practical ends.  As an essayist, Mr. Gould enjoyed a high reputation, his productions being printed and read as widely as the subjects he treated had application.  On the opening of Cornell University he was selected to give a yearly course of lectures on agriculture and the mechanical arts.  These lectures have been promptly delivered, and at every course many farmers in the neighborhood of the institution have attended.  He was one of the most popular of the non-resident professors of Cornell.  His death lays on the institution a loss which it will not be easy to make good."