Willen People

The Goodman family

William and Mary Goodman

William (1852-1923) as we know was still living with his mother in 1881, but the following year he married Mary Ann Packwood (1864-1914), a servant from Horton. The future looked bright when they moved into one of the new cottages just two doors up. Their neighbours in the adjoining cottage were Emily and Joseph Clare. However, it was not their fate to live in domestic bliss. They had only three children, Edith came first in 1885, Horace arrived in 1887 and Gertrude was born in 1890.

Photo of Horace Goodman from the Guy Kennedy collection.

Sadly, Edith died when only two days old and Gertrude at three months. Mary Ann was not a happy woman. We don't know the details, but she ended up at the County Asylum (a secure home for those considered to be mentally deranged), at Stone in Staffordshire where she died in 1914. The final blow to William came just before Christmas the same year when Horace died in Warwickshire at the age of only 27. Both of them were brought back to Willen for burial. Meanwhile, whatever the turbulence in William's private life, he was still held in high regard by the village.
Throughout the years building up to and during World War I, he was elected Parish Constable at the Annual Parish Meeting, as the following extracts from minutes taken at the time show. (The low turnout at the meeting shows that there is a long history of apathy among Willen inhabitants when it comes to committee meetings.)