Stone Cutter William Goodliff

for Rachel Davenport Persbacher, 1873, Shohola PA

We've been surveying tombstones in the field by the talented English stone cutter, William Goodliff, who settled in Barryville, NY around 1865. His beautifully carved & signed stonework can be found in cemeteries in Sullivan County NY and across the Delaware River in Pike Co PA through the late 1870s.

Click to enlarge the images.
for Elizabeth & George Hubschmann, 1871, Shohola PA

We noted Goodliff's signature over the past year but only recently, on a visit to German Hill Cemetery in Shohola PA, did we find two markers with the identifying place name of  "Barryville" in the lower right hand corner of the gravestone.

for Warney Quick, 1875, Eldred NY

The old Eldred Cemetery a few miles from Barryville has a number of tombstones signed by William Goodliff, including Hannah Eldred, William Kyte, 1872, Runyan Longstreet, 1873, Caleb Shotwell, 1873, and Jane Stewart Wallace, 1874, featuring symbols and emblems commonly found in 19th c. cemeteries.

for Leon Devnoge, 1857, Eldred NY

The date belies the actual work, as this marker must have been carved some years after 1857.  William and family arrived in the US around 1860.  He served briefly with the 36th Reg. NY State Volunteer Infantry, mustering out in 1862, and spent the next two years or so in Brooklyn with a possible relative, John Goodliff.

Brooklyn New York City Directory, 1864, p 178

36th New York State Volunteer Infantry

By 1865, after moving to Sullivan Co, tragedy would strike with the death of William and Maria's daughter, Mary, who is buried in Van Tuyl Cemetery, Pond Eddy NY. Her headstone is unsigned but William would use the same mourning ribbon & lamb motif for Mary Eckhart's signed marker in 1872 in Shohola PA.

Mary Goodliff, 1865
Mary Eckhart, 1872

Did William Goodliff order from a catalog, await the railroad shipment & and simply inscribe the name & date or did he shape and cut all aspects of the stone?

Stone Cutter Galen Bennet, in an 1875 ad for his marble yard in Port Jervis NY, states: "most of our designs are original." Peter Higgins' signature "Willow & Urn" motif appears on several differently shaped and sizes of headstones in cemeteries throughout the tri-states area.

Lumberland, Sullivan, New York State Census, 1875

 for Hannah, second wife of James Eldred, date unknown, Eldred NY

for Elizabeth & George Hubschmann, 1871, Shohola PA
Note Goodliff's quite distinctive numeral 7, and his use of a semi-colon after the 4.

Goodliff's Inventory of Works in New York & Pennsylvania.

Shortly before the 1880 Census, William Goodliff would move the family to Virginia where his sons William H & Harry would carry on the business after his death in 1882.  

Update: A brief notice in the 14 April 1877 issue of The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis NY:

An interested reader has supplied us with photos of the signature of Goodliff on the lower edge of the bottom half of a broken tombstone in the Micah Churchyard, Blanks Store, Charles City County, Virginia. This is the first example in my experience where the carved signature would have been purposely placed on an area of the stone intended to be below the surface and not visible to the public.