Sunday, July 21, 2013

John Prince Gut/Goot

John Prince Gut was the son of John Gut and Mary Gapmer. He was born in December 11, 1862 in Frauenfield, Switzerland. Note: According to obituary he was born in Zurich.

He immigrated to America when he was a young man. According to family lore he had a falling out with his father but corresponded with his mother for many years. I have been told that these letters are still in the family however I never viewed them myself.

According to the Philadelphia Passenger Lists, a John Goot arrived in America on June 21, 1881. He was 21 years old and departed from the port at Liverpool, England on the Lord Clive ship. His occupation was stated as laborer. This looks like our John but I am not 100% certain.

Somewhere along the way the spelling was changed from Gut to Goot.

On April 19, 1891 he married Melissa Jane Yates in Eddyville, Pope County, Illinois.

Their children were as follows:

"little" John Goot ( born Mar 3, 1892 and died in infancy )

Adah (Ada) Goot

Mary "May" Goot

Eulalia/ Mamie Eulalia Goot

Admerial "Dewy" Goot

Susan "Helen" Goot

Onna Eunice Goot

In the 1900 Census the family is found in Eddyville, Pope County, Illinois. John is a 38 year old farmer. He worked his own farm. It states that he was born in November 1862 in France. Both of his parents were born in Switzerland. Under citizenship it states that he arrived in America in 1880, had been here 20 years and was not a naturalized citizen. He can read, write and speak English. ( Note: I have never found a connection to France.)

In the 1910 Census the family is living in Anna, Union County, Illinois. In this census it states that he was born in Switzerland. He worked as a general laborer.

By the 1920 Census John was living at the Anna State Hospital. It states that his native language was German (his family lived in Switzerland, on the border of Germany). He was a farm laborer. His family is living in Anna.

Family history tells that Melissa had John placed in the Anna State Hospital for his own safety. Through my interview with his granddaughter I learned the part of the family story that can not be captured on a census. So many things happen in between those 10 years.

John and Melissa spent at least the first 10 years of their marriage in Eddyville. Between 1910 and 1920 John moved his family to Missouri. Although loyal to his family he felt the need to share his faith with others. Along with 2 friends he would be away from his family for weeks at a time. Then he started wandering off in the middle of the night. He would be found preaching on street corners without a coat or shoes on his feet. Melissa tried to keep her husband at home. When that was not possible she had him admitted to the Anna State Hospital.

Melissa worked at the hospital to provide for her family and to be around her husband.

Many years ago his granddaughter talked with the director at the Anna State Hospital. She asked to look at John's file and was given the OK by the director. She hesitated, afraid of what she might read about her grandfather. Instead she asked the director to read the file. She was told that John had not hurt anyone but would just wander off without regards to his own safety. She told me that knowing that was good enough for her and she never read the file herself.

To my understanding the hospital has changed owners and I would have to get a court order to read his files. Currently, I don’t have the time, energy or money to go that route. I do think it would be interesting to read, so perhaps in the future.

John Goot died on January 18, 1929 at the Anna State Hospital in Anna, Union County, Illinois. He was buried on January 20, 1929 in the Anna Cemetery, Union County, Illinois. His obituary can be found here ( ) and states:

John Prince Goot died 18 Jan 1929, in Anna, aged 66 years, 1 month, 6 days, and was buried in Anna Cemetery. His funeral was at First Christian Church. He was born 11 Dec 1862, in Zurich, Switzerland. He married at Golconda, Pope County, Malissa Yates. He left a widow and six children.

His granddaughter gave me a copy of the services announcement:

                                                 AT REST
                                  JOHN PRINCE GOOT

                                 Born December 11, 1862
                                 Died January 18, 1929

Funeral services will be held at the First Christian Church, Anna, Illinois, Saturday, January 19, 1929, at 2:00 o'clock p.m. Interment will be in Anna cemetery.  Friends respectfully invited. 

sources: Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Marriage Register, interview with granddaughter, census reports, death certificate, obituary and headstone

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