BENJAMIN GODLEY - Benjamin Godley, who became a resident of Springfield in 1879 and remained in this city until his demise, was born in England on the 17th of March, 1829, a son of William and Sarah Godley, who spent their entire lives in that country. The father was a stone mason by trade, following that pursuit throughout his active business career. He was born June 23, 1803, and was married February 11, 1828, to Sarah Heaton, who was born November 14, 1803, and died May 1, 1855. He was again married January 11, 1858, his second union being with Mary Blakerough. His third wife was Lydia Townshend, whom he married March 22, 1862. She was born February 3, 1831. By his first marriage William Godley had eleven children, namely Benjamin Heaton, born March 17, 1829; William, born January 29, 1831; Sarah Heaton, born March 20, 1833 ; Emma, born January 14, 1835; Ann, born August 10, 1836; Frank, who was born August 31, 1838, and died February 19, 1840; Francis, born November 14, 1841; Richard, born June 30, 1844; John, born July 25, 1846; Heaton, born June 16, 1851; and Ann Townshend, born June 9, 1854. There were two brothers of the family, Benjamin and Frank, who came to America and both settled in Springfield. The latter is now one of the city's prominent business men and owns and operates a shoddy-mill here. He has been engaged in the shoddy manufacturing business for several years, building up a large enterprise and the record of his life is found elsewhere in this work.
Benjamin Godley acquired his education in the schools of his native country and there spent the days of his boyhood and youth. He was first married in England to Miss Ruth Duse, who died in Springfield in 1881. It was in 1879 that Mr. Godley and his wife came to the new world. Frank Godley had crossed the Atlantic about five years previously. Making his way direct to Springfield, Benjamin Godley established a saloon. He continued in that business up to the time of his demise and was widely known for his fair and honest treatment of his patrons. His carefully managed business affairs brought to him a comfortable competence, and thus he left to his widow a good property.
After the death of his first wife, Benjamin Godley was married in Springfield, June 6, 1882, to Mrs. Mary Warters Cannon, who was also a native of England, her birth having occurred in that country on the 16th of April, 1838. Her parents were Joseph and Jane Warters. The father was a high gardener in his native country and spent his entire life there. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Warters came to America with her children, crossing the Atlantic in 1860. They first settled near Jacksonville, Illinois, and subsequently removed to a farm near Auburn in Sangamon county, Mrs. Warters devoting her time and attention to the supervision of her farming interests up to the time of her demise, which occurred in 1867. Mrs. Godley has been three times married. She first became the wife of Walker Cooper, a farmer who resided near Jacksonville, Illinois. They lived together for seven years in that locality and Mr. Cooper was then called to his final rest. His widow afterward gave her hand in marriage to Henry Cannon, of Auburn, Sangamon county, who was also an agriculturist and was one of the early settlers of this county. He died fifteen years after their marriage and June 6, 1882, Mrs. Cannon became the wife of Benjamin Godley, with whom she lived happily for seven years, when, on the 3rd of June, 1889, he departed this life.
Mr. Godley held several public positions in England, but none in this country, preferring to give his attention to his business affairs rather than to seeking political preferments. He was, however, a stanch advocate of Democratic principles. His widow is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Springfield. She owns a nice home at No. 1100 Ridgeley avenue, where she resides. Near this are the business rooms in which Mr. Godley carried on business and the property is now owned by Mrs. Godley, the rental bringing to her a very desirable income.