James Paris Goodnight (1831-1885) and Mary Ann Hill (1835-1900) were married on September 21, 1854 in Franklin, Kentucky. Early in October, 1854, they left for Dallas County, Texas. They traveled for six weeks with a party of several families, using horse-drawn wagons to transport themselves and their household goods. They settled on a farm in the Lisbon area of Dallas County and by 1878, had completed a large home at the intersection of Beckley and Overton Roads. Thirteen children, nine of whom lived to adulthood, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Goodnight: Pauline Jane (Nash), Isaac Henry, Amanda Ellen (Gracey), Thomas Mitchell, John B., Fanny L. (Ligon), Frank Hill, Allie May (Johnson), James Paris, Jr. William Blackburn Goodnight lived to be ten years of age. Three girls died in infancy. A reference in Mr. Goodnight’s diary to lot #35, Masonic Cemetery, leads us to believe that the young children probably were buried there. Mr. and Mrs. Goodnight were buried in Lisbon Cemetery which is now in the Dallas city limits.
In addition to farming, James P. was prominent in local affairs. He served one year as the first constable of Precinct 7. Cochran’s history of Dallas County and the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas, list Mr. Goodnight as having served as Assessor and Collector 1858-1860, 1860-1862, and 1866. He served as County Treasurer 1870-1872 and as Assessor 1876-1878. He completed the term of James P. Thomas, who resigned in 1862, as a representative of Dallas County in the state legislature.
The Goodnights were members of the Lisbon Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Mr. Goodnight was a ruling elder and served as clerk of the Session (1870-1885) and as secretary-treasurer of the building committee for the first church/school building in Lisbon. He was also treasurer of the Red Oak Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (1875-1885).
James P. was a Mason and a member of the Wheatland Lodge, No. 465, A.F. and A. During the Civil War, Mr. Goodnight served in Company A, 31st Texas Calvalry, Trezevant C. Hawpe’s Regiment (1863-1865), working in the Commissary Department. James P. and Emory A. Gracey were partners in the gin and threashing business at Lisbon from 1880-1885.
This material has been compiled by James M. Guinn, great-grandson of James P. Goodnight, from Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas. Chicago, Lewis Publishing co., 1892; from Cochran’s Dallas County. 1928; and from personal memoirs by Thomas Mitchell Goodnight and family research done by Patricia Tyson Steele, great-granddaughter of Isaac Henry.
By James M. Guinn for Proud Heritage, Volume III by Dallas County Pioneer Association. Additional history of Lancaster Tx can be found here.