by Phillip G. Goff, GGFA Director of Genetic Genealogy

A January 2023 GGFA Facebook query noted that the book, Esmont, Virginia: A Community Carved From the Earth and Sustained by Story, is dedicated to Lucille (Purvis) Goff. She is described as “Esmont’s leading lady.” The poster was curious about the ancestry of Lucille’s husband, Gilbert Goff. A review of records at provides the answer.

Gilbert H. Goff (b. 1927 VA) and Lucille R. (Ragland) Purvis were married 21 July 1972 in Albemarle Co., VA. Esmont is in Albemarle County and located about 18 miles southwest of the county seat, Charlottesville. Gilbert was a son of Dabney H. Goff (b. 1887 Bedford Co., VA) and Julia Phillips. Dabney H. Goff was a son of Silas H. Goff (b. 1846 Bedford Co., VA) and Amanda Tyler. Silas H. Goff was a son of Benjamin Goff (b. c1804 VA) and Sallie Harris. Benjamin and Sallie were married 26 October 1829 in Bedford Co., VA, also the likely birthplace for Benjamin. Records in the GGFA newsletter show that Benjamin Goff was a son of John Goff and Priscilla Stanley.

John Goff and Priscilla Stanley were married 31 October 1782. She was a Quaker and he was not. At a December 1782 meeting of the Women Friends held at South River in Lynchburg, VA, “a complaint was brought into this meeting against Priscilla Stanley formerly Goof for a Marrying out of the Society.” At the February 1783 meeting “Testification Against Priscilla Goff formerly Stanley.” A panel was formed to determine her punishment.[i] The same day, this panel noted that “Priscilla Goff formerly Stanley [has entered into] marriage contrary to the rules of the Society. We therefore disown her being a member until she shall come to a sense of her error which is the sincere desire of our minds.”[ii] Priscilla (Stanley) Goff died of “old age” on 19 March 1855 in Bedford Co., VA. She was 100 years old.”[iii]

John Goff, husband of Priscilla, is part of the 1658 GOFFE/GOUGH/GOFF (US-VA-KQN) R-FT367367 genetic family.

Phillip Goff is the co-author, along with Roy L. Lockhart, of The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia. Since 2004, he has run the Goff/Gough Surname DNA Study, which today has about 400 participants.

For more information, please check our GGFA DNA Surname Study pages or email Phil at Each new participant helps to fill in the history of the Goff/Gough families.

[i] Women Friends, 1763-1805 (Records Lost 1764-1771),

[ii] U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935,

[iii] Virginia, U.S., Death Registers, 1853-1911

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