Steuben B. Godbey history

Published 8:31 am Monday, August 28, 2017

(Editor’s note: Research for this article was taken from U.S. Census and death records, newspaper articles, and family histories on Steuben also was referred to as Stubin.)


Contributing writer

Email newsletter signup

Steuben B. Godbey, a native of Casey County, was a professor and owner and editor of a Somerset newspaper.

He was a 1904 graduate of Centre College with a law degree, but apparently did not practice law. He got his early education at Janie Wash Institute in Middleburg prior to going to Centre.

Gets degree

An item in The Advocate archives “personal mention” section announced Steuben’s graduation on June 6,1904.

“The Honorable Steuben Godbey was in Casey County Monday and Tuesday, and will graduate from Centre College as a full fledged lawyer.

“‘Stube’ is one of Casey’s finest sons and will doubtless succeed in his chosen profession. He has hosts of friends in the county, who are persuading him to announce himself a candidate for county superintendent of schools, on the Republican ticket.”

Steuben was listed among 13 graduates of Centre’s law school in the June 8, 1904, edition of the newspaper.

Steuben was living in Somerset by 1910 and was owner and editor of the local newspaper. He was living in a boarding house of J.J. Adams, 63, innkeeper, and his wife, Margaret Adams, 57.

Named principal

He was named principal of the Troy graded and high school in Woodford County, according to an article in the Kentucky Advocate in June 1917. He was assistant principal of a high school in West Virginia in 1916. Godbey was superintendent of the Lincoln County schools in 1930, Census records show.

Born in Middleburg

Steuben was born Nov. 24, 1883, in Middleburg, and was a son of Ephraim Jones Godbey (1838-1923), a farmer, and Louisa Wesley Godbey, (1842-1917).

They married Dec.7, 1860, in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Louisa was a daughter of Jackie J. Wesley and Elizabeth S. Taylor Wesley.

Ephraim was a son of Jacob Cox Godbey, (1803-1885) a native of Caroline, Virginia, and Octavia “Travin” Jones, (1809-1850) also of Virginia.

Steuben was one of a dozen children of Ephraim and Louisa.

His sisters — Elizabeth was a music teacher, Della and Effie were school teachers; and Matilda was an artist. Brothers Duke M. and Lemuel were a physicians, according to the Census and death records.

The Godbey children include Quintilla, (1862-1923); Quincy C. (1863-1921); William J. (1864-1940); Elizabeth E., (1866-1943); Gordon Clay, (1868-1921); LaDella, (1868-1950); Lemuel J., (1870-1940); Florence (1872-1876); Caroline M., (1874-1946); Effie M. (1876-1932); and Duke M., (1879-1947).

Steuben and Sara Zula Eads were married May 13, 1916, in Pulaski County and had three children, Jeanette and Mary Zula and Gordon Clay.

Jeannette was born in 1919 and died in 1929; Mary Zula was born in 1915 and died in 2010; and Clay Gordon was born in 1917 and died in 2009.

Steuben died March 17, 1934, in Boyle County, when he was 53 years old. His wife, Sarah Zula Eads, was born Nov. 10, 1893, in Wayne County, and died Nov. 21, 1973, in Mansfield County, Pennsylvania. Both are buried in Hustonville Cemetery.

Census records

Steuben was 19 years old and living with his parents in Middleburg, according to the 1900 Census. Other children listed are: Bettie E., 34; Della, 32; Matilda M., 26; Effie M., 24 ; and Duke M., 21.

By 1920, Steuben was a school teacher and owned his own home in Stanford.

In 1930, Steuben was living on Goshen Road, Stanford, and was superintendent of the Lincoln County schools. The Census showed he was 47 years old, and lived with his wife, Zula, 36, and children Mary Zula, 14, and Gordon Clay, 12.

Zula were listed as widow of Steuben, in the 1946 Nashville, Tennessee, city directory.

Steuben registered for the World War I draft when he lived in Stanford. He was described as stout and medium built.

Steuben and his father, Ephraim, were Master Masons of Middleburg Masonic Lodge No. 594.