Mary "Helen" (Willoughby) Goin




Life and Work

Mary “Helen” Willoughby Goin was born on February 26, 1886, in a little log cabin in Punkin Hollow on Upper Cane Creek near Stanton, Kentucky. She was the eighth of ten children of Moses and Polly Willoughby. The family left Kentucky in 1887, when Helen was one, and with her parents and siblings, travelled by train to Troy, Idaho.

Helen’s brother, Will, introduced Helen to Jeff and after a short courtship, they were married on January 20, 1903. Helen moved to her new husband’s farm and lived there until 1912. The newlyweds faced some tough times after losing their first two sons; however, Helen and Jeff welcomed many, many children after these tragedies. Mary, Nora, Thomas and Margaret were born in Idaho before the family moved in 1912. Robert (Dick) was the first child born on the farm in Millet. Edna, John, James, Helen and Miriam all joined the family in the following years. Within 23 years, Helen had twelve children!

In November, 1912, they moved to Millet with all of their livestock, machinery, furniture, and personal belongings by train. Helen’s parents, Moses and Polly came along and stayed for a year. Jeff got the title to the farm on December 24, 1912. This land has been continuously farmed by the Goin family for over a hundred years. Life on the farm was a very busy time.

No one in the family can remember sitting down for a meal with just the immediate family. To feed everyone, there was a huge garden which had to be planted and tended to. The garden had all of the staples that a large family required. They picked hundreds of bushels of potatoes. There were carrots, beans, peas, turnips, lettuce, cabbage, and all of the rest.

During the 30’s, not only were there immediate family, extended family, hired men living in the house, but also the hobos from the train would be fed and given a bed for the night. As well, anyone who was travelling with horse and buggy or sleighs during the winter would have their horses housed in the barn, a good meal, and an overnight stay at the Goin’s. No one was ever turned away!

Helen and Jeff moved into a house in Millet next to where Leanne’s is today on main street. And the grandchildren started coming; 28 in all! Jeff passed away in 1947, and only got to see a few of his grandchildren. But Helen spent the rest of her life being the perfect grandma to all 28 grandchildren! It is with these special memories from her family, that we are able to honor Helen and her contribution to the Millet community by not only being the perfect grandma to her grandchildren, but acting as the perfect host to visitors.