Roy Durant is credited with bringing lespedeza to Cabarrus County. Photo: "Yes, a fine crop of barley and vetch," Cabarrus County, NC, c. 1929. Courtesy of NC Cooperative Extension Service, NCSU, University Archives Photographs. 

Roy Goodman Helped Cabarrus Farmers
Improve Through Knowledge

Roy Durant Goodman, 1939.
As a demonstration agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Roy Durant Goodman spent his career as an important adviser to Cabarrus County's farming community. Tasked with promoting food 
safety, market cooperatives and new developments in planting, farming techniques and equipment, Roy not only provided a valuable service to area farmers, but became known as a trusted and competent consultant and friend.

The roots of the Cooperative Extension go back to the agricultural clubs and societies which sprang up after the American Revolution in the early 1800s. In 1914, Congress passed The Smith Lever Act, establishing the U. S. Department of Agriculture's partnership with land-grant universities to address rural agricultural issues. At the time, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming. The Smith Lever Act helped make possible the American agricultural revolution, dramatically increasing food production and economic development. In North Carolina, the Cooperative Extension is a project of North Carolina State University, formerly known as North Carolina State College. Programs developed at the campus are delivered to people through centers across the state. Agents act as a bridge between specialists at the university and local residents. 

Born in Cabarrus County on 14 Jan 1889, Roy was the third child of Caleb Jackson Goodman and Laura J. Litaker Goodman. A sister, Lottie Belle, and a brother, Charley, died in early childhood. Another sister, Annie, died as a young woman. Two other brothers, Fred G. Goodman and Hugh J. Goodman, were prominent farmers in the Winecoff community. There were also four Goodman half-sisters: Gladys, Hazel, Louise and Marie. Paternal grandparents were Franklin Stafford Goodman and Mary Suther, and maternal grandparents were Ephraim Litaker and Margaret Winecoff. Both grandfathers were Civil War veterans.

Roy Durant Goodman, 1913.
Farm-bred and interested in farming since early boyhood, Roy attended North Carolina State College. He majored in animal husbandry and graduated in 1913 with a degree in agriculture, and in 1930 received a master's degree. In 1914, 
Roy began his duties as a farm demonstration agent for Cabarrus County at a desk located in the corner of the court house grand jury room. In 1923, he moved to an office in the new county building where he oversaw the growing program and staff. As owner of Woodside Farm, he spoke to farmers from the standpoint of both experience and knowledge.

Roy served Cabarrus County during the World Wars and throughout the Great Depression. His emphasis was on farm management for individual farmers. His staff of extension home economists taught farm women — who traditionally maintained the household — good nutrition, surplus food canning, gardening, home poultry production, home nursing, furniture refinishing, and sewing — skills that helped many farm families survive the years of economic depression and drought. Also taught were youth development programs such as 4-H. 

Respected throughout the community, Roy's efforts helped people gain practical knowledge. When the farm department of the Jackson Training School faced a shortage of corn silage for the two 100-ton silos on the farm, Roy advised the farm superintendent, Lee White, to plant a particular variety of sorghum as well as corn. The result was a growth of two to three times the amount of silage. He is credited with helping to develop Guernsey dairy herds in the county, modern milking methods and introducing Korean lespedeza, also known as bush clover, as a drought-resistant plant useful for pasture, hay and soil improvement. Roy and cooperation farmers also invented a bull-tongue plow to better work the lespedeza.

Roy Goodman was married twice. His first marriage was on 14 Jan 1914 to Mary Ola Johnson, daughter of Victor and Tina Johnson. They had two sons: Ray Jackson Goodman and Victor Johnson Goodman. Sadly, Mary died during the influenza epidemic of 1918. Roy's second marriage on 15 Jun 1921 was to Sophia Moose, daughter of Giles M. and Rosa C. Moose. Roy and Sophia had three more children: Carey, Earl and Ruth Goodman.

Roy Goodman died on 5 Oct 1978. He and Sophia are buried at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church Cemetery in Concord.


  • North Carolina State University, The Agromeck 1913 Yearbook, (Raleigh, NC), digital image, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012, (, p 36, 1913.
  • Kidd, Mary Frix, "Minute Biography: Roy Durant Goodman," Concord Tribune, 17 Dec 1939, p. 8.
  • "Cane for Silage," Charlotte Observer, 26 Nov 1934, p. 13.
  • "Cabarrus Farmers Invent Tools: Cabarrus Bull-Tongue Plow," Charlotte Observer, 14 Nov 1932, p. 11.
  • Find A Grave, online database, (, entry for Roy Durant Goodman, created by JW, # 26512731, 2008
  • North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976, digital image, (, entry for Caleb Jackson Goodman.


  1. Looking for a gravesite for Adolphus G. Goodman of Cabarrus Co.

    1. Follow this link:

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