Salmon Creek, when it was still a wilderness, was the home chosen by the Goddard family, recently arrived from Iowa.
Joseph and Hester Goddard had moved from Ohio to Iowa in 1840, then crossed the Plains to the Columbia River in 1852 with eight children. The family spent the winter at Fort Vancouver before deciding on a donation land claim six miles north of the fort.
Most of the claim was west of what was later known as Hazel Dell Avenue.
A historian noted that the Goddards were “in straitened financial circumstances, and the family had little to eat, save potatoes, all through the ensuing winter.” Joseph Goddard began to clear land for farming. The only way to reach the fort was by a trail; roads had yet been cleared.
Hester Goddard, who had taught her husband how to read and write, was teacher for her children and neighbor children in the small Goddard home, and in 1855 Joseph Goddard and neighbors constructed one of the first school buildings in the region. This was also used as a community church.
The Goddards donated the land where a Methodist Church was constructed; a church building about 90 years old still is standing at Salmon Creek.
The Salmon Creek Methodist Cemetery is on part of the old Goddard donation land claim.
Joseph Goddard served as a state legislator and Clark County Commissioner. He died in 1855; his wife survived until 1901.
The Goddards had 11 children; three were born in Clark County.