Major Wilber Goodspeed was born in Massillon, Ohio on July 31, 1836. He moved with his family to Haydenvill, Mass. in 1850, where he attended school before returning to Massillon for three years. Goodspeed then entered the wholesale shor business in New York City and in 1853-54 embarked on the same business in Cleveland.
With the opening of the war, Goodspeed enlisted as a private in Battery A, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. After short service, he was elected Lieutenant and became commander of the Battery with the rank of Captain. Rising to the rank of Major, Goodspeed became the commander of the IV Corps Artillery. He was widely acknowledged to have been one of the most able artillerists produced by the war. He gained a reputation for bravery and skill that few could match. It was at the battle of Chickamauga that Goodspeed acheived his greatest fame.
Following the war, Goodspeed returned to Cleveland but soon moved on to Columbus, Ohio where he was engaged in various manufacturing concerns, served as President of the Commercial National Bank and Director of the Hocking Valley Railroad. He also was active in the G.A.R., the Loyal Legion and was a member of the Chickmauga Park Commission and served as a United States Marshall from 1876-1884. He was distinguished for his quiet but generous philanthropy. Goodspeed remained lifelong friends with his former commander John Barnett.
Major Goodspeed was married twice. First on December 24, 1863 to Marion Laird. Marion died in 1881. Goodspeed remarried on December 27, 1883 to Harriet Howe. They had one son, Barnet.
Goodspeed died of a heart attack at his home in Columbus, Ohio on February 4, 1905. The Battery's old battleflag was brought from Cincinnati to cover his coffin. The shops of Columbus were closed for his funeral and the Governor of Ohio served as one of his pall-bearers, He was laid to rest in Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus.