The “Collecting the Great War” exhibit features over 200 World War I items collected and donated by Dave Goff (pictured above) and supplemented by items from the ECHS permanent collection.
Editor’s Note: There is so much new happening in Cabarrus County, but we are also a community that treasures history. Dave Goff was a special friend of ours here at Cabarrus Weekly and we can’t wait to spend time with these items he collected over the course of his lifetime at this exhibit, and we encourage you to take a Saturday afternoon to do the same.
The Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum had been closed for approximately 10 weeks to allow volunteers time to update displays and to install this new exhibit for 2023.
- The museum is open to the public on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm and always offers free admission but appreciates donations.
Goff, who passed away in June of 2022, was an active and well-known figure in Cabarrus County, especially for his work with 4-H, Habitat for Humanity, Rotary Club of Cabarrus County, and the American Red Cross.
He was also an avid collector of World War I artifacts, especially those relating to cavalry. His very generous donation comprises the majority of the exhibit.
- His wife Gina shared, “It was Dave’s great privilege to offer his collection of WWI era Cavalry equipment and accouterments to the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society. Over a 10–15 year period during the 1980s and early ’90s, Dave amassed the collection in the exhibit from military collectors as far away as Missoula, Montana, and from individuals, antique stores, and flea markets locally and across the country.”
Over the years, Dave took great pride in participating in area Veteran’s Day events and parades mounted in uniform on his favorite mule and carrying many of the items you will see at the exhibition. He did the same at local and statewide horse and mule shows and never tired of sharing all the details of the uniform, saddle, guns, sword, and all the other equipment carried by a WWI horse soldier and his mount.
Dave’s fascination with WWI Cavalry, and his quest to collect a nearly complete set of uniforms and equipment from this time period, began with his ownership of saddle mules. Reading everything he could about the mule and its history, Dave learned that the McClellan military saddle was often a good fit for the body style of a saddle mule.
- Learning further that in addition to the Model 1904 McClellan saddle, the basic model used by the Cavalry in WWI, a Model 1913 McClellan Saddle with a unique brass horn had been made specifically for army mules. Thus began Dave’s search for these saddles and his subsequent desire to learn about and collect all things WWI Cavalry.
As you would expect with leather over 80 years old, repairs were sometimes needed to be sure the saddle and all the leather parts were complete and in safe useable condition. Dave took great care to keep all repairs as original as possible including searching far and wide for brass rivets and original patterns. He became fast friends with the good folks at Lentz Harness Shop!
Dave’s Personal History
David Newton Goff was born and raised in Gastonia, NC. He proudly attended N.C. State University and earned a BS degree in Recreation and Parks Administration in 1975, followed by a Master of Arts in Adult Education in 1980. He was an avid Wolfpack fan! In 1976, Dave moved to Concord and began his career as a 4-H Extension Agent with the NC Cooperative Extension Service. In this role, Dave led programming for youth across Cabarrus County, facilitated the engagement of 4-H volunteers, and for more than 30 years he was known as “the voice” of the North Carolina State 4-H Horse Show where he served as an announcer.
Dave and Gina met in Concord, were married in 1981, and have two children, Allison and John Wesley. In addition to being a busy father, husband, and Extension Agent, Dave was an active community volunteer serving as president of the Noon Optimist Club, Rotary Club of Cabarrus County, and Carolina Regional Mustang Club, Board Chair and Disaster Action Team Chair for the American Red Cross, and was a 20-gallon blood donor. He and Gina were founding members of the Carolina Mule Riders Association.
About the Museum
Housed on the campus of the former Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute and its predecessors, Western Carolina Male Academy and North Carolina College, the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society is a non-profit organization committed to restoring and preserving the rich history of eastern Cabarrus County. The ECHS Museum comprises more than two dozen themed rooms, each dedicated to a unique aspect of local history. The ECHS is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The ECHS Museum is located at 1145 N College, Mt Pleasant, NC 28124. You can also follow their Facebook page for more history about that part of the county.
Planning to visit? Tell ’em Cabarrus Weekly sent ya!