John Goode was born in Bedford County, Virginia, May 27, 1829. He was graduated at Emory and Henry College in 1848, studied law at Lexington, Virginia, and was admitted to the bar in 1851. In the latter year he was elected a member of the Virginia house of delegates, and in 1861 sat in the State convention that passed the ordinance of secession. He was twice sent to the Confederate congress, serving from February 22, 1862, until the end of the war, and during the recesses of that body acted as volunteer aide on the staff of General Jubal A. Early. In 1887, Mr. Goode moved to Norfolk and engaged in the practice of the law in Washington, D.C. Shortly after he moved to Norfolk he was again elected to the Virginia legislature, and was then chosen to congress as a Democrat, serving from December 6, 1875, until March 3, 1881. Mr. Goode was a member of the National Democratic conventions of 1868 and 1872, and was a presidential elector in 1852, 1856, and 1884. In May 1885, he was appointed solicitor general of the United States, and retained the office until August 1886. During his term of service he visited British Columbia, to represent the United States in an extradition case.