Gould was a member of the Society of Friends. He received a thorough education, especially in physical science, and was well known as an industrious student and a popular essayist and lecturer on scientific subjects. He had a farm in Columbia County, New York, and took an active part in agricultural improvement. For several years, he was president of the State Agricultural Society, and did much to advance its interests.
He was also an earnest temperance advocate, and though in earlier years a Whig, and a member of the assembly from that party in 1846, and subsequently acting generally with the Republicans, he held his temperance principles above party allegiance, and was recognized as a prohibitionist. He was much interested in the subject of prison reform, and was for many years one of the directors and executive officers of the New York Prison Association.