One of the first Gosses to arrive in the colonies was Johan Georg Goss. Johan Georg Goss (1730 – 1780) and his wife, Elizabeth (1735 – 1810), my spouse’s 6th great-grandparents. Their son, Abraham Goss (1762 – 1847), is my husband’s 5th great-grandfather.
In 1754, Johan Georg Goss immigrated to Pennsylvania from Germany. In 1755, he married Elizabeth Hughlett in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1758, their oldest son Johan Georg “George” was born. Their middle son Jacob was born 1760, and their youngest son Abraham was born in 1762.
In 1776, war was declared in the American colonies. Within a few years, both older sons, George and Jacob, had enlisted in the Continental Army. On 3 July 1778, in modern-day Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (then Westmoreland County, Connecticut), a battle was waged, pitting a force of 1,000 Tories and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) allies against 5,000 inhabitants of the valley—mostly women and children gathered at Forty Fort. More than 300 Patriots and civilians were killed; some survivors alleged that the Iroquois warriors hunted and killed fleeing settlers, before torturing to death dozens of people who had surrendered. Both George and Jacob died in what would eventually be dubbed the Wyoming Valley Massacre.
Shortly after the death of two of his sons, Johan Georg enlisted in the Continental Army as a private in the Fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, although at that time he was nearly 50 years old. His wife, Elizabeth, joined the cause as well, serving as a nurse and cook for the Continental Army. In 1779, Abraham Goss, although only a young teenager, enlisted in the Second Pennsylvania Regiment, serving as a fifer and drummer. Thus, the Goss family stood united in their country’s cause, until circa 1780/81, when Johan Georg was also killed in battle.
According to oral tradition, a grief-stricken Elizabeth visited General Washington’s headquarters, petitioning for her son Abraham’s release. As she had already lost her husband and two sons, General Washington understandably granted her request. Soon, Elizabeth Goss and her son, having lost most of their possessions in the Wyoming Massacre, retired from military service to forge a new life in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.