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), are the 6th great-grandparents of my husband. Their son, Abraham Goss (1762 – 1847), is my husband’s 5th great-grandfather. From there, this line descends as follows: John B. Goss (1801 – 1877), son of Abraham; then William L. Goss (1838 – 1920), son of John B.; then Margaret Louise Goss (1864 – 1917), daughter of William L.; then Verna Blanche Stott (1887 – 1956), daughter of Margaret Louise; and then Mary Geraldine “Gerry” Williams (1906 – 2002), daughter of Verna Blanche and my husband’s grandmother.
In 1754, the patriarch of this line, Johan Georg, 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. 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 July 3, 1778, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a battle was waged, pitting a force of 1,000 Tories and Iroquois allies against 5,000 inhabitants of the valley—mostly women and children gathered at Forty Fort. More than three hundred Patriots were killed in a battle; some survivors alleged that the Iroquois warriors hunted and killed fleeing settlers, before torturing to death dozens of people whom had surrendered. Both George and Jacob died in what would eventually be dubbed the Wyoming Valley Massacre.
(Pictured below: Sixty years after the massacre, a monument was erected to those who died in this incident.)
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. He wife, Elizabeth, joined the cause as well, serving as a nurse and cook for the Continental Army. In 1779, Abraham Goss, although only a 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.
Bereaved, Elizabeth supposedly visited General Washington’s headquarters, petitioning Washington for her son Abraham’s release. As she had already given up her husband and two sons for the cause, 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.