Arrival of Goss
in Owen County

Posted by Debbie Jennings

The first recorded settlement within the present limits of Wayne wasmade in the spring of 1818 by Ephraim Goss, who located on a tract of land inSection 30, Town 11 north, Range 5 west, which had been purchased from theGovernment two years previous by one Jonathan Lindley, who sold it to Goss inthe fall of 1817 while the latter was passing through the county on a tour ofobservation. Goss was a native of North Carolina. He emigrated to Indianain 1810, and settled first in Washington County, where he remained until hesecured a home in this township in the year mentioned. A son of Mr. Goss nowliving describes the journey to their new home as having been made in theface of many difficulties. chief of which was the almost impassable conditionof the road -- if road it might be called - owing to the mud and snow, thetime being in the month of March and the weather extremely disagreeable.Much of the way had to be cut through the dense forests, and the family andhousehold effects were conveyed in a couple of six horse wagons, the samethat were used by our pioneer when he first left his native hills of Carolina.

Mr. Goss had made no improvements on his land prior to moving to it - noteven a shelter - and it would be difficult to imagine a more dreary prospectthan their new home presented on the cold murky day of the family's arrival.On every side were deep, gloomy forests, among the recesses of which but fewwhite men had ever penetrated, and the whole country at the time of which wewrite was uncheered by the slightest presence of civilization.

The first habitation was a tent hastily constructed by the side of alarge log, and served the family for a dwelling until a rude pole cabin waserected, which for convenience and comfort was but little if any superior tothe first shelter, being without windows and floor, and very imperfectlycovered with rough clapboards made with a common chopping ax. Into thisprimitive domicile Mr. Goss' family, consisting of seven persons, and acouple of young men who came with him to the new country, were safely housed,after which life in the backwoods commenced in earnest. During the firstspring, ten acres of ground were cleared and planted in corn, but so late wasthe seed put into the soil that the grain did not mature well and the entirecrop was used for fodder.

Comparatively few of the inconveniences which are the common lot of themajority of settlers in a new country were experienced by the family of Mr.Goss, as he was a man of considerable means, and brought with him sufficientprovisions to last until crops were raised and harvested. As years passedby, Mr. Goss became the owner of valuable tracts of real estate, the greaterpart of which is in possession of his descendants at the present time. Hewas a man of many sterling qualities, and his word was as good as his bond inall parts of the country. He was the proprietor of the town of Gosport, whichwas named for him, and died in the year 1833, highly respected in thecommunity which he was instrumental in founding. A part of the old home farmis occupied at the present time by Frederick Goss, who came to the countrywith his father and assisted in making the first farm ever carved from theforests of Wayne. Upon this place he has continuously resided for sixty-fiveyears, and is now passing the evening of a useful life in quiet and content.Several other sons of the stanch old pioneer became residents of the townshipin an early day, and his numerous descendants are among the substantialcitizens of the county.