We rarely find two persons in every-day life who attribute their success
in their different spheres to similar qualities. Hard work and plodding
industry paved the way for one, good judgment and a keen sense of values for
another, intuition and a well-balanced mind for the third. An admixture of
some of the qualities above named, emphasized by hard work and plodding
industry, has been responsible for the success of the subject of the present
sketch in his battle for the spoils of victory.
Joseph Goss of German township, Richland county, is a familiar figure in the life of his township and county. He was born on the 3d of October 1833, in Stark county, Ohio. the son of Jacob and Margaret (Bolinger) Goss, both natives of Stark county, Ohio. His grandparents on the father's side came from Germany. They married in New Jersey, and after having spent a short time in Pennsylvania, moved to Stark county, Ohio, where the father of our subject was born, and where they lived until the death of the elder Mrs. Goss. At that time Grandfather Goss came to Illinois, where he died at the age of ninety-five, being buried in Goss cemetery in German township. The father of Joseph Goss remained with his parents until his marriage to Margaret Bolinger in Stark county, where he removed to a farm of his own on which he remained until he came to Illinois in the year 1840. The journey to Illinois was made overland, bringing with him his family of eight children, one of whom was Joseph, then only seven years of age. In German township they entered one hundred and twenty acres of government land, paying one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre for it. It was all timberland and totally unimproved. They set about clearing it, cut down trees and hewed out logs with which a rough log house was built. It was a small family dwelling, eighteen feet by twenty in area, and having four windows and two doors. A log stable was also built. As fast as Jacob could clear the land he planted wheat and corn and from time to time added adjoining land, and owning at the time of his death about two hundred acres. His death took place on the farm, his wife having preceded him to the unknown, in the year 1861, he, himself dying in the year 1873, on April 28th, at the age of seventy-five years. Both are buried near the family home in German township. Ten children were born during their married life, of which Joseph was the fourth in order of birth.
Joseph Goss remained with his parents, helping them in their arduous tasks until his twenty-seventh year, at which time he married Julia Gerber, on May 14, 1860, their marriage taking place in Richland county. His wife was born in Pennsylvania in the year 1831, and was the daughter of Philip and Mrs. Gerber. Her family came to Richland county from Pennsylvania, in the year 1845, where they remained until their deaths. Julia Gerber remained with her parents until her marriage in 1860.
At the time of his marriage, Joseph Goss bought some timberland, ninety acres in Claremont township, and for many years he put in much hard work clearing, fencing and improving it. He built a frame house for himself and his wife. The outbreak of the Civil war occurred just then, and in the warmth of his patriotism, he volunteered for service. His services were refused, however, on account of one of his hands being somewhat crippled, but his family was well represented on the field of battle, having had two brothers and two nephews in active service, his nephews both being killed - one at the battle of Fort Donelson. His brothers luckily escaped, neither being injured nor taken prisoner. About the year 1869, Joseph Goss sold his property in Claremont township and bought one hundred and twenty acres in German township, the place on which he now lives. Since coming into possession he has added more land and now owns one hundred and forty acres of well improved land. His wife died in January 1875, aged forty-four years, and is buried in Goss cemetery. Four children were born to them, all are living, and in order of their birth they are: John Mathias, Jacob, Daniel and Emma; all are married. John M. lives at home with his father; Jacob and Daniel both own farms and live in Jasper county, Illinois; Emma is the wife of Ernest Kennedy, a farmer, and lives in Lawrence county.
Joseph Goss remarried in July, 1888. This time he took for a wife Salome (Seiler) Gerber, the widow of Edwin Gerber, who was a brother of his first wife. The second Mrs. Goss was born in Stark county, Ohio, September 3, 1837.
Joseph Goss did not receive a very extended education - two or three terms was his limit, for farm work was urgent in his young days, and the school was five miles away, so he had to bow to circumstances. In politics he is a Democrat and he has made his influence felt in his locality, having been in his younger days very active. He served for several years as a School Director in district No. 4.
He and his wife and family are frequent in their attendance at St. James Lutheran church in Claremont township, all being influential and active members of that persuasion. His first wife was also active in the same church.
Joseph Goss's honesty and genial good fellowship have given him a recognized position in the community and his life in the declining period is peaceful and sunny.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 377-378.