Story County IAGenWeb

This account was not dated, but dates within it show that it was written possibly in the 1930’s, as it was written in part by Blanche Gossard who died in 1940 and Harry, who died in 1925. My copy appears to have been some kind of early xerox copy and was passed on to me by wife of Thomas A Rowland, who was son of Isaphene Gossard Rowland, who was mentioned in children list for William Allen Gossard, a subject of this history. It appears to have been copied from an original as there are penned corrections in it, but they are part of a copy process, not penned on mine. I have tried to type it exactly as it came to me, spelling errors and all, with note where penned corrections are seen in my copy.

A photograph of some the members of the Gossard family who wrote this history (Harry, Carrie Blanche, and Will Gossard) is available online at the Ames Public Library in the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive. Many other Ames citizens can be identified in these photographs.

Velda Solomon, October 11, 2000

The Descendants of William Allen Gossard and James C. Gossard

An Abbreviated History

This history has been gathered and compiled by the following persons:

Josie M. Gossard, the daughter of George W. and Cora Gossard of the line of James H. and John and Philip Gossard. She was born Feb. 21st 1873. She was a partner in the C.A. Gossard Jewelry Company of Washington Courthouse, Ohio.

Harry A. Gossard, son of Thomas M. and Sarah J. Gossard of the line of Wm M and John and Philip Gossard. He was born Feb 7, 1868 near Ames, Iowa.. He held degrees of B. SC. And M. Sc. From Iowa State College and at the time of his death in 1925 was at the head of the department of entomology in the State Experiment Station at Wooster, Ohio and was also Pres. Of the Society of Economic Entomologists of the United States and Canada.

Carrie Blanche Gossard, daughter of Thomas and Sarah J Gossard was born August 16th 1866 near Ames, Iowa. She was taught in rural, town, and academy schools and later became associated with her brother Lamont in the Ownership and publication of the Onawa Sentinal, at Onawa, Iowa. Retiring from the newspaper business after 30 years she returned to Ames and died August 31st L940 {sic}. She had been prominent in church, D.A.R. and Eastern Star activities.

Will E Gossard, brother of Blanche, Harry, and Mont Gossard spoken above has merely selected and arranged the material in this family history and has added a few comments. As for myself it will be sufficient to state that I am ex-teacher in public and Bible schools, a retired postoffice clerk and now the operator of an apartment house. My only hobby is growing flowers.

The most complete and apparently the most authentic record of the origin of the Gossard family in America comes from a letter written by Morris P Gossard to Miss Josie Gossard. Another letter addressed to Miss Blanche Gossard from the same writer and bearing almost an identical account was dated Feb 28th 1922. The writer, Morrie P Gossard, is a nephew of William Milton Gossard, grandfather of Willamette Gossard Copestake and Luria Gossard Dillon and also of Bruce Gossard. The letter was written from Hot Springs, S. Dak. Where he was staying at the Soldier’s Home for the winter but he stated that he owned a home at 820 E 8th St, Sioux Falls, S. Dak.

A portion of the letter follows:

As nearly as I have been able to trace our name, we came from Italy and Switzerland and the story as I have it from one Philip G Plyley, a full cousin of my father and also of your grandfather (of Miss Josie Gossard) is that a long time ago a Switzerlander by the name of Gossard was a very great musician and was called on to play for the lords and nobles of other countries, and on one of his sojourns in Italy he was playing before the king and his family. He fell desperately in love with the king’s daughter and his love was reciprocated but having neither wealth nor title he could not prevail upon her people to allow them to marry. For years they managed to meet one another and while the months and years passed by, their love for each other increased and failed to satisfy the longings of their hearts. They finally decided to flee the country and get married. She being a favorite in the family, experienced little difficulty in bribing the servants and under the pretense of making a visit to relatives in France had several large iron-bound trunks filled with fine clothes and fine jewelry. She started and met her lover at a place previously agreed upon and made all haste after getting married to ship for America. They bought property in New York and lived and died there but some of the children came to Philadelphia, Pa, and later on some found their way into Ohio along the Sciota River and Ohio River bottoms in a very early day. But it was sickly there and their children would die so they moved to Ross County and Sciota County where it was more healthy and in marrying got mixed up with the Plyleys who are of German descent. Now this P. G. Plyley told me he had seen these trunks that had been handed down from generation to generation and had been told this story or history by his people as well as by the older P.G. Gossard whom he knew. Now, he told me this story or history about a year before he died and wahted me to cove over for he had more he wanted to tell me but could not do it that day. But I was very busy at the time and so stupid and thought so little of the matter at the time that I did not go. The way the story came to be told me, he and I were talking about the name and I remarked that I was not sure but the name was retrograding and he said "No" and then told me the story as I have told it to you only he elaborated upon the family’s blood being of the best, and that the name was of the best morally, socially and intellectually. Now to confirm this story the following facts: that some of the oldest and wealthiest families and men filling the highest places of honor and trust in Switzerland today are by the name of Gossard. Now Murtie, my daughter, got this from a minister of the Evangelical church who preached once or twice at Bethena a few years ago, who was born and raised in Switzerland. Murtie was introduced to him and when he heard the name he said, "Ah,! The name is very familiar to me. You are from Switzerland, I suppose, Miss Gossard." Murtie said, "No, but Pa said our forefathers came from there." He replied, " I have no doubt of it" and related the story above.

Yours truly,

    1. P. Gossard.

Note by W.E Gossard—

In the letter from A. P. Gossard to my sister, Blancne, he states that he did not know where the first Philip Gossard landed in America but that they came from Pennsylvania to Ohio. This statement does not agree with his former statement that they bought property in New York and lived and died there. They may have lived there but evidently did not die there and in support of this conclusion I enter below a copy of a portion of a letter from Edgar R. Harlan, Curator for the state of Iowa.

Des Moines, Iowa

March 27, 1925

Dear Miss Gossard: (Blanche is penned here, not typed and in parentheses)

The only mention of the Gossard family is in the history of Ross and Highland county by Willimans Bros. Pub. 1880, page 294 as follows: "Philip Gossard and his son-in-law, Casper Plyley with their families emigrated together from Philadelphia to Ohio about the year 1801. They first settled at the mouth of Deer Creek, Union Twp. But finding these bottom lands unhealthy they removed to the ridge in Twin Twp. Now called Plyley Ridge. Philip Gossard settled on the farm west of Plyley now called the Fuller farm and died there. He was a native of Switzerland and it is said was an excellent scholar in his native language and also an accomplished musician. His son John, the father of Joshua F lived and died on the place now occupied by M. P. Gossard. His son Philip also resided on the ridge. We suggest you write to the librarian of the public library in Chillicothe and ask for the names of persons in Twin Twp. Bearing the name of Gossard or Plyley: they may be able to give you the data you wish. "

Sincerely yours,

E.R. Harlan, Curator

A letter from Josie Gossard states that she had gathered the information that Philip Gossard came from Switzerland and that the name was accented on the last syllable. He was well educated and a musician. He was stout and portly. After coming to this country he and his family settled on Plyley Ridge, Ross County, Ohio which is between Chillicothe and Frankfort. This was the Gossard homestead for several generations. Philip Gossard died in 1812 and is buried in Concord cemetery near Frankfort, just a few miles from his home. His wife’s name was Mary. He is thought to have participated in the Revolutionary War. There were three sons: John, Jacb and Philip. {Am guessing Jacb is Jacob???—Velda’s note}

Comment of Harry A. Gossard.

In my opinion, the stories regarding Philip Gossard coming to America are partially mythical though probably founded on truth. Italy, France, and all of Europe were in a state of ferment at the time of his supposed emigration to America which is located in the period of the French Revolution.

There were petty states over which the nobles ruled, sometimes with the title of king, thought such position in reality was not more dignified than that of mayor of any fair sized city in America. Class hatred had broken into the most terrible war that is recorded in history, known as the French Revolution and soon nearly every natich in Europe was involved. France was given over to a reign of terror during which no man’s life was safe whether he was rich or poor. While surrounding counties were not in such a fearful turmoil all felt the upheaval to a greater or lesser degree and it is not at all improbable that Philip Gossard became the protector and lover of some maiden who was born in a titled class of nobility, though in all likelihood she was far from being of such distinguished birth as might be inferred from Mr. Plyley’s account as he remembered it told by M. P. Gossard. It was probably a matter of personal safety to both to escape from their own troubled country without reference to their personal attachment so there could easily be truth in the story of their migration. Both political conditions and romance probably conspired to make the flight of the lovers from Europe discreet and desirable.

Children of Philip and Mary included John (Our branch of the family descended from him). Jacob and Philip and there must have been one daughter who was married to Casper Plyley.

John Gossard

John Gossard was the son of Philip and Mary Gossard and the grandfather of William Allen Gossard and James C. Gossard and the father of William Milton Gossard. He was born August 15th, 1778 on Plyley Ridge, Ross County, Ohio. He married Elizabeth Vallentines of Pennsylvania May 5th 1800.

He was a farmer and he and his wife spent their lives in Ross County. He was in the war of 1812. He enlisted in Ross County and served from July 20th till till August 24th. There were four girls and six boys in this family, Margaret, who died in infancy, Mary, Elizabeth, and Hannah, and the boys were John V., Joshua, WILLIAM M, James, H. , Samuel, and Thos. M.. John Gossard died Nov 27th 1857 being 74 years of age. Both John and Elizabeth are buried in Concord Cemetery, Ross County, Ohio.

William Milton Gossard

William Milton Gossard was the son of John Sr. and Elizabeth Gossard. He was born in Ross County, Ohio July 27th, 1816. He married Sarah Ely in the fall of 1836. They moved to Madison County, Ohio about 1846 and lived near Midway, later called Sedalia, Ohio. In 1854 they moved to ‘White County, Indiana and lived there till the fall of 1858 when they moved to Story County, Iowa. He was one of the pioneers of Story Co. and was very fond of hunting and fishing. His home for many years was near the banks of Skunk River, about one mile east of Ames, Iowa. There were sever boys and two girls in this family: WILLIAM ALLEN, Phoebe Jane, James, C., Thomas M. , Samuel Willis, Rufus C., Walker W., Sarah Alice, and Milton Wallace. His wife, Sarah died in 1881 and is buried in the Ames Municipal cemetery. In about 1883 he was again married to Mrs. "Squire" Cory who out lived him. Mrs Cory was the step-grandmother of the noted evangelist, William A Sunday, usually known as Billie Sunday. William Milton Gossard died in Sept 1884 falling dead while feeding his hogs: cause heart trouble resulting from indigestion. He is buried beside his first wife in the Ames cemetery. The following is a copy of an article that appeared in the Ames Intelligencer following his death.

"Last Saturday this community was startled by the intelligence that one of our oldest and most respected citizens, a farmer living south of town, had died suddenly while driving up his hogs. Wm Gossard came to Iowa 28 years ago and has grown in influence and wealth with the progress of Story County. He and his estimable wife have seen their large family of children, mostly sons, expand with the country into manhood and homes of their own. Most of the boys reside in and around Kelley and Sheldaho. Mr Gosssard was known and beloved by every old settler and nothing save the rain prevented them turning out enmasse to the funeral which occurred Monday afternoon at his late home and was conducted by Rev. G. H. Starring. He was 69 years of age."

William Allen Gossard

William Allen Gossard was the son of William Milton Gossard and Sarah Ely Gossard. He was born in Ross County Ohio in 1838. He went to Ind with his father in 1854 or 1855 and to Iowa in 1858. He served for three years in the Civil War being in Co. D. 10th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was with Grant in his western campaign and participated in the battles of Champion Hills, Siege of Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, Corinth, Iuka and was then transferred to Gen. Shermans command and was with him in the final campaign and his march to the sea. He had one finger shot off in battle. He was considered the best forager in the company and the "Sweet potatoes started from the ground" without fail whenever he was sent out to hunt for "grub". In 1858 he married Jane Berry of Iowa. They lived for many years on a farm west of Kelley, Iowa. There were nine children born to them: Emma, Jesse, Florence, Willamette, Lillian, Lou Beth, Isaphene, and Myrtle and Bertha who died in infancy. H was always known by his acquaintances as Allen. He died at his old home near Kelley Sept. 24th, 1913 aged 75 years, of Bright’s disease and hardening of the arteries. Funeral was held in the Congregational church in Kelley. Internment was made in the Ames Municipal Cemetery.

James C Gossard

James C Gossard was the son of William Milton and Sarah Ely Gossard and was born in Ross County, Ohio on August 31st 1824 {penned in correction from original typed date of ?1848}. He went with his father to Indiana in 1854 and to Iowa in 1858. He was a soldier in the Civil War serving in Company D, 10th Iowa Volunteer Infantry being in the same unit as his three brothers, Allen, Tom, and Willis and was in the same battles viz. Champion Hills, Siege of Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, Corinth, Iuka, and was then transferred to Sherman’s command and was with him in the final campaign and his March to the Sea. In one battle he was struck squarely in the middle of the forehead by a spent bullet which merely lodged beneath the skin. He would doubtless have been killed if the bullet had not spent its force before hitting him. After the war he married Lucy Stone and for a time resided near Ames, Iowa but soon thereafter moved to Adams County Iowa near Corning where he acquired several large tracts of land. There were 10 children: Bert, Walter, Hayes, Charley, Bruce, Samuel, Alex, Luria, Dorie, and Delia.

Note by Will E. Gossard.

As this family history is compiled for the benefit of the direct descendants of William Allen Gossard and James C Gossard only their lines have been followed through.

In a biography of my father, Thomas M Gossard, a statement is made that he was in 17 battles in all and not once did his regiment receive an order to retreat. As his brothers allen and Jim were in the same regiment and company, I take it for granted the above statement also applies to them.

Copies of this family history are being mailed to Willamette Gossard Copestake, Miss Merle Dillon and one in care of Doris and Delia to be passed on to Winnie Gossard and Mrs. Belle Gossard and any other members of the Gossard family that might be interested.

Note by Velda E Solomon.

I am the granddaughter of daughter of Isaphene Gossard, who is daughter of William Allen Gossard, as mentioned in list of his children. Isaphene Alice (Gossard) Rowland married John B Rowland in Ames Iowa on March 20, 1900. They moved to Cashmere, Washington, where they farmed apple orchards. The Rowland family moved in approximately 1920 to Pomona, Ca (I have seen the 1920 census which shows them in northern Calif county for census on their way to Pomona). Isaphene and John lived the remainder of their lives in Pomona, with exception of a short time when they went back to Wash to re-possess the apple orchard, and resell it to another buyer. John died in 1942 and Isaphene in 1952, when I was two years old.

Retyped from copy, October 11, 2000

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