While visiting in the Marietta area in 2011, I went to the courthouse for a variety of reasons and one in particular was to determine if there was a court document on file giving a ministers license to Solomon Goss. Unfortunately, none was found. I also contacted the United Methodist Historical Society who have their archives at the Ohio Wesleyan University campus in Delaware, Ohio, but they told me they only kept records of ministers who were licensed or ordained and not of lay ministers. Solomon Goss could have gotten a license while he was in Pennsylvania or Virginia, but I have not investigated that at this time. Perhaps a check of records would be in order.
Paul H. Goss and Flora Montanye Osborn believed that Solomon was a minister and there seems to be some evidence that he did preach, maybe marry couples and helped other ministers.
Solomon Goss converted from the Congregational Church (First Church of Christ, Becket, MA) to the Methodist faith when he was en route to Ohio.
…”In his first tour he (Robert Manley) visited each settlement in the county–found a Presbyterian, a Congregational, and a Baptist minister; but many new and small, but growing neighbourhoods, were totally destitute of all sanctuary opportunities. In the most of those settlements, he found open doors for his reception. He also found Solomon Goss, and two members of his family, who had experienced the blessed effects of Methodism in their own hearts. This family, when on their way from the east to Ohio, stopped a season in West Liberty, where they were awakened and converted to God by the instrumentality of T. Fleming. If others opened their doors through vain curiosity, to hear what the babbler could say, this family opened theirs from the noblest and best feelings of their hearts. As their attachments to the church were early in their beginning, so they have been deep and constant to the present time…”
A little about T. Fleming: As early as 1801, the Erie circuit existed, which embraced the first religious organizations of the Methodists in this county, and for a long time afterwards the whole or a considerable part of the county. It was in the Pittsburgh district, which was within the bounds of the Baltimore Conference. The presiding elder of the district was Thornton Fleming; and the preacher of the Erie circuit was James Quinn. It is said that Mr. Quinn’s circuit, when formed, contained twenty appointments, requiring him to travel four hundred miles every four weeks. The first class he formed was near a place called Lexington, in Springfield township, Erie county, Pa. In 1804 the district took the name of Monongahela, and Thornton Fleming was continued presiding elder until the meeting of the Baltimore Conference in May, 1810, when Jacob Gruber was appointed presiding elder, and Joshua Monroe, preacher of Erie circuit; and the year following, James Watts and James Ewing..”
Source: Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review, Vol. XII. New Series, Vol. 1, 1830 Article title: Methodism in Washington Co., Ohio, by the Rev. Samuel Hamilton, J. Emory & B. Waugh, J. Collard, Printer, 1830. Chapter XXIV, pg. 407 (404 to 411). Copy available at Google Books.
The above quotation from the Methodist Magazine is very important. It places Solomon Goss and family probably in West Liberty in Virginia en route to Ohio. According to my Geo Locator there are 16 West Liberty towns. I lean toward the one in what is now West Virginia. It is near Wheeling, VA. where many pioneers went through to the West.
This may be why Daniel Goss, the son, says he was born in Virginia. It also tells us that Solomon Goss was a man of faith.
In a letter from Flora to Paul on February 3, 1941, Flora writes the following:
You sure can keep the pamphlet I sent you ___Solomon Goss was a minister and performed the marriage Ceremony of those couples I mentioned so States the Authority I quoted. He might not have been what we now call a regular pastor, but one authority says he carried on a series of revival meetings at Marietta, Ohio at one time. His son was a local preacher here in Lenawee Co., Mich. (She is referring to his son Levi.)
Source: Letter of Flora Osborn to Paul H. Goss, February 3, 1941, New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Goss Collection, Special Collections.
Unfortunately, Flora does not give the “authorities” she mentions. I do have letters that they wrote to each other but probably not a complete set and the attachments were not copied (too expensive back then) but returned to the original person.
So I turned to the histories of the time and let’s see what we find.
Source: 1788-1881 n the History of Washington County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches, The Washington County Historical Society, H.O. Williams & Bros. Publishers, 1881, reprinted 1976. We find the following on several of the pages:
pages 382-383: 2nd column – “The Methodist Episcopal Church – Rev. Robert Manley was sent to this section as a missionary in June 1799, preached the first Methodist sermon in Marietta. On Duck Creek he found SOLOMON GOSS, 2 members of his family were Methodist.
pg. 383 1st column …A number of small classes were founded, and a circuit was organized in 1800. The members were Henry Fearing of Harmon, Elijah Francis & wife, Jones Johnson & wife, SOLOMON GOSS & Wife.”
pg. 519: Belpre Twp. – During the fall and winter of 1820-21 a soc. was organized (Meth Episcopal), there being the first class books thirteen names, as follows: Daniel GOSS and his wife Lydia, Samuel Hooper, Clarissa Ackley, William P. Howe, A. Gridley, Eliz. Howe, Leroy Gridley, Susan Oaks, Susan O’Brien, Chester and Caroline Gridley and Louis Bradford. Daniel Goss, who was one of the most energetic of the early Methodists, was appointed class leader. Among his papers there were found the old subscription paper for the building of the church: – in this list Daniel gave $40.00 in a long list and Solomon Goss gave $2.00.
page 587-588 – “Methodist meetings were held in the neighborhood from time immemorial to the oldest inhabitants. The earliest remembered preacher was a local exhorter known as Father GOSS, who lived in the Chapman settlement, in Fearing township and came to the Salem settlement to preach every two weeks. These meetings were held in the house of some settler, often at the residence of Amos and Simon Porter.”
On pg 680 — “Thus the little baby’s short life was marked only by its birth and death. The funeral was preached at the house of Levi Daines by a Mr. GOSS, who was the first Methodist preacher ever in the county. Only the Daines and Duttons attended the funeral; there were as yet no other settlers in the township.” [about 1809.]
Some very interesting entries are found in the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly Magazine, and they have a Solomon Goss performing marriages.
1815, November 5. William Mead and Cynthia Harris (Washington Co., Ohio); Solomon Goss.
1815, November 9, William Cook and Nancy Barton, (Washington County, Ohio; Solomon Goss.
1818, Jan. 18, Amlin, Salley D. and Patrick Campbell by Solomon Goss, Washington Co.
Source: Ohio Marriages Extracted from the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly, Edited by Marjorie Smith, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1986. This book is at Ancestry.com under Ohio Marriages, 1789-1898. You can search or browse the collection. Becareful, you need the location to make sure you have the correct Solomon Goss who is listed as performing the marriage.
In the following Solomon Goss was mentioned as giving money to a minister who was in distress.
pg. 185 – Jacob Young was traveling the Marietta Circuit in 1805. Gave this account of his situation. He was without money. “…I was at a loss to know what to do. But man’s distress is God’s opportunity. A strange lady came at the right time and handed me a dollar. Solomon Goss gave me four or five dollars…”
Source: History of Methodism: a study in social science, Experience of Itinerants, by John Marshall Barker, Curt & Jennings, 1898. page 185. This book is at Internet Archive.
I am happy to state that I found another source that gives a little more information about Solomon Goss. This is Rev. Jacob Young’s actual autobiography.
The next Sabbath, I tried to preach again. My strength was greatly increased, and the Lord gave me great freedom of speech. Next Sabbath was my quarterly meeting. The trustees of the academy kindly offered me their house to hold our meeting. I went down, Saturday, at 11 o’clock, but found no presiding elder, and received no information of the reason of his absence, which, however, I supposed,was either the inclemency of the weather or the great distance of Marietta from his abode. The congregation gathered, and I tried to preach. In the evening, Rev. Solomon Goss preached to a crowded house. He was all the help I had.
I preached several times, held love-feast, and had an excellent quarterly meeting for that place at that time. Meeting over, and my health being a little improved, I began to think about taking my circuit. On examining my clothing, I found that my shoes were nearly worn out; they would not keep my feet warm nor dry. My old cloak was too thin for that very cold winter. Having got but little quarterage the preceding year, my money was exhausted. I was at a loss to know what to do. But man’s distress is God’s opportunity. A strange lady came at the right time, and handed me a dollar. Solomon Goss gave me four or five dollars. Some other friends, unknown to me, sent a few dollars more….
Source: Autobiography of a Pioneer; or, the Nativity, Experience, Travels and Ministerial Labors of Rev. Jacob Young, Jacob Young 1776-1859, pages 151-152, published 1857, Crantson and Curs, New York. This copy I found at My Heritage. This seems to be a more complete version of Solomon Goss and his involvement with the Rev. Jacob Young.
The great news is that Solomon Goss was there when Methodism was being established in the state of Ohio. He knew the ministers that came to Marietta, like Mr. Manley and Rev. Young. One other observation is that it mentions Solomon Goss and wife. This means that wife, Olive was alive in 1800 to 1805.
The photo of the cabin above was found in: Ohio History Journal, 165, Introduction of Methodism in Ohio, by Rev. I.F. King. D.D. Publications of the Ohio History Connection.