Nathaniel Goss Sr. and the 1780’s in the Wyoming Valley

On the 18th of January of 1780, Nathaniel Goss was appointed the administrator of his father Philip Goss IV’s estate.

Unfortunately, Philip Goss did not have a will. There was an inventory of personal items but that is about all. Frankly, it is amazing that anything survived from the estate.

In my post titled The Estate of Philip Goss IV…1780, published April 4, 2018, I wrote pretty thoroughly about the papers that survived from this estate so I won’t repeat that here. You can find that post at this link:

After the death of his father Philip Goss IV, Nathaniel Goss continued to fight for the rights of the Connecticut Settlers.

Nathaniel Goss was there when the Decree of Trenton was announced. This Decree ended Connecticut’s claim on the land in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania.

In my post titled “The Decree of Trenton 1782 – The Connecticut Settlers in the Wyoming Valley react…published June 10, 2018 I wrote about how this decree affected the settlers. Here is the link:

The Decree read in summary:

“We are unanimously of opinion that the State of Connecticut has no right to the lands in controversy. We are also unanimously of opinion that the jurisdiction and pre-emption of all the territory lying within the charter boundary of Pennsylvania, and now claimed by the State of Connecticut,  do of right belong to the State of Pennsylvania.”  Source Trenton Decree and the Pennamite War etc. 

After the Decree of Trenton in 1783, Connecticut abandoned the settlers and they were placed under the government of Northumberland with Sunbury as the county seat. There was really not much government during the time of 1783 to 1786.

The settlers were discouraged and disheartened by the Decree of Trenton and petitioned the State of New York for a tract of land by the Susquehanna…1783, February 12 Westmoreland. The History of Wilkes Barre Vol. 3, Harvey pages 1312-14  Goss, Nathl. and Goss, Solomon appear on this list of settlers. Nothing came of this petition.

A List of Settlers created about 1783, who were actually settlers now present and claimers of the land. We find Solomon Goss, Nathaniel Goss and Philip Goss listed in the middle column. There were no women or men under 21 listed. History of Wilkes Barre, Vol. 3, pg. 1332. 

Months later a petition titled “Petition of Zebulon Butler & Others to the Continental Congress – dated Nov. 11, 1783 and endorsed Jan. 16, 1784 was sent out. Nathaniel Gooss, Philip Goss, Obad’h Scott were on this list as were many others.  Source: Susquehannah Company Papers Vol. 7 – 1776-1784 – [187] pg. 320-324.

Nathaniel saw the establishment of Luzerne County in September 1786.

On September 25, 1786, Luzerne County was formed from part of Northumberland County. It was named after Chevalier de la Luzerne, a French soldier and diplomat during the 18th century.

When it was founded, Luzerne County occupied a large portion of Northeastern Pennsylvania. From 1810 to 1878, it was divided into several smaller counties. The counties of BradfordLackawannaSusquehanna, and Wyoming were all formed from parts of Luzerne County. 

See my post titled: The Establishment of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania September 1786, published June 24, 2018 for more detail.


A tax list was created in 1786 and it looks like the Goss family was doing all right.

Goss, Solomon, s.m. 300 acres 2 cattle, Tax 1.9.11
Goss, Nathan’l 300 acres 2 horses, 1 cattle, Tax 1.1.10
Goss, Philip 300 acres 2 horses, 1 cattle, Tax 1.1.10
Scot, Obediah 400 acres, 1 horse, 2 cattle, Tax 1.8.10

Source: Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series (3), Vol. XIX Supply & State Tax Lists Co. of Northumberland 1778-1788. Northumberland 1786 pg. 685.

There is a Tax and Exoneration list for the year 1786 for the area called Wyoming under the government of Northumberland at, just before Luzerne County was established.  This lists a great many individuals present at that time with the areas of land they had, the valuation and State Tax.  It is looks a lot like the one presented above  that was published in the Pennsylvania Archive books.

    • Gofs Solomon Sawmill 300 acres, cows 2, Valuation 636, State Tax 1 9 11
    • Gofs Nathan G. 300 acres, two horses, 1 cow, Valuation 465, State Tax 1 1 10
    • Gofs Philip 300 acres, 2 horses, 1 cow, Valuation 465, State Tax 1 1 10

More description of Huntington Twp. where Nathaniel and other Goss Family settled.

Topo map of Huntington Twp.

Huntington Township was one of the seventeen “certified townships” laid out by the Susquehanna Company, and confirmed by Acts of Assembly in 1799.

The first settler was John Franklin, a person of note in the affairs of the Susquehanna Company under the Connecticut claim. He came in the spring of 1775,* locating on Huntington Creek, below Huntington Mills. Because of the out breaking of war, however, he returned to Connecticut, with his family, before the summer was spent. In 1776, other Connecticut settlers came, ___Seward settling in the northern part of the township, and Nathaniel Goss, the latter on a tract of three hundred and thirty-four acres in Huntington Mills. In 1783, Abraham Hess settled near the headwaters of Fishing Creek. He was from New Jersey, Other early settlers included; Stephen Kingsbury, who helped to make the original survey of the township; Reuben Culver, in 1795, one of those descendants is W.B. Culver, of Red Hill; Abel Fellows, Stephen Harrison, Samuel Franklin, Amos Franklin, all of whom settled in 1777, and are yet represented by many descendants in the township; Thomas Williams, in 1778; Solon Trescott, who was taken prisoner by the Indians and Tories, in 1778, but escaped and with Solomon Gas and Thomas and Samuel Williams returned to their Huntington homes a few days later. The Trescott family still live in Harveyville, Colonel Edward L. Trescott, of the second Huntington generation of that family, rising to much prominence in public and military affairs, and being a famous hunter…

The first gristmill was built in 1788, by Mr. Hopkins, at the mouth of Marsh Creek. Nathaniel Goss was also a miller, owning a plant that could grind three bushels a day. His son, and namesake, built a larger one, known as the Workheiser Mill. There were several other mills….

Source: History of Wilkes-Barre, by Harvey and Smith, Vol. V page 120 Huntington Twp. Volume V: pg. 111 Districts of Luzerne Co. established Covers Huntington pg 120, Plymouth 132 and Fairmount page 114-115 and others. *Again I dispute this date of 1775 and feel it was sometime in 1776 after the lots had been distributed.

The Confirming Act of 1787

In March of 1787 the Confirming Act was put into law and the process of confirming claims began. Unfortunately, this was a very unpopular act.  I do not know which side of the controversy Nathaniel Goss was on, but he was there and involved in claiming land.

Yes, I refer you to another of my posts dated July 15, 2018 titled Land Titles and the Confirming Act of 1787…what happened!.

I present this information again for your study. You will find Nathaniel Goss listed several times in the manuscript regarding land in Huntington Twp.-  Lot No. 33 1st Div, No. 36 of 2nd a lot in the 3rd not yet laid out and Nathan and Solomon Goss Sworn – laying out of chains Lot 17 etc.


Nothing came of the work done by the commissioners at that time in 1787. It would not be till 1799 that the land issues would start to find a resolution, even then it took till about 1830 or so for it to all settle down. We will see how things settled out for Nathaniel Goss in future posts about his land. The other question I have is, did he really have 334 acres and where?

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here:
This entry was posted in Fairmount Twp., Harveyville, Huntington and Fairmount Twp., Huntington Twp., Litchfield County, Luzerne County, Nathaniel Goss and his wife Hannah Scott, Nathaniel Goss Jr. and Thankful Forbes, Philip Goss IV son of Philip Goss III & Keziah Cooley - wife Mary (Kendall) Goss, Westmoreland Town & County, Westmoreland Twp and later County and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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