John Goss, son of Nathaniel and Hannah (Scott) Goss has not been an easy man to research. Over the years, I have had cousins and researchers contacting me about John Goss and their quest to establish a link to John and then to Nathaniel and further up the Goss line. On my travels to New England, Ohio and Pennsylvania, I too have tried to learn more about John Goss and the Goss Family. So, as a result, some of this research that I will present about John Goss is my own curiosity and my desire to check the facts and the information shared by others.
I would like to ask that you be patient with me for I have a lot to share and make sense out of. It will be complicated. I also suggest that you hold judgement till you get all the information that I present. Since John’s life is intimately connected to many like his father Nathaniel. the Scott family, his aunt Mary Goss (Davidson, Gibbons & Santee), and his uncle Ebenezer Goss you may have to review their lives to also obtain tidbits of information. Some of them I have published posts on others I have yet to get to writing about them. All this should take place in the next months, so you will have to be patient.
Birth – The time period of 1769 to about 1800 in the Wyoming Valley is difficult to research because of the loss of records, the land wars between Connecticut and Pennsylvania and the Revolutionary war and the establishment of the new United States. It is also complicated because Connecticut and the Susquehannah Company were dominant in the area from 1753 to 1782. In that year, the Decree of Trenton gave Pennsylvania the legal state right to the area and that ended Connecticut’s hold. Things did not settle down till well into the 1790’s.
You might see in records, that John is stated as coming from Connecticut, well he did governmentally. It was called Westmoreland Co., Litchfield Co., Connecticut at that time till 1782 and then in 1786 Luzerne County was established. The area was the Wyoming Valley area known as Plymouth which included a larger area that covered Huntington Twp.
I place the timeframe about 1775 to 1782 of John’s birth.
Things were still not settled in the Wyoming Valley at this time, so John’s birth might have been elsewhere depending on the situation at the time. I have no document showing his birthdate so I don’t know for sure.
I am using 1775 to about 1782 as his birth timeframe, and if I find additional information I will update this section. He does not appear in the 1796 Taxables for Huntington Twp., Luzerne Co., PA that you can find copies of on this blog under Nathaniel Goss and others and also in the book the Annals of Luzerne page 548, which is available online at Internet Archive. However, he does appear in the 1798 Pennsylvania US Direct Tax where he is surrounded by other Goss family. (see above.) I suggest that he would be about 18 years old to be included in that tax record. That puts his birth about 1780.
This date of 1780 places John as older brother of Nathaniel Goss Jr., who was born 14 April 1785 based on Nathaniel’s tombstone which is in the Scott Cemetery near his parents. This is a big gap between siblings but I believe that Nathaniel and Hannah probably had more children that didn’t survive and there is evidence of unreadable stones near their graves.
A John Goss (Gess) appears in the 1800 U.S. Federal Census in Huntington Twp., Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania. There is one male in the 16 to 25 year old category. If this is our John Goss you can use 18 years old he would have been born in 1782. If you use 25 years old he would have been born in 1775. His parents marriage, Nathaniel and Thankful, was 10 November 1774 in Plymouth (Susquehanna Co. Papers Deed Book 1, p. 159 copy not yet obtained). So it is possible that he was born anytime after 1774 and up to 1782. I am leaning towards the 1775 date.
There is a Warranty Register listing on the index at the Pennsylvania Archive website that has the following entry: #104 Warrantee Name: John Goss, 400 acres, Date of Warrant 7 June 1793, 22, Date of Return April 1794, Acres returned 312.52, Name of Patentee Daniel Wannemacker, Recorded P 21 pg. 126, Survey recorded 54, pg. 96. If we use the age of 18 for John to be involved with land this places his age at 1775. I will discuss John Goss’ land dealings in a future post in detail for Luzerne County, PA.
So it looks like John Goss may have been born about 1775 per the above record study. I will let you decide what you think.
John’s marriage has also caused a great deal of confusion. Paul H. Goss stated in his manuscript that he married a Polly Ransom and this has caused problems.
However, it is believed by others and myself that he married his cousin Mary Davidson, daughter of Mary Goss and William Davidson, his aunt and a sister to his father Nathaniel.
Mary Goss married a William Davidson who was killed in the Wyoming Valley during the time of the massacre in 1778. Mary Goss was married three times and this has added to the confusion. She married William Davidson, Lemuel Gibbons and Valentine Santee. You will see these names in the land records. She had several children with the first two husbands. Mary Davidson, a daughter, being the only living heir of this man William Davidson appears in the land records, as we will see.
Here is what Paul H. Goss wrote about Polly:
Paul H. Goss writes: John Goss had married “Polly” (Mary) Ransom, and they and removed to Randolph Township, Portage County, Ohio from Huntington Township, Luzerne County, Penna…..p. 3 and p-5.
Source: Goss–Family Philip (4) Goss Sr., called “of Brookfield, MASS., and some of his descendants, Pioneer, Proprietor, Patriot of Plymouth & Huntington Townships, Luzerne Co., Penn. Family History Library #46077. Online Family Search for downloading.
Paul writes in his Goss Family Manuscript written in 1940 and also at the Family History Library and online at Family Search: that the family lived in Granville, Mass, where their sons David and Solomon were born and are shown in the Vital Records of that Town….
Further on in the manuscript he writes: a son: Solomon was born at Granville, Mass, June 16, 1754, just a few miles north over the Conn. state lines; as was also a son David, born at Granville, Mass, June 14, 1752. As you can see there is no mention of a daughter.
In all of the different manuscripts of Paul H. Goss, I do not find him writing about Mary Goss, mother of Polly (Davidson) Goss. He does really mention in his writings that there was a child who was born between Solomon Goss and Ebenezer Goss that was a sister. Well, Paul was not correct or rather he missed the clues. We do have to realize that he was doing his research in the 1930’s and 1940’s and 1950’s without the internet. He also didn’t really travel that much because it was expensive so he was not able to get to a lot of archives, although he did get to some of them.
In a past post I wrote about a guardianship for Mary Davidson in Granville, MA. Enos Seward took on this task of being her guardian in 1778. It is not know if this was done through the courts or by word of mouth. I have not been able to find a record of this guardianship. I refer you to my post dated 5 October 2018 titled Enos Seward and the Guardianship of Mary Davidson 1778, per the book A Turning of the Hearts. This would imply a close kinship, Enos Seward was the husband of Sarah Goss, who would be a sister to Mary Goss and Nathaniel Goss. She would be John’s aunt.
Source: A Turning of the Hearts: William Davidson Gibbons Family History, by the William Davison Gibbons Family Organization, contributed and compiled by Helen Bay Gibbons. This book was given to the library in 1991 and it is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake.
The name Polly can be used as a nickname for several formal names and also stands alone. Apparently she preferred the use of Polly. Mary “Polly” Davidson was born 20 Aug 1775 in Granville, Massachusetts per the Massachusetts Town and Vital Record 1620-1988 – Granville, Vital record Transcripts: “Davidson, Mary, Aug 20, 1775 in Wilkesbury, Westmoreland Co.” This probably means Wilkes Barre, Westmoreland Co., Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Luzerne County was not established till 1786.
There is a female listed in the 1800 US Federal Census with John Gess in Huntington Township in the 16 to 25 age range. This might be Mary “Polly” Davidson Goss but we do not know for sure.
Unfortunately, I do not have a marriage record for John Goss and Mary “Polly” Davidson so over the course of the next posts I will have to infer that this marriage did take place. Please pay attention to the land records for John Goss, they tell us a great deal.
Here is a very interesting deed dated in 1796:
Deed Mary Davison to Philip Goss Lot 38 1st Division, 17 Stamped Cert. Twps. Luzerne Backside of Deed: Deed Mary Davidson to Philip Goss Lot 38 1st Division
Luzerne County ss: 19th of May 1796
To all People whom these Presents shall Come Greetings
Know ye that I Mary Davidson of Huntington & County of Luzerne & State of Pennsylvania for ______good consideration ______for five pounds Lawful Money the Premises released and forever Quit Claim & by these for myself my heirs and fully clearly and absolutely and forever Quite Claim unto Philip Goss of Huntington & County and State SS his heirs and assigns forever all such right estate title interest & demands whatsoever as I the _____Mary Davidson have or ought to have in or to a Certain Lot or share of a Lot as an heir of the estate of Philip Goss late of Huntington Deceased Sd Lot being the third division drew up on the 38 of the ______Division containing about six acres like was his Share in the _________to have and to hold the premises unto him the P. Gofs his heirs & assigns forever. So that ____of the sd Mary Davidson my heirs ______me on in _____& behoof. Shall or will ___________________________premises _____part thereof ______they & every one of them shall by these presents __________________
In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand & seal this 2nd Day of April AD 1796
Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of Jesse Scott, Amy Scott
Signed Mary Davidson.
Luzerne County SS 19th of May 1796 Came before me Nathan Beach one of the Justices of the Peace in and for the said Mary Davidson the grantor within named and acknowledged the within instrument of writing to be her Free act and deed and desiring the same may be recorded as such Witness my hand and seal the day and year above written. Nathan Beach.
The above deed suggests that Mary Davidson had not married John Goss till sometime after this deed was written in 1796. Very interesting. It also shows a relationship to the Deceased Philip Goss late and the son Philip Goss.
In 1817 a deed was created for the partitioning of Lot #53 in Huntington Twp., Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania that was owned by Nathaniel Goss Sr. I have featured this deed in a past post about the Estate and Legacy of Nathaniel Goss. Here it is again.
Death of his father Nathaniel Goss Sr.
John Goss & wife & Others to Nathaniel Goss
To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting: Know Ye that we John Goss & Polly Goss wife of the said John Goss and Hannah Allen all of the township of Randolph in the County of Portage and State of Ohio for and in consideration of the sum of twenty dollars of Money of the United States received to our full satisfaction of Nathaniel Goss of Huntington in the County of Luzerne & State of Pennsylvania have by these presents revised released and forever quit claimed & do hereby revise release & forever quit claim unto him the said Nathaniel Goss all our right title interest property claim & demand which we or either of us have in and to a certain piece of Land containing one hundred acres (be the same more or less) it being the whole of lot number fifty three in the third division of Huntington the township aforesaid and which Nathaniel Goss late of said Huntington died seized of; To have and to hold all our and each of our right title interest claim and demand as well in law as in equity of in and to the said revised released & quit claimed premises with the appurtenances thereof unto him the said Nathaniel Goss his heirs and assigns forever to his and their own proper use and behoof. And furthermore we the said John, Polly & Hannah do for ourselves reward each of our heirs executors and administrators covenant to and with the said Nathaniel his heirs and assign that from and after the ensealing of these present we the said John Polly & Hannah nor either of us will have no claim no right nor title to the above quit claimed premises or any part thereof. In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals the 12th of July 1817. Signed Sealed and delivered in the presence of Abiel Sabin Jane Sabin.
Signed and sealed
John Goss, Polly Goss and Hannah Allen.
State of Ohio Portage County ss )))) Randolph Township July 12th 1817 personally appeared John Goss and Polly his wife and Hannah Allen signers and sealers of the within instrument and the said John and Hannah acknowledge that they executed the same as their voluntary act and deed and the said Polly being examined separate and apart from her said husband & the contents of the within deed being fully made know to her acknowledged that she executed the same without any coercion from her said husband Before me. Abel Sabin J.P.
The State of Ohio, Portage County ss))) I Ira Hudson Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas within and for said County of Portage do hereby certify that said Abel Sabin Esquire before whom the acknowledgement of the within instrument appears from the above certificate have been taken is as Justice of the Peace duly commissioned and sworn within and for the said County and that due faith and credit is to be given to all his official acts as such. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 14th day of July A.D. 1817 — Ira Hudson
This deed establishes that John Goss is Nathaniel Goss Sr. son and also names a Polly as his wife. It does not state her last name but we at least known that he did marry a Polly. In this deed he, his wife are included with Hannah Allen and there was a Hannah Goss who married that was his sister. It also points to John’s migration from Pennsylvania to Ohio.
Because this is all so complicated, I will concentrate on John and Mary “Polly” Davidson in the following posts followed by their children. Then, I will return to the rest of Nathaniel and Hannah Goss’s children who will be discussed: Nathaniel Jr., Experience, Hannah and Rhoda. Once I have finished publishing posts about them, I will then return to Philip Goss IV and Mary Kendall’s children and share about the remaining children which include Comfort, David, Solomon (my ancestor), Olive Scott’s family the Scott Family. I will then attempt to share the life of Mary Goss Davidson Gibbons Santee in future posts. This is going to be very interesting and quite the challenge.
First, we need to study John Goss’s life in Pennsylvania before we follow his trail to Ohio.