Benjamin F. Gossett, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Benjamin F. Gossett

BENJAMIN F. GOSSETT. As long as time endures win our great American republic owe a debt of honor and gratitude to the brave men who followed the stars and stripes on the sanguinary battlefields of the south and there fought loyally and sternly for the preservation of the nation's integrity. Among the patriotic young men of Indiana who went forth in defense of the Union was Benjamin F. Gossett, who lived up to the full tension of the great conflict between the north and south and whose military career redounds to his lasting honor. He has long maintained his home in Porter county, where he was formerly identified with the great basic industry of agriculture, and he is now living virtually retired from active business, his place of residence being the attractive village of Hebron. He is well known in this section of the state and his life throughout has been characterized by the same honor and loyalty which prompted him to go forth as a soldier of the republic. Thus he has accounted well for himself as a citizen and as one of the world's productive workers, and he has not been denied the fullest measure of popular confidence and approbation.

Mr. Gossett claims the old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity but he was only two years of age at the time of the family removal to Indiana, which state has represented his home during the long intervening years. He was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, on the 14th of February, 1842, and is a son of Samuel and Rebecca (Jones) Gossett, both natives of Ohio and representatives of sterling pioneer families of that commonwealth. Of the seven children -- four sons and three daughters -- there are living at the present time one son and one daughter, the subject of this review having been the seventh in order of birth. In 1844 Samuel Gossett came with his family to Indiana and settled on a tract of land in La Porte county, where he developed a productive farm and where he and his wife passed the residue of their lives, secure in the high esteem of all who knew them. He whose name initiates this article was reared to adult age in La Porte county, where he gained his quota of experience in connection with the arduous labors of the home farm, the while he duly availed himself of the advantages of the common schools of the locality. He was a stalwart youth of eighteen years at the time when the dark cloud of Civil war cast its pall over the national horizon, and his youthful patriotism was such that he promptly tendered his services in defense of the Union. In August, 1862, at Indianapolis, he enlisted in Company I, Fifth Indiana Volunteer Cavalry, and his company was in command of Captain Buell, of Valparaiso. He proceeded with his regiment to Rising Sun, Ohio, and the command remained stationed on the Ohio river during the first winter, for the purpose of gaining requisite tactical discipline. In the spring the regiment went to Louisville, Kentucky, and thence marched through that state and Tennessee, the command being assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, in the various manoeuvers and engagements of which it took a prominent part. Mr. Gossett participated in the engagements at Watkins' Ford, Strawberry Plains, Knoxville and Macon, and while in service in the vicinity of the last mentioned place, in Georgia, he was one of about fifteen hundred men who were captured by the Confederate forces. He was at the time a member of a command sent forth on a raiding expedition, and they were cut off from the main body of troops by reason of a division having failed to meet them as agreed upon. Virtually the entire command was captured and Mr. Gossett was sent with many of his comrades to the dreadful prison-pen at Andersonville, where he suffered to the full the hardships and indignities ever associated with the name of that odious prison. He remained a prisoner at Andersonville for seven months and two days, and was then given a parole. Incidental to his service at the front Mr. Gossett was present at the trial and execution of six cowardly desperadoes who had enlisted in the Union ranks and who had murdered a number of comrades for the sake of the provisions and few other personal belongings they could thus secure.

After receiving his parole Mr. Gossett set forth for his home, in March, 1865. So great had been the privations and other hardships endured by him and his comrades at Andersonville that they were reduced to veritable skeletons, -- in fact, they were so weak and emaciated that they were unable to walk the short distance of about forty rods from the prison to the railway station upon their release, Mr. Gossett having been twice compelled to lie down for rest in making the short walk. Many months ensued ere he recuperated his wasted energies and he received his honorable discharge in June, 1865.

In August, 1865, Mr. Gossett took unto himself a wife, who remained his devoted companion and helpmeet for nearly half a century, the gracious bonds having been severed only when the loved wife and mother was summoned to the life eternal, on the 23d of October, 1911, secure in the affectionate regard of all who had come within the compass of her gentle and gracious influence. Shortly after their marriage the young couple, imbued with energy and determination, settled on a farm of eighty acres in Porter township, Porter county. The property which Mr. Gossett thus purchased had few improvements, but he established his home in the little house on the place and, with the earnest aid and encouragement of his devoted wife, set himself vigorously to the task of developing the farm and winning a position of independence. They endured their share of hardships in these early years and their home had few luxuries, but they were sustained by mutual affection and common purpose and in time prosperity began to smile upon them, the while their home was brightened by the presence of the children born to them. After remaining on the farm for eleven years Mr. Gossett removed to the village of Hebron, where he successfully conducted a meat market during the ensuing twenty years, within which he gained place as one of the representative business men and liberal and substantial citizens of this pleasant town. At the expiration of the period noted he disposed of his market and he has since lived retired, in the enjoyment of the rewards of former years of earnest toil and endeavor. His sterling attributes of character have won to him a wide circle of friends in the county that has long been his home, and he is one of the loyal and progressive citizens of Hebron.

Though never ambitious for personal preferment along political lines. Mr. Gossett accords unwavering allegiance to the Republican party and is well fortified in his opinions touching matters of economic polity. He and his wife held membership in the Congregational church of Hebron during the period when the organization was in flourishing condition, and since that time he has attended the local Christian church, of which his daughter Stella and her husband are zealous members. He retains a deep interest in his old comrades of the Civil war and manifests the same by his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic.

On the 23d of August, 1865, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gossett to Miss Charlotte M. Goodwin, who was born in the southern part of Indiana and who was the younger of the two children of William and Elizabeth Goodwin, the father having devoted the major part of his active career to agricultural pursuits and both he and his wife having been residents of Porter county at the time of their death. Their older child, John, is now deceased. The great loss and bereavement in the life of Mr. Gossett was that which came in the death of his cherished and devoted wife, on the 23d of October, 1911, and his maximum consolation is that afforded in the gracious memories of their long companionship. They became the parents of four children, concerning whom the following brief record is entered in conclusion of this review: William, ,who is a representative stock buyer and shipper in Valparaiso, married Miss Bessie Danforth, and they have no children; Stella is the wife of Alonzo Highland, a prosperous farmer of Porter county, and they also have no children; Frank was afforded the advantages of what is now known as Valparaiso University and was formerly a successful and popular teacher in the district schools of Porter county; and Roy, who married Miss Edna Lightfoot, is now a resident of the city of Chicago. Concerning Frank Gossett, who is still a bachelor, it may be further said that he is now engaged (1912) in installing a water-purifying system in the city of Havana, Cuba. He is a progressive young business man of exceptional ability and has had the advantage of extensive travel. He was in the city of San Francisco at the time of the memorable earthquake and incidental conflagration which virtually obliterated the city, and he recently had the melancholy satisfaction of visiting the battleship "Maine" after it was raised to the surface in Havana, Cuba, and shortly before it was sunk in the waters of the Atlantic ocean.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 865-868

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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