Elizabeth Goss (Richards) (c.1706 - 1754) MP

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Nicknames: "Betsy", "Gass"
Death: Died in Ephrata Settlement, Lancaster County, Province of Pennsylvania
Occupation: "helpmate Fred Gas", "Fred Gas helpmate" a householder in the Ephrata community
Managed by: Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator
Last Updated:

About Elizabeth Goss (Richards)

Betsy Richards is the commonly applied name as the spouse of Frederick Gass b 1701. But, proof is lacking. The 1928 Booklet privately published by Mr. & Mrs. C.L. Goss and Mattie Hodges, entitled: Goss Genealogy - 1700 - 1928. It was dedicated to the memory of Ephraim and Ann Workman Goss and their descendants. (This Ephraim was a grandchild of Frederick I, b 1701 and the first Goss family to move to Indiana Territory in 1810), much is made of the fact that great grand children of Ephraim and Anne were still alive. Apparently they identified Betsy Richards as the spouse of the first Frederick Gass/Goss in America. I take this as an indication of an "oral tradition" that Betsy Richards was Frederick Gass spouse. However, further anaylsis of the details in this booklet shows a number of errors seeming to conflate Frederick Gass I with Frederick Gass II. It is now rather well documented that Frederick Gass II married Isabelle Rickard which leaves Betsy Richards as the probable wife for Frederick Gass, Sr. or I b 1701. So far I have found no creditable documentation on the birth or marriage of Betsy Richards. What has been found are multiple contemporary or near contemporary, notebooks, journals or scraps listing deaths of participants in Ephrata community headed by Conrad Beissel. Taken together these are known as the Ephrata Death Register. The best compilation and translation of these was published by a local Ephrata, PA historical society in the 1990s. An entries for 1754 show Frederick Gas helpmate died and she is identified as Elisabeth Gass. Since Betsy was a common nickname for Elisabeth, I see this as supporting the "Betsy Richards" tradition. Other support is circumstantial: 1) 1754 is consistent with the known ages of her children; 2) the prevalence of Elisabeth as a name in subsequent generations of Goss children (admittedly it is widely popular name). After 1754, Gass offspring start moving to NC and Frederick Gass, Sr. appears to have financial reverses indicated in some legal documents in 1755-56.

Where did she come from? When did she marry?

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Elizabeth Goss's Timeline

1706
1706

Her existence is all but proven. Date and place of birth are open questions. Strong circumstantial evidence from "Ephrata Death Registers" indicate Frederick Gass, Sr (b 1701) was married to an "Elisabeth." Many researchers show without reference to written evidence that he was married to a "Betsy Richards". This appears to be an "oral tradition". As Betsy is a common nickname for Elizabeth, this can be counted as complementary to the "Ephrata Death Registers" listing.

1720
1720
Age 14
1724
1724
Age 18
Rothenfluh, Basel Canton, Switzerland

Catherina Gassin is a bit of a mystery. The only documentation that I know of his her tombstone in church yard near Abbots Creek plantation showing her married name von Huffen (I have not personally seen this). She may have been one of the 3 unnamed passengers on the Ship James Goodwill along with (presumably) her brother Frederick Gass, Jr. b abt 1722 and her mother Betsy Gass (née Richards) when it arrived in Philadelphia.

1730
1730
Age 24
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Colony

Jacob Gass may have been the third of the 3 un-named passengers in the Gass party of 6 on board the James Goodwill in its 1727 passage to Philadlephia. Thus he could have been born in anytime between 1720 and 1734 might have been born in Holland, one of the German states or in Rothenfluh, Basel Canton. We just do not know at this time. My theory is he is one of the signers of a legal document pertaining to his father Frederick, Sr. about 1754 and, if so, he was likely 21 in 1754.

1733
1733
Age 27
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Colony
1736
1736
Age 30
Ephrata Settlement, Lancaster County, Province of Pennsylvania
1738
1738
Age 32
Colebrookdale, Berks County, Province of Pennsylvania
1740
1740
Age 34
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Colony
1749
1749
Age 43
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Colony
1754
1754
Age 48
Ephrata Settlement, Lancaster County, Province of Pennsylvania

The Death Registers of the Ephrata Cloister, pages 16 & 24.
Published by: Journal of The Historical Society of The Cocalico Valley, Volume XXI, 1996: Translations by Jeff Bach, Index by Clarence E. Spohn, Edited by Spohn and Co-Edited by Marquet. Miller Printing, Lititz, PA