Ladies and gentlemen, as I brave the snow and wintry air on this cold, cold morning, the temperature reads minus-8 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of a biting minus-21.

As I ponder the blast that has swept over much of the country, the dry air, ice and frost of a frozen world, I can’t help but think of the many ways life is a whole lot easier for us compared to our ancestors and forerunners.

We complain, yet it’s safe to say most of us enjoy “luxuries” that did not exist in the 1800s and the early 1900s.

The family of James Worth and Sarah Ann Gossett, along with the rest of Highland County back in those days, didn’t rely on snowplows, warm up their cars before a trip, or push a button to crank up the heat in the house. They didn’t swing by Walmart, Kroger or other stores of commerce to pick up bread, milk and other items of sustenance before the storm. When illness payed a visit, they didn’t hop in the car and rush to Urgent Care.

When I think about it, it makes me realize how truly blessed we are in many areas of life. When I walk through the cemeteries and see the old stones with little lambs resting peacefully at the top, I say a prayer and count my blessings.

My great-great-grandparents, Worth (born in 1847) and Sarah Gossett (born in 1843), raised eight children in their home near Pricetown. It’s commonly said they had 10 and lost two, and a Gossett family linage backs that up, but a story that has been passed down over the years is that Sarah might have lost several children in childbirth and actually had possibly as many as 13 children from the 1860s through the 1880s.

In the 1880s when my great-grandmother, Lavina Gossett Roush, was born, the life expectancy in America was around 42 years for white males and around 43 years for white females. When you look at it like that, it’s almost amazing I’m even alive because Sarah Gossett had Lavina in July of
1887, making Sarah 44 years old at the time. However, infant mortality played a major role in life expectancy figures back then, and if folks made it to age 40, they would probably live to be between 60 and 70 years old on average.

In all, the Gossetts had eight children that reached adulthood, six girls and two boys. Ira Gossett, born on the 11th of January of 1867 – nearly 151 years ago – was the oldest Gossett child.

A girl, Mary Louisa Gossett, was born next on March 9, 1868, but sadly she passed away on May 17 of the following year. She was just 14 months and eight days old.

Addie Viola Gossett came next and was born on March 14, 1870. In 1893, Addie married a Foust, William Franklin “Frank” Foust. Frank Foust, who was born in 1862, was a longtime reverend in Highland County.

If the reverend’s last name sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Only today the Fousts are Fausts.

I never figured out exactly when or why the name was changed from Foust to Faust, but seems to have happened with Frank and Addie’s children.

Both Frank and Addie are buried in the Ruble Cemetery in Pricetown with the name Foust etched on their grave marker, and numerous newspaper clippings confirm the reverend’s last name as Foust. Two of the Fausts I know today are Jim Faust and his son, Mark Faust, both longtime
Lynchburg educators and leaders at the Pricetown Church of Christ. I’ve also met Jim’s brother, David Faust, who was president at Cincinnati Christian University (earlier known as Cincinnati Bible College) for a dozen years and has written 15 books and penned a weekly column for The Lookout Christian magazine since 1996. Jim, David and Mark are all fine gentlemen and are
greatly respected in their respective communities.

Frank and Addie Foust had three children, Leona Ruth Faust Brown (born in 1894), Worth Franklin Faust (born in 1895) and William “Floyd” Faust (born in 1904), also a longtime reverend who made an appearance earlier in this Gossett/Fort Salem series. (Jim, David and Mark come from the Worth Franklin Faust line.)

I have a story or three about the Rev. Frank Foust, but in the interest of time and space, they will have to wait for now.

Getting back to the Worth and Sarah Gossett family, in 1884, my great-great grandparents had a set of twins, a boy and a girl. Sadly, the boy, the larger twin, was stillborn. He’s only known in the family linage as “Baby Boy” Gossett.

The smaller twin was named Clara Alice Gossett. As the story goes, baby Clara was so tiny and delicate, the family warmed her in the oven – sort of a makeshift incubator.

The old Gossett farmhouse near Fort Salem was certainly not like the hospitals and medical centers we have today; and little Clara Alice Gossett certainly didn’t get the type of medical assistance that infants receive today – but little Clara made it, she lived and grew up in the family
homestead.

Let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next week.

Steve Roush is a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached at roush_steve@msn.com.