Rev. Dr. Floyd Faust
Rev. Dr. Floyd Faust
“Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; ’Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.”

– “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton (1725-1807)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Gossetts who posed in front of the old homestead near Pricetown are no longer with us and haven’t been for a very long time, but their legacy lives on to this day.

In honor of Worth and Sarah Gossett and their eight children, a Gossett reunion is held the third Saturday of June each year, and it’s safe to say it’s a tradition that has been around longer than all of us have been alive.

In the early days, the reunion was held on June 4, the birthdate of Sarah Ann Roberts Gossett, who was born in 1843 – nearly 175 years ago.

The Gossett reunion has been held several places over the years: from the old Gossett homestead and Fort Salem across the road when Worth and Sarah Gossett were still alive; to the Lynchburg Lions Club; the home of Howard Steritz; the home of Howard’s son, David Steritz (we loved when the reunion was held there when we were kids as David and Mary Lou had a large indoor swimming pool) and a few places in between. Over the past decade or two, it’s been held at the Pricetown Church of Christ where the Gossetts once worshipped.

At the reunions, we wear a nametag that not only bears our name, but also the name of one of the eight Gossett children: Ira, Addie, Orland, Minnie, Pearl, Laverne, Clara or Lavina. I come from the Lavina branch.

Last time, we talked a bit about the life and times of the Gossett matriarch, Sarah Ann, who was affectionately known as “Grandma” Gossett to many later in life. “Grandma” Gossett has been described as a strong woman – she stood anywhere from 5-foot-8 to 6-feet tall, and as the story goes, “she could stand in a half bushel and shoulder two bushels of wheat.”

Like I said last time, there’s a rather good chance that there’s no one still among us who knew both “Grandma” and “Grandpa” Gossett, but that obviously hasn’t always been the case. When I was a youngster, I’ll never forget the Rev. Dr. Floyd Faust.

Dr. Faust, from the Addie line and a grandson of Worth and Sarah, was a high school principal in Clinton County and a longtime preacher at the Broad Street Christian Church in Columbus. For many years at the reunions, Dr. Faust, who was born in 1904, would play an accordion and sing a lot of the old hymns and the old songs the Gossetts of yore loved to sing and would tell stories about the old days.

“One of the traditions was every time the group would get together for dinner, Grandpa would be sitting at the end of the table with his Bible, and he’d open it up and read and then pray,” Dr. Faust said many years ago.

“He’d pray not only for the food, but for the children and the grandchildren. And then after the meal was over, he’d say, ‘Now let’s go over to the parlor and sing.’ They grew up with that. They had the eight children – they had 10 and lost two – and of those eight children, they were tuned to sing. The two boys, a tenor and a bass, we had six girls, Aunt Lavina and Aunt Laverne grew up in the high register, and Aunt Clara and Aunt Pearl way down in the deep register, and my Mother (Addie) and Aunt Minnie right in the middle. And all they needed to do was to hit a note and you had a chord. Grandpa played a fiddle, my Mother played the old organ and Aunt Laverne was an excellent piano player.”

Dr. Faust continued, “As soon as they’d get together to sing, they’d sing some fun songs of the time,” and accordion in hand, the Gossett family descendants broke into song: “School days, school days, Dear old golden rule days, Reading and writing and ’rithmetic, Taught to the tune of the hickory stick, You were my queen in calico, I was your bashful barefoot beau, And you wrote on my slate, ‘I love you, Joe’ When we were a couple of kids.”

After singing a few of the fun ones, Dr. Faust recalled Grandpa Gossett would say, “It’s about time we got around to the Lord.”

“Grandma would say, ‘All right, let’s start with my favorite,’” Dr. Faust recalled, and accordion ready, went straight into “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.”

Then it was time for Grandpa Gossett’s favorite hymn, and as the old family sings, let’s pause for now and we’ll continue next week.

“In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore; In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.”

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 by email at roush_steve@msn.com.