Ladies and gentlemen, the last time we chatted about Pricetown, Fort Salem and the Gossett family of the days of yore, we talked a little bit about William Franklin “Frank” Foust, the man who married Worth and Sarah Gossett’s eldest daughter.

Frank Foust, whose surname is now known in Highland County as Faust, was born Sept. 14, 1862 – when Abraham Lincoln was president and the country was embroiled in the Civil War.

His wife, Addie Viola Gossett Foust, was born March 14, 1870 – when Ulysses S. Grant was our country’s commander in chief and Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States.

Foust was a man of many hats, but one thing was a constant throughout his life – he loved his Lord, and he loved the church and winning souls to Christ.

Before he was 20 years of age, an article appeared in The Highland News, discussing the reorganization of the Pricetown Sunday School in early 1882.

The Pricetown reporter wrote, “The Pricetown Sunday School re-organization yesterday resulted in the election of J.B. Faris as superintendent and Frank Foust as secretary.

“An incident occurred in the nomination of Foust. One of the elders arose and objected, as he (Foust) was not a member of the church but the young man’s popularity in the school was so great that he was elected by a large majority. Truly, the world does move.”

When he was in his 20s, Foust became an elder of the Pricetown Christian Church, and began preaching sermons around the area when opportunity arose. He also won elected positions in Salem Township, including township clerk, but before he became a well-known reverend, Foust was an educator in Highland County and had a teacher’s certificate.

In July of 1885, Foust wrote a passionate letter to the editor to the local newspaper on practical grammar and how teachers can impart a practical knowledge of it in pupils.

Foust wrote that teachers should endeavor to set a good example in all things, and in regard to grammar, teachers “may be awakened hereby, in some degree at least, to a proper consideration of their duty; join arm in arm with their fellow workers and labor earnestly and diligently to enhance each other’s interest, employing all means within their power for the up-building and furtherance of the noble work in which they are engaged.”

After several years as a school teacher, Foust decided to attend Hiram College, where he took ministry coursework.

In case you aren’t extremely familiar with the school, Hiram College was founded in 1850 as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, is located in northern Ohio and its most famous alumnus is James A. Garfield (1831-81), the 20th president of the United States. Last year (2016-17), Hiram’s student body consisted of 875 undergraduates.

After his studies at Hiram, the Rev. Foust returned to Highland County. As a pastor, he preached all over the area, including Pricetown, Hollowtown, Buford, Danville, Hillsboro, Sugar Tree Ridge, Union, Taylorsville and Fairview, just to name a few places. After a sermon in Buford, the following was published in the local newspaper, “Rev. Frank Foust preached a very practical sermon from the pulpit of the Christian Church at this place yesterday. Judging from the number of ‘Bushels’ he kicked over, he hews strictly to the line, let the chips fall whithersoever they may.”

In September of 1894, it was published that the Rev. Foust “accepted a call” from the Fergus Street Church in Cincinnati and moved his family the next month to get ready for his pastoral duties, which began the first Sunday in November. On Sunday, Oct. 21, 1894, he preached his “farewell” sermon to the congregation at Pricetown.

As far as I can tell, there is no more Fergus Street Church in Cincinnati, at least one called by that name, but there is a Fergus Street in Cincinnati, which is not terribly far from the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Zoo.

After a year, the Rev. Foust was asked to remain pastor at the Fergus Street Church, but according to published reports in the Hillsboro newspaper, “owing to ill health,” Foust “accepted a charge at Russellville, Ohio.”

At this point, Foust was just 32 years old, and it makes me wonder why “ill health” brought him back closer to home. But it makes me think of a tale that was told to me when I was just a lad.

According to the story, Foust was out visiting when he was a young man, and at someone’s place, he saw a squirrel in a tree and offered to shoot the rodent. He was handed an old muzzleloader rifle and took aim, but the gun was rusted and had been loaded for a long time and the ball had frozen/corroded in the chamber.

When he fired, the muzzleloader’s nipple blew backward and embedded in Foust’s forehead, penetrating his sinus. I was told he nearly died, but Foust eventually recovered from the injury.

As the story goes, years later, the reverend had a coughing and sneezing fit behind the pulpit. Something came out, but Foust set it aside on the pulpit and kept right on preaching.

At the end of the service, Foust looked to see what it was – it was a piece of the felt hat he was wearing when he tried to shoot that squirrel.

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 by email at roush_steve@msn.com.