Marion Goss

Marion Goss was born in Bellmore, Parke County, Indiana on November 3, 1846, to Cyrus Goss and Elizabeth Bullion. His father was a farmer and a teacher who owned about $6,000 in property by 1860. Growing up, Marion attended public school in Parke County and assisted his father with farm work.

On January 30, 1865, shortly after turning 18, Goss enlisted for a year in the 149th Indiana Infantry. Many of his Parke County peers enlisted alongside him, including his friends Joseph Noble and Jacob D. Mater. The regiment was mustered in on March 1 and spent the next few months on garrison duty in Nashville, Tennessee, and Decatur, Alabama. Early in his service, Goss suffered from sore eyes and rheumatism. He received a brief furlough to recover, returning to his regiment in April 1865. In May, after falling ill with diarrhea, he was moved to Camp Carrington in Indianapolis to convalesce. Goss mustered out alongside his unit on September 27, 1865, in Nashville, Tennessee.   

After the war, Goss returned to Indiana, where he began teaching school in Piattsville. Poor health, however, forced him to resign after only two months. Goss dreamed of becoming a doctor, and in September 1867 he enrolled in preparatory classes at Asbury University in Greencastle, Indiana. His health continued to fail him, and a local doctor named John Wilcox ordered Goss home to Parke County two months later. After convalescing at home, Goss returned to study medicine in Greencastle, this time directly under Dr. Wilcox. Goss’s friend and fellow 149th veteran Joseph Noble also studied medicine under Wilcox at the same time. Wilcox had graduated from the University of Virginia Medical School, and he encouraged Goss and Noble to follow suit. They enrolled at UVA in the fall of 1869, graduating from the School of Medicine in July 1870. 

Goss returned to Greencastle, Indiana, for two months after graduation before moving back to Parke County. He established a country medical practice in 1870 that he operated until 1888. On November 17, 1872, Goss married Mary J. Mater, whose cousin Jacob D. Mater was another Parke County 149th veteran. Jacob D. Mater’s father, Ira Mater, performed the marriage. On March 4, 1875, Mary gave birth to a daughter, Ida Belle. Not long after the birth of their daughter, the Goss’s marriage began to fracture. By 1880, Mary had moved back in with her parents, now living in Kansas, and took Ida with her. Marion continued to live in Parke County, and on February 17, 1886, the state of Indiana granted Marion Goss a divorce and sole custody of his daughter, Ida. Mary Jane Goss apparently died in the western United States in the early 20th century.

Ida and her father appeared to have a strained relationship. At the time of her marriage to John A. Edmundson on July 16, 1898, Ida listed her residence as Arkansas City, Kansas, despite the fact that Goss lived in Parke County at the time. Ida moved to Colorado with her husband and appeared to maintain little contact with her father. She died in 1930 in a Colorado mental asylum.

Following his divorce, Goss practiced medicine in Topeka, Kansas, for a few months in 1887, where he connected with Sarah B. Hefferlin, born Sarah S. Blake in Parke County in 1861. Although Sarah had known of Goss during her youth in Parke County, the two had never developed a personal relationship. Sarah moved to Kansas when she married Kansan William Hefferlin on October 3, 1886. While Goss lived in Topeka, a fondness developed between the divorced Goss and the newlywed Sarah, and they began regularly exchanging letters. After his stint in Kansas, Goss moved to Colorado and continued to practice medicine. Throughout 1887, Goss continued traveling in search of better health. After a period of nomadic life, Goss returned to Indiana and settled in Rockville in Parke County. Meanwhile, William Hefferlin successfully petitioned for divorce from Sarah on December 12, 1888, in a Montana court. Four months after her divorce, Goss married Sarah on April 10, 1889, in Alma, Kansas. Sarah gave birth to a son, Morgan Blake Goss, on November 9, 1890. Morgan B. Goss, affectionately known to his parents as Blake, worked as an auto machinist, eventually moving to Detroit, Michigan. Like his father, Blake enlisted in the army as a private and served in World War I. 

By the time his son was born, Goss had developed a strong reputation in Parke County. He served as the County Health Officer and President of the Board of Surgeons. Goss also founded the Parke County Medical Society. The county residents averred that Goss owned a “good practice and was a good physician.” Goss was a longstanding member of several fraternal organizations, including the Freemasons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Steele Poste of the Grand Army of the Republic. He actively participated in the Rockville Shakespeare Club and nurtured his enthusiasm for horticulture. Sometime after his second marriage, Goss converted to Presbyterianism and became a devoted parishioner. 

Despite his success in the medical field, Goss’s health continued to plague him. In 1891, Goss’s malarial fever and rheumatism relapsed and left him in extreme discomfort. As he had done previously, Goss travelled west in the hopes of improving his health. After spending decades seeking relief to his health ailments, Goss finally applied for an invalid pension. Goss began receiving a pension of $6 per month in 1904. He received pension increases to $8 per month in 1907 and $10 per month in 1908. For his final pension increase, Goss had enlisted the help of Elias S. Holliday, a Republican congressman for Indiana. 

On September 16, 1907, Goss suffered a severe stroke that resulted in partial paralysis. He lost his ability to write, and his ability to talk slowly deteriorated over the next several months. Marion Goss died of Bright’s disease at his home in Rockville, Parke County, Indiana, on December 13, 1908. He was buried in the Rockville Cemetery according to GAR ritual. 

Shortly before Goss’s death, special examiner Charles A. Hughes of the pension office decided to investigate Goss’s pension claim. Hughes chose to continue his investigation in spite of Goss’s death, knowing that Goss’s widow Sarah intended to apply for a pension. Bizarrely, Hughes believed that Goss had coached many of the witnesses before his death, despite the fact he could barely write or speak. Unable to substantiate his claim that Goss attempted to defraud the pension office, Hughes concluded his investigation. Sarah B. Goss received a widow’s pension at $12 per month for the remainder of her life.

Image: (1) Marion Goss (courtesy


Hoos in the Hoosier State: The 149th Indiana, UVA’s School of Medicine, and Post-War Reconciliation (Part 1)

Hoos in the Hoosier State: The 149th Indiana, UVA’s School of Medicine, and Post-War Reconciliation (Part 2)


William H. Gillum Testimony on behalf of Marion Goss, February 8, 1908

Obituary for Marion Goss, December 23, 1908

Name:Goss, Marion
Alternative names:
  • Goss, Marian (alternative name)
  • Soldier
  • UVA (Union)
149th Regiment Indiana InfantryI
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1865-01-30Terre Haute, INaccepted18
Muster In1865-04-30
Muster Out1865-09-27Nashville, TNMustered Out
Residence at UVA:Greencastle, IN
UVA Begin Year:1869
UVA End Year:1870
Residence at enlistment:Bellmore, Parke County, IN
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Goss, MarionGoss, Marion1328335application-invalid
Goss, Marionnoneapplication-minor
Goss, Marionnoneapplication-parent
Goss, MarionGoss, Sarah B.911795application-widow
Goss, MarionGoss, Marion1142858certificate-invalid
Goss, MarionGoss, Sarah B.676137certificate-widow
Birth date:1846-11-03
Birth date certainty:certain
Birth place:Bellmore, Parke County, IN
Death date:1908-12-13
Death place:Rockville, Parke County, IN
Causes of death:disease: Bright's Disease
Occupations:Farmer, Doctor
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Goss, Marionparent ofGoss, Blake
Goss, Marionparent ofGoss, Ida Belle
Goss, Sarah B.wife ofGoss, Marion
Goss, Mary Janewife ofGoss, Marion

Compiled Service Records for Marion Goss, Jacob D. Mater, and Joseph Noble, RG 94, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Pension Records for Marion Goss, RG 15, National Archives and Records Administration; United States Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930, accessed through; "Marion Goss and Mary J. Mater," Indiana, Marriages, 1810-2001, accessed through; "John A. Edmundson and Ida B. Goss," Reno County, Kansas Courthouse Marriage Licenses, Book 6, Page 70, accessed through; Draft Registration for Morgan B. Goss, RG 147, National Archives at St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; Parke County INGenWeb,; The Rockville Tribune, December 23, 1908, courtesty of the Rockville Public Library; The Rockville Republican, 1908-1930, courtesy of the Rockville Public Library; Hiram Williams Beckwith, History of Vigo and Parke Counties, Together with Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley (1880); Lorenzo Sayles Fairbanks, Fairbanks Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897 (1897); Frederick A. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1909); Phillip Alexander Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, Volume III (1921); John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands (2001); "John Wilcox," UVA Student Catalogue, Jefferson's University: Early Life,; "Morgan B. Goss," Memorial #81700179, accessed on