Thirsa Gossett was born to William H Burris, Sr and Marie Bellows on June 6, 1839 in Washington County, Ohio. She was one of their nine children. At the age of eleven she became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her mother died two years later and she was raised by her father.
On November 5, 1861 she married Warden Willis Gossett in Cold Run, Ohio. He had joined the 77th Ohio Infantry several days earlier to fight in the Civil War. She referred to Warden as "my dear soldier boy". In early July 1862 Thirsa volunteered as a nurse in the Medical Unit and she was put to work at the hospital in Mount Vernon, Indiana; when the sick were sent to Evansville, Indiana and she went with them. She served in two hospitals there and was discharged when Warden developed TB and she took him home in January 1863. Her military service paper work was lost in a house fire.
To further complicate her search for a pension in later years, her name had been listed as Theresa and Thursey by the doctors she had served under, Drs. Penny, Turner and Pennington. A testimony says she would do the laundry for the soldiers as well as nursing them.
Despite Warden's ill health and Thirsa serving in the medical unit, their first child, Howard was born in July 1863 in Noble County, Ohio. Their daughter, Hortensia (Tenta) was born in March 1866.
This family moved along with the family of Thirsa's sisters, Melissa and Maria and their husbands, the Brabhams, to Lane County, Oregon and they lived in Springfield, Eugene and Junction City.
Thirsa belonged to the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic. Eventually, Warden and Thirsa moved to Lents in Multnomah County were they owned a plot of land valued at $1200. Warden died in 1909 and was buried at the Pioneer Cemetery in Eugene. Thirsa had difficult financial times for the three years remaining before her death due to heart disease in May 1912. She was laid to rest beside him after a trip by train from Portland. We know that the headstone in place today is not original because the cost for the original markers were $4 each.
Howard Gossett had three children and three grandchildren. Tenta had two children and five grandchildren.
We conduct a memorial service at Thirsa's grave annually on Memorial Day.
[Written by Carolyn Hall, 8 May 2008, as documented by papers at the National Archives, the Oregon State Archives and federal census records. Updated 28 Mar 2010.]
This page last modified 31 Jan 2011
Copyright 2008 by Beverly Przybylski for DUVCW Tent #2