S.J. Emery

Sarah J. Emery

In 1857 Sarah Jane Emery came by boat to Keokuk, Iowa, and then overland by team.  She was originally from Sedalia in Madison County, Ohio.  Her father, Thoas Emery, had been a member of the underground, and their home had been an overnight stopping place for runaway slaves seeking their freedom in Canada.  In 1858 Sarah took her first teaching job at the age of seventeen in a rural school two miles south of Nevada.  In 1861, a one-acre site located just east of Squaw Creek was deeded by Lucian and Abigail Hoggatt, for school purposes.

The construction of the school was completed by June 1862, and the Washington Township School was ready for its first term.  Sarah Emery was the first teacher.  She boarded with the William Fitzpatrick family, who lived in the college Farmhouse, the first building on the newly established Iowa Agricultural Farm.  The school's first dozen students were mostly from the two families - the Hoggatts and the Fitzpatricks.  The surrounding village had only about a dozen dwellings, and wasn't to be established as a town for two and a half more years.



The Gossard Family, 1889

On July 4, 1865, Sarah married Thomas Gossard while he was on furlough from the Union Army.  The young husband left to return to the war, but it was shortly over and Thomas was mustered out and returned home.  The Gossards had four children between 1866 and 1874 -- Carrie Blanche, born 1866; Harry Authur, born 1868; William Emery, b. 1871; and Thomas LaMont, b. 1874. Thomas died in 1890, and Sarah moved to Ames with her children.

The photo above shows Sarah Emery Gossard, second from right in front.  Thomas Gossard is seated next to her. Also pictured are the Gossards' four children and their grandmother, Elizabeth Emery, who died at age 85 in her daughter's home in Ames.

In 1908 Sarah Gossard moved to Onawa, Iowa.  She lived to be 95 and is now buried in Ames Municipal Cemetery.