Washburn Co. WIGenWeb

People Histories

Mrs. Ida May Goss
 (abt 1860 - 26 Aug 19041)


by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, IL, 1905

pages 449 - 450

Mrs. Ida May Goss (deceased) formerly editor and proprietor of the Spooner Advocate, successfully demonstrated the efficiency of woman in the field of journalism.  She was self-reliant and independent, and she had true business instinct.  These qualities were, in part, imparted by her parents, Capt. J. W. and Carrie (Stafford) Hitchcock, natives of the Empire State.  They were pioneers in Wisconsin, and when the Civil war broke out Capt. Hitchcock evinced his patriotism by responding to the country's call for defenders to preserve the Union.  From the ranks he rose through the regular gradations to the command of a company of Indians recruited by himself for service in the field.  His death occurred recently, in Barron, Wis., and his widow is living in semi-retirement in Barron county.

Mrs. Goss was the eldest of five children, and her birth occurred in Janesville.  In her girlhood she enjoyed only the ordinary advantages afforded by the public school for obtaining an education, but being of a studious nature she made the best of whatever opportunity offered, and quite early in life, became grounded in the elementary principles of the English branches.  Subsequently it was her good fortune to receive her finishing education under the tutelage of Miss Betsy Clapp, a lady widely known for her graces of mind, strength of character and competency as an instructress, who prepared her for teaching.  Soon thereafter she entered upon her chosen work, which she followed for several years with little interruption, and always with success, in the schools of St. Croix and Washburn counties.  Her marriage with Webster Goss, of Peekskill, N. Y., was celebrated June 29, 1886.  Mr. Goss was a lawyer by profession, a gentleman of fine attainments, both natural and acquired, and one of the ablest criminal lawyers in northern Wisconsin.  He was a graduate of Wesleyan University, and was admitted to the Bar at Hudson, New York.  He very creditably served one term as district attorney of Washburn county, was a Republican politically, and an ardent supporter of his party's principles, having a voice in its councils.  The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Goss resulted in the birth of one surviving child, a son, William Giles, now a boy of seven years.  Mr. Goss's death occurred in Spooner, April 25, 1898.

Then it was that Ida May Goss evinced the mettle of which the new woman is made.  She did not sit down and repine over the hardness of her fate, nor did she for a moment indulge the grievous spirit of dependence.  Once out of the old environment and into one altogether new to her, she bravely set out about mastering the new conditions in order to provide for herself and child.  She possessed good qualifications, had a will of her own, and the field of her future endeavor must accord with her inclinations and tastes.  She first sought and obtained an appointment as comparing clerk in the State Assembly, the duties of which position, during the following session, she discharged in a manner creditable to herself and to the entire satisfaction of the Assembly.  But the dry routine of clerical work was not altogether to her liking.  She craved a place in the activities of life, a place where she could exercise her tact and mental resources.  It was then she conceived the idea of establishing the Spooner Advocate.  Her only training in the journalistic line was a short reportorial career on a local newspaper.  however, nothing daunted by a limited experience and inadequate capital, she resolutely launched the Advocate; and despite these handicaps and the generally accepted truth of a time-honored maxim among the profession, a maxim, however, that was only a man's idea of the eternal fitness of things in a newspaper office, that, in order to become a successful editor, one must begin at the bottom and successfully pass the graduations from "devil" to "boss" in the sanctum sanctorum, she carried it on successfully.  When a  resolute woman takes hold of a proposition, she "wills" and the thing is as good as won.

The cost of the original plant was less than four hundred dollars, and when the Advocate made its official bow to the public, in the summer of 1901, it presented a creditable appearance, and immediately won for itself a place in the public esteem.  There is ample evidence that the unique heading on the Advocate's official stationery.  "A newspaper with a record of enterprise," is no misnomer.  Before the paper was a year old it was declared the official organ of Washburn county, and ere a similar length of time had elapsed, the slow, cumbersome press had been superseded by a modern press with gasoline engine, having a printing capacity of twenty-five hundred copies per hour.  The office had likewise an up-to-date job press, and was adequately stocked with type of every description, making it capable of turning out with dispatch work more artistic in appearance than is produced in more pretentious offices.  And as evidence of the Advocate's successful career, it may be noted that the plant as it now stands represents an outlay of more than two thousand dollars, and is a worthy monument to the business sagacity and enterprise of one of the world's new women.

Mrs. Goss was frightfully burned by a gasoline explosion early in the winter of 1902, which greatly impaired her health, resulting finally in a physical breakdown which terminated in her untimely death, Aug. 27, 1904, at the age of forty-four years.

1 - Editorial Note - No further data could be found pertaining to a birth date for Ida May Goss, therefore the birth year listed above is an approximate.  There is a slight discrepancy between her death date in the above article which states 27 Aug 1904 as the date, and the Washburn Co. Register of Deeds Death Index, which states the death date of 26 Aug 1904.  This death record is on file in the ROD office in Shell Lake in Volume 3, page 292 and may also contain a birth date, as well as a burial location.


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