From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Goss, William Thompson

(born: March 14, 1894  -  died: January 30, 1960) 

Born in Barren Fork, KY, William T. Goss was a poet, commercial artist, letterer, and portrait artist. He had no formal education in art when he attend the Haines Institute in Augusta, GA; he later studied six months in France. His work was shown beginning in 1931 at various galleries and exhibits in Detroit, MI.

According to his draft registration card for World War I, Goss had been employed by the Connecticut Tobacco Company in Somerset, KY prior to the war. He served in the U.S. Navy. His World War II registration card gives his address as Cincinnati, OH, where Goss was employed at the Wright Aeronautical Company.

In 1931 he was living at 1021 S. 15th Street in Toledo, OH. He sailed to France and returned home six months later aboard the ship "France" on September 23, 1931 [source: New York Passenger List of United States Citizens, U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service, S.S. France, September 17-23, 1931]. Upon his return to the States, Goss was employed as a commercial artist at the Chevrolet Motor Company in Detroit [source: Ebony Rhythm: an anthology of contemporary Negro verse, by B. M. Murphy].

In 1940, William and Cora Jones Goss lived in Indianapolis, IN at 2101 Boulevard Place; both had lived in Detroit in 1935 [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The couple married June 1, 1939 in Marion County, IN [source: Marion County Marriage License Record #55548, p. 325, ref. book #152]. While in Indianapolis, Goss was self-employed as a portrait artist; he also owned a sign shop [source: "William Goss [obituary]" in the Indianapolis Recorder, 2/13/1960, p. 9].

Goss died January 30, 1960 at the Veteran's Hospital in Cincinnati [source: Ohio Death Certificate #12228]. His services were held at Delaines Funeral Home in Covington, KY, and he was buried in Cincinnati. Pearl Goss (1890-1976) from Covington is listed as his wife in the obituary. William T. Goss was the son of Peter and Mattie Bogle Goss.

*Barren Fork in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Source: 1900 U.S. Census.

For more see Negro Artists: an illustrated review of their achievements, by Harmon Foundation (1991 reprint edition); and Afro-American Artists. A bio-bibliographical directory, compiled and edited by T. D. Cederholm. Two of Goss' poems, "Man to Man" and "Variety," are on pp. 72-73 in Ebony Rhythm, by B. M. Murphy.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Pulaski County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Barren Fork, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Goss, William Thompson,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-05 16:43:43