Person:GAUSS, Eugene (1811 - 1896)

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GAUSS, Eugene (1811 - 1896)
Family(s): Gauss,Fawcett
Person ID (Link to genealogy): GED link doc.gif I19
Descendant of C. F. Gauss
Sex: M
Date born: 29 Jul 1811
Born in: Hannover
Date died: 4 Jul 1896
Died in: Columbia, Missouri
Buried in: Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri


Father: GAUSS, Carl Friedrich (1777 - 1855)
Mother: WALDECK, Friederica Wilhelmine (1788 - 1831)
Spouse(s): FAWCETT, Henrietta (1817 - 1909)
Children(in Wiki):

Religious affiliation(s): Presbyterian
Occupation(s): Banker, Entrepreneur
Occupation details: Eugene was a banker, and also ran a lumber business.
Military service:
Military campaign
Military branch Army - Infantry
Fawcett book: GAUSS, Eugene (1811 - 1896)
Other attributes
Needs attention: Yes
Needs annotation: Yes


Eugene Gauss was born to Carl Friedrich Gauss and Minna Waldeck in Hanover in 1811.

Notes on Eugene Gauss

  • I keep searching for that clue that will tell me why, why things turned out like they did. Your Eugene Gauss held my Wilhelm Bock's life in his hand so to speak. He bailed him out with a note on his land in 1844 but did not do anything when it went unpaid years after it was due. Finally he broke down and had Sam McClure call for a Sheriff sale and bought it himself. But he still didn't evict the old man. And not until Bock was dead did Eugene Gauss break down and sell Bock's beloved Dutzow. --Dorris Keeven
  • GAUSS, Virginia to Anne D. Gauss - 1914-12-26: He had a general merchandise store, Gauss & Weidner, there in the grain business, Then Lumber, also President of the First-National Bank. Eugene thinks he was the first president of the Bank. Resigned on account of his eyes.

External References

From Bill Fawcett's book:

EUGENE GAUSS was born in Gottingen in the province of Hanover, Waldeck, Germany on July 29, 1811 to Karl Frederick Gauss (1777-1855), the famous mathematician, and Mina Waldeck Gauss, his second wife (Hall 1970). Eugene shared his father's brilliance in math and languages. His father opposed Eugene's study of philology, insisting that Eugene study law. This opposition building on Eugene's violent temper and unsettled nature led him to play cards, drink beer, and amass gambling debts at the university rather than attending classes. His father's paying off Eugene's debt fueled further conflict.

Eugene announced his intention of traveling to the United States. Eugene left home without saying goodbye or packing. Karl followed him across Germany to Bremen with money and a trunk for his son. They met for a final time at the astronomer Olber's home (Hall 1970:154).

Eugene Gauss arrived in New York City on December 22, 1830 (Centennial 1921b:936). Buhler (1981:114) says he came to Philadelphia. After several months, Eugene enlisted in the U.S. Army and advanced to the rank of sergeant. He served at Fort Snelling, near St. Paul, Minnesota (then Iowa Territory) in the 1st U.S. Infantry under the command of the future-president Zachary Taylor. Unhappy in the army and his five-year enlistment he wrote his father in July 1831 and again several months later seeking his assistance in obtaining a discharge for nearsightedness. He also asked for money. His requests were denied, and his father sent a long letter of reprimand by June 1831. Eugene Gauss joined the Minneapolis First Presbyterian church when it organized at Fort Snelling on June 14, 1835 under the direction of Rev/Dr Thomas S. Williamson (Church Records).

On January 27, 1836, Eugene Gauss, an orderly sergeant in Br. Loomis' Company, wrote the American Board of Protestant Foreign Missions to offer his services as a missionary (ABPFM Mss 74 #9 MNHS). They decided not to do so (ABPFM Indians LBC, p. 484; ABCPFM Mss 74 #11 MNHS). He also donated some shoes, valued at $1.50, to J.D. Stern's mission (ABPFM Mss 192:15-16 MNHS). In May 1836 Serg. Gauss may have been with Mr. Stevens (Ryan to Silbey: Sibley Mss 5/10/1836 MNHS). Gauss copied a letter of D.Greene to T.S. Williamson (ABCFN Mss 74 #31 10/4/1836). He also sought to become a clerk in the fur trade (Pond Mss 1/20/1836 MNHS).

After his discharge (by June 1836) Eugene Gauss worked for Joseph Rennville as a clerk at Lac qui Parle, Minnesota for at least a year (Letter 9/2/1836 Taufaterro of St. Peters to S.W. Pond, & another 6/8/1836: Pond Mss, MNHS; ABCFM Mss 74 #29 P. 60 10/1/1836). He learned Lakota and assisted a missionary with an alphabet for a bible translation (Willard 1964:80, 279). Gauss also knew Greek. The missionaries at Lac qui Parle included Dr. Thomas S. Williamson, Stephen R. Riggs, Gideon and Samuel Pond, Samuel Dentan, Daniel Gavin, Moses Adams, Huggins, and Pettijohn.

Toward the end of the 1830s his father, Karl Gauss, became convinced that Eugene has improved and sent him the proceeds of his inheritance from his mother (who died in 1831), which had been delayed by a codicil concerning good behavior. Henry Hastings Sibley came to Mendota in about November 1834, living with the Alexis Bailley family and visiting the Fort. He served as the co-sutler at the Fort as of January 1836. There he probably met Eugene Gauss during the final nine months of Gauss' enlistment. Eugene Gauss' name appears in Henry Sibley's Ledger books for the American Fur Company store at Mendota from February 1837 through July 1839 (Sibley Paper Ledger 42:102, 182, 265). He ended up owing the Company $258.94. His name also occurs on the Fort Snelling Sutler's Account Book for Civilians from November 1837 through October 1838 (Fort Snelling M164(28):88:213).

On May 1, 1837, Eugene Gauss signed a contract with Henry H. Sibley at Fort Snelling to work for the American Fur Company during the coming year for $100. He was hired as a clerk among the Sioux (H.H. Sibley Papers 7/1/1837). By then he was fairly fluent in Sioux and continued in close contact with the Ponds and their friends (S.W. Pond to R. Hine 6/25/1837 letter in Pond Papers). Gauss is mentioned in some correspondence (Letter 10/18/1837 Anderson to Sibley; Letter 10/21/1837 S.W. Pond to G.H. Pond, and Rebecca Hine to S.W. Pond 10/22/1837: Pond Papers). T.S. Williamson sent his regards to Gauss in a letter to Sibley dated July 11, 1837 (Sibley Mss MNHS). A few days later (July 13, 1837), Eugene Gauss donated $10 to the ABPFM (ABPFM Mss 141 #1 MNHS). Several months later (10/21/1837) Samuel W. Pond wrote in his letter to his brother, Gideon W. Pond, that he had not seen Gauss for a while (Pond Mss MNHS).

Eugene Gauss taught school about half a mile from Fort Snelling during the summer of 1838 (Pond Mss MNHS 7/2/1838). He appears to have continued to teach at least occasionally through 1839 (see below; Sibley Mss 8/13/1838 MNHS). On October 10, 1838 Eugene Gauss donated $10 to the Lac qui Parle Mission (ABCFM Mss 192 #6 MNHS), but appears to have continued to reside at or near Fort Snelling through the fall of 1838 (ABCFM Mss 141 #6 11/8/1838 MNHS).

By November 1838 Gauss had enough to pay off his debt to the Company except $75 he owed Sibley. He expected some funds from Germany (those mentioned above and held by his father). Until the fall of 1838 he worked with Mr. Farebault. He also anticipated finding employment in St. Louis with Nicollette (Letter to Sibley: Papers 9/6/1838). In a subsequent letter Gauss offered to replace Mr. Anderson who was leaving from the American Fur Company post at St. Peters (to Sibley 11/26/1838). Judging from his subsequent letter, it seems likely that Gauss went to St. Louis.

Gauss was working in Seley's [Sibley?] Store in St. Peter's in January 1839 (Letter 1/10/1839 S.W. Pond of Lake Harriet [Minneapolis] to G.H. Pond of Lac qui Parle: Pond Papers). That month he also gave Henry H. Sibley a note for his balance ($50) owed to the American Fur Company. On February 1, 1839 H.H. Sibley credited E. Gauss for $12.34 paid to him by John R. Wood for tuition (Sibley Account Book 1838-56:1). It seems likely that E. Gauss spent the winter of 1838-39 at Sibley's store in Mendota, Minnesota, but then went down river in March.

Eugene Gauss indicated in his letter to Samuel W. Pond written on January 25, 1839 that he was learning to speak Sioux very fast (Pond Mss MHS).

On March 27, 1839 Eugene Gauss was advanced $100 by the American Fur Company at St. Louis (Western Retail Store Ledger CC:13a, 84). The following day he purchased some blankets. The next day Gauss wrote Sibley from St. Louis to inform him that he was hired by Chouteau's American Fur Company and would ascend the Missouri River the next week to return to the Sioux country on the upper Missouri. Gauss anticipated being away from St. Louis for three years (Sibley Papers 3/29/1839). He accompanied Joseph N. Nicolett's expedition upstream to Ft. Pierre on the steamboat Antelope. His contract with American Fur Co. was for three years, but he only worked at Ft. Pierre until late 1839 (Chittenden, De Smet p. 1549). On October 31, 1839 his account was paid in full (American Fur Co. Western Retail Ledger CC:84).

A letter from Stephen R. Riggs to Samuel W. Pond dated October 3, 1840 states that Gauss had gone to among the Sioux or to the lower Missouri (Pond Mss MNHS). By then he was already established in St. Charles.

In 1840 Eugene became a businessman in St. Charles, dealing in grains and lumber, and real estate (the Gauss Addition to St. Charles). On August 1, 1840 he wrote Sibley again requesting that he send his note to Carsters Angelroot & Company of St. Louis so they could pay it for Gauss. This apparently was not done. On August 31, 1842 P. Chouteau paid note for $83.87 to E. Gauss from Western Retail store in St. Louis (Western Retail Ledger EE:482, GG:50).

Eugene Gauss married Henrietta Fawcett at the Fawcett Tavern in St. Charles, Missouri on February 14, 1844 (Marriage Records 27:249; Johnson 1982). They continued to reside in St. Charles.

At age 29 on May 8, 1844 Eugene Gauss became an American citizen. On October 16, 1848 he wrote from St. Charles to Henry H. Sibley of St. Peters, Minnesota to settle his account ($467) with a check from the Bank of Missouri (Sibley Papers 10/16/1848).

The 1852 census (p. 50) lists his household in St. Charles as consisting of 3 white males < 10 years, 1 white male 10-18 years, 3 white males 21-45 years, 1 white female 10-18 years, 1 white female 18-21 years, 2 white females 21-45 years and 0 slaves.

The town of St. Charles elected Eugene Gauss treasurer in 1853. Eugene’s father died in Germany in February 1855. In January 1856 Gauss' Dry Goods & Hardware was located in a new store just south of the New School Presbyterian Church. This later was the site of Hunington Dry Goods Co (St Charles Revilee 1/12/1856). On May 19, 1860 Eugene Gauss joined the Dardenne Presbyterian Church, but then transferred his membership to the Columbia Presbyterian Church in 1886(?) (Watson 1977:345). The 1860 census shows that Eugene was a lumber merchant (p. 104, #958). His household also had to German-born domestic workers: Emily Bruet (age 19) and Anna Hillscamper (age 18).

Eugene Gauss was the founding President of the First National Bank of St. Charles (1863-70). By 1867 Eugene Gauss was a member of Redman & Gauss with John W. Redman, dealers in Lumber, opposite the Railroad Depot in St. Charles.

His occupation is listed in the 1870 census as merchant, and his brother Henry Gauss[1] (also a merchant) and his wife Elizabeth (after c. 1860), lived with them (1860 census #958, 1868#456, 1870 #109), as also did Henrietta's sister, Virginia Fawcett (census: 1860, 1868, 1870).

All of the children of Henrietta Fawcett and Eugene Gauss were born and raised in St. Charles in their large stone house, surrounded by a park (Gauss 1982:196), Missouri (1850, 1852:50, 1868, 1870 1876 censuses) and many are also buried there in the Oak Grove Cemetery(*), including: (1) Charles Henry Gauss (1845-1913, buried St. Louis),(2) Theresa Gauss (1847-ca. 1850*), (3) Theodore Gauss (1840-95*), (4) Robert Gauss (1851-1913, buried Denver/*?), (5) Virginia Gauss (1853-1930*), (6) Eugene Gauss, Jr. (1856-1951*), and (7) Albert "Herbert"(?)[2] Gauss (1862-aft 1930 Los Angeles?).

By 1871 Eugene’s eyes developed cataracts. He was a nervous man and dreaded the operation, so he procrastinated (Letter V Fawcett to E Fawcett 2/12/1876). In 1878 his lumber yard was destroyed by a fire (Letter W Fawcett to V Fawcett 5/12/1878). The firm of Gauss & Son consisted of Eugene and his son, Theodore (Letter V Fawcett to L Fawcett 5/25/1882).

During the 1880s, Eugene’s daughter Virginia Gauss, cared for Eugene and Henrietta. She often read for Eugene in the evenings (Letter V Fawcett to E Fawcett 4/27/1882).

Following Virginia Fawcett's death, in December 1885 Eugene moved to his country estate in Boone County, near Columbia, Missouri. Eugene Gauss visited St. Charles at the end of 1885 (Columbia Missouri Statesman 12/11/1885 3/1; 12/18/1885 3/2). After he became blind at age 80 he performed mathematical calculations in his head. Among other things he calculated the sum to which one dollar would have grown at 4% interest over the 6000 years since Adam's birth. The amount was expressed as a cube of gold in which the observable universe vanishes like a drop of water in a bathtub. He was assisted by his son Theodore, who every few days wrote down his father's figures. On occasion Eugene corrected Theodore's own calculations. He was able to remember strings of 30 digits for days. The results were checked by a professor of astronomy. Eugene Gauss was the last living child of Karl Gauss. He burned most of his letters from his father. A gold medal awarded to Karl Gauss by King George V was inherited by Eugene Gauss. He melted it down to make frames for his eyeglasses.

Eugene Gauss died near Columbia, Boone County, Missouri of heart failure on July 4, 1896 at 84 years, 11 months and 5 days, and is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Gauss 1982:196, Oak Grove Cemetery Registry p. 44; Geerling and Wiechens 1987:46; McElhiney 1970:44, 195, 433).


From A History of the Fawcetts and Related Families in America by William Bloys Fawcett. Used by permission of Dr. Fawcett.

This book was first published in 1996 and some of the information is quite dated. If you find errors or want to add updates, contact me, and I will add notes to the page.

Copyright © 1996, 2007 by William Bloys Fawcett, Jr. All rights reserved. No copies may be made of this document through any electronic, photocopying or other means without permission of the author.

  1. Actually, Henry Gauss was Eugene's son rather than his brother.
  2. Fawcett

References on this Site



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