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Losson Ross

The roll-call of pioneer settlers in California shows that the ranks are being gradually depleted, a fact which was brought forcibly to mind when it was announced that Losson Ross had passed away July 20, 1908. His death closed a career of distinct usefulness in the community in which he had lived for fifty-four years, no one being more highly esteemed or respected in the vicinity of Forestville than was he.

The Ross family originated in the south, William Ross, the father, being a native of Tennessee, but when he was quite a young child he was taken by his parents to Indiana, and it was there that he was educated and grew to manhood years on his fatherís farm. Not only did he become proficient in agriculture, but he also equipped himself in three other lines, gun-making, blacksmithing and carriage-making, and in Harrison county, Ind., he established a wagon-shop that he maintained until the year 1849. He then removed to Iowa and continued work at his trade in Bonaparte for the following five years. In the meantime two of his sons, Losson and James L., had come to California, and in 1855 he joined them in Placerville, where he continued for two years at the end of that time coming to Analy township, Sonoma county, and locating on a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres that his two sons mentioned had purchased and deeded to him. This was his home for about twenty years, or until his death in 1876, when seventy-two years old. His first vote was cast for a whig candidate, and he continued to cast his ballot for the candidates of this party until the formation of the Republican party, which he supported as enthusiastically as he had its predecessor. Personally he was a man of high principles, and throughout his mature years he had been a member and active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He had a hearty co-laborer and sympathizer in his wife, who before her marriage was Sarah Kay, a native of Virginia and who died in Analy township at the age of eighty-four years. In her religious affiliation she was a member of the Adventist Church. A family of nine children was born to William Ross and his wife, eight becoming citizens of California, but of these only three are now living, as follows: James L., a rancher in Analy township; Jesse, a rancher in San Benito county: and W. T., who owns a ranch in Sonoma county.

Losson Ross was born July 22, 1828, in New Albany, near Corydon, Harrison county, Ind., and as a boy he attended the district school near his birthplace. When not in school he found occupation in his fatherís wagon-shop, and under his father he learned the wagon and carriage-makerís trade. After spending a year in Louisiana he removed with his parents to Bonaparte, Iowa, remaining there until April 5, 1850, when with his brother, James L., he set out on the overland journey with ox-teams. The Carson river was reached after a tiresome journey of six months, during which experience he and his wife walked al l of the way, with the single exception of one day, when he was ill. When the brothers reached their destination their financial outlook was not the brightest, the sum total of their wealth being $1, each one having fifty cents. Their honest appearance was undoubtedly the means of their obtaining credit with which to make the first payment on a claim to a man who was ill and wanted to sell out in order to return home. This he was enabled to do with the $15 which they paid him for the claim. Their efforts as miners were very satisfactory until the rainy season overtook them, after which they went to a camp at Diamond Springs. Some time later Losson Ross became superintendent of an enterprise to convey water from the Consumne river to the dry diggings, and at the same time advancing some of his personal means to assist the enterprise. After a trial of two and a-half years the enterprise failed, and Mr. Ross lost not only his wages, but also the money he had invested in the scheme. Still having faith in the enterprise, however, when a new company was formed he entered its employ as agent and continued in this capacity until 1854. Subsequently, removing to Coon Hollow, Eldorado county, he carried on a lucrative business as general merchant until 1857.

It was in the year just mentioned that Mr. Ross disposed of his store, and with his brother, James L., came to Sonoma county and purchased six hundred acres in Analy township, each owning one-half of it. At first Losson Ross followed general farming and stock-raising, a line of endeavor in which he was especially successful, but in more recent years he made a specialty of raising fruit and hops, having fifty acres in prunes, pears, peaches and apples of the best varieties, while thirty-eight acres were in hops. On a fifty-acre tract adjoining the homestead which he owned he also raised large crops, having thirty acres in hops and two acres in prunes. In the management and care of his ranch Mr. Ross applied the principle that what was worth doing at all was worth doing well, and noting about the ranch would ever suggest that he at any time deviated from this. Labor-saving devices were installed as soon as their need became recognized, and among the buildings on the ranch he installed a large up-to-date drier. His stock included the best grade of McClellan and Morgan horses, and his large dairy was supplied from Holstein, Durham and Jersey cattle.

In Harrison county, Ind., Losson Ross was first married to Miss Martha Inman, who died a victim of cholera the following year. In Eldorado county, September 4, 1853, he married Miss Sidney Meeks, born in Beaver county, Pa., May 15, 1833, the daughter of Robert and Sophronia (Baker) Meeks, who came to California in 1852. Mr. and Mrs. Ross became the parents of seven children. William D. leases fifty acres of the old homestead, where he lives with his wife, former Hattie Lee, of Forestville: Frank, farming near Santa Rosa, married Miss Annie M. Ayers; Kemp L. owns and manages a ranch in Analy township; Irvine D., living on the home place, chose as his wife Ida, the daughter of D. P. Gardner, of Santa Rosa; George A., who has charge of the home ranch, married Miss Lena L. Bach, and they with their three children, Mervyn F., Edwin and Leonard B., live on the old homestead; Benjamin F. is a rancher in Sonoma county; and Anna E., the wife of Elmer Davis, lives in Clarion county, Pa. Unlike his father in his political belief, Mr. Ross was a Democrat, and an active worker in its ranks, although he was in no sense an office-seeker. He was also well known in fraternal circles, being the last survivor of the nine charter members of Lafayette Lodge No. 126, F. & A. M., the lodge having been organized in Sebastopol in 1857. In the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. Ross was a member, he was actively interested, and in the office of steward he served efficiently for many years.

Source:
History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011