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 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



Difficult indeed would it be, in any enumeration of the names of citizens identified with the upbuilding of Sacramento from the pioneer period to the present century, to mention anyone more loyal to the city's advancement, more zealous in behalf of its institutions or more progressive in the support of important enterprises than has been Mrs. Mary Ross-Roan during the more than fifty years of her association with the citizenship of Sacramento. A decade prior to the advent of the "iron horse" in the west she came to this then unknown region in company with her parents, Rev. William and Berzilla (McGinnis) Kendall, having made the long journey from Havana via Panama to San Francisco with uncomplaining fortitude and endured its privations with a cheerfulness characteristic of her throughout all of life's anxieties. When she finally arrived at Sacramento in 1862 she found a small village around which could be seen apparently interminable stretches of barren, unproductive country. To a young girl who had mingled happily in her native commonwealth of Illinois, the promises of future enjoyment did not seem alluring, yet she found much to interest her mind and delight her eyes. From that time to this she has manifested a steadfast loyalty toward her adopted city and has exhibited the true western spirit of progress.

Four years after her settlement in the west Miss Mary Kendall became the bride of Charles H. Ross, a gentleman of eastern birth and honorable lineage, cherishing the inherited traditions of the east, yet entering the cosmopolitan activities of the frontier with a genial heartiness that made him one with every companion. Plis had been an interesting frontier existence, and in later days, surrounded liy the comforts of a refined civilization, it was interesting to hear him nar- rate tales of the frontier showing the startling contrast between that  period and the present. Contributing his quota to the general development, he is entitled to remembrance as one of the substantial men and true patriots whose sagacity and enterprise laid the foundation of civic advancement.

Born in Portland, Me., in 1828, Charles H. Ross early displayed a desire for travel and a distaste for the conventional surroundings of his own neighborhood. While yet a mere boy he determined to be a soldier, and as this course did not meet with the approval of other members of the family, he took matters in his own hands and ran away, a procedure that terminated with his enlistment in Stephens' regiment in the Mexican war and his participation in military tactics common to the day. As early as 1847, before gold had been discovered or California had been brought before the attention of the people of the east, he came across the plains and settled permanently in the sparsely settled valley of the Sacramento. With a partner he took up twelve hundred acres of raw land about ten miles from the city of Sacramento, and until 1864 he engaged in the stock business, but two years after his marriage he removed into town and here he remained until his death in 1876. Meanwhile he had identified himself with many movements for the public welfare. From the first he held stock in the Sacramento bank, an institution in which he maintained the warmest interest and to whose substantial footing he contributed of his influence with positive effect. It is a statement worthy of note that after his death his widow succeeded him as a member of the board of directors in the banking concern, and she now has a record of not missing a meeting of the board in the past twenty-eight years, with the exception of two leaves of absence. During 1901 she became the wife of William Roan, a native of New York and a gentleman possessing many worthy attributes of character. One of her chief pleasures has been the beautifying of her home, and a stranger, noting with admiration the artistic arrangement of lawn and flowers, would promptly decide that the lady of the house possessed the most refined taste; such an opinion would be deepened by a view of the interior with its aspect of culture and simple elegance.

Although many years have passed since Mr. Ross entered into eternal rest, he is still remembered by the pioneers of Sacramento. Their universal testimony is that he possessed mental attributes of a high order, tact and consideration of others in all the associations of life and the deepest devotion to the happiness of his wife, for whom he manifested a sincere affection that death alone could destroy. The philanthropic principles of Masonry won his allegiance during young- manhood, and for years he held membership with the blue lodge at Sacramento. At one time he was chosen to fill the office of supervisor, and in that responsible position he proved himself to be efficient, resourceful and trustworthy. He was president of the Sacramento Pioneer society, of which he had been a member many years. As a member of the levee commissioners be was most helpful, and it is said that, when sufficient help could not be secured on needed occasions, he was accustomed to give his services gratuitous!)', and no workman surpassed him in skill, speed and accuracy. Whatever promised to promote the welfare of Sacramento was sure of his co-operation, and he allowed no citizen to surpass him in loyalty and true patriotism. 

History of Sacramento 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: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011