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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William Ross

Sonoma county suffered the loss of one of her stanchest citizens in the death of William Ross, which occurred on the homestead ear Sebastopol. His knowledge of farming had been gathered and put to practice for many years in Scotland before coming to the United States in 1882. In Ross-shire, Scotland, he was known as one of the largest raisers of wheat in that county, having five hundred acres under cultivation to this grain, besides which he raised sheep, his flock averaging five hundred head. It was with an experience of many years in these lines of agriculture that he came to the United States in 1882, making his way direct to Sonoma county, Cal. Long experience as a tiller of the soil made him a good judge of its particular qualities, and it needed but a glance at the soil around Sebastopol to convince him that the land could have no superior for fruit-raising. It was therefore with considerable satisfaction that he purchased forty acres of land near town and mapped out his course as a fruit-raiser. At the time the land was heavily covered with timber and brush, but this was rapidly cleared off and fruit trees planted in their place, a specialty being made of apples, peaches and prunes. In the raising of these fruits Mr. Rossí expectations were fully realized, and since his death his two daughters, Miss Christina Ross and Mrs. Scott, have continued the management of the ranch, and in the bountiful crops which they gather no diminution can be detected, thus proving them able horticulturists. Seven acres of the ranch is in peaches, five acres in prunes, and the remainder in apples. A steady gain in crops is clearly noticeable from year to year, this being especially true of peaches. Much of the fruit is shipped dried, for which purpose the ranch is equipped with an up-to-date drier, making it one of the most complete and profitable ranches in the county.

In his native country Mr. Ross was married to Miss Janett McKay, a native of Scotland, and their marriage was one of exceptional happiness. Mr. Ross passed away on the ranch near Sebastopol, and his wife also died here in 1905. Eleven children were born to this worthy couple, but three of these are deceased. Those now living are Roderick, who is living in Honolulu; Alexander, in Vancouver, B. C.; William, a resident of Oregon; John, who formerly followed the sea and is now living in California City, Cal.; Robert; Ana; Christine and Janett, the latter the wife of R. B. Scott. The two daughters last mentioned are their fatherís successors in the care of the home ranch and are proving beyond a question their exceptional ability as horticulturists. Personally Mr. Ross was a man of fine, dependable traits of character, and all who were fortunate enough to know him appreciated his true worth as a man and citizen.

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