LEONARD ERASTUS ROSS, for the past eleven years identified with the mercantile interests of Carlinville as a member of the firm of Fanning & Ross, clothing dealers, is a native of Macoupin county. He was born on the 11th of September, 1870, and is a son of Erastus H. and Elizabeth L. (Pockington) Ross, the father a native of Morgan county, Illinois, and the mother of this county. When a child Erastus H. Ross came to Macoupin county with his parents, who first located on a farm but later removed to Carlinville. There the paternal grandfather, Thomas Ross, served one term as sheriff and there he died at the age of 49 of cholera. Later the family removed to a farm in South Palmyra township. His wife survived him for some years, her demise occurring at the age of seventy. They were both natives of Tennessee. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ross numbered the following children, namely: Jane, Woodford, Will, Erastus, Charlotte, John, Sallie, Mary and Joseph, all of whom were reared on the homestead in South Palmyra township.
When ready to begin life for himself Erastus H. Ross naturally decided to follow agricultural pursuits, for which he had become ably qualified under the capable supervision of his father. After engaging in farming for several years he removed to Carlinville to assume the management of the Carlinville Cooperative Association, a position he retained for twenty-seven years. Here he passed away in 1901, at the age of sixty-seven years, being survived by his wife, who is a daughter of James and Mary Pockington, natives of England. They emigrated to the United States from the mother country during the pioneer days of Illinois, locating in South Palmyra township, this county, where Mr. Pockington engaged in agricultural pursuits. Both lived to attain a ripe old age. They were the parents of two children, Mrs. Ross and Wesley. By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Erastus H. Ross there were born three daughters and two sons: Martha A., the wife of Rev. C. F. Wilson, now of Oneida, Illinois; Mary A., who married R. S. Hemphill, of Carlinville; Amelia Florence, the wife of G. F. Fanning, also of Carlinville; Thomas P., a resident of the same place; and Leonard E., our subject. The father was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, with which the mother continues to be affiliated, striving to exemplify its principles in her daily life.
Although born in the country, Leonard Erastus Ross has been a resident of Carlinville from the age of two years. He attended the public schools until after he was graduated from high school, when he pursued an advanced course at Blackburn University. Following this he taught in the district schools for two years, and was later graduated from Brown's Business College at Jacksonville, Illinois. He then began his practical business training as a clerk in the Cooperative Store, under the supervision of his father. He remained there for several years, acquiring a good comprehensive knowledge of commercial methods and mercantile principles. In 1900 he became associated with his brother-in-law, G. F. Fanning, in the establishment of a clothing store, which they have since conducted under the firm name of Fanning & Ross, and theirs is one of the representative mercantile concerns of the city.
On the 6th of June, 1894, occurred the marriage of Mr. Ross and Miss Rosa Solomon, a daughter of Francis M. and Margaret (Lowery) Solomon. She was born on the parental homestead in North Palmyra township, where she grew to womanhood, attending the Palmyra high school. The course therein pursued was later supplemented by further study at Blackburn University. Mrs. Ross belongs to one of the old families of the county, her paternal grandfather, Lewis Solomon, having many years ago been judge of the court of Macoupin county. Francis M. Solomon passed away in 1910, at the age of seventy-two years. He has a number of brothers and sister, among those surviving are John and Lafayette Solomon; Mrs. D. Smith, of Palmyra; and Mrs. Lou Mills, of Modesto; Allen D.; and Mrs. Gatchell. Mrs. Ross is also quite widely connected in this county through the maternal grandparents, who had a large family. Her mother is still living and now makes her home in the village of Palmyra. There are only two children born to Mr. and Mrs. Francis M. Solomon, Judson and Mrs. Ross. Mr. and Mrs. Ross have one son, Wendell Erastus.
They are both active and earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which Mr. Ross is the treasurer, while fraternally he affiliates with the Knights of Pythias. His political prerogatives he exercises in support of the principles of the democratic party, for whose candidates he always casts his ballot. He is one of Macoupin county's capable business men and a worthy representative of an honored pioneer family.