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William Ross Biography


This biography appears on pages 721-722 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. V (1915) 

William Ross, for many years chief carpenter of the E. & D. & James River division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, is now yard foreman and is well known in railroad circles. He has resided in Milbank since 1882 and is one of the well respected residents of that town. He was born in Richmond county, province of Quebec, Canada, October 20, 1847, a son of John and Ann (Monroe) Ross, both of whom were born in Scotland, the father in 1805 and the mother in 1824. Both came to the new world in 1836 and settled in the province of Quebec. The father followed agricultural pursuits until his demise, which occurred in 1860. The mother survived for many years, dying in 1902. They were the parents of eight children, six of whom grew to maturity and four of whom are still living, namely: Jeannette, who resides in Vandraul, in the province of Quebec, and who is now the wife of Joseph Nixon; William; Findlay, a farmer of Quebec; and Catherine, the wife of John H. Chapman, who is farming in Grant county, this state. 

William Ross was educated in Quebec but when thirteen years of age began working, as it was incumbent upon him to support himself and his widowed mother. He followed the carpenter's trade in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Missouri and Iowa and in 1879 entered the employ of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. In 1882 he was made chief carpenter of the H. & D. & James River division of that road with headquarters at Milbank and since that time has resided in that town. He held the position of chief carpenter until 1911, when he became yard foreman, in which capacity he is still serving. Whatever he has done he has performed to the best of his ability and his work has always been of a high order. Although he was a poor boy and has been compelled to rely solely upon his own resources throughout life he has gained a gratifying measure of success. As his 
capital has increased he has invested in land and now owns three excellent farms. 

In 1897 Mr. Ross was married to Miss Annie Rooney, who was born in the state of New York. They have two children, Esther Elizabeth and William H., both of whom are in school. 

Mr. Ross is a republican in politics and is stalwart in support of that party at the polls He attends the Congregational church but his wife and children are members of the Roman Catholic church. Fraternally he is identified with the various Masonic bodies, belonging to the blue lodge, the Royal Arch Chapter, the Knights Templar Commandery, the Consistory and the Shrine. He has served as master of the blue lodge and as high priest and captain of hosts in the chapter. He has done a great deal of effective work in behalf of the temperance cause and believes that the liquor traffic is one of the greatest evils of today. For over three decades he has resided in Milbank and the fact that his fellow citizens, who have known him intimately during that time, hold him in the highest respect and esteem is proof of the genuine worth of his character.