Biography of James Ross
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





JAMES ROSS. - For almost forty years the fortunes of James Ross have been identical with those of Humboldt county, and he is one of the men whose industry and unwearying effort have changed the county from a virgin forest into a land of homes, where plenty smiles and prosperity reigns. When he first came to this locality in 1876 the beautiful little city of Arcata, where he now resides, was an undreamed of possibility, and only towering trees marked the present site of the habitation of man, Eureka itself was but a straggling village and there were but few settlers throughout the valley.

Mr. Ross is a native of Ireland, born in the town of Broughgammon, County Antrim, June 5, 1853, and descended from a long line of sturdy Scotch and Irish ancestry. His father was William Ross, a native of Scotland, born in Inverness. He was a millwright by trade, but much of his life had been devoted to farming, which occupation he was following at the time of his death, which occurred about 1857. The mother was Ann McCurdy, born in County Antrim, Ireland, where she was married to William Ross and where she lived until her death. She bore her husband four children, three sons and one daughter.

The boyhood days of James Ross were passed on his father's farm in Ireland, where he remained until he was about twenty two. His father died when he was a lad and he continued to make his home with his widowed mother, attending the village schools until he was sixteen years of age, and later he cared for the farm. On his determining to seek his fortune in America Mr. Ross lost no time in setting sail. Arriving at New York, he set out to cross the plains to San Francisco, from which point he went at once to Humboldt county, arriving here April 14, 1876. His first employment was on Vance slough, where he worked at loading lighters going down to meet the vessels on the bay, but he remained here only a short time. Later he went to Salmon Creek and was employed in the sawmill owned by the Evans, McKay & Marks Company, remaining here until the closing of the mill in 1878. Following this he secured a position with Flanigan & Co. in their Bayside mill, soon afterward, however, securing a position in the D. R. Jones mill on Gunthers Island.

The possibilities of farming in this new country were ever fascinating to Mr. Ross and he had from the first been on the alert for an opportunity to secure a tract of farming land and return to his occupation of tilling the soil. In 1879 he rented a tract of one hundred twenty acres of bottom land, all but a small portion of which was unimproved, the tillable soil being only about forty acres. The remainder was a wilderness of trees and brush, and this he set to work to clear and bring into a state of cultivation. Bit by bit this was accomplished, and today he has one of the finest properties in the valley, cleared and highly improved. It was not until 1901, however, that he finally purchased this tract, although for many years he has been engaged. in farming and dairying here. This latter line of industry had appealed strongly to Mr. Ross and he was one of the organizers and supporters of the first creamery in the valley, which was at first known as the Arcata Creamery No. 1, but which is now owned by the United Creameries Company. Mr. Ross laid his plans for dairying as soon as the creamery was an assured fact and his first milk was delivered some three or four days after its opening. He is at present one of the stockholders of the enterprise and a stanch supporter of the industry. His first herd of cows numbered but six head, but now he has one of the best herds in the valley, and one of the best dairies as well.

When Mr. Ross commenced dairying his land was not in a condition for farming, but at this time he has one of the most profitable ranches in the valley and is noted for his success in diversified farming. He raises a variety of crops and there is no waste to his acreage as he utilizes every part of the farm. In 1912 he planted four acres to potatoes and from this tract he dug four hundred fifty sacks of fine potatoes. He has met with great success in every department of his work and is classed as one of the most prosperous farmers of that locality. His property is rapidly increasing in value and will continue to do so, as it is rich in soil and well located.

The marriage of Mr. Ross occurred in Arcata, July 30, 1879, the Rev. J. S. Todd officiating. Mrs. Ross was Miss Ann Jane Christy, and like her husband a native of Ireland, born in County Antrim, January 6, 1852. They attended the same school during childhood, and often played together in the fields and meadows, their respective homes being perhaps a quarter of a mile apart. When Mr. Ross came to America he carried with him the promise of the future Mrs. Ross to join him when he should have ready a home for her, and when the call came she made the long journey alone, coining by way of New York and San Francisco, to Arcata, being married immediately on her arrival. She has borne her husband five children, three sons and two daughters, all well known and deservedly popular in Arcata, where they have been born and reared. They are: Samuel John, residing in Arcata; James, deceased; Anna Jane, who married D. A. Ross and resides in San Francisco; Katie May and William C., both at home.

Mr. Ross is a self made man in every sense of the word. He arrived in Humboldt county with nothing but his faith and courage and industry, and his desire and determination to have a home. He has labored with unfaltering application and has been justly rewarded. His family is one of the most highly esteemed in the community and Mr. Ross is accredited as one of the most reliable citizens of the county. He is popular with a wide circle of friends, where his splendid qualities of heart and mind have made for him a permanent place. He was made a Mason in Broughgammon Lodge No. 72, F. & A. M., and is now a member of Arcata Lodge No. 106, F. & A. M.; was raised to the Royal Arch Chapter in Bush Mills Chapter No. 114, in Ireland, and is now a member of Eureka Chapter No. 52, R. A. M. He is also a prominent member of Anniversary Lodge No. 85, I. O. O. F., in Arcata. In politics he is a Republican, although he has never been actively associated with the political affairs of his community. Together with his family Mr. Ross is a member of the St. Johns Episcopal church in Arcata.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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