Biography of Capt. David Ross
Potter County, PA Biographies

CAPTAIN DAVID ROSS (deceased), a native of Grafton county, N. H., was born in 1795, and died in 1872. He was of Scotch descent on his father's side, and Puritan on his mother's. His father was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. David Ross, the subject of these lines, came to Pennsylvania in 1820, and was more or less engaged in the lumbering business in Ceres, McKean county. In 1827 he moved to Coudersport, Potter county, where for several years he was surveyor and local agent for the sale of the Bingham lands, there being no general agent for the same in the county. He was also engaged in viewing and surveying the roads that became necessary in the county, for many years; also in clearing and improving village lots, in building, etc. In July, 1827, he married Mary Ann, daughter of John and Seclendia (House) Knight, and born January 21, 1810, near Syracuse, N. V. John Knight was a native of Ireland, of Irish-English parentage, and about the close of the eighteenth century came to America with his father's family and an uncle, they being implicated in the Irish rebellion of 1798. They settled in Philadelphia, and started iron works there, which still bear their name, or did up to a few years ago. John Knight was educated in the Moravian school at Bethlehem, near Philadelphia, and in 1807 came to Onondaga county, N. Y., where, in 1808, he married Secleudia House. He was in the war of 1812, and was discharged from the army early in 1815, dying in June, same year, from sickness contracted by privations while in the army. Seclendia House was of Puritan parentage, a daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Smith) House, and born in Bennington county, Vt., in 1788. Her father was a volunteer in the Revolutionary war, and was with Gen. Stark at the battle of Bennington in August, 1777. His ancestors fought in the King Philip wars. The ancestors of Mary Smith House came to this country early in the seventeenth century, and shared in the privations of the early colonists at Plymouth, Mass Jonathan House and family removed, in 1797, to Onondaga county, N. Y., at that time a new country with few houses and no churches. Mary Ann Knight came in May, 1825, to Coudersport, Potter county, with her mother and stepfather (J. L. Cartee), her mother having married John L. Cartee, in 1819 (four years after the death of Mr. Knight). Mary Ann Knight taught school at Lymansville, and in July, 1827, as already related, was married to David Ross. The children born to this union were Sobieski, Mary, Pulaski and Ellen.

Sobieski Ross, eldest of these children, was born May 16, 1828, and when five years of age commenced attending the common schools. In 1840 he entered the academy opened that year at Coudersport, which he attended several years. At the age of sixteen he commenced surveying, and in the fall of 1845 we find him in the Bingham land office, his time being occupied for the next year or two in that office, in teaching school, and in buying land. In 1850 Mr. Ross was the nominee of the Whig party for the legislature, but was defeated. In 1852 he was appointed associate judge by Gov. Johnson, and about the same time took charge of the Barber and Fox lands, and some others, which he continued to hold until his death. In 1853 or 1854 he made a large purchase still known as the Fox and Ross lands, and other purchases known as the Ross lands. From this time on, for many years, he was engaged in the duties of his land office, and in clearing, building and making improvements generally, which operations gave employment to many laboring men. When the Coudersport & Port Allegany Railroad Company was organized, early in the " seventies," he became president of the company, a position he filled up to the time of his death. He was elected to the XLIIId Congress, and reelected to the XLIVth; in 1877 he received the nomination to the XLVth Congress, but declined on account of business responsibilities and impaired health. He died October 24, 1877. In October, 1846, Sobieski Ross married Mary Spangler, who was born in February, 1828. By this marriage there were born three sons and one daughter: John Sobieski, Mary, Henry Dent and George Fox. The mother of these children dying November 22, 1862, Mr. Ross married, in 1864, Isabella Havens (who survives him), who bore him one child, Thomas Havens Ross, now a practicing physician in Buffalo, N. Y. John Sobieski Ross, eldest son of Sobieski Ross, was born January 7, 1848, and died December 14, 1882. He was truly a Coudersport man. Thoroughly business like and upright, he contributed largely to the progress of his native town, and his death, while still young, brought genuine sorrow in the community. He was credited with being the most scholarly man in the village. Mary Ross, said to be the only graduate of Vassar College from this county, married Alfred Stanton, of Virginia, and now resides in Belmont, Va.; George Fox Ross, born June 19, 1859, died September 27, 1887, leaving a widow and two children, residents of Coudersport.

Mary Ross, daughter of David and Mary A. Ross, was born in August. 1830, and was married in September, 1848, to Capt. Archibald F. Jones, late merchant of Coudersport, who died March 8, 1879. To this union, one child, William Knight Jones, was born.

Pulaski Ross, second son of David and Mary A. Ross, was born in December, 1833, and died in February, 1841.

Ellen Ross, second daughter of David and Mary A. Ross, was born in November, 1836, and in 1860 was married to A. G. Olmsted, at present judge of this judicial district. They have two children, one daughter, Nellie, and one son, Robert.


From:
History of the Counties of
McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter, Pennsylvania
J. H. Beers & Co. Publishers
Chicago, Ill. 1890


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