Our great-grandfather, Robert Ross was born in Ireland. His headstone states he was born 3 January 1837. Over the years, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to find out just where in Ireland he was born. A search of the records kept by the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) in Salt Lake City was unfruitful.
I have found a record of two people named Robert Ross born in Ireland in 1836; one to Wilson and Mary Ross christened 19 June 1836 in the Parish of Amagh, Northern Ireland, and the second one was born to Robert and Isabella Ross, and christened 11 December 1836 in the same parish.
It is possible, of course, that the wrong birth year was inscribed on the headstone. Since Grandpa was protestant, I believe it far more likely that he was from Northern Ireland rather than in the mostly Catholic Southern part of the island.
Grandpa first officially appears in the United States census for 1860 in Indianola, Calhoun County, Texas. He was residing in a rooming house operated by an Irishwoman named Dunlaver. Two other Irishman, both seaman, also lived there. They were Phil Sullivan and Patrick Hannon. Grandpa was listed in the census as a marble cutter with a personal estate of fifty dollars.
Grandpa married Margaret Simon, born 3 March 1845, daughter of Mathias Simon and Caroline Weber about 1862, and probably in Indianola where her parents lived. Unfortunately, that little town no longer exists as a town, having been destroyed at least twice by massive hurricanes.< MATHIAS SIMON >
The couple moved to Hays County in Central Texas where Grandpa worked as a farmer and builder of rock walls and fences. Their only child, our grandpa, John Matthew Ross was born 2 March 1864. An article in the Hays County Genealogical Society publication shows an extract from a letter stating, "Bob Ross came there in the early days, raising his family at the old Ross home. All have moved away, except Mr. John Ross of Henly." < JOHN MATTHEW ROSS >
Grandpa was caught up in the Civil War. He enlisted in Company C, 4th Battalion, Cavalry, Texas State Troops on 10 August 1863. He was mustered in on 15 August 1863 and served under the command of Captain W.H.D. Carrington. The unit was reorganized as Company of Mounted Troops, Texas State Troops on 16 March 1864 at Camp Terry, Texas. Grandpa's immediate superior was a Corporal Goforth.
According to letters he wrote Grandma, he was stationed in Fort Bend County near Richmond, Texas, and in the Sabine Pass area on the Louisiana border. Typed copies of the letters are included in this site. I have handwritten copies of the originals, but they are of such poor quality they will not reproduce satisfactorily. Grandpa indicated in the letters that he was with the 26th Bn, Texas State Troops. However, documents i received from the Texas State Archives do not reflect that. Perhaps when the unit was re-organized it was changed from the 4th to 26th Bn. < LETTERS >
After the war, grandpa returned to Hays County where he lived with his family the rest of his life.
Grampa died by accident at the relatively young age of 45 on 16 January 1882. He had gone to Fischer's Store to get food during a snow storm. On the way way home, he and the mule he was riding fell over a cliff and were killed. They were not found for three days.
Grandpa was burried in the Pursley Cemetery where Grandma and other members of his family were later laid to rest. He was given permission to use the cemetery after helping the owner build a rock fence around the burial ground. The rock fence has since been replaced with a wire fence, but there are still many rock fences in the area that he did build over a hundred years ago. One such fense is at the side of the road near the old homeplace.
The Pursley cemetery is located in Hays County near Dripping Springs. It can be reached from US Highway 290 in Dripping Springs. Turn south onto Hays County Road (HCR) 190 (also called Creek Road) in town Go 2.2 miles from the highway intersection and the road will fork. Take the left fork (HCR 220) and 5.4 miles after the fork you will find the cemetery on the right side of the road. The name of the cemetery is on the gate which is unlocked. Go through the gate and up the hill a ways and you will come to the actual cemetery which is enclosed inside another fence and gate, also unlocked.
To get to the Ross homestead, continue on HRC 220 for 2.1 miles; the road will come to a "T"; turn right onto HRC 218.One half mile from the intersection, on the right, will be the old homestead. Turn right on the first road you come to and travel along side the property until you cross a creek.Great-grandma Ross's house is on the right side of the road. If you continue on past the house, you will come to a dirt road on your left (by the Jennings Cemetery) if you turn there and go to the end of the road, you will be at the site of the old Mount Sharp School where Daddy and his brothers and sisters attended school.
Great-grandpa and Great-grandma's head stones read:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY
OF ROBERT ROSS
JANUARY 3, 1837
JANUARY 16, 1882
IN THE MIDST OF LIFE WE ARE IN DEATH
NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE
MARCH 3, 1845
NOVEMBER 22, 1911
Caraway Gibson Hogg Quick Ross Simon Washington