John F Ross


JOHN F. ROSS, one of the influential and successful residents of Kittannning, a man well and favorably known all over Armstrong county, whose activities have always been exerted for the general uplift as well as for the purpose of securing personal advancement, has gained a well-merited reputation for probity and uprightness. He was born in 1829, son of Joseph Ross.

Joseph Ross, the father, was likewise a successful businessman, for several years associated with the mercantile interests of his locality and also engaged in farming. His death occurred in 1867. His wife, born in Ireland in 1803, died in 1874. They had children as follows; James, Nancy Jane, John F., Mary Ann, Margaret E., Catherine J., Samuel and Phoebe.

John F. Ross secured such educational training as the somewhat primitive schools of his period afforded, and when sixteen years old began farming, thus continuing until he attained his majority. In 1851 he went out to the gold fields of California, returning therefrom in 1853. It was then he engaged in the lumber business, and for a number of years commanded an extensive trade in that line, building a planing mill which he operated from 1880 to 1888. During the greater part of this period he was also farming, but retired from active business of all kinds in 1888.

In 1857 Mr. Ross was married to Mary Simpson, who died in 1892. On March 29, 1893, he married (second) Susie J. Gutherie, daughter of James Gutherie, of Jefferson county, Pa., and to this union was born one child, John F., who died in infancy. Mr. Ross for many years has been a devout member of the Presbyterian Church, having united with it when thirty-six years old. During the years which have followed he has been one of the strong and reliable pillars of the church, on whom the pastor and flock could always depend as a safe and sympathetic adviser and friend.

The experiences of Mr. Ross in the gold fields were interesting and profitable. He was five days on the Chagres river, and walked across Panama, a distance of twenty-one miles. Arriving at his destination, he formed a partnership with several others and the little company was successful in gold mining, Mr. Ross with a competency to repay him for his exertions. It required about four tons of provisions a year to supply the seventeen men in the company, and it cost them five thousand dollars a ton. Mr. Ross has traveled extensively, having been in seventeen different states (including Iowa), as well as Mexico and Canada, and made visits to various large cities, such as New York, New Orleans and Philadelphia. Possessing a very retentive memory, his recollections of these places, as well as of Panama in its earlier days, are intensely interesting.

Source: Pages 870-871, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed November 1998 by Pamela Clark for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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