Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
J. B. ROSS. The character of a community is determined in a large measure by the lives of a comparatively few of its members. If its moral and intellectual status be good, if in a social way it is a good place in which to reside, if its reputation for the integrity of its citizens has extended into other localities, it will be found that the standards, set by the leading men have been high and their influence such as to mold their characters and shape the lives of those with whom they mingle. In placing J. B. Ross in the front rank of such men, justice is rendered a biographical fact recognized throughout Greene county by the scores who have come in contact with him during his residence here of more than three decades. Although a quiet and unassuming man with no ambition for public position or leadership, he has contributed and still contributes much to the general welfare of his chosen city and county, while his admirable qualities of head and heart and the straightforward, upright course of his daily life have tendered greatly to the substantial standing of the circles in which he moves and given him a reputation for integrity and correct conduct such as few achieve.
Mr. Ross was born on a farm lying along the Ohio river, in Harrison county, Indiana, not far from the city of New Albany, March 9, 1851. He is a son of Jesse and Jane (Overton) Ross. The father was born in the same community the same year in which Abraham Lincoln was born, and in his earlier life was a steamboat man on the Ohio river in the days when our chief transportation was by river. In his later years he took up land in Harrison county, Indiana, and devoted the latter part of his life successfully to farming, but eventually removed to Missouri, where his death, occurred, His wife was also born in Kentucky and was reared there; her death also occurred in Missouri. They were a sterling pioneer couple, rugged, energetic, hospitable and honest. To these parents eight children were born, namely: William, the eldest, is deceased; Mrs. Mary J. Fox lives in Indiana; George is deceased; Henry is deceased; Ezekiel lives in Indiana; Bernard lives in Illinois; J. B., of this sketch, and Sally, who lives in Springfield, Missouri.
J. B. Ross grew to manhood on the home farm in Indiana and there he assisted with the general work when a boy, developing a fine physique and strength of body and mind which has been a great asset to him in his subsequent career. His early education was obtained in the common schools, later by a course in Holbrook Normal at Lebanon, Ohio; but he has remained a student all his life and is a widely informed and well advised man an all questions and topics of moment and current interest, especially in political and national affairs. He began life for himself by teaching school, which he followed for some time in his native county. In 1872 he went to Helena, Arkansas, and engaged successfully in the mercantile business for a period of fifteen years. He came to Springfield, Missouri, in 1886, arriving here on November 23. Soon thereafter he engaged in the real estate business, then was interested in mining at Aurora, this state, a few years, making a success of each venture. All the while he has been actively interested in local public affairs, being loyal in his support of the Republican party, and during the administration of President Roosevelt he was appointed postmaster at Springfield, 1902 to 1910, and very ably and successfully discharged the duties of the same until his term expired, proving to be one of the best incumbents of this office the city has ever had, giving satisfaction to both the people and the department. In 1910 Mr. Ross opened a book store at 320 College street, which he has conducted to the present time. He carries a well selected stock of everything commonly found in modern book stores and is doing a very satisfactory business.
Mr. Ross was married in Arkansas, in 1877, to Sophia Roberts, a lady of many estimable qualities, whose death occurred in that state before our subject removed to Springfield. She left two daughters, Elizabeth and Nellie. They have both been well educated and are popular with the best social circles in Springfield.
Mr. Ross is a member of the Royal Arcanum and the Springfield Club. Personally, he is a pleasant gentleman to meet, obliging and companionable.
Springfield-Greene County Library