WILLIAM ROSS

& THE STORRS FAMILY

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  240

WILLIAM ROSS  is one of the best-known and most substantial citizens of Chaplin, Conn.  The Ross family is one of the oldest in Windham county, and, while not as numerous as in former days, is still identified with the best interests of that portion of the State in various lines, and prominent in religious, political and social circles.

The first authentic record of the family found by the biographer is the statement that on Nov. 27, 1704, Daniel Ross, of Ipswich, Mass., sold fifty acres of land in Windham, Conn., to his brother, Joseph Ross.  Joseph Ross came to what was then Scotland Society, Windham, where he followed the occupation of farmer for the rest of his life.  His marriage, on Sept. 16, 1716, was to Sarah Utley, and they had ten children.

Joseph Ross (2), the eldest child of Joseph Ross was born Dec. 28, 1717, and died at the age of twenty-three years, leaving a widow, formerly Mary Pain, who was born May 31, 1721.

Lieut. Ebenezer Ross, the only son of Joseph (2), was born March 24, 1741, and died March 26, 1810.  He was a resident of Pomfret, Conn., and served in the Revolutionary war, and was during that time an intimate friend of Gen. Israel Putnam.  He was married June 9, 1768, to Mary Clark, who was born March 21, 1747, daughter of Nathaniel Clark.  Later she became the wife of Deacon Benjamin Chaplin, who was one of the incorporators of the town of Chaplin, which was named in his honor.  The children of Ebenezer Ross were:  Royal, born on March 18, 1769;  Lucy, Oct. 16, 1770;  Elnathan, June 15, 1772;  Molly, March 17, 1774;  Lucy, April 7, 1776;  Ebenezer, July 17, 1779;  John, July 2, 1781; and Abel, April 23, 1784.

Elnathan Ross, son of Lieut. Ebenezer, and the grandfather of William, was born June 15, 1772, became a farmer and resided for several years in Mansfield, Conn., later coming to Chaplin, where he passed the remainder of his life.  He attained prominence in the town, and died Jan. 30, 1814.  The wife of Elnathan Ross was formerly Olive Storrs, who was born Dec. 7, 1774, a native of Mansfield, and died April 7, 1864.

Thomas and Mary Storrs, of Suttoncum-bound, Nottinghamshire, England, had a son Samuel, who was baptized in 1640, came to America and settled in Barnstable, Mass., in 1663, and in 1666 married Mary, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Wells) Huckins, natives of Barnstable.  Mary Storrs died in 1683, and Samuel married, in 1685, Widow Esther (or Hester) Agard.  About 1698 Samuel Storrs removed to Mansfield, Conn., of which he and his son Samuel were among the original proprietors.  Samuel died in Mansfield in 1719.

Thomas Storrs, son of Samuel the settler, was born Oct. 27, 1686, in Barnstable, and went with his father to Mansfield, Conn., about 1698.  There, on March 14, 1708, he married Mehitable (last name not known).  For many years he was clerk for the proprietors of the town, was town clerk and justice of the peace, holding also other public trusts, and was a representative at the General Court for forty-three sessions, between 1716 and 1747.  He was a capable and prominent man.  His death occurred April 4, 1775, and his wife Margaret died March 10, 1776.

Josiah Storrs, son of Thomas, was born March 25, 1714, and was married Nov. 9, 1743, to Mary, daughter of Jonathan and Mary Sergeant, of Mansfield.  Mr. Storrs lived in the eastern part of the town, where his farm is still in the possession of his descendants.  His wife died on Oct. 27, 1754, and his own death occurred Aug. 9, 1796.

Ebenezer Storrs, son of Josiah, was born Aug. 26, 1744, and was married Feb. 4, 1770, to Lois, daughter of Nathan Southworth.

Olive Storrs, a daughter of Ebenezer, was born Dec. 7, 1774, and was married Feb. 25, 1795, to Elnathan Ross, of Chaplin.  She was the grandmother of William Ross.

The children born to the grandparents of William Ross were as follows:  Roxana, who was born in 1796, married a Mr. Robinson, and removed to the State of New York, dying Sept. 22, 1837; Harriet, born Aug. 11, 1797, married Elnathan Hunt, and also removed to the State of New York; Ebenezer S., born Nov. 16, 1798, married a Miss Wentworth, and lived at Mount Hope, in Mansfield, Conn.; Olive, born Aug. 22, 1800, married Roswell Bill, and they removed to Hartford, later to Chaplin, where they died; Schuyler, born Dec. 1, 1801, removed to Buffalo, N.Y., and died there (he was a captain on the Erie canal); Earl, born Sept. 6, 1803, removed to Vermont, where he died; Lydia S., born March 14, 1805, married Amasa Rhodes, and lived and died in Chaplin; Almyra, born Aug. 4, 1806, died March 15, 1827, unmarried; William, born Nov. 24, 1807, was the father of our subject; Caroline, born Feb. 20, 1810, married a Mr. Wyman, and, like her sisters, removed to the State of New York, near Pennyan; Austin, born Sept. 10, 1812, was an extensive farmer at Florence, Mass., where he died in 1901.

William Ross, the father of William, was a native of Chaplin, where the chief part of his life was passed.  He received no other educational advantages than those offered by the common schools of that day in his neighborhood.  When six years of age he went to live with his uncle, Abel Ross, in Chaplin, and remained with him until his twenty-first year, soon after which he went to reside in Ashford, in the home of Gen. Palmer, remaining there two years.  In the spring of 1832 Mr. Ross married Miranda, daughter of Hamilton and Lucy (Williams) Grant, residents of Ashford, the former an old Revolutionary soldier.  The day following his marriage he returned to Chaplin and settled down on what was known as the Avery farm, and there he lived until his death.  Rev. David Avery, who owned this place, was the first Congregational minister in Chaplin, Conn.  This valuable property is now in the possession of his only son, William.

In his early political life Mr. Ross was a Whig, and later he became a Republican.  He gave some attention to public affairs, faithfully serving his town and county in the offices of assessor and selectman.  In 1846 he was elected to the State Legislature.  For years he was an earnest and exemplary member of the Congregational Church, and he was a most liberal supporter of all Christian enterprises.  The death of Mr. Ross occurred Aug. 7, 1885, and that of his widow on May 22, in the following year.  In business Mr. Ross was upright and honorable, possessing that excellent tact and judgement which make a business life successful.  His means were large, and he was able to leave a valuable estate to his son.

William Ross, the only child of his parents, was born Jan. 10, 1833, on the site of his present home.  The old house which had sheltered so many families had been torn down during the fatherís lifetime, and the present handsome edifice erected.  William Ross acquired his education in the district schools and in a select school at Chaplin Center.  Being the only son of his parents, he inherited his fatherís large interests, and has passed his life in managing them, displaying inherent business ability in this way.  In connection with his farming interests he has dealt extensively in cattle all over the county, and he has gained a wide acquaintance in the pursuit of that business.  The two large farms belonging to him, in Chaplin, comprise 308 acres, and he also possesses large real-estate holdings in Willimantic, where he has some remunerative tenements, and also a large silk factory building, one of the best built factories in that city.

The political sentiments of Mr. Ross have ever been with the Republican party, and he has had many offices of trust and honor conferred upon him, for he has never sought any preferment from his party; instead he has almost always refused to accept them.  His service on the board of relief has been longer than that of any other official, and as assessor he gave satisfaction to all concerned.  Many offices have been pressed upon him which he has declined on account of his large property interests, which constantly claim close attention, but he has been justice of the peace for a great many years, his excellent judgement making him a superior officer in this position.  In his attendance upon and liberal support of the Chaplin Congregational Church Mr. Ross testifies to his interest in the progress and extension of religion, while his public spirit is displayed in every movement for aiding his town, county or State.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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