The state of California with its pulsing industrial activities and rapid development has attracted within its confines men of marked ability and high character in the various professional lines, and in this way progress has been conserved and socil stability fostered. He whose name initiates this review has gained recognition as one of the able and successful physicians of the state, and by his labors, his high professional attainments and his sterling qualities has justified the respect and confidence in which he is held by the medical fraternity and the local public. He has been honored with various official positions in the different medical societies to which he belongs, and this fact stands in incontrovertible evidence of the fact that he has won prestige among those who are best able to judge of his skill and who recognize his close and conscientious adherence to the ethics of the profession.

Dr. Ross was born in Lancaster, Glengarry county, Ontario, Canada, in 1839, a son of Murdoch and Catharine (Ross) Ross, both of whom were natives of Scotland, and the mother settled in Canada in 1812. The maternal grandfather was a United Empire Royalist. Murdoch Ross emigrated from Scotland to America in 1830, took up his abode in Canada and was married there in 1832. He was a manufacturer of carriages and farming implements, carrying on an extensive business. He died in Lancaster, in April, 1876, at the age of seventy-four years, and his wife passed away on the 9th of July, 1849, at age of thirty-six years. Dr. Ross is the eldest of their sons and daughters, the others being Bathia, the wife of A. L. Fortne, of Enderby, British Columbia; Janet, the wife of Dr. Harkness, of Lancaster, Ontario; and John, a farmer residing near Lancaster.

Following his pursuance of a course of study in the common school Dr. Ross attended St. Andrew's Academy, in Argentueil county, province of Quebec, and at the age of twenty years entered the medical department of McGill University at Montreal, where he was graduated with the class of 1863, the degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Master of Chirurgery being conferred upon him. Following his graduation he went to Washington, D. C., and at a later day located in his native town, entering upon the general practice of medicine and surgery. There he continued for seven years, his knowledge being continually broadened by reading and experience.

The year 1870 witnessed the arrival of Dr. Ross in California. He located at Woodland, Yolo county, where he remained in active practice for twenty-three years, being one of the early physicians of that place. In 1893 he removed to Sacramento and established a practice which has constantly grown to the present time, so that itmakes heavy demands upon his energies, and tests his skill and ability. His excellent qualifications, however, well prepared him to cope with the intricute problems of disease which continually confront the physician. Various honors and public duties have been conferred upon him in connection with his profession. He ws the first president of the Yolo County Medical Society and was county physician of that county for four years, and was also a member of the board of health of Woodland. From 1896 until 1900 he was treasurer of the California State Medical Society, and at the session of 1900 was elected president--the highest office within the gift of the medical fraternity of the state. He was chief surgeon and superintendent of the Southern Pacific Railroad Hospital from 1899 until 1904, and at his writing in 1904 is president of the Sacramento city board of health and president of the board of United States examining surgeons for the bureau of pensions at Sacramento. He has held this office since July, 1897, and is the present incumbent. He belongs to the Sacramento Society for Medical improvement.

Dr. Ross has held other offices outside the strict path of his profession, having in May, 1891, been elected mayor of Woodland, California, in which position he was retained until he resigned the office in 1893, preparatory to his removal to Sacramento. While in the former city he was nominated on the Republican ticket for a member of the assembly, and although he polled a larger vote than was given most nominees of his party, the county went Democratic and he was defeated. He has always been a stanch advocate of Republican views, and has worked persistently for the success of the party both in his city and state. He has been a delegate to the county and state conventions, and was a delegate at the time George C. Perkins was nominated for Governor.

Dr. Ross has been married twice. In 1870 he wedded Miss Martha Lindsay, of Franklin county, New York, a daughter of Captain A. Lindsay, who was a soldier of the Civil war. Mrs. Ross died in 1881, leaving a daughter, Leta R. In 1886 Dr. Ross was again married, his second union being with Miss susan I. Chiles, a native of California and a daughter of J. W. and Elizabeth (Barnes) Chiles, the former a pioneer of California of 1849. He operated a ferry boat across the Sacramento river at a very early day, and later engaged extensively in farming in Yolo county, making a specialty of the raising of wheat. He is acknowledged to be the oldest pioneer voter of his county. By the second marriage there are three daughters: Janet, Dorothy and Bathia.

Socially Dr. Ross is connected with the Masons, belonging to both the lodge and chapter. His is a personality that wins friends, for back of a genial disposition and unfailing courtesy are a kindly nature and broad humanitarian principles. Moreover, he is well qualified for leadership, and makes an excellent presiding officer because of his tact, his dignity and his impartial rulings. He is a man of strong force of character, of marked individuality, of keen intellectuality and honorable purpose,--qualities which have won for him in eminent degree the respect and regard of his fellow citizens and many acquaintances throughout the state.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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