Ross, Edmund G., journalist and United States senator, was born at Ashland, Ohio, Dec. 7, 1826. He attended the common schools until he was eleven years old, when he was apprenticed to the printer's trade in the office of the Huron Commercial-Advertiser. He completed his apprenticeship at Sandusky, Ohio, and then spent several years traveling as a journeyman printer. On his return to Sandusky in Oct., 1878, he married Fannie M. Lathrop and went to Milwaukee, Wis., where he was engaged in newspaper work. The sacking of Lawrence, Kan., in May, 1856, aroused a storm of indignation throughout the northern states. A meeting was held at Milwaukee and a fund of $3,000 was raised to arm and equip a party of free-state men for Kansas. This party came overland under the leadership of Mr. Ross and upon arrival at Topeka at once took the field with the anti-slavery forces. After the invaders had been driven out, Mr. Ross entered into partnership with his brother in the publication of the Kansas Tribune at Topeka. He took an active interest in politics, was a member of the Wyandotte constitutional convention in 1859, and at the close of the convention began the publication of the Kansas State Record at Topeka, which paper was devoted to the interests of the Republican party and was influential in turning the tide of public opinion toward the adoption of the new constitution. In 1860 his paper aided in calling a territorial convention to plan a scheme for securing a practical railroad system for the anticipated State of Kansas. This was the beginning of the agitation that has given Kansas her efficient railroad service of the present day. He assisted in raising the Eleventh Kansas infantry in 1862, and at the organization of the regiment was elected captain of a company. Subsequently Gov. Carney appointed him major of the regiment, when it was changed from infantry to cavalry. He was present with his command in all the battles in which it was engaged. In 1865, Gov. Crawford appointed him aide-de-camp with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. At the close of the war he became editor of the Kansas Tribune at Lawrence. On July 25, 1866, Gov. Crawford appointed him United States Senator to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Gen. James H. Lane, and at the following session of the legislature he was elected for the unexpired term. He was one of the young Republican members of the Senate, and up to the time of the impeachment proceedings against President Johnson was always in accord with his party. In that celebrated case he incurred the lasting displeasure of some of the president's enemies by casting the deciding vote against impeachment. His action was denounced by a partisan press, his friends turned against him, he was ostracized and insulted, and it was not until years afterward, when sectional feeling had died away to some extent, that Mr. Ross was accorded justice. The Chicago Times of Aug. 25, 1889, says: "Though the Republican senators, who disappointed the Republican managers of their two-thirds vote and thus saved Johnson and the country, lost their place in consequence, as soon as their time expired and never since, except in the case of Ross, have had public employment, not one of them, it is safe to say, regrets his course. It was judicious, courageous and disinterested. These men saved the country from the commission of a colossal blunder."
F. H. Hodder, of the University of Kansas, wrote to the Nation on May 13, 1907: "No man was ever more foully abused, yet he bore personal abuse and retirement to private life, alike with patience and without bitterness. If the people of Kansas wish to atone for the injury they did Mr. Ross during his lifetime they can scarcely do better than place his statue in the capitol at Washington, in the hall reserved for notable men of the states. Such a statue would commemorate an heroic act, a valiant soldier and an honest man."
William Carruth, also of the University of Kansas, says: "It goes hard with us to admit that he was wiser than the majority of us. . . . Major Ross returned to his state, faced obloquy and slander, and earned the living of a poor but honest man, with the same silent endurance with which he met the stress of the great impeachment trial."
Foster D. Coburn, secretary of the Kansas state board of agriculture, said on May 13, 1910: "For the vote cast by Senator Ross against the conviction of President Andrew Johnson, I was, at the time bitter and indignant beyond expression. Now, forty-odd years after, I am firmly of the opinion that Senator Ross acted with a lofty patriotism, regardless of what he knew must be the ruinous consequences to himself."
Mr. Ross was one of the Liberal Republican leaders in Kansas in 1872 who opposed the nomination of Grant and favored Horace Greeley for the presidency. On his retirement from the senate he began to publish a paper at Coffeyville, but a cyclone destroyed his office and he became associated with the Spirit of Kansas and the Standard of Lawrence. In 1882 he went to New Mexico and for a time edited a paper at Albuquerque. He was appointed governor of the territory by President Cleveland in 1885, which position he held for four years. Mr. Ross continued to live in Albuquerque until his death on May 9, 1907.Pages 608-610 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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