Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918


C. O. Ross

C. O. ROSS. In a conspicuous place on the roll of men who have become successful through their connection with the oil and gas industry is found the name of C. O. Ross, a native of the Buckeye state and a splendid type of the alert, progressive and public-spirited men whose records are indications that success is ambition's answer. His long and prominent connection with the oil business began at the time of his majority, when he started in at the bottom to make his way to a position of prominence, and no oil producer in Kansas has a better record for high and straightforward business conduct, or for success won with honor. With the exception of six months spent in Colorado he has made Coffeyville his home and the center of his activities since 1907.

Mr. Ross was born on a farm in Wesley Township, Bartlett P. O., Washington County, Ohio, January 16, 1875, and is a son of James and Martha (Heald) Ross. Thomas Ross, his grandfather, was born in 1796, in Scotland, and as a young unmarried man came to America, making his way from New York to Virginia, where for some years he was engaged in farming. In later life he removed to Illinois, where he continued in agricultural pursuits until his death in 1876, when he was eighty years of age. With native thrift and industry, Mr. Ross accumulated a satisfying property and was known as one of his community's solid and substantial men. He was married in Virginia, and became the father of two children: Sarah, the widow of Elwood Lambert, who died in 1914, resides in California, eight miles from Los Angeles, on an English walnut farm; and James.

James Ross was born in 1834, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where in later years he was to visit wearing the uniform of his country. He was a small lad when his parents removed to Belmont County, Ohio, and not long thereafter his mother died. Subsequently he went to Washington County, Ohio, and there was married. Mr. Ross, in his younger years, taught school during the winter terms and farmed in the summer months, and continued to be so engaged until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he shouldered a musket and marched to the front with other patriotic young men from his neighborhood. During four years he fought under the flag of the Union and in this time his command saw some of the most important and decisive fighting that marked the entire struggle, its engagements including, among others, the fighting at Gettysburg, Missionary Ridge and Vicksburg and on Sherman's famous March to the Sea. Mr. Ross was twice wounded, once at Gettysburg, but on each occasion rejoined his company as soon as possible and resumed his post of duty. He established an excellent record for courage and soldierly qualities and won alike the respect of his officers and the admiration of his comrades.

When he returned from the war, a seasoned, hardened veteran, Mr. Ross found it difficult to resume his old habits of life. The duties of the schoolroom and the farm seemed prosaic and lifeless after the stirring experiences through which he had passed, and he therefore sought an employment in which more action was promised. Accordingly he joined a bridge construction gang, with which he was working when the accident occurred that nearly cost him his life. A hand-car on which he was riding was struck by a freight train and in the subsequent wreck Mr. Ross lost one of his arms and nearly lost a leg. Nothing daunted by a misfortune which would have discouraged the great majority of men, Mr. Ross began the study of law, and so closely did he apply himself that within a reasonably short period he was admitted to the bar and began practice. He still follows his profession, in which he has gained a decided success, and is now one of the leading members of the Bartlett (Ohio) bar. Mr. Ross exercises his right of franchise in behalf of the candidates of the republican party. His religious belief makes him a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Ross married Miss Martha Heald, daughter of "Billy" Heald, a Quaker farmer of Washington County, Ohio. Mrs. Ross was born in that county in 1844, and died in 1901, the mother of the following children: Glenn, and William T., who are engaged in farming in Washington County, Ohio; Edgar A., who is engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at Bartlett, Ohio; L. A., who is a farmer of Comanche County, Oklahoma; C. O.; Hattie, who is the wife of Ezra Walker, a foreman in the mines of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Grace, who is the wife of Charles Meadows, a farmer of Montgomery County, Kansas.

C. O. Ross attended the public schools of Washington County, Ohio, until he was eighteen years of age, at which time he entered upon his independent career as a worker. For several years he was variously employed, accepting such honorable positions as granted emolument with a promise of betterment. It was not, however, until he was twenty-one years of age that he became identified with what was to prove his life work. At that time he accepted a position dressing tools in the oil fields of Ohio, subsequently working through the fields in the Buckeye state and in Kentucky as well. In 1903 he came to Kansas, first locating at Peru. In the meantime he had become a producer, in which capacity he shortly went to Nowata County, Oklahoma, where he spent four years. Returning then to Kansas, he established his headquarters at Coffeyville, and, with the exception of six months spent in Colorado, this city has been the scene of his success to the present time.

The advancement of Mr. Ross in business circles has been almost phenomenal. He has rapidly added to his holdings as a producer, and at the present time has 350 wells producing oil in Chautauqua County, Kansas, and near Bartlesville, Oklahoma, as well as an equal amount of wells as anyone else has in the Peru Sand fields. Likewise, he owns a 900-acre ranch; a river-bottoms farm in Montgomery County, which is used for alfalfa growing and consists of 377 acres, other tracts of land in Kansas; a forty-acre fruit farm in Colorado, of which twenty acres are devoted to apples; and his own residence, at No. 1904 South Walnut Street, Coffeyville. He is secretary, treasurer and general manager of the Interstate Oil and Gas Company and has other important business connections. In industrial and commercial circles his name is synonymous with fair dealing and adherence to high business standards, and he has the added prestige that accrues through a man's having made his own way. Mr. Ross is a republican but not an office seeker. With his family, he belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. His fraternal connections are with Sedan Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Wichita Consistory No. 2, thirty-second degree; Oklahoma City Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and Modern Woodmen Camp of Peru. He is an active participant in movements making for civic betterment and a hard worker in the Chamber of Commerce of Coffeyville.

Mr. Ross was married at Bartlett, Ohio, in 1896, to Miss Ida Miller, daughter of Oliver and Laura (Arnold) Miller. Mr. Miller, who was a farmer and a veteran of the Civil war, is now deceased, but Mrs. Miller still survives and makes her home near Bartlett. To Mr. and Mrs. Ross there have been born the following children: Edith, born June 28, 1896, married Glen Walton, manager of his father-in-law's fruit farm near Montrose, Colorado, and has one child, Evelyn; Ralph, born July 23, 1898, residing with his parents, a junior at the Coffeyville High School; Hazel, born September 20, 1900, a freshman at Coffeyville High School; Clifford, born October 3, 1905, attending the graded school; Kenneth, born April 17, 1908, also attending public school; and Charles, born September 16, 1910.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 2051-2052 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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