Ross Family 2

Fairfield Dist., SC > Perry Co., AL > DeSoto Par., LA

James Whitaker Ross, oldest son of Abner Ross and Mary "Polly" Whitaker, was born 4 Jan 1804 in Fairfield Dist., SC, died in Perry Co., AL, 6 Apr 1848, as inscribed on his tombstone in Ocmulgee Baptist Church Cemetery, Perry Co. He left a grieving widow, Sarah E. J. ROCHELLE Ross, born 1810 in Fairfield Dist.; sons John Alfred was 6, Anderson J. was 10, William E. was 11; James R. was 13, and daughter Mary was 15. James, Will, and Mary were born in South Carolina; Anderson and John A. were born in Alabama.

James W. Ross, his wife Sarah E. J. Rochelle, her sister Mary Rochelle Bryant, the girls' parents Anderson Rochelle and wife Nancy "Ann" Harrison moved to Perry Co., AL, from Fairfield Co., SC where all were born. They joined Ocmulgee Baptist Church in the S.E. corner of Perry Co., near the Dallas Co. line.

Anderson Rochelle died 1842, his wife Nancy died 1846, and James W. Ross died 1848, all leaving wills in Perry Co. In the 1850 census Sarah and her widowed sister Mary Rochelle Bryant lived in a the same house on Oak Grove Beat, each owning about 50 slaves enumerated separately. The family were wealthy planters (see Fairfield Co. SC Wills and Sketchbook, Perry Co., AL pages).

JAMES WHITAKER ROSS's oldest brother, OSMOND ROSS, was born 12 Dec 1794 and died 30 Sep 1820 in Columbia, SC -- a young man who owned a horseman's sword, left by his father Abner in his will to oldest son James W.

Their oldest sister, HARRIOT ROSS, was born 22 Nov 1796 in Camden Dist., SC, and died 21 Nov 1832. She married Thomas T. Robertson, 13 Feb 1817 in SC. He was born abt 1791 in SC. Her father ABNER ROSS give them a Gift Deed on 1823, recorded in Fairfield Co. Book EE, p. 117.

Children of Harriot Ross and Thomas T. Robertson were:

i. William Ross Robertson was born 01 Dec 1818 in SC, and died 06 May 1885 in SC.
ii. Nancy Hawley Robertson was born abt 1822? in SC.
iii. Martha Catherine Robertson was born 1825 in SC.

Next were two brothers, DAVID FELIX ROSS, born 1799, died 1800; and DAVID FELIX ROSS, born 1801, died 1805, doubtless named for Abner's father David Ross.

Next was their sister MOLSEY C. ROSS, born 9 Aug 1798 in Fairfield Co. She married Robert Winfield Durham, 9 Apr 1816, Fairfield Co. He was the son of Capt. Charnel Hightower and Nancy Winfield Eckles. MOLSEY moved to DeSoto Parish, LA, with her eleven children and grandchildren after the death of her husband, Robert Winfield Durham, Sr., 13 Dec 1852 in Fairfield Co.

In 1860 she was taxed for 26 slaves; others on list with 10 or more slaves were her sons J. F. Durham 10, O. L. Durham 23, C. H. Durham 10. They were listed as follows on the 1860 DeSoto Par. Census:

 p. 868, 309-329,

Durham, J. F., 30 farmer $4000 $10 $800 SC
" J. T., 25 matron SC
" Ruth, 6 SC
" Matilda, 4 SC
" Malisa. 3 SC
" Frank, 1 LA

p. 888, hh 456-478
Durham, O. L., 43 planter $4000 - $16,500 SC
" Martha J., 41 matron SC
" Robt. H. , 17 SC
" Malisa C., 15 SC
" Mary E., 13 SC
" Emily E., 8 LA

hh 457
Durham, M. E., 60 planting SC
" Wm. T., 25 SC
" Harriet E., 23 SC
[Molesey Ross Durham, 60, and Osmond L. and John Franklin her sons]

Molsey died 17 Feb 1875 in DeSoto Par., burial in Hazelwood Ceme. Her and Robert W. Durham's children were:

i. Osmond L. Durham was born 23 Apr 1817 in SC, and died 05 Apr 1908 in LA.
ii. Charnel Hightower Durham was born 27 Dec 1818 in SC, and died 16 Dec 1882 in LA.
iii. Martha J. Durham was born 18 Jun 1819 in SC, and died 05 Sep 1880 in LA.
iv. Joel Ross Durham was born 1822-1823 in SC.
v. Abner Ross Durham was born abt 1824? in SC, and died 10 Jun 1847 in Mexico.
vi. Robert Winfield Durham Jr. was born abt 1826? in SC, and died aft 1846? in Mexico.
vii. John Franklin Durham Sr. was born 17 Dec 1829 in SC, and died 15 Nov 1918 in Mansfield, LA.
viii. William S. Durham was born abt 1832 in SC, and died Jul 1862 in Malvern Hill Battlefield, VA. ix. Elizabeth Durham was born abt 1832.
x. Mary Eliza Whitaker Durham was born 02 Jan 1833 in SC, and died 22 Jan 1917 in Beaumont, TX.
xi. Emma H. Durham was born 1836 in SC. She married William Ball. He was born abt 1835?

  Robert Winnfield Jones, Jr., driver (Great-grandson of Molesey C. Ross & Robert Durham), with wife Clarissa Bates, probably in DeSoto Par., LA, 1920s. Two other men may be Durhams. Winfield served in World War I - 2nd cousin once removed of William Alfred Ross.

Molsey and James Whitaker Ross's younger brothers, JOHN ALFRED ROSS and WILLIAM E. ROSS, were twins born 20 Jun 1806 in Fairfield Co. On 23 May 1837, they lent money to John Canty, a neighbor allied to the family by marriage, and he signed the following mortgage:

Mortgage, agreed to lend me their notes to the amount of $6000 in the Branch of the Bank of the State of South Carolina at Camden, which notes I have promised to pay or cause to be paid, as they shall become due in Bank, and whereas to secure the said JOHN A. ROSS & WILLIAM E. ROSS, I have this day executed a Note payable to them or to their order, Sixty days after date for Six Thousand Dollars, the Amount of the Notes which they are to lend me as afsd. & to secure the payment of said Note & hereby to indemnity and make them safe against all and every liability . . . I JAMES W. CANTEY . . . Plantation or tract of land commonly called the Porter Place containing 400 acres . . . on Little Lyche's Creek, Kershaw Dist, and also that house plot situated . . . on Hog Kirk Hill in Kershaw Dist. . .
[Kershaw Co. Deeds]

WILLIAM E. ROSS served in the Seminole War; was mustered into service 17 Feb 1826 for three months, in Capt. D. Smith's Co. of SC mounted militia. [D. B. McCreight, The News Herald, 1867, in Fitz Hugh McMaster's HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY, 1946.]

William was still in Fairfield Co. when the census was taken 16 Nov 1850: enumerated as W. E. Ross, 45, planter $1900, born Fairfield Co., SC -- he lived alone, between Jacob Davis family and Elizabeth Tidwell family.

The other sons of ABNER ROSS having left the state, on 11 Jan 1837 William E. Ross filed a Power of Attorney from his brother JAMES W. ROSS, executor of Abner's estate, witnessed by their brother-in-law Thomas Robertson [Note, the house sold to Goza is illustrated and described in Fairfield Co. Sketchbook, by Julian Stevenson Bolick, 1963 (out of print), printed Clinton, SC, by Jacobs Brothers, excerpted here, Sketchbook]:

 James W. ROSS to John M. GOZA DEED. I James W. ROSS of the State of Alabama, Perry County by my attorney William E. ROSS of Fairfield District SC in consideration of the sum of Two Thousand five hundred Dollars to me paid by John M. GOZA of Fairfield District . . . sell and release all that plantation or tract of land containing Six hundred & seventy eight and one quarter acres on the waters of Thorn Tree Creek one of the branches of Wateree River and bounded by the lands of Thomas ROBERTSON and John HARRISON and lands belonging to the estate of Drury WALKER . . . on the North and North East on the the East by lands of John HARRISON & by purchased as the property of Thomas I. STARKE at a Sheriff sale and on the South by lands of Osmund WOODWARD and on the West by lands of Jacob SELLERS & lands belonging to the estate of Drury WALKER deceased . . . convey unto the said John M. GOZA . . . witness my hand and seal this Eleventh day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty seven and in the seventy-first year of the independence of the United States of America. Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of
Isaac DAVID } James W. ROSS
Thomas ROBERTSON } By his attorney Wm. E. ROSS
The State of South Carolina,
Fairfield District, Personally appeared before me Thomas ROBERTSON and made oath that he saw James W. ROSS by his attorney William E. ROSS sign seal and deliver the above conveyance . . . and that he with Jacob DAVIS in the presence of each . . . Sworn before me the first day of March 1847


Large Plat Map follows
South Carolina, Fairfield District at the request of James ROSS Exr. of the Estate of Abner ROSS decd I have resurveyed and admeasured for him a tract of land containing Six hundred and seventy-eight Acres situate on head branches of Thorn Pine and Cykes Creeks waters of Wateree river also on one of the small branches of Dutchmans Creek waters of the same river marks boundaries &c as by the above total represents this 12th April 1831. M. A. LIGGO Surv.
Marks on plat:
A represents part of a tract originally granted to Abner ROSS July 6th 1807
E represents . . . Reuben HARRISON
[the writing is very faded]

We do not know when William E. Ross died, but James W. Ross named two of his sons William E. and John Alfred Ross in honor of these brothers.

William E's twin brother, JOHN ALFRED ROSS (1806-1865), married MARY HOWELL HART GOODWYN in 1839, Fairfield Co. She was born 1816 in Richland Dist., SC, dau. of Jesse Howell Goodwyn & Sarah T. Hopkins, and died Keatchie, DeSoto Par., LA. They followed John's brother JAMES WHITAKER ROSS to Perry Co., AL, or nearby Dallas Co., by 1846, for they had two little boys who died there in that year at ages one and four and were buried in Ocmulgee Baptist Church Ceme. near James and his father- and mother-in-law and his wife's brother-in-law, Thomas Bryant. John A. Ross and his wife Mary Goodwyn were buried in Old Hazelwood Ceme., De Soto Par., LA.

Apparently John and Mary went back to SC for a while, since their daughter Mary V. Ross was born there, according to the 1860 census.

In 1850 they went to Mississippi; in 1849, to Gloster, DeSoto Par., LA, where their last four (of nine) children were born; and in 1858 to Keatchie, DeSoto Par. In the 1860 DeSoto Par. census they were enumerated on the same p. 388 as his sister Molsey, as John A. Ross 54 planter b. SC, Mary G. 44 matron SC, Jessee G. 20 SC, Sarah H. 16 SC, Mary V. 12 SC, Jno. C. 10 LA, Carrie 8 LA, James H. 6 LA.

John died 20 Oct 1865 in Keatchie. He and his wife Mary Goodwyn were buried in Old Hazelwood Cemetery, Grand Cane, De Soto, Par., LA:


Photos courtesy of Angela Wilburn

They had Nine Children:

1. Jesse Goodwin Ross, b. ca 1840

2. William Abner Ross, b. 8 Mar 1842, d. 6 Sep 1846, bur. Ocmulgee Church, Perry Co., AL

3. Osmund Alfred Ross, b. 26 Jan 1845, d. 8 Sep 1846, bur. Ocmulgee Church, Perry Co., AL

4. Sarah H. Ross, b. ca 1847

5. Mary V. Ross, b. ca 1848

6. John C. Ross, b. ca 1850

7. Caroline Ross, b. ca 1852

8. Carrie Ross, b. ca 1852 (twins?)

9. James Washington Ross, b. 13 Jan 1854 LA, d. 15 May 1929 TX, or Nov 1856 in Union Par., LA. He moved from DeSoto Par., LA to Tyler Co., TX, and then to San Augustine, TX. He married 1st Clara Yates and had 2 children. He married 2nd Sarah Jane Jordan and had 9 more children.

Photos Courtesy of Lavelle Bean


 James Washington Ross (b. 1854 LA, d. 1929 TX). He immigrated to Tyler Co., TX, then to San Augustine.

  James Washington Ross md. 1st Sarah Jordan, had 9 children, md. 2nd Clara Yates, had 2 more children


 James Washington Ross, Jr. (b. 1882, Yellow Pine, Newton Co., TX, d. 1956), & wife Mary Hopson


William Thomas "Tom" Ross & his mother Mary Mozelle Hopson Ross

Opal Ross Tanton (1919-1998), daughter of James Washington Ross, Jr. 

Ola Mae Ross Penn (1914-1971), daughter of James Washington, Jr., and Family Group probably Rosses and Hopsons

The will of JAMES W. ROSS was written in December 1847, only eighteen months after his mother-in-law's, and recorded May 23, 1848.


The State of Alabama }
Perry County } I, James W. Ross of the county and State aforesaid being week in body and mindful of death but of sound and discerning mind & memory do make Ordain declare and publish this my last will & testament . . .

1st I commend my spirit to God who gave it So So

Secondly, I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah E. J. Ross after all of my just debts are paid for her Sole & Separate use during her natural life one third of my estate both real and personal by lot & choice And at her death I will and bequeath to my children then living heirs of her body their decd mother's Share of said estate to be equally divided, with all increase which may arise from births.

Thirdly, I will and bequeath to my beloved children then living at my decease the other two thirds of my estate, after all of my just debts are paid, both real and personal to be divided into as many lots as there are children & as soon as either of them ___ to the age of twenty-one or marries, I wish the lot then allotted to him or her to be placed into his or her charge, & so on as they become of age or marry.

Fourthly, I will and bequeath to my beloved daughter Mary her lot of my estate both real and personal for her Sole and Separate use during her natural life only and at the death I give and bequeath to her children heirs of her body their decd. mother's share for ever, but Should She die without leaving a living offspring, it is my express wish that the lot willed to her be equally divided between the remaining brothers and Sisters.

Fifthly, I wish for my children to be kept at School at the expense of my estate. Should their education not be completed before my decease, provided it can be done without interfearing too much in the payment of Just debts and So long as there are assets in hand and some of the children not completed their education, I wish that the profits & the then remaining lots to be applied for the completion of their education and Support so far as is necessary.

Sixthly any other property that I may have from profitts and increase from the above mentioned property or any other source whatsoever, I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah E. J. Ross & my beloved children in the same manner and form before mentioned.

Seventhly, I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah E. Ross all of my household and kitchen furnature of all kinds for her sole and separate use during life and at her death it is my express wish for said furnature to be equally divided between the then surviviing children of mine.

Eighthly, should my hereinafter named Executrix and Executors deem it necessary or profitable to sell any ___ or surplus property which might be on hand, I wish it to be Sold and the proceeds applied to the payment of any debt which might be against my estate . . .

Ninthly, for the purpose of carrying out and executing this my last will & testament, I appoint my beloved wife Sarah E. J. Ross my executrix & my worthy and trusty friend Elias George and my beloved brothers John A. & William E. Ross to be my executors and desire of them after my just debts are paid to make a division of lot as above stated . . . Set my hand and Seal this 8th day of December one thousand eight hundred and forty seven, And in the seventy-second year of American Independence. Signed & Sealed published and declared in the presence of W. A. Tarrant, J. V. Perry
James L. McDonnell JAMES W. ROSS Seal

A codicil to my last will & testament.
First, I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah E. J. Ross for her Sole & Separate use during her natural life my carriage and a pair of her choice and at her death I will and bequeath to my beloved daughter Mary the carriage & horses for ever.

Second, Should I not be removed from this State to Louisiana or any other State in the union before my decease & my beloved wife & children should be desirous of moving to any state & by the consent of the executors they have a right to do so through this my last Will & testament & take with them any property that may be in possession my executors have been chosen in the above will and I desire of them to attend to this. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 8th day of December one thousand eight hundred & forty seven . . . JAMES W. ROSS

Recorded 23rd May 1848 Jno. Cunningham, Register

Though he did not name all his children, they were enumerated in Sarah's 1850 census, and in guardianship papers related to his estate.

James W. Ross was buried in Ocmulgee Baptist Church Cemetery (still active since 1820), southeast Perry County, Alabama, beside his mother- and father-in-law Mrs. Ann Rochelle and Anderson Rochelle, and Thomas G. Bryant, his wife's brother-in-law. Mrs. Ann Rochelle's maiden name was Nancy Ann Harrison and she was the daughter of Reuben Harrison and his 1st Sarah Burge of Fairfield County.

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