M. 29 Mar 1826 in Boundbrook, New Jersey
Wife: Alletta Van Arsdalen
D. 14 Jul 1878 in Jersey County, Illinois
James S. Ross was born March 4, 1803 in Somerset County, New Jersey, to John Ross and Martha Van Tuyl. There were 10 children in the family, two of which died as infants. When James was 5 years old, his father died and left the family without support and in some debt. He was named in his father’s will to receive two shares of the estate to be divided amongst his siblings when the youngest, William, reached 21 in July 1827.
At age 16, James became an apprentice to a brother-in-law who was a blacksmith. It's likely he used the small inheritance from his father to set himself up with a blacksmith business. He continued with it for about the next 12 years, at the same time owning his own farm. On March 29, 1826, he married Alletta Van Arsdalen in Boundbrook, New Jersey. They had three sons born between 1829 and 1836.
In 1838, James decided to sell out and move to Illinois. He first made a trip there by himself to check it out, then in July of 1839, moved his family there, traveling by wagon. His father-in-law gave him a loan of $500, probably so they could buy some land there. He purchased a farm three miles east of Jerseyville, Illinois from a man named Russell. By 1850, James’ farm was worth $7,500. In 1870, the value of his properties had gone up to $15,000, and he had personal property worth $6,000. He sold his original farm to his youngest son James in 1865.
Farm that James sold to his youngest son, as it looked in 1872
James’ three sons turned out quite differently from each other. While the younger two were respected in the community, in 1866, his oldest son John was arrested for burglarizing a grocery store and sent to prison. In a petition for John's pardon, it was described that James was very well-regarded amongst the people of Jersey County; in part, this is why the petition was drawn up. John was released from prison in 1868.
In 1872, James was described as living in Jerseyville with Alletta. In 1874, he became paralyzed, possibly from a stroke. At some point, he went to live with his middle son David on a farm just outside of town. He died July 14, 1878 and left all his property to Alletta. His will described that he owned a farm, as well as two lots in the town of Jerseyville. He was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
1. John Ross – B. 1829, New Jersey; M. Ellen Ann Luckey (1829-1882), 3 Apr 1850, Jerseyville, Illinois
2. David R. Ross – B. 1831, Boundbrook, New Jersey; D. 16 Mar 1885, Jersey County, Illinois; M. Eliza McBride (1834-1904), 7 May 1885, Carrollton, Illinois
3. James Christopher Ross – B. 20 Mar 1836, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 27 Jan 1904, Jersey County, Illinois; M. Elizabeth J. Robinett (1842-1905), 22 Mar 1857, Jersey County, Illinois
Atlas of Jersey County, Illinois, 1872
Death certificate of James Ross, Jerseyville, Illinois, 27 Jul 1878
1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census, Illinois
Family Bible of Christopher and Sarah Van Arsdalen
Marriage record of James Ross and Alletta Van Arsdalen, Boundbrook, New Jersey, 29 Mar 1826
Will of John Ross, Middlebrook, New Jersey, 26 Feb 1808
Will of Christopher Van Arsdalen, Hillsborough, New Jersey, 1834-1840
Pardon petition file of John Ross, Springfield, Illinois, 1867-1868
Tombstone inscriptions, Oak Grove Cemetery, Jersey County, Illinois
Tombstone inscriptions, Oakwood Cemetery, Parsons, Kansas
Marriage certificate of John Ross and Ellen Ann Luckey, 6 Apr 1850, Jersey County, Illinois
Jersey County, Illinois obituary index
History of Jerseyville, Illinois, Reverend Marshall M.Cooper, 1901
Illinois statewide marriage index, 1763-1900