Saturday, March 3, 2012

Robbing a Grocery Store With his Dad – James Ross

B. 14 Jan 1852 In Jersey County, Illinois
M. 24 Jul 1872 in Jersey County, Illinois
Wife: Mary Edith Luckey
D. 17 Feb 1884 in Labette County, Kansas

James Ross was born on January 14, 1852 to John Ross and Ellen Ann Luckey in Jersey County, Illinois. John Ross was said to be a "lawless character." When James was 14, his father took him on a crime spree as they broke into a grocery store in Jerseyville, stealing food and other items. Both of them were arrested; John Ross was convicted of the crime and sent to prison.

James was in jail for a short time, but it was the wish of the store owners that he be released to his uncles in order that he might be reformed. Several prominent Jersey County men said that the boy had “a very bad character,” but seemed to blame John Ross for the incident. Whether James was actually "reformed" by his uncles isn't known. In 1870, with his father out of prison, he was back living with his parents and siblings.

On July 24, 1872, James married his first cousin, Mary Luckey. They had five children between the years 1873 and 1882. In about 1878, James moved his family to Labette County, Kansas. Mary's parents and siblings also made the move. The two households bought adjoining farms (James was said to have paid his farm off within a few years). According to the 1880 census, James had a "crippled hand," but it isn't known how he got it, or whether it made it difficult to work on his farm.

In February of 1884, a storm of hard sleet struck the area near the farm, knocking down trees and damaging homes. It was said to be the worst storm of its kind that anyone could remember. James' house suffered some damage to the roof, and he was forced to repair it. Being exposed to the elements in the dead of winter caused him to come down with pneumonia, and he died less than a week later on February 17th.

Children:
1. Laura Ethol Ross – B. 24 Sep 1873, Jersey County, Illinois; D. 17 Mar 1917, Los Angeles, California; M. Howard Milton Sheridan (1871-1951), 6 Mar 1895, Oswego, Kansas

2. James Anderson Ross – B. 8 Aug 1875, Jersey County, Illinois; D. young

3. Charles Howard Ross – B. 4 Aug 1877, Jersey County, Illinois; D. 2 Dec 1918

4. Edward Auguster Ross – B. 23 Jan 1880, Labette County, Kansas; D. 4 Jan 1964; M. Ora [?] (1895-1987), about 1912

5. John L. Ross – B. 6 Aug 1882, Labette County, Kansas; D. 28 Sep 1892

Sources:
1860, 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census, Illinois and Kansas
Pardon petition file of John Ross, Springfield, Illinois, 1867-1868
Marriage record of James Ross and Mary Edith Luckey, Jerseyville, Illinois, 24 Jul 1872
Family Bible of Mary E. Leonartz, transcribed by Ora Ross
Letter from Ora Ross to Beulah Larsen, 15 Sep 1976
History of Labette County, Kansas, Nelson Case, 1893
Death certificate of Laura Ethol Sheridan, 17 Mar 1917
Kansas marriages database, 1840-1935
Death certificate of Howard M. Sheridan, Mar 1951
Social Security death index

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