Jorandby - Bittner - Christenson - Ross

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  • ID: I2628
  • Name: William Ross
  • Surname: Ross
  • Given Name: William
  • Prefix: Rev.
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1 Nov 1767 in Belfast, Co Antrim, Ireland 1 2 3 4 5 6
  • Death: 23 Aug 1860 in Princeton, Bureau, Illinois, USA
  • Burial: 26 Aug 1860 Limerick Cemetery, Bureau, Illinois, USA 7
  • Ancestral File #: 1R3L-J6D
  • _UID: 0D2C84FD504FCC408CAB965ABD4F3B28FBA4
  • Emigration: 1803 Ireland to Pennsylvania, USA 8
  • Occupation: Methodist minister
  • Note:
    We have at least seven accounts of the origins of the Rev William Ross:

    "Rev. William Ross was born in Antrim County, Ireland, November 1, 1767, and immigrated to America in 1803. About 1807 he married Jane Whitaker, who was born in this country July 4, 1785, and they settled in Somerset, Penn." [1885 bio of James Ross]

    "The father William was a native of Ireland, but the mother Jane was born in Pennsylvania. In 1816 they removed to Tuscarawas County, Ohio." [1885 bio of Jacob Ross]

    "The parents were William and Jane (Whitaker) Ross, the former a native of Belfast, Ireland, and the latter of Somerset county, Pennsylvania." [1906 bio of Andrew Ross]

    "Her father was the Rev. William Ross, a missionary to the Delaware Indians, and it is probable that from this pious ancestor she imbibed the rugged Christian virtues that characterized her life." [1899 obit of Mary Ross Mulvane]

    "The maternal grandfather was the Rev. William Ross (a native of Cork, Ireland), who was sent from Philadelphia to the wilds of eastern Ohio as a Methodist missionary to the Indians. He lived here over forty years, when he emigrated to Ohio, Bureau Co., Ill. He died at the ripe age of ninety-seven years, having fought the good fight of an earnest disciple of our Lord Jesus." [1883 bio of John Mulvane]

    "William Ross was from Ireland and went to Ohio as a missionary among the Delaware Indians." [1913 bio of David Winfield Mulvane, son of Joab]

    "William Ross was an Irishman of County Cork, Ireland, and had come to Ohio in 1805 as a missionary to the Delaware Indians. William Ross married Jane Whitaker, an English woman. One of her brothers owned a large cotton mill near Philadelphia, and another was an iron founder who made cannon for the Federal Government during the Civil war." [1918 bio of John Mulvane]

    Presumably, the authors of those texts interviewed their subjects. Of the seven versions, only the first three are convincing: I believe that the Rev Ross was born in Belfast, Co Antrim, Ulster; that he emigrated in 1803, met and married Jane Whitaker in Berks Co, Pennsylvania; and then he moved on to Somerset Co, then to Ohio in 1816, then in 1851 to Illinois, where his sons had been pioneering for five years already.

    The remaining four of those seven versions all derive from Mary Ross, the mother of John and Joab Mulvane; they have the feel of legend, not fact; they sound like a story that gets a little more embellished each time it is passed on. With the 1782 Gnadenhutten massacre of Delaware Indians in Tuscarawas County, Ohio [] in mind, how likely is it that the Rev Ross moved his family from Somerset Co, Pennsylvania, to Tuscarawas County in 1816 to evangelize?

    The clan Ross was (and still is) an important clan in Scotland, and if William Ross is from Co Antrim, then he could be descended from those protestant Scots who began settling the so-called Ulster Plantation very early in the 17th century, a few years before the Plymouth Plantation was getting underway in North America. Scots and English continued to settle in Ulster after the depredations of Cromwell in the 1640s and William III in the 1690s.

    Another source points to Co Kerry as William Ross's home: "Rev. William Ross lived at Ross Castle, County Killarney, Ireland and is said to have been of Scots descent. He came to America in 1803." [Alexander Stewart, His Scots Ancestry and American Descendants by Dorothy Kintigh Sidfrid - 1979 - Page 332]. But there is no County Killarney; Killarney is in Co Kerry, just west of Co Cork in Munster; nevertheless, those who like to have a castle in their pedigrees may look into it. Co Kerry and Co Cork also received protestant settlers from England and Scotland, from the time of Sir Walter Raleigh on. Even if it's not true, it could make a good story to pass around at a family reunion.

    At least one source at gives Pennsylvania as William Ross's birthplace, clearly wrong, for the 1850 census for William and the later censuses for his children, they all list his birthplace as Ireland.

    Following are some biographical notes about the Rev William Ross from an obituary of his daughter Mary (Ross) Mulvane, included by Michelle DeAngelo in her Lombard-DeAngelo-Mulvane-Ehrsam Family Tree at

    Her father was the Rev. William Ross, a missionary to the Delaware Indians, and it is probable that from this pious ancestor she imbibed the rugged Christian virtues that characterized her life. In 1817 when she was but 4 years of age she removed with her parents [from Somerset Co, Pennsylvania] to Stone Creek [which runs through York Twp and Dover Twp, Tuscarawas Co, Ohio]. Pennsylvania and Ohio were practically a wilderness then, and the journey was made over the mountains, and through virgin forests in a one horse cart. Some of the difficulties of the journey will be understood when it is known that there were 6 children in the family, the youngest being a babe of 6 weeks. Long before any churches had been erected in this vicinity, her father was accustomed to preach to the settlers under the trees that grow on the State road just east of the C O D Fair Grounds.

    See also the information about the Rev Ross in the "Notes" attached to the entries elsewhere in this genealogy for his oldest son James Ross.

    From Ohio Annals: Historic events in the Tuscarawas and Muskingum valleys, and in other portions of the state of Ohio. (Dayton, Ohio, 1876), p. 307:

    Oldest Inhabitants of York Township:
    Born between 1750 and 1760: Frederick Hummell, Henry Shawver.
    Born between 1760 and 1770: Mrs. Frederick Hummell, John Shull, John Pence, William Ross, Eli Barton, George Putt, John Benfer and wife.
    Born between 1770 and 1780: William Butt, Mrs. John Shull, Francis Garnant, Henry Ankeny, Samuel Deardorff and wife, Lewis Fox, Mrs Eli Barton, Mrs. George Putt, Christian Beaver, Mary Cummings, George W. Kuhn, William Wolff, Henry Shawver, John Grimes and wife, Jacob Howe, Michael Bedinger.

    For information on the settlement of York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, see The History of Tuscarawas County, Ohio (Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co, 1884) online at GoogleBooks, or at In that history, one will encounter names that appear often in a genealogy of the descendants of the Rev William Ross and his neighbors -- Shull, Casebeer, Butt, Deardroff -- most of these pioneers in Tuscarawas Co were from and from Somerset Co, and neighboring counties in Pennsylvania, where the first six children of William and Jane Ross were born between 1808 and 1817. For a history of Somerset Co, Pennsylvania, go to

    Some documentary information:

    Early US Federal censuses for Union Twp, Berks, Pennsylvania, list the "Joseph Whittacre" household (1790) and the "Joseph Whiteacre" household (1800), which would have included Jane Whitaker, born in 1785. We can assume, then, that William Ross was in Berks County after his arrival in 1803, at least by 1807, when they married, she at age 22, he at age 40. They probably moved to Somerset Co shortly thereafter.

    There are two entries for a William Ross the in Naturalization Records 1802-1854, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, compiled by William Iscrupe (Laughlintown, PA: Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogical Services, 1979), one on p 11 and the other on p 12, and both for the year 1808. The name is of course common, but one of the entries may be about our subject.

    1810 census for Somerset Borough, Somerset Co, Pennsylvania:
    Rofs, William 2 males under 10, 1 male to age 45, 1 female to age 26
    [These would be Jacob (1) and James (2); William (43); and Jane (25)]

    1820 census for Dover Twp [later York Twp], Tuscarawas Co, Ohio:
    William Rofs 3 males under 10, 2 males 10-16, 1 male over 45, 2 females under 10, 1 female between 26-45
    [These would be Joseph (1), William (6), and John (9); Jacob (11) and James (12); William (53); unidentified daughter (2?) and Mary (7); and Jane (35)]

    1830 census for York Twp, Tuscarawas Co, Ohio:
    William Rofs 1 male 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 2 males 15-20, 2 males 20-30, 1 male 60-70, 2 females under 5, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 15-20, and 1 female 40-50
    [These would be Andrew (7); Joseph (14); William (16) and John (19); Jacob (21) and James (22); William (63); Hannah (4); Rachel (6) or Martha (9); Rebecca (11); Mary (17); and Jane (45)]

    1840 census for York Twp, Tuscarawas Co, Ohio (other members of the family are listed with James Ross in the 1840 census):
    William Rofs 1 male 15-20, 1 male 70-80, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 50-60
    [These would be Andrew (17), William (73), unknown girl, Hannah (14), and Jane (55)]

    1850 census for York Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio, family #80, enum 3 Aug 1850:
    William Rofs Senr. 82 M Minister $2,000 real estate Ireland
    Jane Rofs 63 F Pennsylvania

    Land patent record for a 100 acre parcel in the SW corner of York Twp:
    Patentee: WILLIAM ROSS
    Acres: 100
    Lot 39 Sec 3 T7N R2W U.S. Military Survey OH Tuscarawas
    Title Transfer Issue Date: 8/15/1837
    Authority: April 24, 1820: Sale-Cash Entry (3 Stat. 566)
    Document Nr.: 10394
    Accession/Serial Nr.: OH1570__.343

    William Ross died in Bureau Co, Illinois, and is buried with his wife Jane under an obelisk-style monument in the Limerick Cemetery, north of Princeton.

    A 2000-2001 message thread about some descendants of the Rev William Ross is at the Ross Surname Message Board at

    James M. Charlesworth, Jr., PO Box 190, 1631 Harvey St SE, Jefferson, OR 97352, has submitted data about the William Ross and Jane Whitaker family to the LDS Ancestral File, submission: AF96-115074. He speculates that William was born where Jane Whitaker was born, in Pennsylvania. This appears as fact in at least three trees at's One World Tree.
  • Change Date: 24 Jul 2012 at 01:00:00

    Marriage 1 Jane Whitaker b: 1 Jul 1785 in Hopewell Furnace, Berks, Pennsylvania, USA
    • Married: 1 May 1807 in Berks Co, Pennsylvania, USA 10 11
    1. Has Children James Ross b: 22 Feb 1808 in Somerset Twp, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. Has Children Jacob Ross b: 12 Oct 1809 in Somerset Twp, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA
    3. Has Children John Benjiman Ross b: 22 Sep 1811 in Somerset Twp, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA
    4. Has Children Mary Ross b: 28 Jul 1813 in Somerset Twp, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA
    5. Has Children William Ross b: 24 Nov 1814 in Somerset Twp, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA
    6. Has Children Joseph Whitaker Ross b: 30 Nov 1816 in Somerset Borough, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA
    7. Has Children Rebecca Ross b: 19 Apr 1819 in York Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio, USA
    8. Has No Children Martha Ross b: 5 Feb 1821 in York Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio, USA
    9. Has Children Andrew Ross b: 28 May 1823 in York Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio, USA
    10. Has Children Hannah Ross b: 12 Feb 1826 in York Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio, USA
    11. Has Children Rachel Ross b: 10 Aug 1829 in York Twp, Tuscarawas, Ohio, USA

    1. Repository:

      Title: 1820 US Federal Census
      [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, Inc., 2004.
      Page: Census Place: Dover, Tuscarawas, Ohio; Roll: M33_95; Page: 166
    2. Repository:

      Title: 1830 US Federal Census
      [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, Inc., 2004.
      Page: Census Place: York, Tuscarawas, Ohio; Roll: 141; Page: 10.
    3. Repository:

      Title: 1840 US Federal Census
      [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.
      Page: Census Place: , Tuscarawas, Ohio; Roll: 430; Page: 411.
    4. Repository:
        Name: HeritageQuest

      Title: Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois
      Author: George B. Harrington
      Publication: Chicago: Pioneer Pub Co, 1906
      Page: p. 216
    5. Title: John Ross Mulvane biography in History of the State of Kansas
      Author: William G Cutler
      Publication: Chicago: A T Andreas, 1883
      online at
    6. Title: John Ross Mulvane biography in A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans
      Author: William E. Connelley
      Publication: Chicago: Lewis, 1918
      online at
    7. Title: Limerick Cemetery grave markers
    8. Title: Postings to the Ross Message Board
      Author: Robert Ross
    9. Title: Mulvane Family Genealogy
      Author: unknown
      Publication: possessed by Michelle L. De Angelo
      Page: 3
    10. Title: Mulvane Records
      Publication: in the possession of Michelle L. De Angelo
    11. Repository:

      Title: FamilySearch™ Pedigree Resource File
      records submitted by individuals through the LDS FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service.

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