PAUL A. ROSS
Paul A. Ross, foreman of the Southern Pacific roundhouse at Weed, is a man of unusual qualifications in mechanics, his specialty being steam boilers, in relation to which he is regarded as an expert. He is a man of wide experience, having visited practically every part of the globe, and his record is marked by a number of thrilling and sometimes unpleasant incidents. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 12, 1886, he is a son of Herman and Augusta (Evert) Ross. His father, who is of Scotch-German stock, was born in West Prussia, Germany, and as a young boy, in 1820, came to the United States, settling in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was a blacksmith by trade and also did considerable farming. In later years he and his wife returned to Prussia, where they inherited some property, and his death occurred at Kiel, at the age of one hundred and three years. He is survived by his widow, who is now over ninety years of age. They became the parents of seven children: Hulda, the wife of William Stark, a shoemaker; Ida, the wife of Hans Knapp, a tailor; Paul A; Gretchen, deceased; William, who is a machinist in government employ in Germany, being connected with the street car system in Hamburg; Gretchen, the wife of Richard Stanitz, who runs a factory and store at Nurnberg, Germany; and Wilhelmina, deceased.
Paul A. Ross received his early education in the grade schools of Germantown, Pennsylvania, and did not learn the English language until fifteen years of age, his early instruction having been received in German schools. Subsequently he took three courses in the International Correspondence School, covering navigation, engineering and boiler making. He went to work in New York City in a machine shop, serving as a sweeper for one month, after which he began to learn the boiler making trade, the principles of which he had already studied. His wages were small and in order to assist in meeting his expenses he got the job of setting up pins in a bowling alley, which job he held throughout his four years of apprenticeship. While employed in that machine shop Mr. Ross was the principal mechanic in the making of a miniature locomotive, about three feet long, complete in all of its parts. This engine has been on exhibition ever since and will be exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. It cannot be sold without Mr. Ross’ consent, as he owns it and intends to give it to his daughter. Its construction was approved by the Masters’ Union of New York City.
After finishing his apprenticeship as a boilermaker, Mr. Ross entered the employ of the Baumert Cheese Company, looking after the boilers in the factory at Watertown, New York, and other places. Later he went to Tampico, Mexico, where his uncle owned a large property, known as El Blancho Rancho. He and three companions attempted to make the journey to the ranch on foot, but in the jungle country they ran out of provisions and water. They buried two of the party who died en route, and Mr. Ross was set upon and badly beaten by Mexicans, who left him lying by a roadside, dead as they thought. However, an old Mexican woman rescued him and nursed him back to health, over a period of three months. He finally reached his uncle’s ranch, where he served as foreman over Mexican employees for two and a half years. His relations with the Mexicans were none too pleasant and finally, after having been stabbed twice and shot once, he resigned and returned to the United States. In 1906 he returned to New York City and enlisted in the navy, in which his experiences were more pleasant. He made a trip around the world on the United States steamship “Tennessee,” and visited all foreign countries, including Panama. Later he spent two years in Porto Rico and three months in Jamaica. In 1912 he came to California, locating first in Los Angeles, where he secured work as a boilermaker for the Southern Pacific Railroad, remaining there until 1917. He then came to Weed and entered the employ of the Weed Lumber Company, now the Long-Bell Lumber Company, serving as boiler inspector for five years, or until 1922, when he went to work again for the Southern Pacific Railroad and is now in charge of the roundhouse at Weed, a very responsible job, but one for which he is well qualified.
In 1912 Mr. Ross was united in marriage to Miss Annabell Berthelemy, who was born in Paris, of French parentage, but was reared in London, England. Her father, Henry Berthelemy, was at one time the owner of the Hotel Tavern in London. Mr. and Mrs. Ross are the parents of a daughter, Katharina A. M., who is now attending high school in Weed. Politically Mr. Ross is a Democrat and takes a live interest in public affairs. He is a member of the Improved Order of Red Men, of which he is press agent; and the Loyal Order of Moose, of which he is a past dictator and has been secretary for the past five years. Since 1914 he has been a communicant of the Roman Catholic Church. He fluently speaks three languages, English, German and Spanish. In 1926 Mr. Ross and his family went by automobile to Tampico, Mexico, where he visited scenes of his former unpleasant experiences. He is greatly interested in everything that concerns the progress and welfare of his community and is recognized as a man of sterling character, wide information and commendable traits, commanding the respect of all who know him.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.