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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Hector North Ross

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 659 - 661

Hector North Ross, editor and proprietor of the Sheboygan Times, is the pioneer journalist of Sheboygan County. The Times is the legitimate successor of the first paper printed in Sheboygan. It first appeared in February, 1847, as the Sheboygan Mercury, and in the following January Mr. Ross became an employe{sic} in the office, where he learned to be a practical typo, and also took editorial charge of the paper. In February, 1854, he bought the paper, and has owned and conducted it ever since. On becoming its owner he changed the name to the Evergreen City Times, the name having been suggested to him by the fact that pines and evergreen trees predominated in early days on the site of the city. Afterward, that feature of the landscape having been to a great extent destroyed by clearing for buildings and homes, he substituted "Sheboygan" for "Evergreen," giving the paper its present title. However, the name "Evergreen City" became the popular title for Sheboygan.

Mr. Ross was born in Candor, Tioga County, N. Y., May 30, 1820, and is a son of Adin and Emily L. (North) Ross. His father was born in Symesbury, Mass., of Scotch ancestry. The paternal great-grandfather of our subject came to America from Scotland, and lived in Massachusetts until over ninety years of age, when he removed with his wife to Candor, N. Y. The mother of the subject of this record, whose maiden name was Emily L. North, was a lineal descendant of John North, one of the original eighty-four proprietors of Hartford, Conn., who emigrated to America from England about 1630, and from whom Hector North Ross is removed eight generations.

H. N. Ross was reared on his father's farm, attending school in the winter and working on the farm in the spring and summer. When seventeen years old (in the spring of 1837), he began teaching school in his native county. In the spring of 1839 he went to Carlisle, Pa., where he taught school the following summer; and in the fall went to Reading, of the same State, but remained only a short time, when he removed to Minersville, Schuylkill County, where he was engaged in teaching until the spring of 1841. He then returned to Candor, N. Y., and spent the summer with his parents on the farm. The following fall he went to Canandaigua, of the same State, and taught school there during the winter, entering the Canandaigua Academy the following spring. There he continued as a student and as teacher of common schools until the spring of 1844, when he went to Akron, Ohio, where he engaged in the study of law in the office of Seneca A. Hand. During the winter he taught in order to earn the means with which to defray expenses. In the spring of 1847 he passed an examination at Cleveland before a committee of lawyers appointed by the Supreme Court, Judge Lane presiding. The committee was composed of five attorneys, one of whom was the noted Ben Wade, later United States Senator.

Like many another newly-fledged Eastern lawyer, he sought room for his talents in the then border land of civilization, eastern Wisconsin. He had a brother at Sheboygan, and naturally drifted to this place, where he arrived in June, 1847. On landing from the boat, he found himself possessed of a cash capital amounting to seventy-five cents. He soon found work in the Mercury office, as before mentioned. The following fall he was elected on the Whig ticket to the office of County Judge of Sheboygan County, entering upon the duties of the office January 1, 1849. The salary of the office was small and the duties light, and in order to occupy his time fully, as well as earn what he could, he taught the village school at Sheboygan that winter, and again held the same position most of the years 1852 and 1853. In the fall of the same year he traveled for a time, and in February of 1854 purchased the Sheboygan Mercury office, and has conducted the paper, under its different changes of name, until the present. On coming to Sheboygan, Mr. Ross found the legal talent far in excess of the demand, so turned his attention to journalism, and virtually abandoned the practice of his profession.

On the 30th of May, 1850, Mr. Ross was married in Hopewell, Ontario County, N. Y., to Miss Annis C. Stoddard, a daughter of Chester Stoddard, a soldier of the War of 1812. The bride was born in Aurora, Cayuga County, N. Y. They have one child, a daughter, Lillian E., wife of L. B. Rudd, now of Wheaton, Ill.

Mr. Ross conducted his paper as an independent journal until the organization of the Republican party in June, 1854, since which time it has been strongly Republican. In 1870 he changed its name from Evergreen City Times to its present name, Sheboygan Times. The paper is an eight-column folio, and has a liberal circulation throughout the county. Mr. Ross has made his paper popular with its patrons by earnestly supporting worthy public enterprises calculated to benefit the city and county, and furnishing a clean, readable, family paper. A Republican in politics since the birth of that party, he has not been ambitious of official distinction, and has served but little in public office. One term as County Judge, one as Justice of the Peace, and three or four years as Secretary of the City Board of Education includes all in that line.

He is a member of Sheboygan Lodge No. 13, I. O. O. F., and has been a member of that order for many years. Mr. Ross is highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens, and is one of the few remaining worthy pioneers of forty years ago.


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