Ross Cox was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1793, the son of Samuel Cox and Margaret Thorpe. He emigrated to America in 1811, becoming a clerk in the American Fur Company. He arrived in Fort Astoria, Pacific Fur Company's primary fur trading post in 1812, shortly before it was sold to the North West Company in 1813. He then became a clerk with the North West Company, but he retired 1817 and returned to Ireland. He became the Irish correspondent for the London Morning Herald as well as a clerk in the Dublin police office. He was married to Hannah Cumming in 1819, and had several children. He died in Dublin in 1853.
Cox's Adventures on the Columbia River (London, 1831) is one of the most important documents relating to the later history of the North West Company.