Aaron Y. Ross

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Aaron Y. Ross (aka "Dad" Ross, "Hold the Fort Aaron") was a gold miner, stage coach driver and guard, and train guard in the American 'old west'. He was legendary for having fought off a number of robbery attempts, some against overwhelming odds.

Born in Old Town, Maine in 1829, Ross sailed to California in 1856 to mine for gold at Sutter's Creek, California, and later in Oregon and Idaho. In 1867 he became a stage coach driver and guard for Wells Fargo. That same year, between Fort Benton and Sun River, Montana his stage was accosted by 25 Native Americans, whom he repulsed in a running battle, killing five. He successfully fought off another robbery attempt by an outlaw gang at Silver Star, Montana and shot and killed the outlaw Andrew Jackson "Big Jack" Davis in Nevada in 1877 during another failed stage robbery. For one or more of these exploits Wells Fargo gave him a $650 gold watch.[1]

In 1883, at the age of 54, Ross was guarding an express train filled with $80,000 in gold bullion, traveling from San Francisco, when it was attacked by robbers in Montello, Nevada. Fortifying his car, Ross held them off with gunfire until they threatened to burn him out. He reportedly yelled that he'd see them "in a hotter place" than the one they'd make by burning the train. After a five-hour stand-off in which he wounded three, the gang retired and the train reached its destination in Ogden, Utah. The railroad company presented Ross with a $1,000 reward. He retired to Ogden and died there in 1922, at the age of 93. His obituary appeared in the New York Times.[2]


  1. ^ '"Passing of 'Dad' Ross", New York Times, July 9, 1922, p. 9
  2. ^ '"Passing of 'Dad' Ross", New York Times, July 9, 1922, p. 9