Jonathan Ross (politician)

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Jonathan Ross
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
January 11, 1899 – October 18, 1900
Appointed byEdward Curtis Smith
Preceded byJustin S. Morrill
Succeeded byWilliam P. Dillingham
Chairman of the Vermont Board of Railroad Commissioners
In office
Preceded byDavid J. Foster
Succeeded byFuller C. Smith
President of the Vermont Bar Association
In office
Preceded byCharles Hial Darling
Succeeded byJohn Young
Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court
In office
Preceded byHomer E. Royce
Succeeded byRussell S. Taft
Associate Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court
In office
Preceded byBenjamin H. Steele
Succeeded byLaforrest H. Thompson
Member of the Vermont Senate from Caledonia County
In office
Serving with John M. Martin
Preceded byHarley M. Hall
Horace Fairbanks
Succeeded byCalvin Morrill
Charles Rogers Jr.
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from St. Johnsbury
In office
Preceded byGates B. Bullard
Succeeded byEmerson Hall
Personal details
Born(1826-04-30)April 30, 1826
Waterford, Vermont, U.S.
DiedFebruary 23, 1905(1905-02-23) (aged 78)
St. Johnsbury, Vermont, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Eliza Ann Carpenter Ross
Helen Daggert Ross
  • Caroline C. Ross
  • Eliza M. Ross
  • Helen M. Ross
  • Julia Ross
  • Martha E. Ross
  • Edith Helen Ross
  • Edward H. Ross
  • Jonathan C. Ross
Alma materDartmouth College
ProfessionPolitician, lawyer, judge, principal

Jonathan Ross (April 30, 1826 – February 23, 1905) was a nineteenth-century politician, lawyer and judge from Vermont. He served as chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court and as United States Senator from Vermont.

Early life[edit]

Ross was born in Waterford, Vermont, on April 30, 1826, the son of Royal Ross and Eliza (Mason) Ross.[1] Ross attended the public schools and St. Johnsbury Academy.[1] He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1851 and was principal of the Chelsea and Craftsbury Academies from 1851 to 1856.[2] He studied law in the Chelsea office of former Congressman William Hebard, and later with Charles Davis of Danville and William A. Fletcher of Michigan; he was admitted to the bar in 1856.[3]


Ross was Treasurer of Passumpsic Savings Bank from 1858 to 1868.[1] He practiced law in St. Johnsbury until 1870.[1] After being State's attorney for Caledonia County from 1862 to 1863, he was appointed a member of the State board of education, holding that office from 1866 to 1870.[1]

From 1865 to 1867, Ross was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives and he was a state senator in 1870.[1] He served on the Vermont Council of Censors in 1869.[1] He was judge of the Vermont Supreme Court from 1870 to 1890 and chief justice of Vermont from 1890 to 1899.[4][5]

In December 1898, U.S. Senator Justin S. Morrill died.[6] Governor Edward Curtis Smith offered to appoint Benjamin F. Fifield to the vacancy, and Fifield tentatively accepted.[7] Several days later, Fifield declined, and Smith then offered the appointment to Ross, who accepted.[7] He served from January 11, 1899, to October 18, 1900, when a successor was elected.[8] While in the Senate, he was chairman of the United States Senate Committee to Examine Branches of the Civil Service (Fifty-sixth Congress).[9] He was not an active candidate for reelection in 1900.[1] In October 1900, Ross was elected president of the Vermont Bar Association, and he served a one-year term.[10] In November 1900, he succeeded David J. Foster as chairman of the state board of railroad commissioners, and he served until being succeeded by Fuller C. Smith in November 1902.[11]

Death and burial[edit]

Ross retired to his home in St. Johnsbury, where he resided until his death.[1] He died on February 23, 1905, from injuries sustained when his sleigh was struck by a train a few days earlier.[1] According to published accounts, Ross and his wife were stopped at a crossing while a train passed by.[1] Their horse became frightened and dashed between two train cars, demolishing the sleigh and killing Mrs. Ross.[1] The train crew transported Ross to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken hip and other injuries, and remained until his death.[12] Ross is interred at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.[1]


Ross married Eliza Ann Carpenter (1826–1886) on November 22, 1852.[1] They were the parents of eight children, including Caroline C., Eliza M., Helen M., Julia, Martha E., Edith Helen, Edward H., and Jonathan C.[13] In 1887, he married Helen Daggert, and they remained married until her death.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Last Week's Accident". The St. Johnsbury Caledonian. St. Johnsbury, VT. March 1, 1905. p. 4 – via
  2. ^ "Jonathan ROSS". Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  3. ^ "Ross, Jonathan, (1826 - 1905)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  4. ^ Forbes, Charles S. (1898). The Vermonter, Volumes 4-5. p. 108.
  5. ^ "Jonathan Ross (Senator)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  6. ^ "Judge Ross Appointed by Gov. Smith as Successor to the Late Senator Morrill". Burlington Free Press. St. Albans, Vermont. January 12, 1899. p. 1. Retrieved May 26, 2022 – via
  7. ^ a b "Judge Ross Appointed by Gov. Smith as Successor to the Late Senator Morrill", p. 1.
  8. ^ "Jonathan Ross (senator)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "Jonathan Ross (Senator)". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "Annual Meeting of the Vermont Bar Association". Vermont Phoenix. Brattleboro, VT. October 26, 1900. p. 5 – via
  11. ^ "Jonathan Ross (Senator)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  12. ^ "Ex-Senator Jonathan Ross" (PDF). The New York Times. St. Johnsbury, Vermont. p. 7. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Cutter, William Richard (1914). New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 2. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 9 621.

External links[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Vermont
January 11, 1899 – October 18, 1900
Served alongside: Redfield Proctor
Succeeded by