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Title: The Ross Brothers
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Harry Fenton Ross and Will Garfield Ross, who constitute the firm of Ross Brothers, publishers of The Attica Ledger-Press, were born in Medina township, Warren county, Indiana, the former on January 31, 1879, and the latter on February 22, 1881. Early in their childhood the family moved to Pine Village, Indiana, and there the boys grew to maturity. Their parents were James and Susan Turman Ross, the father being the only son of an Irish textile weaver, Francis Ross, who emigrated to this country from Armaugh, Ireland. The mother on her maternal side was descended from the Campbell family with clearly traced lineage running back into Scotland many generations.

The Ross boys lived the life of the average carefree lad in a country village and acquired their education in the local schools. Harry early developed a literary taste and, with the intention of becoming a school teacher, spent a brief period at the Northern Indiana Normal School (now Valparaiso University.) He was but seventeen years of age at that time and being unable on that account to secure a position as teacher, he and his father purchased The Pine Village News in December, 1896, and began its publication. The News was a very unpretentious four-page sheet, but it served for a beginning and a natural love for the work began to manifest itself at once in the improvement of the paper. Will was still in school, but the next year the firm was changed to Ross Brothers, enough money was saved to buy a new press and some type and from that time the paper made such gains in prestige that after operating it three years the plant was sold for six times the purchase price.

In May, 1899, and opportunity came to lease the Warren Review at Williamsport and for fourteen months they edited and published it very successfully. Feeling then that they needed more experience than a country shop afforded, they went to the city, Harry entering the Chicago Art Institute to take up drawing and designing, while Will found employment among the large printing shops and newspapers of that city. He soon got tired of city life and accepted an offer to become foreman of the Attica Ledger at Attica, Indiana. After a year there he entered the firm as a partner with E. R. Campbell. After three years in this connetion he sold out and went to Indianapolis, where he took up the work of instructor in typography and superintendent of printing at the Indiana State School for the Deaf.

In the meantime the elder brother had left the Art Institute and taken a place in the big printing and publishing house at Zion City. He remained there three years and in that time saw the famous city reared by John Alexander Dowie reach its zenith and begin its decline. As special correspondent for several Chicago papers and the Associated Press, he furnished to the world the greatest part of the history of that widely known city during its most thrilling period, and in that connection received metropolitan newspaper training of the highest order. From Zion City he went back to Chicago and a few months later joined his brother in Indianapolis, where he took up work on The Indianapolis Star as a reporter, resigning this later to accept a day position as proofreader in the printing plant of Levy Bros. & Company.

On June 1, 1908, an unusual opportunity came for the brothers to embark again in the publishing business together and they leased The Saturday Press at Attica, Indiana, which they operated successfully for three years. At the end of that time they bought the Press and merged it with the Ledger, which they purchased at the same time at receiver's sale, the former publisher having failed. The union of the two papers clarified the situation and made the Ledger-Press the recognized leading newspaper of Fountain and Warren counties, a position which carries wide influence in the city and surrounding territory.

Will was married October 22, 1903, his wife being Miss Elsie Stephens, elder daughter of John C. Stephens, a well known real estate lawyer and abstracter of Williamsport. They have two children: Harold Leroy, born October 28, 1906, and John Leonard, born May 18, 1912.

On October 5, 1904, Harry was married to Miss Katherine Mae Leitch, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Leitch, of Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. Their family consists of three children: Dorothea, born August 10, 1905; James Ronald, born December 22, 1906, and Kathleen, born June 25, 1911.

[Page 912-913.]

Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton, Editor
Record ID: 00001016
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Entered By: Leslie J. Rice

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