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Roots: One Ancestor Opened his home to “Toilworn” Messengers July 29, 2013

By Pennee Murphree, Retired Arizona farmer and Genealogist


I recently added Grandpa Ross’ brother’s obituary to my family tree. A brother to my 3rd great grandfather James Ross, William, he was a generous man. I love reading these old obits. Somehow, besides telling us our families’ history and getting us correct birth and death dates, they share a small slice of that person’s life and possibly character too.

Tell me, have you opened your home to the preaching of the gospel or to “toilworn” messengers? William Ross did.

The Obit

Departed this life on January 27, 1879, in Ohio Township, Gallia County, Ohio, Esquire William Ross, in the 88th year of his age. The deceased was born in 1791, in Culpeper Co., Virginia. He moved to this county in 1806, and settled in Ohio Township, where he lived until death released him from all earthly toil. He was married in 1814 to Miss Nancy Nowlin, seven years younger than himself, and who still lives to mourn over her sad bereavement. He was the father of sixteen children, twelve of whom lived to be grown. Three sons and seven daughters are still living.

He was a pensioner of the War of 1812. Father Ross served the township as Justice of the Peace for forty-two years. He was a member and deacon of the Baptist Church for twenty-eight years. He was baptized into the fellowship of the Green Bottom Baptist Church, Va., by Elder H.T. Chilton, from which he came by letter, and became one of the constituent members of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, of which he remained a consistent member until death.

Father Ross’s house was ever open for the preaching of the gospel, as well as a home for the care and toilworn messenger sent to bear the tidings of life and salvation to a perishing world. Father Ross took pleasure in relating incidents connected with his early life, while in his country’s service, as well as with the Indians and wild beasts of the forest; yet no subject was dearer to him than the subject of religion; not so much about his faith, or the faith of others, as about the faith once delivered to the saints. As a husband, loving; as a father, kind and affectionate; a noble and intelligent citizen and devoted Christian. A good man has fallen.. But while we mourn, we mourn not as those who have no hope.

His funeral was preached by the writer, assisted by Rev. J.E. Caldwell, March 23d, at his late residence, to a large and attentive congregation of sorrowing relatives and friends, from 1st Cor. 15-35. Father Ross rests from his labors, and his works will follow him. A.J.W.

Gallipolis paper (transcribed obit)
Jan.-Feb., 1879
Transcribed by Henny Evans



1. Peggy Jo Goodfellow - July 29, 2013

I knew you came from “good stock” …this just proves it! Thank you for sharing.