Source: History of Montgomery County, Indiana. Indianapolis: AW Bowen, 1913, pp 828-830.
It is the pride of the citizens of this country that there is no limit to which natural ability, industry and honesty may not aspire. A boy born in ignorance and poverty and reared under the most adverse surroundings may nevertheless break from his fetters and rise to the highest station in the land; and the qualities do not have to be of transcendent character to enable him to accomplish this result. It is more the way he does it and the skill in grasping the opportunities presented than to any remarkable qualities possessed by him. Accordingly it is found that very often in this country the President, governor and other high public officials possess no greater ability than thousands of other citizens. They have simply taken better advantage of their circumstances than their fellows, and this truth runs through every occupation or vocation. The business man who rises above his fellows does so by taking advantage of conditions which others overlook or fail to grasp. This seems to be the case with Charles William Ross, for many years regarded as one of the foremost business men of Crawfordsville and Montgomery county, being very extensively engaged in the real estate and loan business. In all walks of life he has so conducted himself as to gain and retain the good will and confidence of all classes, and in every movement looking to the improvement of his locality in any way his support may always be depended upon. Mr. Ross was born in Iroquois county, Illinois, May 4, 1864, on a farm. He is the scion of an excellent Irish ancestry, many of whose winning characteristics he seems to have inherited. He is a son of Alexander and Mary (Johnson) Ross. The father was born in Ireland, June 18, 1832. His father died when he was about five years of age and when sixteen years old he accompanied his mother to America. The father and husband was a minister in the Methodist church and spent his life in Ireland. Upon coming to the United States Alexander and his mother located in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, on a farm, and the son continued to follow agricultural pursuits. He hired out until 1860 then bought a farm for himself and moved on it, operating the same until 1863 when he moved to Iroquois county, Illinois, and he remained there until 1867 when he removed to Lafayette, Indiana, where he spent the rest of his life, his death occurring in 1905. Upon the commencement of the gold fever period in 1849 he was one of the brave band to make the tedious and hazardous journey across the plains of California. Politically, he was a Republican, belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1860 he married Mary Johnson, who was born on December 18, 1832, in Sweden, from which country she came to the United States when fourteen years of age, locating in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, with her brother. Her death occurred in 1886. To this union eight children were born. Charles W. Ross received a public school education, and he was graduated from Purdue University at Lafayette, Indiana, with the class of 1889, with the degree of Bachelor of Science. While in school he spent his summers engaged in the general contracting business-road and bridge building Soon after leaving college he came to Crawfordsville and engaged in the general mercantile business with ever increasing success until 1898, when he launched out in the real estate, loan and insurance business, and this he has continued to the present time on a very extensive scale, maintaining the largest office of its kind in this section of the state, employing an office force of six people and thirty men in the field. His operations extend over a large territory and he is widely known as one of Crawfordsville's most substantial and enterprising citizens. He had the distinction of being the originator of the five per cent farm loans. During the year 1912 he placed over one million dollars in loans. His insurance runs larger every year, representing a number of the leading companies of the world. He buys and sells farms, in fact all kinds of rural and city property, and this is also a large part of his work. At this writing he owns over one thousand acres of land and fifty pieces of city property, all valuable and well kept. No man in Montgomery county is better informed on the value of property, country or city. Politically, Mr. Ross is a Republican, and in religious matters he is a Methodist, and one of the pillars in the local congregation, being a steward, and has been a member of the official board for the past twenty-five years. Mr. Ross was married on June 23, 1891 to Alice Dee Green, who was born near Waynetown, Montgomery county, Indiana, June 23, 1870. She is a daughter of George and Mary E. (Holloway) Green, who were early settlers of Wayne township and a well known family there. Mr. Green was born at Cambridge, New York. He devoted his life successfully to agricultural pursuits, and his death occurred in January, 1903 at the age of eighty-three years. Mrs. Green lives in Crawfordsville, being now advanced in years. kbz