Tom Mather Ross (1871 - 1946)

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About Tom Mather Ross

http://atascosacounty.blogspot.com/2008/04/rossville-brothers-served-as-texas.html

Tom Mather Ross

Maria Navarro married John Clark Ross on August 20, 1870 at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. They made a home for themselves on land given to them as a wedding gift from Maria's father, Jose Antonio George Navarro. The land was part of the expansive ranch granted to her grandfather Jose Antonio Navarro. On August 1, 1871, Tom Mather Ross was born to the couple. Six more children would follow.

The earliest known enlistment into the Texas Rangers for Tom Mather Ross was in 1894 in Nueces County. He would have been 23. He is pictured with two Ranger companies at Temple, Texas during the railroad strike in July of 1894. The Ranger captains were J.A.Brooks, Company F and John R.Hughes, Company D. Tom re-enlisted in 1895 in Karnes County. In 1896, he is mentioned in a ledger, as being sent to El Paso, then on to Langtry for undercover duty in Governor Culberson's effort to prevent the Bob Fitzsimmons-Peter Maher world's heavyweight championship fight from taking place on Texas soil. The governor of Chihuahua ruled that the fight would not take place in Mexico. Judge Roy Bean invited them all to come to Langtry, and the fight was held on a tiny island in the middle of the Rio Grande.

Tom Ross served as a Ranger for approximately twelve years, serving as Sergeant under Captain John R. Hughes on the border. He was promoted to Captain of Company B in about 1906. He was stationed at Ysleta, in El Paso County for a number of years. He was shot in the leg which led to amputation. His "wooden leg"did not hamper his performance as a Ranger Captain.

Between 1907 and 1909 Captain Ross was assigned to Amarillo to go after bootleggers and saloon keepers. The local law enforcement ignored the laws and the problem had gotten out of hand. The Ranger's presence was greatly resented by many. This led to the murder of Ranger "Doc" Thomas and the assault of another Ranger by the chief of police. It soon became a public relations nightmare for the Rangers. Some officials in Austin felt the Rangers should withdraw from prohibition issues. This friction is said to be the cause of Captain Ross's resignation in 1910.

After leaving the Rangers, Tom Ross moved to San Antonio and tried his hand in real estate. This didn't last long and he made his way to Cameron County and worked as a sheriff's deputy for several years. From 1916-1917 he had an appointment as Special Agent of the United States Bureau of Investigation. On June 10, 1916 he led a posse that prevented the burning of the Webb Station railroad trestle by raiders. In 1925 Tom Ross returned to San Antonio and became a federal court interpreter, as position he held until his death in 1946.

On January 15, 1940 the 76th United States Congress passed a bill to pension a handful of Rangers who rendered their services in the Garza Revolution that had taken place on the border a half century before. Captain Tom Ross was on the list of Rangers.

Tom Ross never married. He is remembered by his nieces as a modest man with a good sense of humor. One recalled that, as children, they would wait until he went to sleep to sneak a peak at his "wooden leg" which he had removed and stored under the bed. Another accompanied him to the great Texas Centennial celebration in Dallas in 1936 and remembered what a wonderful time they had. He died in his sleep on January 1, 1946 at the age of 75.

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Texas Ranger Capt. Tom Ross's Timeline

1871
August 1, 1871
1946
January 1, 1946
Age 74