Ross, Reuben (unknown–1839)

By: James Hays McLendon

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 25, 2017

Reuben Ross, officer in the Texas Revolutionary army, was a native of Virginia and a nephew of the Major Reuben Ross who commanded the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition for a short time in 1813. Ross joined a volunteer cavalry company under John A. Quitman for service in the Texas Revolution in April 1836 and arrived at San Jacinto on April 23. He served as aide-de-camp to Felix Huston from August 2, 1836, to June 1, 1837, and held the rank of captain when he was discharged from the Texas army in December 1837. During the later part of 1837 he served with James Izod and Thomas J. Golightly as land agent for Huston. Ross was captain of the Houston Volunteer Guards in 1838 and in the summer of 1839 was captain of the Gonzales Company, frontier rangers. He and 200 men, most of whom were outlaws, joined Antonio Canales in September 1839, as a part of the Mexican Federalist movement on the Rio Grande. Ross was elected colonel of the "Texan Allies," and his command helped take Guerrero and defeat José Ignacio Pavón in the battle of Alcantra near Mier on October 3, 1839. At Guerrero, Canales issued orders that the company was no longer to march under the Texas flag, but Ross was anxious to maintain some show of fidelity to Texas. He became disgusted with Canales and with the growing rivalry for leadership among his own men. When Canales decided to give up his siege of Matamoros, Ross and fifty of his men left for Texas, Texan authorities having, in the meantime, sent Col. Ben Johnson to muster the company out of service. Ross returned to Gonzales in company with Alonzo B. Sweitzer, and on October 6, 1839, he delivered a challenge to Ben McCulloch from Sweitzer. McCulloch declined to accept the challenge, and Ross, a trained duelist, took up the quarrel. He wounded McCulloch in the right arm. Although Ben and his brother Henry E. McCulloch assured Ross that the affair was settled to their satisfaction, a further controversy had the result that Henry McCulloch fatally shot Ross at Gonzales on December 24, 1839.

Asa Kyrus Christian, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1922). Thomas W. Cutrer, Ben McCulloch and the Frontier Military Tradition (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993). Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). James H. McLendon, "John A. Quitman in the Texas Revolution," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (October 1948). Victor Marion Rose, The Life and Services of Gen. Ben McCulloch (Philadelphia, 1888; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1958).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James Hays McLendon, “Ross, Reuben,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 25, 2017