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Ross, Robert Shapley (1848–1923)

Merle Mears Duncan Biography

Robert Shapley Ross, newspaper editor, publisher, and Civil War soldier, son of Catherine (Fulkerson) and Shapley Prince Ross, was born on April 22, 1848, at Station Creek, a ranger station near Waco. He was possibly the first white child born in the environs of present McLennan County. He attended primary school in Waco, St. Mary's in San Antonio, and Baylor University. During the Civil War he was a captain in Company D, Sixth Texas Infantry. After the war he returned to Waco, where he married Elizabeth Anne Gleen on March 12, 1871; they had one daughter. In 1874 Ross helped organize the Waco Grays, a defense organization armed by the state, and was elected captain. The Grays numbered about sixty men and drilled once a month. In 1876 Ross edited the Advance, a Waco afternoon newspaper. Later, with his brother William Hallam Ross, he owned and published the Daily Reporter. He served as deputy sheriff of McLennan County for eight years, and from 1890 to 1894 he was county treasurer. In 1912 he was one of those responsible for bringing a group of Huaco Indians to the Waco Cotton Palace. Ross died on January 11, 1923, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Waco.

Raymond L. Dillard, A History of the Ross Family and Its Most Distinguished Member, Lawrence Sullivan Ross (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1931). John Sleeper and J. C. Hutchins, comps., Waco and McLennan County (Waco: Golledge, 1876; rpt., Waco: Kelley, 1966). Waco News-Tribune, March 16, 1922. Waco Times-Herald, May 16, 1912, January 11, 1923.


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Publishers and Executives

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

Merle Mears Duncan, “Ross, Robert Shapley,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 01, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.