Ross, Shapley Prince (1811–1889)

By: L. W. Kemp

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: June 1, 1995

Shapley Prince Ross, ranger and Indian agent, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, about six miles from Louisville, on January 18, 1811, the son of Shapley and Mary (Prince) Ross. The family moved to Lincoln County in 1823. Ross married Catherine H. Fulkerson in St. Charles County, Missouri, on November 4, 1830; they became the parents of nine children. In 1839 Ross moved to Texas and settled at Nashville in Milam County. In 1842 he served on a committee of five to select a permanent seat for Milam County. He was a member of Capt. John C. (Jack) Hays's rangers in 1842 and a member of the Snively expedition in 1843. In 1845 he moved to Austin. He was elected captain of a volunteer company for the protection of the frontier and was stationed near Waco in 1846. In the ranger battalion commanded by Peter H. Bell, Ross commanded a company formed in April and May 1847. In 1849 Ross moved permanently to Waco, where he built the first hotel and in 1850 became the first postmaster. He was Indian agent from 1855 to 1858. Ross went to Southern California in 1870 in an effort to improve his health, then returned to Waco in 1875. He was a Mason and a Democrat; he opposed joining the Confederacy but supported secession. He died in Waco on September 17, 1889, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

John Henry Brown, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892 (2 vols., St. Louis: Daniell, 1893). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Indian Agents
  • Politics and Government

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

L. W. Kemp, “Ross, Shapley Prince,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995