He served in the War Between the States as a Capt. in Company A, VMI Cadet Corps, Virginia - Confederate
After the war he became a Judge. The founder of the city of Glendale, California, Ross attended military school at the Culpepper Court House in Virginia later entering Virginia Military Institute which was patterened after West Point. In Richmond, Virginia in 1965, Ross along with Alfred Marshall and Allan Glazebrook founded the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Ross moved to Los Angeles in 1868 to study law with his uncle Cameron Thom, a leading lawyer in the city at that time. In 1879 Ross was elected justice of the Supreme Court of California and was later re-elected, resigning in 1886 and resuming to practice law in Los Angeles. In 1887 Ross was appointed by President Cleveland as Judge of the United States District Court for Southern California, later being appointed United States Circuit Judge. Ross owned approximately eleven hundred acres in the San Fernando Valley where he grew fruits and olives – the ranch had its own fruit packing plant and a mill for making olive oil. In 1929 the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity House in Reno, Nevada was dedicated to the memory of Ross and in 1984 it was closed by the fire department because of fire hazards. The home was refurbished and reopened in 1988.
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