Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

-Signers of the Declaration
-Signers of the A. O. C.
-Signers of the U. S. Constitution
-Wives of the Signers
-Other Founders

Follow colonialhall on Twitter

Page 1

Ann Lawler Ross


Wife of George Ross

Ann Lawler, described in Hards's History of Lancaster, as "a lady of respectable family," was the only child of Mary Lawler, a widow of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, possessed of considerable property and who died in 1778. She was a handsome accomplished young woman, and her marriage to George Ross, August 14, 1751, was considered a highly advantageous union for both.1 George Ross was born in Newcastle, Delaware, where his father who was twice married and had eleven children, all of whom became prominent members of society, was clergyman of the Episcopal Church. Catharine, eldest sister of George Ross, was the wife of Captain William Thompson, afterward a general of the Continental army; Gertrude, another sister, married Hon. George Read of Delaware, who afterward became one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. A third sister, Mary, married Col. Mark Bird, of Birdsborough, a prominent Pennsylvanian and an active patriot. Still another became the wife of Col. Edward Biddle of Reading, speaker of the Pennsylvania Legislature and member of the first and second Continental Congresses. Two sisters, Margaret and Susannah, married prominent clergymen, and three brothers were each members of the learned professions.

George Ross was well educated by his father and afterward studied law with his brother, John Ross, one of the foremost practitioners of his daily and a warm personal friend of Benjamin Franklin. Later he took up his residence in Lancaster. In 1768, he was elected a member of the Provincial Legislature and from that time, he was almost continuously in the public service until his death, July 14, 1779. His wife's death took place several years before this.

Three children were born to George and Ann Ross, George, James, and Mary. George Ross, Jr., the eldest, was a staunch patriot during the Revolution and was for some time Vice-President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. In 1791 he was commissioned by the Governor, Register and Recorder, which office he held for eighteen years.

James Ross, his brother, raised in 1775, the first company in Lancaster County, in Colonel Thompson's regiment of which he was made captain, and marched to Cambridge. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment with which he fought at Long Island, Trenton, Germantown, Brandywine, and in other important engagements. Mary Ross married Joshua Scott, a noted civil engineer, and died in 1839.

Egle's Notes and Queries says of the Ross family: "Ann (Lawler) Ross was greatly celebrated for her beauty and her children were so remarkable in this respect as to attract general notice."

Source: Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence, by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilder Press, 1997). Orignaly Published in 1912 as volume 3 of The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons). Pages 207-209. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

1[From pg. 280, n. 7] Portraits of both George Ross and Ann Lawlor Ross were painted by Benjamin West, some time between 1755 and 1750 and are in possession of a lineal descendant, Mr. George Eshelman of Lancaster, Pa.


Designed and Edited by John Vinci
Last modified January 5, 2005