Ross Family

Phineas Ross and his twin brother, John, were born in New Garden Township, Pa., on May 5, 1793. They were two of four children born to Dr. John and Catherine Ross. They had an older brother, Thomas, born in 1788, and a younger sister, Sarah, who was born in 1795.

By 1820 all of the children had moved to Warren County.

Thomas, who was admitted to the bar in 1808, was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1818. He represented Hamilton, Butler, Warren, and Preble counties, and would be twice reelected.

John, like his father and namesake, became a doctor, one of Warren County’s earliest.

Phineas, like his brother Thomas, was one of the first dozen or so lawyers in the county. On December 20, 1812 he married Mary Hunt. The 1830 Warren County census shows that they had seven children: four boys and three girls. On May 25, 1816, Phineas bought land on the west side of the north fork of Turtle Creek from Ichabod Corwin, one of Lebanon’s founding fathers. He paid $138.

Here in 1818 he built what is now known as the Corwin House. The home was very different then. Examination of the foundation reveals that the kitchen of the house today was originally a separate building. The dining room, which separates the library and the kitchen on the west side of the house, was added some time after the house was built and connected the two structures.

Although he never held the important positions his brother, Thomas R. Ross, or his brother-in-law, Thomas Corwin, would, Phineas Ross served his community well. When the first bank in Warren County, The Lebanon Miami Banking Company, was founded in 1814, Phineas was chosen as its first Cashier. The 1819 roster of the Ohio Militia in Warren County listed him as an artillery captain. In 1825 he was selected as a member of Warren County’s first Board of School Examiners. Active in the Masonic Order, he served as the

In 1833 Phineas was apparently in deep financial trouble. For several weeks that summer The Western Star published the announcement of a “Sheriff’s Sale” to be held on August 6. Included in the list of properties to be sold was “about 5 acres, more or less –– taken as the property of Phineas Ross. The announcement stated that there were “several suits” against him.

The purchaser of the property ended up being Phineas Ross’s brother-in-law, Thomas Corwin. The price of the property, unusual by today’s standards, was $2,333 1/3. From that point on, the Corwin House remained in the Corwin family’s possession for more than XX years.

Phineas Ross died on January 11, 1839 at the age of 45. The Western Star of January 18, 1839 printed a simple three sentence obituary:

“DIED –– In this place on Friday last, Phineas Ross, Esq., for many years a citizen of this place. Mr. Ross was a free, open hearted and generous man, much beloved by his family and friends. He has left a disconsolate widow and many children to mourn their Providential bereavement.”