Merle Mears Duncan
Grave of William H. Ross
Grave of William H. Ross. Courtesy of T. Bradford Willis.

ROSS, WILLIAM HALLAM (1853–1918). William Hallam Ross, one of the first county agriculture agents in Texas, was born in Waco on August 18, 1853, the youngest child of Catherine H. (Fulkerson) and Shapley Prince Ross. He spent most of his early life in Waco, where he was a member of the Waco Grays, a military and social organization. Ross and his brother Robert Shapley Ross owned and published a newspaper, the Daily Reporter. Ross married Elizabeth Anne Denison on June 24, 1881, and they had eight children. Ross farmed land he owned in Palo Pinto County and near Stephenville in Erath County, where he took his family. On November 14, 1913, the Dallas County Commissioners Court appointed him federal agricultural demonstration agent for Dallas County, where he was in charge of educational and demonstration farm work, a program designed to encourage farmers to operate on a scientific basis. Upon retirement Ross settled in Tarrant County, where he farmed and operated a seed business. He died on July 4, 1918, while visiting relatives in Belton and was buried in 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). 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]). Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972). John Sleeper and J. C. Hutchins, comps., Waco and McLennan County (Waco: Golledge, 1876; rpt., Waco: Kelley, 1966). Waco Times-Herald, July 5, 1918, July 3, 1929.

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Merle Mears Duncan, "ROSS, WILLIAM HALLAM," accessed May 24, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 25, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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