Alexander Ross

May 9, 1783 - October 23, 1856

Ross, Alexander, fur trader (May 9, 1783-Oct. 23, 1856). Born in Scotland, he reached Canada in 1804, eventually joined the North West Company and in 1810 signed on with Astor for his Oregon coast project. He arrived aboard the Tonquin at the mouth of the Columbia in March 1811. Ross accompanied the North West Company trader-explorer David Thompson upriver to the mouth of the Okanogan, where a post was built, and Ross left in charge. When the North West Company purchased the Astoria enterprise, Ross transferred allegiance. In 1816 he became second in command of the coast trade under James Keith, but after a year went to Fort Kamloops in present British Columbia, and later was in charge of Fort Nez Perce at the junction of the Columbia and Walla Walla rivers. When the Hudson's Bay Company absorbed the North West Company (1821), Ross went along, directed the Snake River brigade for a year, was succeeded by Peter Skene Ogden, and spent his last years at the present Winnipeg, in charge of schools for the Red River settlement. His books of lasting interest included: Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River (1849); The Fur Hunters of the Far West, 2 Vols. (1855), and The Red River Settlement; Its Rise, Progress, and Present State (1856).

Paul Chrisler Phillips, The Fur Trade, 2 Vols. Norman, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1961.