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Ross -- The First Santa Ana Family

by Diann Marsh, from Eye on Santa Ana, Winter 1989.


Ross Street was named after the first family to settle in what was to become Santa Ana. They arrived here in 1868, after living for two years in Monterey County, California. A year before, they had just crossed the plains and deserts of America in an 87 wagon train. Jacob Ross Sr. and his wife, Elizabeth, were accompanied by their children, and their families.


In the fall of 1867 while in Monterey, Jacob Sr. had heard that the four Yorba descendants might be willing to sell their shares of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. On May 28, 1968, he paid a total of $1750 for the rancho, and the Ross family moved here from Monterey.


They put up rope corrals for the stock immediately. The land was cleared on the cactus and mustard plants which stretched as far as the eye could see. The men then took the wagon to Anaheim Landing (now Seal Beach) to pick up the redwood lumber to build their first house.


In 1870, the first crop was planted and life seemed to settle down. Well, almost. The "natives" were resentful of the newcomers. The rattlesnakes, rabbits, coyotes, wild pigs, and hawks, were all a threat to the pioneers' crops, and chickens.


The summers were hot, dry, windy, and dusty. Whenever families went on all-day trips, a wagonload of men had to go ahead to clear a trail.


Jacob Ross Sr. sold the land that was to be surveyed and plotted as the City of Santa Ana to William Spurgeon and Ward Bradford. The plot totaled 74.27 acres and was sold for $594. By 1871, Santa Ana was home to approximately 150 residents.


While the rest of the city began to grow, the Ross family continued to live on their remaining acreage, west and north of First Street.


The Ross family home, constructed in 1879, still survives at 1020 N. Baker Street and has been restored by descendants of the Ross family.

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