I recently happened on this antique postcard of the Ross Mansion (aka Hickory Hill) which was built by the brother of W.D. Ross, Rosslyn’s original in the early 1820s. Hickory Hill still presides handsomely at the intersection of Elm Street and Church Street. I’m still sorting out the Ross family tree, intricately woven into the history of Essex, New York, and I’ll do my best to paint a clear picture as it emerges. For now, a couple of interesting references include:
- History of the Town of Essex
- Henry H. Ross (Wikipedia)
- Honorable Henry H. Ross (Lancet Portrait Gallery)
- Ross, Henry Howard (Biographical Directory of the Unites States Congress)
Hickory Hill & Rosslyn Link
Hickory Hill’s setting in its own spacious grounds on the ridge which overlooks the village and the lake adds much to its beauty. Rosslyn commands a superb view of the lake and the Green Mountains in Vermont.
The interesting connection between Rosslyn and Hickory Hill is illuminated in Living Places: Essex Village Historic District.
“Hickory Hill” on Elm Street, and “Rosslyn” on the Lake Shore Road represent the residences of the wealthy merchants and lawyers who dominated Essex in the early days of its prosperity. Two-and-a-half-story brick structures whose design combines Georgian and Federal elements, both “Hickory Hill” and “Rosslyn” were built before 1830. The building of “Hickory Hill” (1822) built by Henry Harmon Ross for his bride, was taken from a five-bay design in Salem, New York. It displays great grace and lightness in its Palladian window, Neo-classic portico, and elegant cornices. Its setting in its own spacious grounds on the ridge which overlooks the village and the lake adds much to its beauty. “Rosslyn”, the William D. Ross house, originally constructed as a three-bay side hall dwelling, was expanded (1835-40) into five bays. Presently restored to its appearance in 1840, it commands a superb view of the lake and the Green Mountains in Vermont.
William Daniel Ross
Rosslyn’s original owner, William Daniel Ross, dealt in lumber, iron and ship-building in Essex.
Another genealogical reference appears in Ancestry.com:
DANIEL ROSS: born February 23, 1764, Duchess County, NY; son of Daniel Ross (c 1740- c July 22, 1795) and Jerusa Howard; married Elizabeth Gilliland June 1784; one of the original settlers of Essex, NY on lands given to his wife by her father William Gilliland; had five children- Elizabeth, William Daniel, Henry Howard, Edward D., and Sara Jane; divorced Elizabeth c July 1815; Captain of Militia, Justice of the Peace, merchant, first Essex County Judge, and most prominent citizen; died at the home of his son Henry, Hickory Hill, Essex, NY March 10, 1831 at 67.
ELIZABETH GILLILAND ROSS EVERTSON: born 1764 in New York City; first child of William Gilliland (c1734-1796) and Elizabeth Phagan (c1740-1772); married Daniel Ross June 1785; had five children noted above; divorced c July 1815; married John J. Evertson by April 1, 1823; Evertson died by 1829; after Daniel’s death in 1831, she returned to her son Henry’s home, Hickory Hill, Essex, NY and died there August 3, 1847 at 83.
I will continue adding Ross family references, but for now, here is an interesting if somewhat garbled overview of William Daniel Ross from Caroline Halstead Barton Royce as recorded in Bessboro: a history of Westport, Essex Co., N.Y. (Note: corrections are mine and possibly erroneous.)
William Daniel Ross dealt in lumber, iron and ship-building in Essex; his wife was a sister of John Gould, Aid on Gen. Wright’s stafi; and his brother, Henry H. Boss, (afterward Gen. Ross,) was adjutant of the 87th at the battle of Plattsburgh.
If you can point me toward accurate history, genealogy, etc. for the Ross family of Essex, New York, please contact me. I would be much indebted to you. Thank you in advance.