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Silas Earl Ross Papers

 Collection
Identifier: NC820
Papers in the collection reflect Mr. Ross' profession and life: his interests in Freemasonry, cemeteries, and the history of medicine in Nevada; and his tenure as University of Nevada Regent. Of particular note are autobiographical sketches; research notes and papers on prominent Nevadan Masons; the many speeches Ross gave; and business records of his father, Orrin Charles Ross. Also included are business records of the Perkins-Gulling Company which was the predecessor of the Ross-Burke Mortuary Company, and includes articles of incorporation, legal agreements, financial statements, and legislative bulletins and bills concerning the mortuary industry in Nevada. Series 12 includes newspaper clippings of articles about Ross and his interests. The scrapbook contains newspaper articles about the July 1864 Constitutional Convention of the proposed state of Nevada.

The photographs in the collection, which were transferred to the Photo Archives as UNRS-P2003-03, include images of historic cemeteries, cornerstone laying ceremonies and other miscellaneous events and people.

The microfilm was made from originals in the library of Mr. Ross, probably in the 1960s, and are only available in that format as the originals were not donated. Inscriptions on some of the materials indicate that the Masonic material originally belonged to Trenmore Coffin, father-in-law of Silas Ross. All of the microfilms are negative copies (see Box 9, Reels 1-4).

Series 11: Ross Family Business and Legal Papers, contains mostly documents having to do with Orrin Charles Ross, Sr., the father of Silas E. Ross. He owned two ranches, the Red Rock Ranch and the Home Ranch, with his business partner Robert Leigh. Orrin C. Ross, Sr. was also the executor of the estate of Robert Leigh. Document pertaining to Leigh’s estate are also contained within the series.

Dates

  • 1869-1975

Creator

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Extent

3.75 Cubic Feet (9 boxes)

Abstract

Included are autobiographical and biographical sketches and notes on Ross and other Nevada figures; research notes, speeches, and writings on Nevada physicians, hospitals, and cemeteries; and writings related to Ross' interests in Freemasons and the professionalism of the funeral industry.,Of special note are business records of the Red Rock and Home Ranches owned by Ross' father Orrin Charles Ross, the Ross-Burke Mortuary, and the Carson Opera House Association; and the probate files of Robert H. Leigh.

Biographical Note

Silas Earl Ross, 1887-1975

Silas Earl Ross, or "Si", was born in Glendale, Truckee Meadows to pioneer rancher and farmer Orrin Charles Ross. He attended public schools in Glendale and Reno, and then entered the University of Nevada, where he received his degree in Mining Engineering in 1909. After graduation he remained at the University to teach chemistry. During that time he worked in food, drug, and soil analysis for the State of Nevada.

In 1914, Ross became a funeral director, first as an employee of the Perkins-Gulling Company, and then as a partner in the Ross-Burke Mortuary. He was very active in promoting and developing professional standards and regulations for the mortuary industry and was a member of, and spoke frequently before, the National Funeral Directors Association and the National Selected Morticians organization. He retired in 1966.

Mr. Ross was very active in civic and fraternal affairs. He was a Reno city councilman for eight years, serving also as mayor pro tem. From 1932 to 1957 he was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada, serving the last seventeen years as their chair. He was also interested in Nevada state politics and was chair of the Republican State Central Committee for a number of years.

Silas Ross was particularly active in the Masons of Nevada. He joined in 1908 and earned the highest award, that of the 33rd degree. He became the Nevada Grand Master in 1923 and gave many speeches on the history of Freemasons in Nevada, the meaning of being a Mason, and on subjects appropriate to building dedications and the laying of cornerstones.

Because of his interests in Masons, funeral practices, and medicine, he collected, compiled, and wrote many brief histories on those subjects, as well as on historical cemeteries.

Ross married Emily Coffin (daughter of Trenmore Coffin) in 1913. They had one son, Silas Earl Ross Jr. (1916 to 1967) who was a Reno physician.

Silas Ross died in Reno in 1975.

Arrangement

The Silas E. Ross Papers are divided into the following series:

Series 1: Autobiographical Information

Series 2: Biographical Notes

Series 3: Nevada Physicians and Hospitals

Series 4: Cemeteries

Series 5: Writings

Series 6: Mortuary Business

Series 7: Freemasons

Series 8: University of Nevada [Reno]

Series 9: Glendale School

Series 10: Misc. Research on Carson City and Virginia City

Series 11: Ross Family Business and Legal Papers

Series 12: Newspaper Clippings

Series 13: Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers donated by Mrs. Silas Earl (Mervyl) Ross in 1975.

Related Materials

See Also: Manuscript Collection 89-56: Microfilm Collection of Silas E. Ross.

Separated Materials

The photographs in the collection, which were transferred to the Photo Archives as UNRS-P2003-03, include images of historic cemeteries, cornerstone laying ceremonies and other miscellaneous events and people.

Creator

Title
A Guide to the Papers of Silas Earl Ross
Status
completed
Author
Susan Searcy
Date
September 1987
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)