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Lawrence Sullivan Ross

LAWRENCE SULLIVAN ROSS
1838 – 1898

Lawrence "Sul" Ross was born in Bentonsport, Iowa, September 27, 1838. His parents took him to Texas when he was an infant. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Florence, Alabama, in 1859. He spent his vacations in service fighting the Comanches, and in the latter year was a captain of a company of Texas Rangers. Since he had rescued the celebrated Cynthia Ann Parker in one engagement, and killed the chief Peta Necona in single combat in another, Ross had made a lasting reputation on the frontier when he entered Confederate service as a private.

Promoted to colonel of the 6th Texas Cavalry, May 14, 1862, he took part in the battle of Corinth in October, and particularly distinguished himself during the subsequent retreat from that place. He was appointed brigadier general December 21, 1863, commanding a brigade in Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps. Ross fought under and was universally commended by such officers as J E Johnston, Van Dorn, Hardee, Forrest, S D Lee and W H Jackson attesting that he was a fighting man’s "fighting man". With a record of 135 battles and engagements with 5 horses shot from under him, he returned home penniless.

He first commenced farming in the valley of the Brazos River. In 1873 he was elected sheriff of McLennan County; he was a member of the constitutional convention in 1875 during reconstruction, and was a state senator in 1881 and 1883. He was elected governor in 1887 and over-whelmingly re-elected two years later. From 1891 until his death he was president of Texas A & M in College Station, Texas, where he died January 3, 1898. Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas is also named for him. At this time, "Sul" Ross was without a doubt the most popular private citizen in Texas. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.

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