The following is condensed from information prepared and submitted by Gloria S. Ross, Ed Swinton, J. Donaldson Ross and
the late Dr. John R. Ross plus more recent events recorded by myself. Any errors are mine. Corrections or additions from members would be appreciated.-- Ian Ross, Past President and Co-editor of the Newsletter.
Clan Ross in America was founded in New York City in 1910 by a group of prominent Canadians and Americans. The first elected president was Senator Sir George William Ross, LL.D., former Premier of Ontario (1899-1905), who was born near Nairn, Middlesex County, Ontario in 1841 to parents James Ross and Ellen McKinnon (natives of Easter Ross in Scotland). Sir George presided at the second meeting of the Clan Ross Society in 1912, and a slate of distinguished officers was elected. The organization held another well-attended ceilidh before his death in 1914. The Clan made plans for a third gathering in Toronto in 1915, but it was cancelled with the outbreak of World War I. This society never came together again.
The current Clan Ross Association of Canada was formed with a handful of prospective members at a meeting of "revitalized founders" on December 1, 1960 in Montreal. Major James J. "Alec" Ross held the chair as President and Mr. Jack Ross was Secretary' Treasurer. Dr. John R. and Mrs. Eila Ross of Toronto joined the new Association at this meeting.
Alec Ross, a member of the British Board of Trade, had previously been a member of the Clan Ross Society in Scotland, established in the summer of 1958 by Chief Designate of the Clan, Sir Charles Campbell Ross, Q.C. Major Ross' intent was to keep our Scottish heritage and Clan organizations alive, and to honour our forebearers in Scotland and Canada. On December 7, 1961, Major Ross wrote to Dr. John Ross: "I am enclosing a draft of a formal Constitution for Clan Ross Association of Canada...It is primarily based upon the Constitution of the parent Association in Edinburgh, suitably adjusted to fit Canadian needs."
In June 1961, Dr. John held a meeting at the Granite Club to establish a group in Toronto. It was supported by representatives from the Montreal Branch and by the President and members of the Toronto St. Andrew's Society. Major Ross appointed Dr. John as Vice-President at this meeting.
In 1962-3 the fledgling Association had 27 single/family memberships with $5.00 annual dues paid. (The dues, at $10.00 in 1996, have certainly been kept well below the rate of inflation!)
In May 1965, at the annual meeting of the Association in Montreal, Major Ross appointed Dr. John as President. At this time, Dr. John was preparing his book "The Great Clan Ross", which has become the definitive reference for the history of the Clan. During his research he came to know Chief Rosa Ross of Pitcalnie and Sherriff Charles Campbell Ross of the Shandwick Branch, the Chief Designate, who collaborated on the book together with his son, the current Chief of Clan, David C. Ross of Ross. The book was published in 1968 and is now in its third edition.
About 1975, the Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada (CASSOC) was formed with Clan Ross becoming a member at its second meeting. CASSOC and Mr. John MacDonald of Clan Donald developed a clan display booth, which appeared annually in the 70's at the CNE's Scottish Tattoo in Toronto. This was Clan Ross' first public exposure, with its section manned by Dr. John.
R.F. "Sandy" Ross of Erin, Ontario, took over manning the booth in 1977 and was appointed Commissioner by Dr. John that August. Sandy realized that having a Ross tent at Highland Games was also a means of providing information to visitors and of recruiting new members. He organized tents at events throughout Ontario. Chapter tents or exhibits at Scottish events continue to be one of the main recruiting methods. Booth registers for those days list many who became a vital part of the Association: Hugh and Frances Ross, Gertrude Teskey, Ronald (who became Vice-President) and Helen Ross, Margaret and Duncan Montgomery, Eldred Cook and Ed Swinton (both of whom filled many executive positions as well as being our Scottish dancing experts), Gloria Vaden (who became Sandy's bride in 1979, and later Historian/Genealogist for Clan Ross-USA) and Moira Jane Ross (who became the Toronto group's first Secretary).
In 1975, the new Chief of Clan, David C. Ross of Ross, visited Toronto and a reception was organized by Dr. John and Moira.
Clan Ross was very active in CASSOC. Delegates succeeding Dr. John were Sandy Ross, Ron Ross, Margaret Montgomery and Don Ross. (Current delegate is Wendy Ross, succeeding her brother Sandy as Ontario Provincial Commissioner as well!) CASSOC Balls usually included several Ross tables. Parade stalwart was always Harry Ross.
The Clan Ross-Canada Newsletter started as information pages of Association and CASSOC activities, plus Games schedules, put out by Sandy Ross. This was followed by expanded notes by Secretary Moira. Margaret Montgomery and her husband, Duncan, succeeded Moira as Secretary and Treasurer. Margaret produced the first real newsletter from the mid 70's until 1989, followed by Eldon Ross of Winnipeg, then Don Ross and, for the last few years, by co-editors Ian and Jacquie Ross of Winnipeg. The newsletter has always been an important link binding together our far-flung membership. Please CLICK HERE for a brief history of our newsletter editors.
Clan Ross-Canada, in those days, was active in attending global Scottish festivals. In 1979, Dr. John and Eila attended the International Scottish Festival in Nova Scotia. In 1980, Commissioner Sandy and Gloria were part of the Canadian Delegation to the Second International Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh. In 1983, Secretary/Treasurer Margaret and Duncan, Sandy and Gloria, and Dr. John and Eila attended various events at the International Gathering of the Clans in Nova Scotia.
Also in 1983, Sandy Ross and Chief David attended the Stone Mountain Games near Atlanta. Leaving directly from the field, he and Sandy, fully kilted and still wearing their sgian dubhs, marched straight through airport security to catch the flight to Toronto, and attend a Clan Ross-Canada ceilidh arranged by Moira Ross and Commissioner Sandy.
Previously, at a 1981 ceilidh arranged by Dr. John at his Cooksville home, David Ross of Ross had endorsed J. Donaldson (Don) Ross, son of Dr. John, as President of the Association. Efforts were made by Don, Dr. John and others of the Clan Ross-Canada Executive to expand activities and membership base beyond Ontario. Provincial commissioners were contacted and appointed including Eldon Ross of Winnipeg for the Province of Manitoba, Graeme Ross of Fredericton for New Brunswick, Moira Ross(now of Sydney) for Cape Breton and G. MacGregor (Greg) Ross for Nova Scotia-Mainland.
On March 8, 1984, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, John B. Aird, whose family long considered itself closely tied to Clan Ross, became the Patron of the Association. In June of that year he and Mrs. Aird hosted a reception for Rosses in his suite at the Legislative Buildings. About 70 members and friends, including a busload from Embro organized by Kay Ross, attended the event. The Lieutenant-Governor again hosted a reception on June 20, 1985.
On June 7, 1986 President Don and Evelyn hosted a Silver Anniversary Ceilidh for Clan Ross at their home in Scarborough. By that time membership had grown to about 70, spread from coast to coast, and the annual membership fee was $8.00 "for as long as anyone can remember". [Please see the membership section for the current fee.]
In 1991, Eldon Ross, progressing towards the Presidency of the St. Andrew's Society of Winnipeg, persuaded Bill McCullough to become Manitoba Commissioner. In August 1991, Bill McCullough and Christine Ross (now Turnbull) manned the first Clan Ross booth at the Scotland Pavilion at Winnipeg's Folklorama. As a result of memberships sold, several interested Manitoba Rosses attended the inaugural meeting of the Manitoba Chapter in October of 1991. In the summer of 1993, the Manitoba Chapter hosted the first Annual General Meeting outside of Ontario, coordinated by Barb & Denis Fletcher and Jacquie & Ian Ross. This marked the transfer of the National Presidency from Don Ross to Bill McCullough and the headquarters of the Clan Ross Association of Canada, Inc. from Mississauga to Winnipeg. Don Ross became Vice-President and Ontario Commissioner. At this AGM Clan Ross presented a cheque for $1,000.00 to the St. Andrew's Society of Winnipeg supporting the Scottish Thistle Monument commemorating our pioneer ancestors, which now bears a Clan Ross plaque.
You will note the reference to the Association being incorporated. Letters Patent were granted under the Canada Incorporations Act on May 10, 1991. This was the culmination of the goals of Dr. John and Don Ross realized largely through the efforts and expertise of then-Secretary Edward B. Swinton. Federal incorporation solidified the Association, ensured its permanence in the face of Canada's vast distances and the occasional frailties which beset any volunteer organization, and set us apart as the prime Clan Ross Association in this country, recognized nationally by the Federal Government.
At the July, 1994 AGM in Winnipeg, Ian Mackay Ross, who had succeeded Bill McCullough as Manitoba Commissioner, now succeeded Bill as National President. Christine Turnbull succeeded Ian as Manitoba Commissioner. Wendy Ross was appointed Ontario Commissioner.
In May of 1994 Duncan Montgomery, longtime supporter of Clan Ross and helpmate to Secretary/Treasurer Margaret passed away. On October 22 of that year, Clan Ross was further saddened by the passing of co-founder Dr. John Robert Ross, who was also an innovator in the areas of pediatrics and battlefield medicine. And, on May 6, 1995, the Honourable John Black Aird, patron of the Association, passed away.
In 1994 and 1995, Greg Ross, Nova Scotia-Mainland Commissioner, started gathering a number of Clan Ross-Canada supporters with the object of forming a Metro Halifax Chapter. With the assistance of David T. Ross and others, an inaugural meeting was held September 14, 1995. On November 1, 1995 the National Executive approved this group as a Chapter covering all of Mainland Nova Scotia, until other individual area chapters could be formed. Greg Ross agreed to assume responsibility as Commissioner for the entire province and was so appointed on May 9, 1996.
Further Maritime developments occurred in 1995 when Howard Ross of Roseberry, P.E.I. was appointed Prince Edward Island Commissioner on November 1. Howard had contacted Clan Ross-Canada as representative of a large group of Ross descendants on the Island. This led to formation of an official P.E.I. Chapter on January 28, 1996, with Cheryl MacAusland as Chair.
Clan Ross-Canada continues to grow. At the July 7, 1996 AGM in Winnipeg, a total membership of 153 family/single was announced, with Commissioners Graeme Ross in New Brunswick and Greg Ross in Nova Scotia currently being particularly active developing membership in their areas.
The Annual General Meeting on July 16 for the year 2000 marked the 40th Anniversary of the founding meeting of the Clan Ross Association of Canada. The association proudly announced the appointment of J. Douglas Ross as our national webmaster with the establishment of a website at www.GreatClanRoss.org, whereby up-to-date and accurate information about the CRA-Canada national executive, its provincial commissioners, events, projects, photographs, members' genealogical searches and much more can be obtained. This website also provides links to every existing Clan Ross society in the world.
Since the AGM 2000, expressions of interest have been received from a potentially sizeable group of Rosses and descendants in Quebec for affiliation with our national association. Also, last September CRA-Canada became the official Clan Ross member of the Federation of Scottish Clans in Nova Scotia.
SPEM SUCCESSUS ALIT
"Success Nourishes Hope"