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Who was Mary Ross?

                 Probable portrait Mary Ross (r)

Mary Ross McCullough

drawing from a tintype, ca. 1850

Mary Ross is one of the ancestors who have sent many McCullough researchers off on a wild goose chase. I had worked out a nice theory, when I discovered some family papers and pictures that gave a completely new perspective. However, we still don't know the whole story. 

What we do know is that the wedding of Mary and Sheridan was reported to be one of the largest ever held in Centre County until that time.  Mary was also credited with "being of uncommon intelligence" and very witty.

A story on her descendants states that she was "a lineal descendent of Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag".  This, however, is not true, since, as far as we know, Betsy never had any children by her Ross husband, who died before Mary was born.  Still, there is probably a link to that Ross family. 

Recently, I found some family papers which led to a marriage record for a Jonothan Ross and Mary McCalmont in Centre Co., PA. It would appear that these two are Mary's parents. Jonothan now becomes the mystery. There is also one other Ross in Centre Co. at this time, an older Mary Ross, head of household, with several children, who first shows up in the census record for London Grove, near Philadelphia, in 1800. It would be surprising if there were no connection between this Mary and Jonothan. This second Mary is, in turn, in the same place at more or less the same time as Betsy Ross' father in law. It is possible that her Ross husband and Jonothan were brothers or even theoretically possible that she was Jonothan's mother.

Any and all ideas greatly appreciated!

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Updated: 2008-01-15