L. G. Ross

Dr. L.G. Ross

Dr. Levi Gilbert Ross Biography

Dr. Levi Gilbert Ross, physician and surgeon, who for many years has acted as city and county health officer, was born in October, 1879, in Avon, Wisconsin. His father, William M. Ross, though not a pioneer of Oregon's early days, was certainly a pioneer in the commercial growth of the state. He located in St. Helens in 1905 and organized the Columbia County Bank the following year. He was elected its president and served in this capacity until his death in 1916. Under his guidance the bank, now the oldest in the county, prospered and during his incumbency as president the present handsome bank building was erected. Next to the County courthouse it is the most attractive block in the city and is built entirely of St. Helens rock.

Dr. Ross began his education in the grade schools of Janesville, Wisconsin. Later he worked his way through college, graduating from the Northwestern Medical University in 1907, with the degree of M. D., and came immediately to Oregon. Determining not to be a burden to his parents while obtaining his medical education, he worked at various jobs to obtain the necessary funds. He taught in the State Industrial School, served as a waiter during vacations, and for one year served under the railroad surgeon in the construction camps at Huntington. Later he served at the Good Samaritan Hospital, where he met the charming young woman who later became his wife. Since coming to St. Helens Dr. Ross has through his ability as a physician advanced to the very forefront of his profession, while as a citizen his record is as good as his professional standing. He attempted to enter the medical corps for war service but was debarred by the government's decision to decline enlistments from all health officers, on the ground that their services were needed at home. Devoting his efforts solely to his profession, he has steadily declined to hold public officer and has built up a very large practice in this section. Dr. Ross specializes in gynecology and obstetrics and has attained fame in that branch of medical science.


During his work at the Good Samaritan Hospital Dr. Ross became acquainted with Miss Vena E. Shaffer, a native of Ohio, who was taking the trained nurse's course in the hospital. They were married in 1911, and have become the parents of one child, John Morse, named after the distinguished inventor of the telegraph, who is one of his forbears.

Dr. and Mrs. Ross are both prominent in social and club circles in the city. During the war Mrs. Ross organized a class in nursing and instructed a number of young women for war service. Dr. Ross was the physical examiner of all enlistments and county chairman of the Red Cross drives. He is a director of the Columbia County Bank and is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. He is superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school and prominent in church and social affairs. Fraternally Dr. Ross is a Mason and holds membership with the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen. He is a man of high personal worth as well as marked professional ability.


History of Oregon Illustrated, Vol. 3

BY: Charles H. Carney

The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company

LG Ross

Source: History of the Columbia River Valley From The Dalles to the Sea, Vol. III, Published 1928, Pages 35-36 Author: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company

High on the list of the able and successful physicians of the Columbia River valley stands the name of Dr. Levi G. Ross, of St. Helens, Oregon, where he has been engaged in the practice of his profession continuously since 1910. He was born at Avon, Wisconsin, in October, 1879, and is a son of William M. and Clara (Ross) Ross, who though of the same name were not related. His father was reared to the life of a farmer in Wisconsin, but later turned his attention to educational affairs, teaching school for a number of years and serving as county superintendent of schools of Rock county, that state. Later he went to Janesville, Wisconsin, where he was employed in newspaper work on the staff of the Janesville Gazette for several years. In 1905 he came to St. Helens, Oregon, and, liking the appearance of the place, made a few investments. In 1906 he established the first bank in Columbia county, known as the Columbia County Bank, of which he was the first president and cashier. A few years later he established a bank at Scappoose, Oregon. He was greatly interested in the development of St. Helens, serving as mayor and on the city council. His death occurred October 17, 1916. He was married twice, by the first union having two children, Levi Gilbert, of this review, and Mrs. Amy Knutson, of Hadley, Minnesota. By his second marriage he became the father of two children, Harold, who enlisted for service in the World war and died at Vancouver Barracks from the "flu," and Dr. Cecil J., who is engaged in the practice of medicine in Portland, Oregon. Levi G. Ross received his early education in the public schools of Janesville, Wisconsin, after which he matriculated in the medical school of Northwestern University, at Chicago, from which he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1907. He paid his own way through college by working at various occupations. He then came to Portland, Oregon, where he served one year as interne in the Good Samaritan Hospital, and in 1908 went to Huntington, Baker county, Oregon, where he was associated with Dr. William Spencer for two years. In 1910 Dr. Ross came to St. Helens, where he has met with notable success as physician and surgeon, specializing in gynecology and obstetrics. He rendered a distinct and appreciated service to this section of the country when, in 1925, he built and equipped St. Helens general hospital, which in all respects is modern, having the latest medical and surgical appliances. Sincerely devoted to his profession, and with a profound sympathy for the sick and afflicted, he has proven well worthy of the confidence and respect in which he is held throughout the community. Dr. Levi G. Ross has been county health officer of Columbia county, Oregon, since 1910, and is now the oldest health officer in point of continuous service, in the state. On August 31, 1911, in Montana, Dr. Ross was united in marriage to Miss Verna E. Shaffer, who is a native of Indiana and whom he first met in the Good Samaritan Hospital, from which she later graduated in nursing. Dr. and Mrs. Ross are the parents of one child, John Morse, born February 11, 1916, the name Morse being after the inventor of the telegraph, who was of this same blood. Dr. and Mrs. Ross are also bringing up Frances Ann Ross, born April 25, 1923, of whom they are legal guardians. The Doctor is a member of St. Helens Lodge No. 32, A. F. & A. M.; St. Helens Chapter, No. 53, R. A. M.; and Avon Lodge, No. 62, K. P. He also belongs to the Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the board of education and is a director of the Columbia County Bank, which was established by his father. He is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is a steward and is also a member of the choir, in which he takes an active interest. During the World war he was the physical examiner of all enlistments and was county chairman of the Red Cross drives, and Mrs. Ross organized a class in nursing and instructed a number of young women for war service. Dr. Ross possesses a genial and kindly manner, calculated to inspire confidence on the part of his patients, and all who have come in contact with him hold him in the highest measure of regard.

Dr. L. G. Ross

Excerpt from Ross Family Album

Levi Gilbert Ross was born at Avon, Wisconsin, October 16, 1879. He was the son of William M. Ross and Clara M. Ross. When he was but four years old his mother died leaving him and Amy his sister motherless. Three years later his father married Miss Fannie Partridge and the two children grew up under the care of their step-mother.

He received his earlier education in the public schools of Janesville, and then entered the Medical School of Northwestern University, In Chicago. When his father and family moved West in 1905, he had already completed two years of his training and received his doctors degree two years later.

After completing his internship in Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, he went to Copperfield in Eastern Oregon as resident physician for a construction company engaged in operation of the Snake River This place turned out to be a godless, lawless, frontier town which had mushroomed up about work on a large power plant and a tunnel. There were no law enforcement officers--city, county, State, or Federal--to maintain law and order. The 2000 inhabitants ran wild. It was no place for a law abiding citizen.

As an uncle and also his father were already living in St. Helens, it was but natural that his mind should be turned in that direction. And as Dr. Harry Cliff was about to sell out and move on to Portland, Dr. L. G. bought his practice in 1910. He hung out his shingle from the old City Hall building, a location he maintained till his death. On August 31, 1911, he married Verna Shaffer Rudig and set up his residence in the town. To this union one child was born, John M. Ross. A year after he began his practice he was appointed Health Officer for Columbia County, an office which he held continuously until the day of his death, thus winning the honor of being the oldest health officer in time of service in the State.

Like his uncle before him, Dr. Ross had to carry on his practice under trying and unfavorable circumstances, travelling the rough country road night and day with horse and buggy and ministering as best he could to the sick in the homes. He was the third person to own an automobile,--a Buick of early vintage. With the outbreak of the First World War he was active as examining physician of the raw recruits. For a number of years he was a member of the Executive Board of Columbia County Chapter of the American Red Cross. A check of the doctor's records shows that he had delivered some 2,996 babies during his thirty years of practice.

In 1925, Dr. Ross opened what was the only hospital in Columbia County, when he purchased a house on Fourth Street from the Methodist church, named the institution the St. Helens General Hospital, and used it to house his patients needing to be hospitalized. Prior to that cases requiring hospitalization were shipped to Portland, or if the situation was acute the doctor had to practice surgery either in his office or at the home of the the patient.

Dr. Ross was active in the Masonic Order and the Knights of Pythias, of which he was past Grand Master. He took a special interest in the annual father-and-son banquet, a project which he organized. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and of the Board of Education, and an ardent supporter of the Boy Scouts. In fact, he gave freely of his time to all matters pertaining to the good of the community.

There is abundant evidence that the Rosses came from a long line of devout Christian people, as is seen in the faithful support given to the church by the three brothers--William, Edwin and Adin--and also by "L.G" the son and nephew. He was fond of music and for many years was a leader and a member of the Methodist church choir. Many admired his clear tenor voice at Easter and Christmas services. It was a very fitting tribute to his memory then that two years after his death a pipe organ costing $2,240 was installed in the church--the money being raised entirely by voluntary subscriptions from his many friends and neighbors. The formal presentation of the organ was made by J. W. Thompson, chairman of the Board of Trustees, Miss Margaret Rippey, guest organist from Portland, gave a sacred concert following the dedication ceremonies.

After the doctor became ill it was his principal desire to live until he could see the graduation of his son, John, who was follow in his footsteps. He had been present a a family dinner party in his home Sunday, but took a turn for the worse in the afternoon and was rushed back to the hospital where he continued to lose ground until he passed away, May 31, 1939. The following affectionate appreciation appeared in the local press a few days later:

"Dr. Levi Ross will be missed; in the church where he was a pillar of strength; in the choir where his clear tenor voice rang out with joyous Easter songs and on special occasions when an enlarged choir was needed. He will be missed in Kiwanis where his advice as to social betterment was eagerly sought and followed; in Boy Scout work where his endeavors were to impress upon the youthful mind the value and satisfaction of good citizenship; in Sunday School work and in city schools where he delighted in meeting the younger ones, and in a multitude of other upright activities. Yes, Dr. Ross will be missed by hundreds to whom he ministered, oftentimes without thought of monetary recompense when, in those horse and buggy days of three decades past and over muddy and almost impassible road, he answered the call of distress night and day through stormy or good weather......Peace to his ashes; and may the heartfelt sympathy of the community be of some comfort to the bereaved."

St. Helens Hospital

Home on South 1st Street built by Dr. Cliff, later purchased as residence for William Ross family and after his death, his son L.G. Ross.

Dr. L.G. Ross in his Buick

courtesy Dr. John Ross, M.D.