The Ross family can trace its lineage back to the famous Cherokee Chief John Ross who sought to educate and improve the living conditions of his people. During the War of 1812, under the command General Andrew Jackson, Ross fought Creek Indians who had allied themselves with the British, successfully defeating them in 1814 at Horseshoe Bend.
Descended from John Ross, Alex Ross, in 1910, led his wife and their seven children, Eugene, Jesse, William, Robert, Alex, Ernest, and Charles, from Oklahoma to Edmonton, eventually settling on a homestead in Keystone.
Ill fortune soon befell the family. Two sons, Alex and Ernest, died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Soon after, in the early 1920s, Alex’s wife died. Jesse and Charles Ross remained in Keystone, while Eugene moved to Edmonton and William and Robert moved to the United States.
Robert returned to Keystone in 1927, but William remained in the United States until his death in 1965. Robert married Virginia Hooks, and they had seven children: Robert, Helen, Frances, Steve, Joan, Vivian, and Bernice. The children were raised in Keystone but many eventually moved to Edmonton. Robert Ross died in 1977.
Steve Ross left for Edmonton in 1949 and worked on the railroad for five years. In 1970, he established Steve’s Furniture Moving. That same year, he married Elsa McEvoy. In 1978, they sold the moving business.
In 1922, Robert’s sister, Jesse Ross, married Charlie Proctor, who came to the Prairies with his family in 1910. Legend has it that Charlie Proctor once outran a pack of wolves while living in British Columbia. He and his wife Jesse had five children: Norman, Lemuel, Frank, Ida (Addie), and Violet. Charlie died in 1953.
Frank Proctor lives in Detroit and has two children. Addie lives in Edmonton and has one child. Violet married Albert Briscoe and has five children.
The Trail of Tears
Broken hearts… shattered dreams… haunting memories
Like faded photographs… worlds apart
For time races on and leaves us all behind
Trying to remember who we are
The tears and dreams ground in the dust along with dignity
Were scattered like a million grains of sand
Then carried far to prairies, plains and snowy northern shores
To bloom in a cold and windy land
O the tears and the pain that we’re feeling
When the ghosts of the past play with our minds
Sometimes we’re overcome… senses reeling
We pray this too shall pass…in time
Tears for the time that’s come and gone
And times that may never come again
Tears for the memories… so little time for dreams
We’ve been too long on this trail of tears
Legends, bloodlines, twin heartbeats on the drum
We kept the bond of peace through all these years
First Nations and the African the black and the red
Blood brothers on that bitter trail of tears! …
Choctaw, Creek and Seminole, Paigan and Cherokee
Black Kings and Chiefs and warriors now free
Read the drumbeats! Song and dance …
Then dare deny our kindred history …
Make some brand new memories dream some brand new dreams
Throw away the bitter root and fears
Love your blood and family… add peace to your years
We’ve been too long on this Trail of Tears
© 2000 TRAIL OF TEARS Linda Peko (Jackson) Campbell
Lyrics and Music not to be duplicated or performed without written release of artist