William B. Ross

William Bradford Ross (December 4, 1873 October 2, 1924) was the 12th governor of Wyoming from January 1, 1923 to October 2, 1924.

William Ross
12th Governor of Wyoming
In office
January 1, 1923  October 2, 1924
Preceded byRobert D. Carey
Succeeded byFrank E. Lucas
Personal details
Born(1873-12-04)December 4, 1873
Dover, Tennessee
DiedOctober 2, 1924(1924-10-02) (aged 50)
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nellie Tayloe Ross

Early life and education

Ross was born in Dover, Tennessee to Ambrose B. Ross and Sue (Gray) Ross. He was educated in the local schools of Dover and at Peabody Normal school in Nashville. He studied law with Chancellor J.N. Stout of the Sixth Tennessee Judicial Division, attained admission to the bar, and began to practice.


Ross decided to practice law in the West and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. His general law practice there was successful and he became one of the leaders of the Democratic Party in the state. He ran for office several times, but always lost in heavily Republican Wyoming.

In 1922, Ross was elected governor of Wyoming by appealing to progressive voters in both parties. He advocated stronger Prohibition laws and called for tax cuts, government assistance for poor farmers, banking reform, and laws protecting children, women workers, and miners. He was a delegate to the 1924 Democratic National Convention.


After little more than a year and a half in office, Ross died at the age of 50 from complications following an appendectomy. He was succeeded as governor by Secretary of State Frank Lucas. His widow, Nellie Tayloe Ross was later elected governor in November 1924 and became the first female governor in United States history, in January 1925.

Personal life

Ross met Nellie Davis Tayloe in Dover while she was on a visit to her relatives. They married on September 11, 1902, in Omaha, Nebraska and had four sons: twins George Tayloe and James Ambrose (born 1903), Alfred Duff, (born April 13, 1905 and died ten months later, February 18, 1906), and William Bradford (born 1912).

Ross was an Episcopalian, a Freemason, and a member of Kiwanis. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Cheyenne.


    Political offices
    Preceded by
    Robert D. Carey
    Governor of Wyoming
    January 1, 1923 – October 2, 1924
    Succeeded by
    Frank E. Lucas
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