C. BEN ROSS was born in Parma, Idaho, on December 27, 1876. His public school education ended in the sixth grade, but at the age of eighteen, he returned to school and graduated from the Portland Commercial College. In 1897, Ross co-managed his father’s ranch, as well as taking an active role in civic affairs and serving on numerous boards. He served as vice president of the Riverside Irrigation District from 1900 to 1905, was chairman of the board of the Canyon County commissioners, serving from 1915 to 1921, and served as president and secretary of the Idaho Farm Board from 1917 to 1923. Ross entered politics in 1922, becoming mayor of Pocatello, an office he held until 1930. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1928. However, two years later, he was victorious and became Idaho’s first native-born governor. He won reelection in 1932 and 1934. During his tenure, several new tax laws were enacted, including a mine, beer, kilowatt, and income tax, as well as, a tax on corporate stocks and bank fees. Also, a new initiative and referendum bill was sanctioned, a driver’s license law was instituted, legislation was initiated that secured liquor sales through state distributors, and the governor co-existed with the federal government as director of emergency relief. After losing his reelection bid, Ross left office on January 4, 1937, and retired from politics. Governor C. Ben Ross died on March 31, 1946, and was buried in Parma, Idaho.
Idaho State Historical Society Gubernatorial Manuscript and Archive Collections:
- Archive Collection of Governor Benjamin Ross, AR0002.0015.
- Ross, Charles Benjamin scrapbooks, 1931-1946. Manuscript Collection. MS0096.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.