Bothell to McConnelsville

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: About Jun 1911 [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: Ross Wilson McCoy
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Transcontinental Family Car Trip in 1911 Family of Elmer J Ross and Oadell/O'Dell "Della" (McCoy) Ross with Charles Green.



In 1911, Elmer sold his dairy farm in the Snoqualmie Valley and purchased a brand new Winton Six automobile. With optional accessories and freight charges from the Winton factory in Cleveland, Ohio, it cost around $4,000 to purchase the "machine", as Elmer's wife Della called it. As part of the purchase, the Winton company in Seattle provided a driver, in this case 23-year old Charles "Charlie" Green, to familiarize the new owner with the vehicle and provide driving instruction, if necessary.

At the time of delivering the brand new green Winton automobile in the spring of 1911, Elmer asked Charlie if he'd be interested in accompanying the Ross family as their driver and mechanic on a cross-country trip. Elmer's plan was to travel from Washington to Ohio to visit Ross and McCoy relatives, and retracing in reverse the steps of his parents in the 1850s as they came west. Charlie had been driving for Winton since 1907, and got permission from the Winton company to travel with the family. Green said in 1965[1], "They realized the publicity value if one of their autos crossed the nation."

Why Ohio?

Both Elmer and Della's families had roots in Harrison County, Ohio.

The Families

Elmer's Family

Elmer was born in Seattle, but his father, John Ross, was born in Ohio and crossed the plains in 1850 from Harrison County, Ohio (near Cadiz). In 1850, John was living in Archer Township, Harrison County, Ohio with his mother, Mary Ann (Stewart) McKitrick Ross, his then unmarried sister Mary Ann (Ross) Easlick, and 3 step-siblings from his mom's first marriage.

John arrived in the Oregon Territory October 10, 1852, and had a donation land claim for 147.55 acres. His land was on the north side of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle across the then Salmon (later 'Ross') Creek to Fremont. John's father, William Ross, lived in McConnelsville, Morgan County, Ohio. John's sisters Mary Ann (Ross) Easlick and Charlotte (Ross) Wilson remained in Ohio.

Elmer's mother, Mary Jane (McMillin) Ross was born in Peoria, Illinois and travelled across the plains with her father, David McMillin, her step-mother, Amelia Mary (Swarts) Creel McMillin and 4 siblings, 5 half-siblings, and 5 step-siblings. The family settled first in Salem, Oregon, later moving to the Kent Valley as early valley pioneers.

Della's Family

O'Dell/Oadell "Della", was born in Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio. Her sister Jennie had married Thomas Worley, and also came out west, but most of the family, including Della's parents, remained in Ohio. Della and Elmer were married on November 21, 1889 in Harrison County and travelled back to Washington to start their family on the dairy farm.

Elmer and Della had four children: Clark Mercer+, Carrie Belle, Orphus Williams ("Bill"), and George Edwin, all born in Woodinville, Washington.

+Della was a 1st cousin once removed of Thomas Mercer.

The Trip

Leaving Bothell

In June 1911, the entire family and a driver, Charles Green, age 23, traveled from their home in Bothell to Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio. At the time of the trip, the older children were both adults: Clark (21), Carrie (18), while the younger two were under-age: Orphus "Bill" (16), George (7).

Snoqualmie Pass

The were the first to travel by motorized car from West to East across Snoqualmie Pass and had to use block and tackle to get the car across the pass.


Montana offered long stretches of more easy going travel, until they hit mud that stuck to the wheels of the car.

McCook, Nebraska

While in McCook, Nebraska, the parked Winton was smashed by a person in town, who happened to also be a member of the Odd Fellows, like Elmer. The Odd Fellow brother paid all the expenses of the family while staying in McCook, and the family was invited to several local events. They were in town for about a week.

Cadiz, Ohio

It took a total of six weeks to reach Cadiz.

McConnelsville, Ohio

It's not in the article by Malinowksi, but there are pictures and stories of the family in McConnelsville, Ohio visiting the Wilson family, descendants of John Ross's sister Charlotte (Ross) Wilson.

Cleveland, Ohio

While Della and the children were visiting relatives in Cadiz, Charlie and Elmer took the car to Cleveland, the home of the Winton factory. The pair were "wined and dined," the red carpet was rolled out, and they got to tour the WInton factory.

West Virginia

After picking up the rest of the family, the group drove across the border from Cadiz to Wheeling, West Virginia so they could say they had crossed the continent.

Heading Home

As autumn fast approached, the family shipped the car back by train, and then boarded the train themselves for the trip home.

Research Notes

It was Rugged Crossing the Country in 1911[1] by Terri Malinowski. The Seattle Times, Sunday, July 25, 1965.

S X Family photos and unpublished family history.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Malinowski, Terri. "It was Rugged Crossing the Country in 1911," The Seattle Times, Sunday, July 25, 1965. (photocopy of the original printed article)
  2. S X Family photos and unpublished family history.

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