Burke County Sheriff's Office
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Fred William Ross
(May 23, 1886 - 1937)

The following excerpts were taken from:
News Herald story entitled, "Burke Sheriff's among the best," written by a former local columnist, Finley Davis.
Article, "Heart Ailment Fatal to Sheriff F.W. Ross; Final Rites Saturday."
 
News Herald story entitled, "Burke Sheriff's among the best," written by a former local columnist, Finley Davis.
 
In the '30s, a former grocery man was elected Sheriff of Burke County. Fred Ross was a popular Sheriff and served well for about six years, when he died while holding office. His wife was appointed to fill his unexpired term.
 
Fred Ross did not know the meaning of fear, and when this became known he did not experience any personal threats from law breakers. During his tenure he received word from a woman in the Laurel section of the county that her husband was drunk, abusive, and after he had beaten her declared he would shoot anyone who tried to interfere.
 
When Sheriff Ross approached the house, the husband came out with a shotgun pointed at Ross and ordered him off the premises or be shot. Fred Ross remained calm and began talking to the man, urging him to put down the gun before someone was hurt. The Sheriff continued talking in a conciliatory manner, then approached the threatener, saying, "now give me the gun - you don't really want to shoot."
 
Presently the offender lowered the gun and handed it to the Sheriff. Fred Ross had not once thought of his own safety, but fearlessly did his duty as he saw it should be done.
 
Article, "Heart Ailment Fatal to Sheriff F.W. Ross; Final Rites Saturday"
 
Mr. Ross was first elected Sheriff in 1930 and was serving his fourth consecutive two-year term. He was a Democrat. Fred William Ross was born in Morganton May 23, 1886, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. William A. Ross. His father, a Confederate veteran, was a highly respected merchant. He attended the free schools of that period, including the McKesson school, and later attended Miss Mary Dickson's private school and studied for a time at Rev. R.L. Patton's academy. Except for two years in early manhood when he worked in South Carolina, Virginia, and with the C.C. and O railway in railroad building, he spent his entire life in this [Burke] county. For a number of years he operated a grocery store here, in which he succeeded his father.
 
Mr. Ross took an active interest in Morganton's fire department and served for about twenty years as its chief, resigning only when he was elected Sheriff. On November 24, 1909, he married Miss Nina Elizabeth Corpening and had two sons, Fred W. Ross and J. Charles Corpening Ross.