Born on 11th December 1853 John Ross was the eldest son of Rev. Robert Ross and his wife Margaret Christie. Rev. Ross had been installed as minister of Fourth Londonderry Presbyterian Church, (Carlisle Road) on 29th March 1850 and was to remain in this position until his death on 1st July 1894.
The young Ross's elementary education included a period at the Model School, Londonderry, (it had opened in 1862), before proceeding to Foyle College where his contempories included Percy French. He subsequently entered Trinity College Dublin where he graduated with a BA in 1877 and LLB in 1879. A member of Grays Inn, (1878), he was called to the Irish Bar in 1879 and practiced on the North West Circuit. He took silk in 1891 and was elected a Bencher in 1893.
Like many of the legal profession he entered politics and served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for the City of Londonderry from 1892 until 1895 when he was defeated. The following year at the age of forty three he was to become the youngest judge in the United Kingdom when he was elevated to the Bench as the Land Judge in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland. He holds the honour of being the first Presbyterian Irish High Court Judge. In 1902 he was sworn into the Irish Privy Council and in 1902 he was created a Baronet. In 1921 he reached the apogee of his legal career when he was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was to be the last individual to hold this appointment, it being abolished in December 1922 at which time Sir John retired to London, but ultimately returned to Northern Ireland to live at Dunmoyle Lodge outside Sixmilecross where he was to die on 17th August 1935. He was succeeded to the baronetcy by his only son Sir Ronald Deane Ross KC, MC , MP who for a time was Recorder of Sunderland.
Sir John's wife whom he married in 1882 was Katherine Mary Jeffcock Mann, the only daughter of Lieut. Col. Deane Mann of Dunmoyle. The match was not approved of by the Manns. The young Ross had two great failings so far as the Manns were concerned, -that he was not from a landed family and his Presbyterianism. Whilst the couple did not exactly elope, Miss Mann is reputed to have walked from her father's seat to Sixmilecross where she took an early morning train to Dublin and then married Ross at St. Michan's Church, (Parish Church to the Law Courts of Ireland), with her parents being absent. The honeymoon was apparently spent riding a tandem from Dublin to Donegal.
Despite the initial antipathy if not hostility between the young couple and the Manns it is clear that relationships must have improved as Dunmoyle would ultimately belong to the Ross's. The house and its large conservatory were demolished in the mid 1960's.
A brother of Sir John Ross, Stuart C. Ross was for many years a solicitor in Londonderry. His firm was ultimately taken over by a nephew (?) Frederick Bond who continued trading under the style of "Stuart C Ross & Co," until his death, when the business was subsumed into a larger practice and the name disappeared.