Ross Township is rich in its history.
On June 26, 1809, John McKnight and 30 other residents petitioned the courts of Allegheny to form a new township, which was granted in the November term of that year, thus Ross Township was established. The name Ross was after the prominent Pittsburgh attorney, James Ross, who represented Western Pennsylvania at the convention to ratify the Pennsylvania Constitution in 1790, and the personal land lawyer to George Washington.
Before the establishment of Ross, George Washington formed a treaty with Chief Cornplanter in 1784, which many Natives did not agree with. Many of the early settlers lived in fear of the Natives for Ross Township was the Seneca tribe’s hunting grounds and “white” men were trespassers. In 1794 Casper Reel made the decision to settle in the area.
The Natives’ Venango Path that passed through the area was Ross’s earliest claims to fame. It was later called Franklin Road while Commodore Oliver Perry used it as one of his important routes in the “Battle of Lake Erie” in the War of 1812. After his victory, the name was changed again to the Perrysville Plank Road because of the large wooden planks of one side to assist the travelers during inclement weather. It was not until Senator Brandt petitioned to have it paved from the city line to Perrysville in the 1920s. After that, the road changed the name for the last time to Perry Highway, the road’s present name.
Ross’ borders have changed over the course of time when the Allegheny City was formed to the south and Shaler Township was formed to the east before the turn of the 20th century. In 1905 the borough of West View seceded from Ross and was formed in the southwest corner of Ross Township. The borders have remained relatively unchanged since then.
Fun Fact: In the summer of 1967, Jim Delligatti invented the Big Mac sandwich in the kitchen of his McDonald’s located on McKnight Road.