Zell Ross and his horses, 1930s-1940s


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Zell Stanley Ross stands in-between his horses Barney and Prince, holding them both by their halters. His horses were a familiar sight in Coralville; Zell often gave the neighborhood children rides in his horse drawn wagon. They stand on a residential street; houses and fences can be seen both behind and next to the three figures.

Zell Ross was born in Reasnor, Iowa on June 3, 1888* to Charles and Almeda (Smith) Ross. On February 10, 1908, he married Nora Tool, daughter of Harrison and Louan (Woody) Tool. The young couple lived in South Dakota for eleven years before moving to Coralville, Iowa in 1934. They had four children: Mildred (b. 1911), Melvin (1914), Loyd (1918), and Beulah (1921). The couple also raised their niece, Grace Birkenholtz (Iowa City Press-Citizen, 1976; Lovetinsky et al., p. 123; Ancestry Library).

Zell worked by grading lawns and doing other landscaping projects. He and Nora were charter members of the Coralville Methodist Church (Lovetinsky et al., p. 123).

An Iowa City Press-Citizen article dated for November 22, 1949, reports on a vehicular accident involving Zell and his horses: an automobile rear-ended his horse drawn cart. One of the horses was injured badly enough it needed to be put down; it was reported that while Zell was physically uninjured, he did suffer from shock (1949).

Zell Ross died on September 7, 1976 and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. Nora joined him in death ten years later in 1986 (Iowa City Press-Citizen, 1976; Ancestry Library).

*Note - Lest We Forget lists 1889 as Zell's birth year. The archivist chose to use the date listed in his Iowa City Press-Citizen obituary and the Ancestry Library website's Find a Grave Index, finding these sources to be more credible. There were also a few discrepancies between resources in the spelling of certain names - for example, Tool versus Toole, or Lloyd versus Loyd. The archivist chose to follow the spellings used in the Iowa City Press-Citizen and the Ancestry Library website.


Coralville Public Library. Coralville Digital History Library.




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Coralville, Iowa


“Zell Ross and his horses, 1930s-1940s,” Coralville Digital History Library, accessed June 24, 2024, https://coralvilledigitalhistory.omeka.net/items/show/190.

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