David Claypool Ross (1851-1938) was a teacher, lawyer, lecturer and businessman, living in Bloomington during much of his adult life. At times he was known as Davis Ross. Born in Ohio in 1851, Ross first moved to McLean County in 1855. He attended the LeRoy Seminary and at the age of 15, entered Illinois Wesleyan University. After four years there, he taught school and lectured during the fall and winter seasons. In 1882 he started working for attorney Joseph W. Fifer; beginning in 1883, he studied law under William Haynie and A. E. DeMange. Ross was admitted to the bar in February 1885. Around 1890 he moved to Paxton, Illinois, and was engaged in mercantile and real estate businesses. In 1894 he was nominated for Ford County States Attorney but was defeated. Returning to McLean County in 1895, he opened a law practice in Bloomington. Ross married Martha (Mattie) Buckles of LeRoy in 1871. At the time of his death in September 1938, he resided at 823 E. Market Street, Bloomington.

The collection includes diaries from 1872-1937 that record the daily weather, personal and some business activities, and opinions of people and current events. Notes on the lectures that Ross gave are also a major component. His legal business files are only a small part of the collection.