In 1817 Shapley Ross and his family moved from Kentucky to Missouri Territory and settled near Clark’s Fort, a war of 1812 stockade, in the area of present day Moscow Mills. After acquiring a grist and saw mill on the Cuivre River, Ross began construction of a stone house on the hill that overlooked the mill. In 1821 Ross and a group of local businesses planned the town of Moscow (later to be renamed Moscow Mills) as a competing point for the county. Ross died in 1823 and his widow, Mary Prince Ross, remained in the home until 1831 at which time she sold the house to Henry Martin, the first merchant of Moscow.
The Shapley Ross House is a vernacular two-story residence constructed of native limestone and is a rare example of fine stonework masonry and Georgian-styled architecture in Missouri with 10-foot ceilings and 18-inch walls. “Nine over nine” windows enclose two large rooms on each floor that are separated by a wide central hallway and a graceful staircase with a delicate walnut handrail. There are chimneys at each end of the home and the four fireplaces retain their original carved mantels. The hand-carved woodwork and six panel doors, the random width floorboards, and linen press closets throughout the house are original.
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