Built before the start of the 19th century by John McDonald, a Scottish trader of wandering loyalty, the Ross House is the oldest remaining structure in Northwest Georgia. McDonald was one of a group of Scot traders that mingled easily with the Cherokee. At various times he claimed loyalty to France, Spain, England and the United States.
McDonald’s wife was mixed-race Cherokee. Their daughter, Mollie, married another Scottish trader by the name of Daniel Ross. The couple’s oldest son, John, became the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Tribe in 1828. Within two years, the Georgia legislature enacted laws to confiscate Cherokee land, while Congress approved the Indian Removal Act.
McDonald built the house around 1797 and it later became a U.S. Post Office, designated as “Rossville.” John Ross served as its first postmaster. The house was also used as a hospital during the Civil War.
The house was restored in 1962 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.