Ross attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1883.
Following Arizona statehood, he served on the state"s highest bench for 33 years and was selected Chief Justice on six different occasions. After graduation, Ross taught at a school in Arkansas before moving to Flagstaff, Arizona Territory in 1886. He continued to teach for another two years in Arizona.
Among his students was future United States Senator Henry F. Ashurst.
Admission to the bar led Ross to begin practicing law in Flagstaff and Prescott. The marriage produced two sons, Henry David, Junior and John Wheeler.
Ross joined the Prescott legal firm of Ross & O"Sullivan in 1894, a partnership he continued until his ascension to the bench. He was elected to a two year term as Yavapai County attorney in 1888.
At the end of his term, Ross became county attorney for the newly created Coconino county.
Following his term in the legislature, he became Register for Prescott"s land office. Promotion to the Arizona Supreme Court came to Ross on February 14, 1912. During his time on the court, Ross was noted for his work effort, averaging 50 decisions a year over a five year period at a time when a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States averaged ten to twelve rulings a year.
In January 1945, Ross informed friends that he intended to retire at the end of his final term in January 1947.
Ross died on February 9, 1945 following a stroke. The stroke occurred 8 days prior to his death and Ross failed to recover consciousness in the intervening time.
He was buried at Phoenix"s Greenwood Memorial Park.
Before his election to the Arizona Supreme Court, he served as county attorney for both Coconino and Yavapai counties as well as a member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature. He then represented Coconino County as a member of the House during the 17th Arizona Territorial Legislature.