The Faribault County Historical Society received the Etta C. Ross building from the city of Blue Earth in November, 1989. This beautiful Museum has much to offer each visitor and one is tempted to just meander throughout the building, peeking back into the history of Faribault County and those brave souls who found their way here in those early days.
Etta (Marietta Mary) Chadbourn was born to Nathaniel & Susan Chadbourn in 1854 and moved with her family to Blue Earth City in November of 1869. She was 15 years old. They had left Maine, a very civilized community with established farms and cities, in 1867 to go to Columbus, Wisconsin. They then traveled by train to Albert Lea, Minnesota, as far west as the railroad had been built. Knowing that it would continue to be built westward, they saw an opportunity here in Blue Earth, a village of only a few hundred people, that had already been designated the County Seat of Faribault County. Etta completed her common school education in 1870 then attended Wisconsin Female College at Fox Lake, Wisconsin, graduating in 1875. Upon returning to Blue Earth, she became a teacher as teaching was the only occupation for unmarried girls at that time. She taught at the Blue Earth School and was one of the leading advocates of reading and literature in the community.
Nathaniel Chadbourn, Etta's father, settled into the community, had built a house at 229 West Sixth Street and founded the City Bank, the Chadbourn family bank. One young bank employee, William E. C. Ross, became smitten with Etta's charms, pursued her and eventually won her heart. William and Etta were married on April 9, 1879. The following year a son, Guy Whittier Chadbourn Ross, was born to them. In time, they built their home at 425 East Fourth Street where Etta homeschooled Guy until 1890. He then began attending the Blue Earth school and graduated. He then attended Carleton College, the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School becoming a practicing attorney in Duluth then professor of political science and department chair at St. Thomas College, St. Paul.Etta was one of the founders of the Blue Earth Chautauqua Society and for many years served as its President. Etta C. Ross died unexpectedly of pneumonia on March 21, 1903, while wintering at Pasadena, California, at the age of 48 years old. She is buried in Riverside Cemetery at Blue Earth.