Searching for William Ralston in Deeds, 1773-1886 Westmoreland County.

Re: Digitized records available at through the catalog. There is an index and then all deeds are digitized.

So we saw from the last blog post William Ralston’s 1769 and also 1786 warrant survey for his land on the south side of Sewickley Creek in Huntingdon Twp, Westmoreland County. His land of about 280 acres bordered William Boyd on the east, William Howey on the west, William Boggs to the north, William Martin, James Robinson on the south, and on the 1786 survey the land shows adjoining Henry McClintock.

Then in 1790 William sells land to Robert Ralston. He sells the land for 300 pounds. There are 299 acres, John Boyd is on the east, James Robinson is on the south, William Huey on the west, James Pinkerton on the north. The land comes with water rights, a warrant, and a map, two mares, a cow, a sow, and 9 shoats (piglets) on the 25th day of May, 1790.

I am fairly certain that this is the land William first claimed in 1769 and of which the two warrant maps show.

William Ralston Deed to Robert Ralston

Then in 1792, Robert Ralston dies. He leaves a will. Signed on the 17th May 1792.

He is Robert Ralston of Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County. He leaves half of all his estate real and personal to his beloved wife, Jean and the other half to his son Robert.

Unto his brother William’s son Jeremiah 150 acres out of the estate his father now lives on and being in the township of Huntingdon.  And the remainder of that estate he wants equally divided between William’s wife and children viz unto Isabella and Jennet, Martha and Robert. He allows Jeremiah to give unto his brother John 6 pounds as soon as he comes of age. Robert made his wife and John Cambel executors.

So Robert names William’s family in the will that he is leaving something to. Viz unto denotes a listing that will follow of whom he was speaking about prior. Since Martha is mentioned on another land record as being William’s wife, we may be able to assume that William’s children were Jeremiah, Isabella, Jennet, Robert, and John.  You will note that John is not yet of age at the time of the will in 1792, which corresponds with our birth year of 1776 for John. This does not mean William did not have other children, only that I cannot document at this time that they existed.

I will have to check on how old Jeremiah was in 1792, he is listed as being born in 1786 elsewhere, making him only 6 years old at the time of the will. William’s son John is only left 6 pounds.

Robert Ralston’s Will from 1792

The land sale and will are attempts by William to not be forced into forfeiture of his land. Robert willed William’s land back to William’s minor children and wife, which gave William legal ownership of his own land. Unfortunately, this was an unsuccessful attempt.

You will see in the deed below that upon petition of John Nesbitt, James Lawson, and William Moore a judgment was obtained in the PA supreme court on 19 JAN 1792 against William Perry, the former treasurer of Westmoreland County. And two tracts of land in S. Huntington Twp were levied in the judgment, one being 300 acres owned by John Miller and the other being 300 acres owned by William Ralston. A fieri facias was issued on the judgement 21 JAN 1792. The rents issues and profits rendered within 7 years of the judgement did not satisfy the exection and a writ of vendition exponas was issued 29 MAR 1800. The sheriff then sold William Ralston’s and John Miller’s lands to satisfy the judgment.

Sheriff’s Sale Record of William Ralston’s Land 1803

William’s land was sold to Daniel Brenniman for $1180 and John Miller’s land was sold to John Hanna. While this sheriff was in office, he did not render the deeds as Brenniman had not fully paid for the land. The final deed below testifies that Brenniman did pay in full a couple of years later and so the deeds were rendered.

Testimony that Brenniman Paid for Land

The deed to Brenniman is kind of misleading as it says that William Ralston and his wife Martha of Allegheny County sold the land to Daniel Brenniman for $1380. But Ralston was forced to sell the land by the sheriff and give whatever he still owed for the judgement. We know this is the warrant land William claimed in 1769 and which there is a warrant survey of in 1786: it is land adjoining Henry McClintock’s land. And adjoining McClintock’s is how it is described in the deeds of 1801 through 1804.

William Ralston Deed of Land Sale to Brenniman 1801

It is good to see confirmation that William’s wife’s name was Martha and now we have a residence for the couple in 1801: Allegheny County. We know that both of them were alive in 1801.

Because William lost his land it is highly unlikely that he left a will but now we can look for him in Allegheny County.  Actually, we will look in Butler County, which was formed from Allegheny County in 1800. Why Butler County? William’s son John is reported to have purchased property in 1801 in Brady Township, Butler County.

So what’s up with this William Perry, who did something and it caused William Ralston and John Miller to lose their tracts of land?

Time to search that story out.

I also noted all Ralstons who sold land in Westmoreland County through the 1810s and will check those deeds out: Allen, David Sr, Elizabeth, James, John, Martha, Robert for any connections to our William and his brother Robert.

To be continued …

William and Robert Ralston Westmoreland Co, PA Land Warrants

You can look up on the Warrant Registers at the PA State Archives for your ancestors to see if they were the “first” owners of land in Pennsylvania, given to them on a warrant. Remember that the Native Americans owned this land first and then that land was taken from them.

The Warrant Registers are divided by county.

In order to check the Westmoreland County warrant registers for names and where exactly in the county the land was located go here:

You will need to write down the Letter and Numbers listed after the name, as designated on the far left of the entry. For instance H-31 105 and A-51 35.

I did take the time to check if any of the lands in Westmoreland had been released to William or Robert Ralston, as the register is alphabetical to original warrant applicant. I did find one example of this, so maybe worth the time.

Not all of the copied warrant surveys are digitized.  The copied surveys run from Volumes A through D.

You can find the copies here:

William Ralston’s Warrant Survey of 350 acres was recorded 16 MAR 1786:

Volume A-13 228 and Vol D-57 266

Book A-13 pg 459Book A-13 pg 458 WmRalston

Book D-57 pg 531WmRalston

Robert Ralston’s land warrants (Robert died in 1792):

Indiana County (originated out of Westmoreland) Vol A-51 35 30 JUL 1784, Huntingdon Twp C-178 256 29 APR 1785, From Claudius Paul Raquet to Robert 14 MAY 1788 C-168 189:

Book A-51 pg 73Book A-51 pg 72RobtRalston

Book C-178 pg 512Book C-178 pg 511RobertRalston

Book C-168 pg 377Robertbought

A surprise find is there is a John Ralston in the same area, listed as Indiana County, who has a warrant from 22 JAN 1787. Volume C-190 300. Could he be another brother to William and Robert?

Book C-190 pg 600Book C-190 pg 599JohnRalston

There are more land records to dig through. To be continued…