John Ralston Jr and Joseph Elrod

John Ralston Jr and Joseph Elrod were written about in Ruby Ralston’s book The Search for Our Ralston Ancestors.

According to Ralston, John Ralston Jr. was a captain in the PA militia and knew Elrod from there. John also purchased land from Elrod and the land records were transcribed.

You can read theseRalston1 Ralston2 Ralston3 Ralston4 Ralston5 Ralston6 Ralston7 RalstonCoverPage pages by clicking on them.

Thank you to the Butler Area Public Library for sending these to me.

Ralston Family in 1905 Jackson Sentinel Article

My friend Marion Pliner sent me a photocopy of an article from the Jackson Sentinel of 26 MAY 1905 page 07, titled “Memories of the Past Fifty Years” by M. Kiester. In it, Kiester talks about the Ralston family. Since I cannot produce a good reading quality scan, I have transcribed the Ralston portion below:

Then John Ralston, with a large family lived on his farm joining the Shirleys on the north, now belonging to the James Boyd farm. Mr. Ralston died many years ago, leaving a wife and eight children, three boys and five girls. Susan the oldest, was married to John Shirley. Mellen was married to Eliza Sinkey, daughter of Matthew Sinkey who lived on a farm near Emeline. Nelson married the old lady Ead’s daughter, grandaughter of the old Mr. Jacobs, of whom I have written. He was a soldier in the rebellion and died soon after returning home. Alexander is on a farm about three miles south of this place, with quite a family of children being married to a daughter of Wm. Potter, an old resident of Brandon township. Mary was married to John Shroyer, son of old John Shroyer who then lived on a farm one mile west of Ozark and now owned by Patrick O’Connell. Alvira was married to A. E. Sutton and then lived on a farm two and one-half miles west of Canton and at her death Mr. Sutton was in possession of a large tract of land in that neighborhood and sold it to Mr. Williams a few years ago and moved to this place, where he lived a few years, then bought a farm on the North Fork of the Maquoketa river, about four miles above Ozark, near where the old mill stood where I sawed so much lumber, and on that farm is where he now lives. The old lady still lives (Nancy Ralston) but she is quite old. She makes her home with her grand daughter, Fred Morris’ wife.

Elam Ralston, a brother of John’s was also among the old settlers and lived on a farm a half mile south of Ozark. The old folks have been dead a number of years ago, leaving a boy boy and girl in this neighborhood, Mrs. Curtis living with her husband on a farm one mile south of Ozark, Uriah, now running a billiard hall in Canton, has been married twice and has several children two of whom are making their home with Mrs. Curtis.

David Ralston, too, was among the early settlers of this vicinity, though a resident of Butler township and bu the way, cast the only republican ballot in the township in a great many years, and I think the next was cast by David Burk, who then lived on a farm about six miles north of Ozark called the “pine tree farm”.

Here Mr. Keister goes on to talk about other members of the community then states that he will finish Mr. Ralston in the next chapter.

What can we derive from this article to help us in our family history search? A LOT!

We can now search for land deeds with approximate locations and also dates of sale in some instances.

We can search for Nancy Ralston on the 1900 Census and sure enough, she is there with her grand daughter and listed as being Agnes Morris. I will post this another time.

We have some married names for daughters now.

We know to check to see if Nelson Ralston really was a soldier in the Civil War.

We have some approximate dates of both when people were still alive and also when they died.

We know that David Ralston recently voted Republican but no one else had for a “great many years”, telling us that the Ralston’s were Democrats in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

We know that this story is continued in another article in the Jackson Sentinel and perusing this paper should provide us with the “next chapter”.

Millen Ralston’s Jackson County Land

My cousin, Al Ralston, was always sending me wonderful items and news on my Ralston Family in Iowa. Al is the son of Harold Ralston, my grandfather Ivan’s brother.

Below is a photo Al took in 1998 of the North Fork of the Maquoketa River, where the Ralston Grist Mill sat.

North Fork of the Maquoketa River


Al's note on the back of the photo


The photo below is Al’s best approximation of Millen Ralston’s farmland in Jackson County, Iowa. Millen moved to Jackson County, Iowa right after the 1850 US Census, from Butler County, Pennsylvania. He died there 4 APR 1896 and is buried in Hickory Grove Cemetery.


Thank you, Al.

John Ralston Jr. Grave and Will

John Ralston Jr was married to Nancy Agnes McClane and went to Iowa in 1853. His son Millen married Eliza Sinkey and they are the parents of William Alfred Ralston, my great-grandfather.

John Ralston Jr was born 23 APR 1807 in Brady Twp, Butler County, PA. He died 27 JAN 1873 in Jackson County, Iowa and is buried in Hickory Grove Cemetery, Jackson Co, Iowa.