William Ralston’s Connection to William Perry of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

I am still trying to figure out how William Ralston ended up owing the debt, along with John Miller, of William Perry.

The Pennsylvania State Archives does have the court records from 1792, but the archives are closed due to the pandemic.

I have found some things on William Perry and also more of a connection between the two and a bit more on Ralston’s service as a Ranger.

William Perry seemed to be a respectable sort of fellow.

He was the Captain of a company of rangers in Westmoreland County, sometime between 1778 and 1783. I tend to think toward the earlier years.

Here is a list of his company from the Pennsylvania Published Archives, Vol 23, page 335:

Take note that Jeremiah Lochry is listed under Perry’s company. Jeremiah was an important person in William Ralston’s life. He named one of his sons, Jeremiah. He was William’s neighbor. He was William’s captain when William was an Ensign in 1780 as a Ranger for Westmoreland.

Perry was a sheriff of Westmoreland County also for a number of years. Elected at Hanna’s Town in 1777 and still elected a sheriff through 1789. He was a collector of excise in 1778. He was also treasurer of Westmoreland County for some years. His people trusted him.

It seems something went wrong with Perry in 1787. John Nicholson posted public notices that as treasurer Perry had not settled his accounts and had until 2 July 1787 to do so.

Since the court case was determined in 1792, I am leaning toward this being the incident in which William Ralston ended up losing his land due to Perry’s debts (rather than the family story of 1778 in the Ralston books) but until I see the court documents, it is all speculation.

I was wondering why William Ralston, since he was in Westmoreland County in 1769, and was a young man at the time, hadn’t been more involved in the militia and I think I have found that he was earlier involved, not just in 1780.

He is listed on the list of Rangers on the Frontiers 1778 to 1783, which unfortunately has no precise date listed with service. He is listed on the general list and also as serving with George Baird’s company in Westmoreland County:

Since Lochry was serving in Perry’s company, not as a Captain, and Ralston in Baird’s company, not as an officer, I think these are earlier records of service because Lochry in 1780 was a Captain of his own company with Ralston as a Sergeant and then an Ensign and Perry was an elected official by this time.

I found this interesting article written by Gregory T. Knouff of Rutgers University, New Brunswick in which he talks about what it was like to be a Ranger on the Western Frontier of Pennsylvania. It is not pleasant to think about the violence and racisim in which William Ralston operated.

I have figured out, I think, how Ralston’s land was confiscated for some time during the Revolution, and this will be next time’s blog along with some more interesting information all gleaned from the Pennsylvania Published Archives. Stay tuned.

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: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-88WarrantRegisters/WestmorelandPages/r17-88WestmorelandPageInterface.htm

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: http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-114CopiedSurveyBooks/r17-114MainInterfacePage.htm

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…

 

 

 

John Ralston Sr’s Digitized Probate File

John Ralston Sr. of Slippery Rock Township, Butler County, PA died in Feb. 1850. His original will and probate file can be seen digitized at familysearch.org:

Click here: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-28935-3326-4?cc=1999196&wc=M99F-446:n1410558651

John Ralston Sr. had eleven children: William, James, Jane, John Jr., Elizabeth (Betsy), Mary Polly, Samuel, David, Susan, George and Elem.

John was born 17 MAY 1776 in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA and is buried on the Old Smith Farm in Slippery Rock. He was married to Betsey Sharp. He was an enlisted private in the War of 1812.

John Ralston Jr. married Nancy Agnes McLane and they settled in Jackson County, Iowa in 1853. Their son Millen Ralston is my great-great grandfather.

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.