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Remembered Ralston Relatives

of Descendants of David Ralston 1741-1831



Relatives of David Ralston, born 1741 (likely County Tyrone), who were noteworthy or achieved some degree of public recognition.


This collection is a not only of direct descendants of David Ralston, but also descendants of other “Ralstons” shown by yDNA to be closely related to David.




The following are direct descendants of David Ralston, starting with two of his sons:



Alexander Ralston (1779–1861)

Military Officer - Prominent figure in early West Tennessee

Alexander Ralston (1779–1861) was born in Pennsylvania to David Ralston (1741-1831) from Northern Ireland and Mary Reid (1757-c1811) from Scotland.  While still a child they moved to the Cumberland Settlements near Nashville, TN.  During the War of 1812, Alexander was second Major under Col. Philip Pipkin as part of General Andrew Jackson’s army, and at one point placed in command of Fort Strother (Mississippi Territory, now Alabama.) During the war, Alexander penned at least two letters to General Jackson which are maintained in the US Library of Congress, national archives.

After the war Alexander lived on the Harpeth River in Williamson County, Tennessee where he had a mill and was a cabinet maker.

Alexander later moved his family to West Tennessee and settled in what is today’s Weakley County. He was a prominent figure in early West Tennessee and Ralston, Tennessee, was an important railroad station where he was the first postmaster. He owned vast sections of land and was very prolific in land purchases and sales. Alexander is mentioned in the book "Home In the Wilderness" by Effie Meek Maiden. From the book review on “an authentic story of a pioneer family's settlement in West Tennessee after the Indian removal. The story begins in 1848, when James A. Meek travels by horseback from his mill on the Duck River near Chapel Hill, TN to Weakley County to investigate the appeals made to him by Major Alexander Ralston to settle in the ‘Western District’ and ends in 1880.”

(There are no known photos of Alexander in existence today. )

How Related:  Alexander Ralston, son of David Ralston (1741-1831)


John Shelby Ralston (1787–1865)

Surveyor - Attorney

John Ralston, brother of Alexander, was born in what is today, Nashville, Tennessee.  He was a captain in the War of 1812 and was later a surveyor in West Tennessee, and one of the early settlers and founders of Shelby County, TN.  He married Lucy Tice McDaniel (1801–1879), daughter of Colonel John Clement McDaniel (1759–1836).

John surveyed and planned the city of Raleigh, the original county seat of Shelby County.  He was also one of the surveyors of the city of Memphis. John served as a justice of the peace and later became an attorney practicing in Raleigh and Memphis. 

John is included in severval history books and accounts of Memphis and the surrounding area.  He is remembered as a pioneer of Shelby County.


 How Related:  John Ralston, son of David Ralston (1741-1831)


Samuel Shannon Ralston, D.D. (1809–1890)

Doctor of Divinity - Author

Reverend Samuel Shannon Ralston (1809–1890) • FamilySearch

The following account is based on information from Samuel Ralston’s autobiography and The Centennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (1803-1903) Sketches of Ministers.

“My grandfather, David Ralston, was a native of Ireland, immigrated to America before the Revolutionary War, and married Mary Reid from Scotland.  They reared seven sons and one daughter, of whom my father, James Ralston, was the second.

“My father was born in Pennsylvania in 1781, and whilst a schoolboy the family removed to the vicinity of Nashville, Tenn.  He was a large portly man, of grave aspect but very genial temperament.  Being an old Seceder, he and others by application obtained from Scotland Rev. Wm. Hume as pastor.”  [Rev. Hume preached Rachel Jackson's funeral in 1828 at the Hermitage.]

“Baptized by father Hume, I was taken by my parents at two years of age to Lincoln County, Tenn., then a wilderness.  When settlers came in we were surrounded by a kind hearted neighborly people; but chiefly an irreligious class of little culture.”

“His parents were poor and he was very anxious to secure an education. At the age of eighteen he had never owned as much as ten dollars. At this age he left his father's and hired as a day laborer for nine dollars per month.

“He spent several months in school at Lebanon, Tenn., with his uncle, Rev. William Ralston, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. About this time Rev. Henry Bryson, D. D., offered him free board and tuition in his school at Viney Grove, Lincoln Co., Tenn. This he gladly accepted and spent three years under Dr. Bryson's care.

“Two years were spent in college at Jackson, Tenn.  He afterwards spent a year or two in Maury Co., Tenn., studying with and assisting Rev. Robt. Galloway in his school. He now began studying Theology under Dr. Bryson, but after one year, went to the Seminary at Due West S.C., and completed his course and was licensed by the 2nd A. R. Presbytery, May 6th, 1837 and ordained by the Tennessee A. R. Presbytery in June 1838.”

Samuel preached in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri, with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.  In 1860 he connected with the United Presbyterian Church and afterwards moved to Le Claire, Iowa, where he spent the rest of his life.  He died November 1st, 1890.

“Mr. Ralston was moderator of the A. R. Synod of the South in 1852 and delegate from the M. P. church to our Synod in 1873.

“He was a man of more than ordinary abilities, and was held in high esteem by his brethren.”

S. S. Ralston published at least two works, Ralston on the Apocalypse in 1858, and Five Arguments for the Post Millennial Theory in 1875.  Ralston on the Apocalypse is still in print today, and can be found on under the title The Revelation of John the Divine by Samuel S. Ralston

Samuel married three times. First to Mary Ann Hill, of Maury Co., Tenn. who became the mother of four children.

After Mary’s death, he was married in 1846 Sarah Yeager, of Kentucky, who died in 1873. He was married again Dec. 30th, 1875. to Mrs. Rebecca McGarvey, of Freeport, Ill. Neither of the two last had any children.

How Related:  Samuel Shannon Ralston D.D., son of James Reid Ralston (1781-1853), son of David Ralston (1741-1831)


Note: Samuel’s third wife, Mrs. Rebecca McGarvey was Rebecca Ralston, daughter of John Ralston (1790–1854), born in County Tyrone.  John’s parents were John and Anne Ralston, which yDNA has shown their descendants to be related to descendants of David Ralston (1741-1831).  Since their common ancestor could have been from the late 1600s, it is possible the Samuel and Rebecca knew they were related.


Sarah “Peaches” Wallace (1909-1930)

Aviatrix - Reporter - Speaker

Sarah "PeachesWallace (August 31, 1909 – June 22, 1930) was the second woman in the United States to obtain a glider license and held a record for time aloft in 1930.  She also wrote newspaper and magazine articles and made public appearances to discuss aviation and her experiences.

Peaches was born in Oklahoma to Reid Wallace (1864–1939) and Sallie A Burge (1866–1948) and lived there until the family relocated to San Diego in the early 1920s.  Wallace was a tall, athletic girl who was called “Peaches” after her father’s favorite racehorse.

In 1918, while still living in Oklahoma, eight-year-old Peaches was looking for four-leaf clovers beside a road, when a biplane made an emergency landing near her. The pilot, Billy Parker, asked her, “Would you like to dare the heavens with me, my lady?” Peaches agreed (with no thought of asking her parents) and Parker strapped her into the observer’s seat.  After tuning up his engine, Parker took off and circled the city.  He then returned Peaches to her clover patch.

In 1929, the editor of the San Diego Sun announced a contest to encourage women’s participation in aviation – the winner of the “Miss Air Capital of the West” contest would receive a free full course of instruction at the T. Claude Ryan Flying School at a (1929) value of about $1,300. The contest consisted of a series of tests to determine the greatest advance over a period of time in the study and practice of aviation. Wallace entered the contest, and was one of ten finalists, (which included Ruth Alexander), but when the judges made their final decision, Wallace placed first with a score of 85.48.  The flying instructions began on September 3, 1929 at Ryan Airport (pictured on the left).  Wallace reported her flight school activities regularly in the San Diego Sun. The Sun called her their “own newsgirl’.  Peaches also wrote magazine articles and made public lectures about her training and aviation experiences.

Wallace was considered to be one of the most apt students to have taken the training course and within a few weeks of her first solo flight received her pilot’s license.

After Peaches completed her course and became a licensed pilot, she and several other female fliers became interested in this new sport of glider flying and received training from Forrest Hieatt, under the supervision of Hawley Bowlus, at the nearby Bowlus Gliding School at Lindbergh Field. On January 26, 1930, after only three hours of training, Wallace achieved a 36-second solo flight to qualify for a glider pilot license. This was a third-class license, but she soon added second- and first-class licenses. Wallace made this achievement before her teacher; Wallace received US license number 42, while Hieatt received number 47 shortly thereafter.

Wallace set a women’s record for time in the air in a glider of 25 minutes.  This record held for over a year, being broken in August 1931.

Inspired by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the first American woman to receive a first-class glider license (just days after Wallace's first solo flight), Wallace formed the inaugural women’s glider club in the West, the Anne Lindbergh Flyers Club of San Diego. The club elected Lindbergh the honorary president.

On March 27, 1930, while making a routine glider flight in a Bowlus-built glider, after about nine minutes aloft, she was attempting to land when her glider struck a bar on a telephone pole on Point Loma and crashed.  Wallace claimed to be uninjured, though her back struck a sidewalk curbing when the sailplane fell into a street. Although she suffered some discomfort with her back, the following week she appeared at each scheduled performance at the RKO-Orpheum theater and gave talks on aviation and gliding. 

On April 18, Peaches was admitted to Mercy Hospital and diagnosed with appendicitis. Her family stated that her condition “was not due entirely to the crash in the glider, but may have been superinduced by the fall.”  She seemed to be on the road to recovery when infection set in, which led to further serious operations. After five major operations and blood transfusions, Wallace died June 22, 1930. She was laid to rest June 24 in Glen Abbey Memorial Park. The funeral services were attended by around 300, including a large number of prominent San Diegans.

After her death, on July 27, 1930, California’s first glider port, Peaches Wallace Field, was opened in San Diego. Ruth Alexander flew over the field and dropped wreaths of roses in memory of Peaches.  San Diego Mayor, Harry C. Clark, spoke, paying high tribute. It has today been lost to development in San Diego.

How Related:  Sarah Peaches Wallace, daughter of Reid Wallace (1864-1939), son of Mary Jane Ralston (1839-1899), daughter of Samuel Shannon Ralston, D.D. (1809-1890), son of James Reid Ralston (1781-1853), son of David Ralston (1741-1831)



James Milton Powell 1914 - 2005

First Chief of Capitol Police

James Milton PowellJames Powell (May 13, 1914 - July 18, 2005) was born on his family’s farm in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, the eldest child of Milton Thomas Powell (1879-1958) and Aurora Ethel Ralston (1889-1972).

When he was 20 years old, James left Tennessee in the midst of the Great Depression and moved to Washington D.C. in search of work.  He worked various jobs, including insurance salesman and hotel bell hop.  In 1938 he married Dorothy Forsht (1914-2008) of Blair Co, Pennsylvania.  James attended Southeastern University in D.C. 1938-1939.

In 1940, he joined the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC) and spent six years in the 5th Precinct where he started as a patrolman. He was promoted to Precinct Detective in 1944 and then to Detective Sergeant in 1946, when he was assigned to the Robbery Squad.

In 1953, Powell was promoted to Detective Lieutenant and named the Third District Detective Supervisor. He graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in 1955. In 1958, and after several commendations, he was promoted to Captain and began his work in the U.S. Capitol as supervisor of the Senate Plainclothes Detail. In 1965, he became an inspector and designated chief of the U.S. Capitol Police under the direction of the DC police department.

On December 20, 1979, the Congress enacted Public Law 96-152, signed by President Carter, which created the position of Chief of the Capitol Police appointed by the Capitol Police Board. This law established the Capitol Police as its own independent legislative branch agency in charge of the safety and security of the Capitol complex.

In 1980, Congress passed a law retroactively transferring Chief Powell from the Metropolitan Police Department; making him the first federal chief of the U. S. Capitol Police on the rolls of the legislative branch. James served in this capacity until his retirement June 1, 1984, after 44 years, eight months of police service.

Powell was recognized by U.S. presidents and members of the Senate and Congress for his professionalism and leadership. Perhaps his greatest legacy was the transformation of the Capitol Police Force from a group of untrained security guards appointed by members of the Congress to the highly trained professional Capitol Police Force of today that consists of over 1200 officers and officials.


Chief of Capitol Police, James Powell, Far Right

(1981 photo with members of the DC Police Force, VP Bush and Regan’s jelly beans)


How Related:  James Powell, son of Aurora Ralston (1889–1972), daughter of James Andrew Ralston (1851–1937), son of Andrew Ralston (1798-1863), son of Robert Ralston, son of David Ralston (1741-1831)



Betty Jo Ralston (1934–1950)

Accident Photo

Betty’s notoriety is due not to accomplishment (although she was a high school honor student), but to tragedy.  Betty Jo Ralston was born October 24, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio.  Her parents, originally from Tennessee, returned to live in Nashville by 1940.  On June 6, 1950, Betty had attended a school picnic at a local park.  Afterwards she and three of her girlfriends accepted a ride home from another student in his convertible.  The young driver, who may have been speeding, swerved to avoid another car and overturned, injuring himself and three of the girls, but killing fifteen-year-old Betty.

A photographer, who lived close to the accident site, took several photographs of the wreck and victims, before medical help arrived. 


The photos and story were published in almost every U. S. state (the one above was in a California paper), and garnered world-wide attention in interest of traffic safety.

June 16, 1950, Tennessean headline:


How Related:  Betty Jo Ralston, daughter of Thomas Aaron Ralston (1904–1983), son of James Alonzo Ralston (1878–1947), son of James Andrew Ralston (1851–1937), son of Andrew Ralston (1798-1863), son of Robert Ralston, son of David Ralston (1741-1831)



More distantly related

Y-DNA has shown that David Ralston and William Rolstone (c1708 -1767, birth location unknown – lived in Virginia) were closely related.

The following are descendants of William Rolstone:


John Tate Raulston (1868-1956)

Scopes "Monkey" Trial Judge

 John Tate Raulston (September 22, 1868 – July 11, 1956) was an American state judge in Rhea County, Tennessee, who received national publicity for presiding over the 1925 Scopes Trial, a famous creationism-evolution debate.

Raulston, who was a member of a prominent Republican family, was born on a small farm in Marion County, Tennessee. He attended U.S. Grant University, later known as Tennessee Wesleyan College, and was admitted to the bar in 1896. He served in the Tennessee state legislature and was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1908 against John A. Moon. He was elected judge of the Eighteenth Tennessee District in 1918.



 How Related:  John Tate Raulston (1868–1956), son of William Doran Raulston (1832–1908), son of William O Raulston (1802–1870), son of James Raulston (1778–1844), son of Matthew Raulston (1742–1800), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Colonel James Raulston/Roulston (1778–1844)

Military Officer

Colonel James Raulston was born on 16 June 1778 in Augusta County, Virginia. He was the son of Matthew Raulston and Martha "Polly" Moore. James Raulston operated an inn in the Chestnut Mound section of Jackson County, now Putnam County, Tennessee, that became known as Raulston's Stand. He was a delegate to Knoxville in 1801, and was instrumental in the enactment of the necessary legislation to create the county of Jackson. He was married to Jane Simmons.

In 1809 James was commissioned into Andrew Jackson's army to fight against the Creek Indians. In 1812, Jackson again called him to serve in command of the 3rd Regiment of Tennessee. He became Colonel Raulston and served with General William Carroll in the Battle of New Orleans.

Colonel Raulston found that his log cabin was located on the line between Tennessee and Alabama when the area was surveyed in 1817. He first moved his bedroom to the Tennessee side of the cabin so that he could stay involved in Tennessee politics; then in 1828 he moved his bedroom to the other side of the cabin, declared his home to be in Alabama, and became a prominent member of the state legislature of Alabama. He died in 1844.

How Related:  James Raulston (1778–1844), son of Matthew Raulston (1742–1800), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708–1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Orville Alfred Ralston (1894-1942)

World War I Flying Ace

Major Orville Alfred Ralston was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories. He returned to service for World War II, only to die in a B-17 crash.

Ralston joined the United States Army Air Service after attending Peru State College, but was attached to the Royal Air Force for seasoning in combat. He flew a Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a in "Mick" Mannock's flight of 85 Squadron, and gained his first two victories there, destroying a Fokker D.VII each on 24 July and 22 August 1918. He then returned to American aviation, becoming a Sopwith Camel pilot with the 148th Aero Squadron. He teamed with fellow ace Elliott White Springs and two other pilots for his next win, and then independently destroyed two more D.VIIs—one each on 26 September and 3 October 1918.

He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in 1921. After the war, Orville was a dentist in Ainsworth, Nebraska, and served a term as mayor. An intelligence officer during WWII, he died in a stateside plane accident in December 1942.



How Related:  Orville Alfred Ralston (1894-1942), son of Charles Alexander Ralston (1859-1908), son of David W Ralston (1827-1883), son of Samuel R Rolston (1799-1889), son of David John Rolston (1775-1856), son of Samuel David Roulston (c1740-1807), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Joseph Ralston (1943- )

Military Leader

General Joseph Wood Ralston (born November 4, 1943) served in the United States Air Force from 1965 to 2003. He became Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1996. He was favorite to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997, however following revelations of a secret affair he remained Vice Chairman until May 2000. He then became Supreme Allied Commander for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe until January 2003 when he retired.

He was appointed in August 2006 by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as Special Envoy for Countering the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), responsible for coordinating U.S. engagement with the Government of Turkey and the Government of Iraq to eliminate the terrorist threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups operating in Northern Iraq and across the Turkey-Iraq border. He also holds senior positions in various defense related corporations.



How Related:  Joseph W. Ralston (1943-), son of Howard Ray Ralston, (1901–1979), son of Thomas Wesley Ralston (1875–1956), son of Wesley W Ralston (1841–1910), son of Robert M Ralston (1816–1874), son of David John Rolston (1775 - 1856), son of Samuel David Roulston (c1740 - 1807), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Jobyna Ralston (1899-1967)

Hollywood Actress

Jobyna Ralston (born Jobyna Lancaster Raulston in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, November 21, 1899 – January 22, 1967) was an American stage and film actress. She had a featured role in the first Oscar-winning film, Wings in 1927, but is perhaps best remembered today for her on-screen chemistry with Harold Lloyd, with whom she appeared in seven movies.


How Related:  Jobyna Lancaster Raulston (1899–1967), daughter of Joseph L Raulston (1868–1940), son of Hugh Lawson White Raulston (1833–1902), son of Robert Simmons Raulston (1806–1867), son of James Raulston (1778–1844), son of Matthew Raulston (1742–1800), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Jesse Buel Ralston (1910-1999)


Jesse Buel Ralston was born September 16, 1910 in Alfred, West Virginia, the eldest of three children born to Jesse Hugh Ralston and Ica May Goff.  At about age three his family had moved to Marion, Ohio.

Jesse was recruited in the US Arny in 1929 and lived for some time in the Philippines. On April 3, 1933, Jesse married Eladia Gatchallian de la Pena, a native of the Philippines, in Las Pineas, Cavite, Philippines.  Jesse later worked as a Civil Servant for the US Navy.  By 1940 the couple and their children moved to South Carolina and, by 1951, the family moved to Valejo, California.  It was there Jesse authored the fiction novel "Red Ravage," published in 1953 by Vantage Press of New York. It was an Anti-Communist Novel set during a Jungle Insurrection in the Philippines. Likely inspired by his time spent in the country and stories from his wife's family.

Jesse retired from the Civil Service in 1964 when he was age 54. In retirement he returned to college and earned his bachelors and then masters degrees. They moved to Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, where Jesse taught at the University of Arizona for eight years before retiring once again. He and his wife then moved to Arizona, where Jesse, 88, died February 17, 1999. He is buried in the McNeal Cemetery in McNeal, Cochise County, Arizona.

How Related:  Jesse Buel Ralston (1910-1999), son of Jesse Hugh Ralston (1888-1986), son of William Renick Ralston (1859-1936), son of Andrew J Ralston (1829–1864), son of Samuel Ralston (1785–1840), son of Samuel David Roulston (c1740-1807), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Brian Rolston (1973- )

NHL Professional Hockey Player

Brian Lee Rolston is a former professional ice hockey player, born February 21, 1973, in Flint, Michigan, one of four children of Ronald Lee Rolston and Joyce Reynolds. Brian grew up in in Ann Arbor and attended Lake Superior State University.  He most recently played for the Boston Bruins of the NHL. He won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, and the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 playing for the United States. Rolston has represented the U.S. three times in Olympic competition for ice hockey. In the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, he won the silver medal.  Brian retired from professional hockey on April 30, 2013.

Brian’s older brother, Ron Rolston, is a former coach of the Buffalo Sabres and older brother, Greg, was also a professional hockey player.


How Related:  Brian Lee Rolston (1973– ), son of Ronald Lee Rolston (1938– ), son of Irving F Rolstone (1910–1968), son of Bert Silas Rolston (1877–1964), son of David A Rolston (1844–1939), son of John Moffett Rolston (1812–1869), son of Jacob M. Rolston (1795–1845), son of David Rolston Jr (1760–1849), son of David Rolstone (1733–1802), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



James Chester "JC" Raulston (1940-1996)


J. C. was a horticulturist for whom the North Carolina State University arboretum was named.   J. C.’s biography, “Chlorophyll in his Veins,” (BJW Books/2009) was written by Bobby J. Ward.

Pictured is J.C. in his famous “Green Man” jacket.



How Related:  James Chester "JC" Raulston (1940–1996), son of Daniel Webster Raulston Jr. (1906–1977), son of Daniel Webster Raulston (1860–1934, son of Evander McKeever Raulston (1818–1870), son of James Raulston (1778–1844), son of Matthew Raulston (1742–1800), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



The following are thought to be descendants of William Rolstone:


Vera Miles (1929- )

Hollywood Actress

Vera June Miles (née Ralston, born August 23, 1929) is a retired American actress who worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, most notably as Lila Crane in the classic 1960 film Psycho, reprising the role in the 1983 sequel Psycho II. Other films in which she appeared include Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955), The Searchers (1956), Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (also 1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Follow Me, Boys! (1966), Sergeant Ryker (1968) and Molly and Lawless John (1972).  Vera used the stage name Miles (her first husband's name) so as not to be confused with the Czech-born American actress and figure skater Vera Ralston (born Vera Helena Hrubá).


How Related:  Vera June Ralston (1929-), daughter of Thomas Albert Ralston Sr. (1902–1979), son of Thomas Dempsey Ralston (1870–1931), son of John W. Ralston (1848–1878), son of Thomas Ralston Sr. (1796–1885), son of James Ralston Sr. (1765–1833), speculated to be the son of William Rolstone (c1735-1811), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



James Harvey Ralston (1807–1864)

Attorney - Legislator

James Harvey [Hervey] Ralston, lawyer, Illinois and California state legislator, and quartermaster at the Alamo from 1846 to 1848, was born on October 12, 1807, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the son of John and Elizabeth (Neely) Ralston. In the fall of 1828 he moved to Quincy, Illinois, where he pursued a career as a lawyer and was sworn in by the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the state of Illinois on October 21, 1830, as an attorney and counselor. In August 1836 he was elected to represent Adams County in the lower house of the Tenth General Illinois Assembly, a body whose members included Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. On January 14, 1837, he was elected judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit. He held this post until he resigned in August 1837 to pursue his private practice.

In 1849 he moved to California. In 1852 he was elected the Democratic representative of Sacramento County to the California Senate. He subsequently moved to Virginia City, Nevada, where he continued his political and legal career. In 1863 he was a representative to the Nevada constitutional convention. The next year he moved to Austin, Lander County, Nevada, where he continued his legal practice. Ralston disappeared while traveling from Austin to his ranch in Smoky Valley during the first week in May 1864. He apparently became lost in a blinding snowstorm in the desert. His body was found by Shoshone Indians, who cremated it. A search party retrieved the remains and conveyed them back to Austin, where they were laid to rest. The area in Nevada where he died was subsequently named “Ralston's Desert.”


How Related:  James Hervey Ralston (1807–1864), son of John Ralston (1769–1834), speculated to be the son of John Rolston (c1730-1800), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)



Jackson Harvey Ralston (1857 – 1945)

Prominent Attorney

Jackson Harvey Ralston, lawyer, born Feb 6, 1857, in Sacramento, California, son of James Harvey [s/b Hervey] and Harriet N. [Newell] Jackson Ralston.

Jackson H. Ralston was a prominent lawyer at the turn of the twentieth century who devoted his career to the growing fields of international arbitration, domestic taxation issues, and teaching, he argued before the supreme court on many occasions and his scholarly contributions were many as the author of numerous books and articles. He also lectured at Stanford University between 1929 and 1933. He represented the United States as agent and counsel in the first dispute to be submitted to the permanent court of arbitration at The Hague under the Hague Convention of 1899. Despite his father’s untimely death when he was a young child, Jackson was committed to following in his footsteps, graduating from Georgetown University with a LLB degree in 1876 and gaining admittance to the bar. Two years later, he started a legal practice in Quincy, Illinois. In 1897, he was awarded a Doctor of Law degree in Washington, D.C. by the National University School of Law, which later merged with George Washington University Law School. While Ralston spent many years in the Washington, D.C. area and traveled abroad extensively, Northern California was his home. Born in 1857 in Sacramento, CA, he later died in 1945 at the age of 88 in Palo Alto, CA. The Jackson H. Ralston Prize in International Law was established at Stanford Law School in 1972 in his memory by his widow, Opal V. Ralston.

(Biographical information cited from:

(WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA Copyright, 1901, by A. N. Marquis & Company pg 924)

How Related:  Jackson Harvey Ralston (1857 – 1945), son of James Hervey Ralston (1807–1864), son of John Ralston (1769–1834), speculated to be the son of John Rolston (c1730-1800), son of William Roulston/Rolstone (c1708-1767) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)




Y-DNA has shown that David Ralston and Joseph Ralston (born 1760, County Antrim – died 1834, lived in Tennessee and Indiana) were closely related.  The following is a descendant of Joseph:


Jeremiah Ralston (1798–1877)


Monument in Lebanon, Oregon:

Jeremiah Ralston, the son of Joseph Ralston (1760–1834) from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1798. The Joseph Ralston family, including Jeremiah, later relocated from Tennessee to Indiana. Jeremiah later moved to Ohio.

In Ohio, Jeremiah was told by a friend who had just returned of the good land available in Oregon. In the spring of 1847, Jeremiah and his family departed with 12 yoke of oxen and three wagons. In those wagons, besides his household goods, he brought supplies and merchandise with which to start a store. On the site of Lebanon, Ralston found two squatters who had erected a cabin and made some improvements. Ralston traded $30 and a yoke of oxen for their rights.

Jeremiah had the site of Lebanon surveyed and recorded in 1851. It is said he chose the name because of the many cedar trees by the river made him think of the Biblical references to the cedars of Lebanon and because of sentiment for his birthplace - Lebanon, Tennessee.


 How Related:  Jeremiah Ralston (1798–1877), son of Joseph Ralston (1760-1834) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)


Note:  In a letter, written by David Ralston's grandson, David Thompson Ralston (by Samuel), reference is make to a "Jou" (or possibly "Jos") Ralston, who lived in Tennessee and moved to Indiana, who was a "nephew" of his grandfather.  Jeremiah's father, Joseph, is the only known Ralston who fits this description.  However, yDNA testing has not provided any evidence of such a relationship.  But it does show that David and Joseph were closely related.  It is possible they knew each other, but more likely that they knew of each other and knew they were kin.  David was probably called "uncle" in the sense of a cousin of a parent.  The definition of "uncle" per Wikipedia, can include the cousin of one's parent. And also: In some cultures and families, it is common to call the child of one's cousin a "niece" or "nephew".  It is also noted that calling ones parent's cousin "uncle" is common in Irish culture.


Y-DNA has shown that David Ralston and Robert Ralston (c1740-1789) birth location unknown – lived in South Carolina) were closely related.  The following is a descendant of Robert:


Lewis Ralston (1804-1870)


There are many developments, businesses, a creek, a school, and a street named “Ralston” in Arvada, Colorado (near Denver). 


“The namesake for these sites is Lewis Ralston, a prospector from Georgia who is largely credited with the first documented discovery of gold in Colorado. Ralston’s discovery took place in 1850 in the tributary of Clear Creek, now known as Ralston Creek.”

Panning For Gold Canvas Prints“…Ralston spent — at most — 8-10 days of his life in what is now Arvada. He departed Arvada shortly after his discovery and returned for another brief stay less than ten years afterwards.”

“Lewis Ralston was born in 1804 in on a farm near what would eventually become Pendleton, South Carolina. Little is known about Ralston’s childhood.

“In 1825, Ralston moved to a Auraria, Georgia, a small town in Lumpkin County which is now uninhabited. Then, the area was known as Cherokee country.

“That year, Ralston met Benjamin Parks, Jr. and the two became business partners supplying horses and cows. Ralston moved to his own plot of land and married a woman of Cherokee decent named Elizabeth Kell in 1826.

Parks discovered gold in 1828 (which some think ushered in the Georgia Gold Rush, which led to the “Trail of Tears”.)  Lewis mined gold on his own land, which he later had to forfeit since he was on the Cherokee rolls because of his wife.

After discovery of gold in California, Lewis joined a wagon train headed west.  

“During the trip, the group camped near a tributary of Clear Creek. On June 22, 1850, the waggoners had a lay by after crossing the Platte. While everyone fixed their wagons, Lewis Ralston went down to the creek bed with his gold pan to search for gold.

“Ralston’s sojourn proved to be fruitful, as he returned to camp with a small amount of gold in his pan — “about $5 in value then worth several days of labor,” according to Lindstrom. Ralston tried to convince the wagon train to stay in Colorado and search for gold, but their sights were set on California.

“He spent few days, three perhaps, looking for gold in the creek which would eventually bear his name, according to local legend. Ralston had little success in California and returned to Dahlonega, a town in Lumpkin County Georgia in about 1851.”

In 1858, Lewis Ralston joined another expedition to search for gold in Colorado, but having no success, he returned to Georgia.  He became a private in the Confederate Army at age 59 in 1863.  He died in Dalton, Georgia, in 1870.

How Related:  Lewis Ralston (1804-1870), son of John Tate Ralston (1774-1827), son of Robert Ralston (c1740-1789) – related to David Ralston (1741-1831)