David Ralston and Mary Reid Timeline

1741                David Ralston is born, probably in Ireland.

Jan 1757         Mary Reid is born in Nairnshire, Scotland.

Dates unknown   Two children, Robert and Isabell, are born to David and first wife.

Date unknown    David Ralston arrives in Pennsylvania.

1774                Mary Reid arrives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her parents, Alexander Reid and Catherine Hutcheson, and siblings Alexander, Isobel, Henriet, George, David, James, John, and Catherine.

Apr 1775         Revolutionary War begins.

Date unknown    David and Mary marry.

1778                Mary’s brother, Alexander Reid, Jr., is listed as a freeman on Milford, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, tax list.  This is the likely year that David Ralston and the Reids arrived in Milford and prior to obtaining land.  David was not listed as a freeman so was likely already married.

Mar 1778        David called to active duty in the Pennsylvania Militia.

1779                David Ralston, Alexander Reid, Sr., and Alexander Reid Jr. are shown on Pennsylvania tax list as living in Milford, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  This area is in current Juniata County, PA.  Wikipedia describes Milford’s boundaries: “Blue Mountain forms the northwest border of the township, and Shade Mountain, a parallel ridge, forms the western part of the southern boundary. The Juniata River forms the northern and eastern border of the township, and Tuscarora Creek, a tributary, forms the eastern part of the southern boundary.”

Map of Juniata County, Pennsylvania

Map of Juniata County, Pennsylvania highlighting Milford Township

Map of Pennsylvania, highlighting Juniata County


Map of Juniata County, Pennsylvania highlighting Milford Township

 On thOn the following 1792 map, Milford appears to be located in the top of the upside-down “pipe” bowl of current Milford.


Apr 1779         David and Mary’s first child is born, Alexander Ralston, in Milford, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, named for Mary’s father, Alexander.

Mar 1781        David again called to duty in the Pennsylvania Militia.

Apr 1781         David and Mary’s second child is born, James Reid Ralston, in Milford, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, named for Mary’s brother, James Reid.

Dec 1782         Mary’s father, Alexander Reid, (and perhaps brother Alexander, also) receives a grant for 100 acres of land and another for 200 acres, both on Gilkeys Run in Jefferson County, Virginia [Kentucky].  The Reid family settles in this area (just south of current Bardstown, Nelson County). It may be assumed that David and Mary were living with the Reids in Kentucky.  (However, the Milford tax lists for 1783 and 1784 are missing, so there is no documented evidence the families were not still in Milford those years.  They were not listed on the 1785 Milford tax list.)  According to the Cummings family (John Cummings purchased David Ralston’s property after his death), the Ralstons first met the Cummings while in Kentucky. 
There were two major routes to Kentucky in 1782.  One was the Wilderness Road, through Virginia and the Cumberland Gap, back up into the interior of Kentucky.  The other route was to take the Pennsylvania Forbes Road to Ft. Pitt or Redstone and from there barge down the Ohio.  The latter route was the most likely, since the Wilderness Road was arduous and dangerous from Indian and outlaw attacks.  It could only be traveled on foot or with horses and pack animals, as it was not improved to handle wagons or carts until 1796.  Milford, shown in red on the map below, was about 30 miles from Forbes Road.


Sept 1783       Revolutionary War ends.

Mar 1785        David and Mary’s third child, Samuel Ralston is born.  Samuel has no documented place of birth, but it likely was Kentucky.  They were not in Milford at this time, nor was there any record of the Ralstons or the Reids being in Tennessee by this date.  It is also unknown for whom Samuel was named.

Aug 1785        Alexander Reid, Jr., is granted 100 acres of land on Manksers Creek in Davidson County, North Carolina [Tennessee].  This area was known as the Cumberland Settlements. It may be at this time that Alexander, Jr., and the David Ralston family moved to Tennessee from Kentucky, although Alexander owned land in both states until 1813.  Their route in relocating to Davidson County was, again, most likely via river.  There were possibly trails between the two area, but no established roads until 10 years later.

1785-87           Alexander, Jr., obtains 528 acres on Whites Creek in Davidson County, North Carolina [Tennessee], in four separate adjoining tracts.

Sept 1787       David Ralston is granted 200 acres of land on Whites Creek in Davidson County, North Carolina [Tennessee], adjacent on Alexander Reid’s south border.

Oct 1787         David and Mary’s fourth child, John Ralston, is born in North Carolina [Tennessee], named for Mary’s brother, John Reid.

Date unknown    Mary’s father, Alexander, dies in Kentucky before 1789, about age 60.

1789                North Carolina gives up claim to the Tennessee territory.

Feb 1790         David and Mary’s fifth child, George Ralston, is born in the new U.S. territory. [Tennessee], named for Mary’s brother George Reid.

May 1790        Tennessee becomes the “Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio” or “Southwest Territory”.

Apr 1793         David and Mary’s sixth child, Catherine Ralston, is born in the Southwest Territory [Tennessee], named for Mary’s mother (and sister), Catherine.

June 1796       Tennessee becomes a state.

Feb 1798         David and Mary’s seventh child, David Ralston, Jr., is born in Tennessee, named for both Mary’s brother, David Reid, and David Ralston, Sr.

Dec 1801         David and Mary’s eighth child, William Ralston, is born in Tennessee, named for Mary’s eldest brother William Reid, who remained in Scotland.

June 1812       War of 1812 begins. Alexander Ralston (33) and John Ralston (24) serve under General Jackson. Alexander held the rank of Major and John, Captain.

Date unknown    Mary Reid Ralston dies in Davidson County, Tennessee, before 1815, age 44 to 58.

Feb 1815         War of 1812 ends.

1816                Mary’s brother, Alexander Reid, Jr., dies in Williamson County, Tennessee, at age 61.

Oct 1820         David’s grandson (son of Robert) and wife, Andrew and Loveagh, arrive in Pennsylvania, then settle in Williamson County, Tennessee.

Aug 1831        David Ralston dies in Davidson County, Tennessee, at age 90.