William Ralston


William Ralston, eighth child of David Ralston and Mary Reid, was born on Christmas day, 1801, in Whites Creek, Davidson County, TN, (just north of Nashville).  William was raised in Nashville while it was still a frontier town.  His mother died while he was young and his sister, Catherine, assumed that role.  William married and left home one month after his father’s death.  He and wife, Elizabeth Montgomery, lived in Sumner County, just northeast of the David Ralston, Sr., homestead.  There Elizabeth gave birth to twin girls on November 4, 1832.  They were named Mary and Catherine, after William’s mother and sister.  Elizabeth died 13 days later, on November 17, 1832. 

His sister, Catherine, was married in January 1833 to Rev. Provine, and moved to Wilson County, just east of Nashville.  William remarried November 14, 1833, to Harriet Waller, and also moved to Wilson County.

It is unknown when William first became a clergyman.  The first record of him preaching was at a meeting at which future minister David R. Marshall was converted at age 16, in October 1832.

William was moderator of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, May 18, 1841 in Owensboro, Kentucky.  http://www.cumberland.org/hfcpc/minister/RalstonWilliam.htm

In 1842, William served on a commision which was instrumental in relocating the Cumberland Presbyterian Institute from Princeton, KY, to Lebanon, TN, to become Cumberland College, and to secure buildings for operation until permanent structures were completed.  (A Brief History of Cumberland College 1825-1861)

William and family moved around to different counties during his career, including Maury, Lewis, and Giles Counties, before returning to Lebanon in Wilson County.  He died there April 5, 1870.




m1. 1831, Sumner County, TN, Elizabeth Montgomery (1799–1832)

1.             Mary Jane N. Ralston (1832–1880) unmarried, lived in Sumner County next door to her twin sister, then later, with her.

2.             Catherine Elizabeth W. Ralston (1832–1891) m. 1853, Sumner County, TN, Alexander Kirkpatrick (1828–)

a.              Mary Ella Kirkpatrick (1854–1928) m. 1884, Sumner County, TN, Benjamin Wesley Crunk (1831–1911) farmed in Sumner County

b.             William Montgomery Kirkpatrick (1856–1909) unmarried, farmed in Sumner County, died of chronic gastritis

c.              Alexandra Kirkpatrick (1860–1896) unmarried

m2. 1833. Davidson County, TN, Harriet M Waller (1809–)

3.             John S Ralston (1835–1860) unmarried, attorney in Wilson County, died of consumption

4.             William Thomas Ralston (1837–1897) m. 1866, Wilson, TN, Lasaphine (Lassie) Weldon Taylor (1846–1922) became a physician after the war, suffered with “Pulmonary Consumption” since the war, left Wilson County for Texas before 1890, died at age 59 in Texas

The following info was provided by David Luther Ralston, Jackson, TN, great-grandson of William Thomas Ralston

Civil War History 1861-1865

William Thomas Ralston was a Civil War soldier enlisted in the Confederate Army, 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.  The Regiment was organized at Camp Trousdale, Sumner County, Tennessee where it was mustered into the Confederate Army service in July, 1861.  On July 15, 1861, three Tennessee Regiments joined together in Staunton, Virginia on July 25, 1861.  These three regiments included the 1st, 7th and 14th Tennessee Infantry Regiments where they became a part of the Army of Northern Virginia commanded at first by Robert E. Lee and later Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson.  Later, General Robert E. Lee became the overall Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia.  These three combined regiments became known as the Tennessee Regiment and served until the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, 1865.

William Thomas Ralston and his brother, Luther W. Ralston, served in Company D, 7th Tennessee Infantry and both were captured at Gettysburg.  Prior to that battle, other major battles included Manassas (2/24/1862), Battle of Seven Pines (5/31/1862), Mechanicsville/Gaines Mill (6/26-27/1862, Battle of Cedar Run (8/9/1862), Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown (9/1862), Battle of Fredericksburg (12/13/1862), Chancellorsville (5/3/1863), Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863).  Even though the Ralston brothers were captured at Gettysburg, the Tennessee Regiment fought with General Lee until the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

The Tennessee 7th Infantry was under the command of General Stonewall Jackson when the Confederates raided Harper’s Ferry.  The raid included confiscated weapons, ammunition, food and uniforms.  The only picture of William Thomas Ralston shows him in a “blue” uniform.  These may be the confiscated Federal uniforms or his picture may have been taken while a prisoner in a Federal uniform.  The prisoner picture is unlikely. This should eliminate any confusion from the William Thomas Ralston photograph that he was a Northern soldier.

Sources: Tennesseans in the Civil War, Part 1; Fort Delaware Society letter, 2009

a.              Salenia Emma Ralston (1867–1900) m. 1890, Collin County, TX, William David Winn (1867–1922) farmed in Collin County, TX

b.             James Henry Ralston (1873–1944) m. abt. 1926, Neosho County, KS, Audrey Leona Van Laningham (1887–1966) no children, farmed in Collin County, TX; Lawrence County, MO; and Neosho County, KS

c.              William Luther Ralston (1876–1940) marriage unknown, shown as divorced on 1920 census, farmed in Tarrant County, TX

d.             Jesse Hickman Ralston (1878–1956) m. 1900, Collin County, TX, Alice Vera Averett (1885–1965) farmer and truck driver in Collin County

e.             Harriet Kathryn Ralston (1880–1961) 1897, Texas, Charles Perry Caldwell (1878–1960) farmed in Clay and Deaf Smith Counties, TX

f.               Leroy (Roy) Fitsgerald Ralston (1884–1959) unmarried, farmer in Wise County, TX

g.              Bettie Taylor Ralston (1886–1977) m. 1909, Jackson County, OK, Joseph William Willis (1872–1942) farmed in Jackson County, OK

h.             Daisy Bandy Ralston (1888–1978) m. 1909, Dade County, MO, (Rev) Thomas Proctor (1885–1966) Thomas was Baptist pastor in several different locations in Missouri

5.             Luther Whitfield Ralston (1839–1913) m. 1868, Wilson County, TN, Emeline Eliza Taylor (1837–) (Emeline was a [war?] widow with three children by previous marriage to Benjamin Warren, possibly sister to Lassie Taylor) Luther farmed in Wilson County, TN, and McLennan County, TX

The following info was provided by David Luther Ralston, Jackson, TN, great-grandson of William Thomas Ralston

Civil War History 1861-1865

Luther W. RALSTON was enrolled 20 MAY 1861 at Nashville, TN to serve as a Private in Company D, 7th TN Infantry for 12 months. He was promoted to 5th Sergeant on 1 SEP 1861 and reduced the ranks as a Private on 26 APR 1862. It appears that he, too, was not re-elected at the Yorktown re-organization. Jumping ahead, the special company muster roll done for the State of TN on 31 MAR 1864 at Orange Court House gave his age as 21 years, just two younger than William.

Company muster rolls show that Luther was wounded at Gettysburg on 3 JUL 1863 and captured on 5 JUL 1863. A headquarters report dated 8 JUL 1863 listed him as "wounded & missing" but no date given. Federal POW records give his date of capture as 3 JUL 1863. He was sent north to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania instead of south to Fort McHenry. But on 7 JUL 1863, Luther was forwarded from Harrisburg to Philadelphia and arrived at Fort Delaware in the six-day time window 7/12 JUL 1863, within 24 hours of the arrival of William from Fort McHenry. Luther remained a prisoner at Fort Delaware until paroled for exchange on 17 FEB 1865. The Society found admission records for him to the Fort Delaware prison hospital on NARA Tape 47. He was admitted 30 JUN 1864 and discharged back to the prison barracks on 8 JUL 1863, admitted a second time on 11 JUL 1864 and discharged back to barracks on 22 JUL 1864. Incidentally, Luther had suffered a lengthy hospital stay in Virginia in 1862 suffering from chronic diarrhea and been given an extended furlough at home. He had just returned to the regiment when the Gettysburg Campaign began in June 1863.  Luther was delivered to Confederate authorities on 2 MAR 1865 along with William. There is no Wayside & Receiving Hospital record in his file and there is a Chimborazo Hospital No. 2 record but with no information other than his name, rank, company and regiment. The page number is "200" while the 5 MAR 1865 admission record to Chimborazo No.2 in William's file came from page 164. Richmond fell on 2 APR 1865, Luther appears on a Provost Marshal's roll of prisoners of war showing his capture in a Richmond Confederate military hospital on 3 APR 1865 and his parole from the Jackson Hospital on 8 May 1865. The Jackson Hospital record shows his admission on 7 APR 1865 (same date as William) and confirms his release on 8 MAY 1865. I can infer from all of this that William and Luther were brothers and that Luther stayed as close to William as he could until his release on 24 MAY 1865. They would have traveled home together.

a.              Mamie E. Ralston (1871–1912) m1. 1893, Wilson County, TN, Charley R Patton (1871–); m2. abt. 1908, McLennan County, TX, Robert W Johnson (1865–1937) Mamie had three children by Charley and one by Robert, lived around Waco, TX

b.             Susie May Ralston (1874–1942) m. James A. Cress (1867–1953), was seamstress before marrying (between 1900 and 1910), had only step-children, farmed and cotton gin in Rains County, TX

c.              (Josie) Frances Ola Ralston (1877–1956) m. 1899, McLennan County, TX, Francis Marion Holley (1856–1952) farmed McLennan County, TX

6.             Harriet Amanda Ralston (1846–) m. 1870 Wilson County, TN, John Seip (–1873) unknown


m3. Eliza Hamilton (1818–1861)


m4. Rhoda A. ? (1823–)