Pages 549-550, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


  HISTORY OF BUTLER COUNTY 549

J. R. Ralston, Civil war veteran and Butler county pioneer has been a resident of this county for forty-seven years. He was born in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1848, a son of Andrew and Ellen (Paxton) Ralston, natives of Scotland, who were the parents of the following children: Mrs. Ellen McKnight, Chetopa, Kans.; Mrs. Mary Wicks, Bartlesville, Okla.; Lizzie, Fowler, Cal.; Andrew J., Towanda, Kan.; Robert R., Canon City, Col.; J. R., the subject of this sketch; John, deceased; Margaret, deceased, and Sarah, deceased.

The Ralson[sic] family removed from Ohio to Illinois at an early date, and J. R. was educated in the common schools of Warren county, Illinois, and at the early age of sixteen he enlisted in Company K, Sixty-fourth Illinois infantry, in March, 1864, at Chicago, Ill., under Colonel Morrel. He was first sent to Alabama and a week later joined Sherman's march to the sea and participated in the following engagements: Resaca, Dalton, Snake Creek Gap, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain and the Atlanta campaign, and on July 22, 1864, received a gunshot wound in the shoulder in the last mentioned engagement. He was in the campaign in pursuit of Hood and served under General McPherson at Atlanta. After the close of the war he was mustered out of service at Louisville, Ky., July 11, 1865. He then returned to Illinois, and, after remaining in Livingston county for a short time, he went to Monmouth, and in 1868 came to Kansas and took up a claim of government land in Towanda township, Butler county. The following year he disposed of his interest in that claim and pre-empted a quarter section two and a half miles southwest of Towanda, which has been his home for the past forty-seven years. He took this land from its raw prairie state and soon made of it one of the best improved farms to be found in that section of the county. The place is well improved with a good residence, farm buildings, silo, etc. Mr. Ralston has followed both general farming and stock raising and has met with considerable success as a feeder. He also raises large numbers of hogs, specializing in the Duroc Jerseys. He is one of the successful alfalfa raisers of the county, usually having about fifty acres devoted to this crop.

Mr. Ralston was married in 1879, to Miss Ida Bennett, of Towanda, Kan., a daughter of a Butler county pioneer, who settled in Towanda township in 1871. To Mr. and Mrs. Ralston have been borne ten children, as follows: Albert E., Antelope, Kan.; Edna J., at home; Ella M., at home; Mrs. Bessie Wood, Towanda, Kan.; Renwick P., Towanda, Kan.; Ray, Augusta, Kan.; Mary, Clarence and Edith, all at home, and Lillian B., deceased.

Mr. Ralston had many experiences in the early days in Butler county. Coming here at a time when this section of the State was in almost its primitive condition, he had an opportunity to witness the formative period and watch the development of Butler county for nearly half a century. When he first came here game of all kinds was plentiful. There were lots of deer and small game, but the great herds of buffalo


550 HISTORY OF BUTLER COUNTY  

were begining[sic] to move westward. He experienced many of the Indian scares of the early days. He recalls an early instance when the Cheyennes were on the warpath and the residents of Towanda expected an attack from these hostile Indians at any time, and on that occasion he and three others, Tim Pete, Andy J. Ralston and a Mr. Brown stood guard around the town all one night.

Mr. Ralston is well and favorably known in Butler county and is one of its substantial citizens. He has done his part nobly and well in the building up and development of the "State of Butler" and is deserving of much credit for the part he has taken in times of peace as well as in the stirring days of the Civil war.


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Pages 549-550, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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