My Ralston Family Story


James H. Ralston [1840 – 1922]                          Wild and Crazy Guys

   Dr. Joseph H. Ralston [1838 – 1913]



When “Jim” Ralston attained his majority he determined to go to the mountains for his health and in 1861, with a partner, his cousin, Dr. Joseph H. Ralston, drove a four-mule team to Washington Territory. There they engaged in mining to some extent and then went to Oregon, and after a little while to Boise City, Idaho, where they mined for one year. At the expiration of that time they started out on a prospecting tour, and when they arrived at Salt Lake City had only $30 in money and three horses. The first night of there, the Mormons stole their horses and he had to remain where they were.

They both worked at the cabinet and carpentry trade until the spring and then sought the mineral regions of Nevada where they mined and teamed. While mining the cousins Ralston were attacked by five Indians on a ranch. A chase ensued and after the exchange of numerous bullets and arrows the two just managed to escape.  At this point, the two parted ways. Jim continued on his mining ways in Nevada and Joseph returned to Boise City where he married and settled down. [More to come.] To make Jim’s long story short, he gained and lost several thousand dollars in mining ventures and returned home in 1871.

Joseph and his family moved from Idaho to San Francisco where he was a pharmacist. By 1891, the money he had made from mining was squandered in riotous living and his wife an children left him. By 1910, he was in a San Francisco home for the aged an infirm. In 1912 he was admitted to the Stockton, CA, state hospital where his record showed he had epileptic bouts of violence. He died at the hospital in 1913.

Portrait and Biographical Album of Sangamon County, Illinois..., 1891, pp. 646-647.

History of the Keck Family, ca 1901, pp. 41-42.

Thirteenth Census of the United States [NARA], 1910

Stockton  Hospital  Commitment Registers, 1856-1934