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(10/10/1850 - 00/00/1908)
Father : RALSTON Matthew Bryce
Mother : BRYCE Elizabeth
Siblings: Robert William James Hampden Marion
Issue : Nil
John Ralston's life is wonderfully presented in the must have book by Anntoinette Ralston (See Sources)
"John Ralston of Hampden, Deddington, Tasmania was born in Van Diemens land of Scottish parents who made extraordinary contributions to Australia's colonial history. For a short time after John's early death in 1908 in America, at the Willard Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, his unusual Will aroused breathtaking excitement and challenges before the Court thrust his name into the limelight. The Will led to the establishment of The John Ralston Estate charitable trusts still operating today. ... Many people have been helped who probably know nothing of their benefactor. .... Almost a hundred years after John wrote his first Will, it's a time to tell his real story."
John Ralston of Hampden and his sister Marion who married Robert Taylor of Valleyfield
John Ralston of Hampden grew up in an area of
rustic villages and pastoral landscapes. He spent some time at Mr. and Mrs.
Kidd's Evandale school, starting in 1858. John was brought up on his father's
Hampden (about 4000 acres) near Deddington,
After his father's death John is described as Esquire of Hampden. Other Tasmanian estates were Glen Stewart and Marathon, in all comprising of some 7330 acres. Later in life John is recorded as 'of The Pines', St Leonards, nearer Launceston.
John went for a tour of England, Ireland and Scotland in 1907, arriving in London in May 1907 with a travelling companion, Miss Marion Fox. After London he went to Edinburgh and also visited Stranraer and the Aird where his grandfather *Robert had lived.
There are many legends about how John made a fortune in America but no evidence to support them. It is true that he went to Louisville and Washington where he met President Roosevelt. By December 1907 he was in Washington staying with his niece, Isobel Lenman and wrote that it was his intention to go South on a tour of America. The following month on 7th January 1908, in Louisville, John was dead. John died in one US state (Kentucky), was buried in another (Washington DC), later disinterred and transported to Tasmania for burial. At his death John possessed an estate valued at £52,064.00 in Tasmania and property in Victoria valued at £12,465.00.
John Ralston's grave at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Evandale. (Photo by P Guest,2008)
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