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                RALSTON Robert (10/6/1756 - 05/04/1837)    04RAR0
Father       :   RALSTON      *Gavin                                     
Mother      :   HEYWOOD    Hannah
Siblings    :    John    James    Jean    William   * Gavin    Hannah    Elizabeth    Alexander

(1):    GRIER     Anne  (17/08/1784)
Issue         :    
Hannah   Elizabeth (Bess)   Jean (Jane)   Anne  Gavin    William

(2):    BRYCE     Elizabeth (22/02/1796, Dailly, Ayr)
Issue         :
    *Janet    Agnes    Margaret    Mathew    John    Jane    Mary    Sarah    William

Other Probable Issue: Robert bp Nov 1778 to Jean Armer:
                                          Jean b 22/11/1779 to Jean Brown;
                                         James b 05/08/1783 to Hellen Smith

 Robert Ralston was born on 10 Jun 1756 in Dreghorn, Ayrshire and died on 5 Apr 1837 in Logan Falls, Tasmania, at age 81.
(Note: Some have death at 6/3/1837)

Around 1803-1805 Robert moved to the The Aird, Inch near Stranraer, Wigtownshire. He had sixteen children by two wives and there were probably three illegitimate children born as described above.

Robert and the Amity
                                                     Replica of the Amity - now a tourist attraction in Albany WA

The Ralston Family and the Brig Amity
Lorraine Wootton (from information supplied by Ralston descendants)

The arrival of the Scottish Ralston family in Van Diemen's Land was to have a bearing on the first settlements of two other Australian states as the brig Amity, in which they sailed, also transported the first settlers to both Moreton Bay (Brisbane, Qld) in 1825 and to King George Sound (Albany, WA) the following year. Amity Point on Stradbroke Island carries her name into perpetuity.

The sturdy little brig of 142 tons, built in 1816 in Canada and in the wake of the Napoleonic wars, began its working life trading across the Atlantic between Britain and America until1823 when it was sold to this Scottish farming family to be fitted out for a journey to the other side of the world. It was eventually wrecked and sank off Vansittart Shoals near Flinders Island.

Robert Ralston of Ayrshire, Scotland was in his late 60s when he applied to take his second wife Elizabeth, two sons and six daughters to Van Diemen's Land as settlers. His first family had emigrated to America and two sons remained in Scotland. The original letter of introduction to Governor Sorell, with instructions to grant Ralston land in proportion to the means he may have of bringing the same into cultivation is dated May 28, 1823 and is preserved in the Archives. In those early days, land was granted on a basis of one acre for every pound of capital. This pioneering family set sail in the Amity on November 15, 1823 from Stranraer over to Dublin and then across the Atlantic Ocean to Rio de Janeiro, finally arriving in Hobart on April 15, 1824.

The following day The Hobart Town Gazette reported the arrival of the Amity under Captain McMeckan, with 21 passengers and cargo. The Sydney Gazette on May 6 reported the Amity had landed two bulls and four cows from Scotland. These Ayrshire cattle were brought along with a number of sheep, a threshing machine and other tools and implements to assist with the family's intended farming pursuits. These cattle were said to be the nucleus of well-known herds throughout all Australia colonies as well as New Zealand.

Robert, with his son Matthew, left almost immediately for Sydney hoping to sell the Amity to raise more capital, leaving his wife and daughters in Hobart. By mid May they had established a baking business and a little later, a dress-making business which made good use of the family capital. Margaret married Adam Beveridge in February 1825, Janet, the eldest, married her cousin, David Ralston in 1828, Agnes married Archibald Thompson of “Cormiston”, West Tamar in 1828, Mary married William Learmonth in 1837, Sarah married Thomas Watson Bruce 1844 but Jane never married.

By November 1824 Robert and Matthew had decided the prospects were better in Van Diemen's Land. The Amity was eventually sold to the colonial government, boosting their capital considerably, but on the voyage home in November, Robert was robbed of his pocket book containing a substantial amount of money and some valuable papers.

He was initially granted 860 acres located at Morven (Evandale) which he called “Logan Falls”, and by January 1831, when he applied for an additional grant, he had 75 acres under cultivation, was grazing 100 cattle, 700 sheep and 2 horses, had built a dwelling house, a barn and servant's quarters and a stable. He had constructed over three miles fencing, put in 14 acres of English grass and employed 5 convict servants. He was eventually given another 700 acres.

On his return from Sydney, Robert Ralston had set up as a wholesale and retail merchant in Launceston and in 1826 went into partnership with son-in-law Archibald Thompson. The business was sold to Read & Duncan in February 1829 and Robert returned to farm at “Logan Falls” where he died in 1837, aged 81. His widow, Elizabeth also died there in 1860 aged 86




Notes on Roberts children:

Mother- Jean Armer:
Ralston was born in 1778. Baptism: 2 Nov 1778, Dreghorn, Ayrshire. went to America and is thought to have died their without any legitimate issue.

Mother- Jean Brown:
Ralston was born on 22 Nov 1779 in Dreghorn, Ayrshire Baptism: 26 Nov 1779, Dreghorn, Ayrshire. It is not known what became of this child.

Mother- Anne Grier:
Hannah Ralston was born on 21 Apr 1784 in Dreghorn, Ayrshire. Went to America. Married William Hunter and two of her sons, Robert and Manuel came to Evandale, Tasmania.

Elizabeth (Bess) Ralston was born on 23 Nov 1785 in Dreghorn, Ayrshire. Seems to have stayed in Scotland.

Jean (Jane) Ralston was born on 4 Oct 1787 in Springside, Dreghorn, Ayrshire. Probably died before 15/11/1803

Ann Ralston was born in 1789 in Dreghorn, Ayrshire. Baptism: 7 Jul 1789, Springside, Dreghorn, Ayrshire. Probably died before 15/11/1803

Gavin Ralston was born in 1789. Baptism: 7 Jul 1789, Springside, Dreghorn, Ayrshire. Isobel Lenman, grand-daughter of Hannah Ralston, wrote c. 1887, that Gavin was lame and ‘came to America (St Louis or new Orleans)’ with his brother William. She said he and his brother William ‘visited grandmother in New Jersey in 1826, then went to St Louis or New Orleans. They had been in South America and spoke Spanish language.’ In 1907 Jeanette Lenman nee Hunter, daughter of Hannah Ralston and William Hunter, said they were not heard from again and presumed to have died in the American  ‘West’

William Ralston. No birth date,
probably Dreghorn between 1790 and 1795. He is son of Anne Grier. Although Robert was expecting his sons Gavin and William to join him in Tasmania at some stage, both went to South America, then New Jersey, after which St Louis or New Orleans and then they were not  heard from again, presumed to have died in the American  ‘West’. Living in 1826 when he and his brother William visited Hannah Hunter (nee Ralston) as recalled by their daughter Jeanette (later Mrs John Lenman, Washington). See notes under Gavin.

Mother- Elizabeth Bryce who died on 18 Jul 1860 in Logan Falls, aged 86. Tasmania.

* Janet Ralston was born in 1798 and died on 24 Aug 1861 in Tasmania, at age 63. (Probably daughter of Elizabeth Bryce as Robert calls her their ‘eldest daughter’). Went to Tasmania in the Amity 1823.

Agnes Ralston was born in 1802 and died in 1868 in Tasmania, at age 66. Agnes married Archibald Thompson. Archibald was a merchant from Edinburgh and had been a business partner of Robert Ralston in Launceston. Agnes went to Tasmania on the Amity 1823 

Margaret Ralston was born in 1805 and died in 1886, at age 81. Baptism: 24 Jan 1805, Inch, Wigtonshire. Married Adam Beverage. Went to Tasmania in the Amity 1823

Matthew Bryce Ralston was born in 1808 and died on 11 Oct 1887, at age 79
at Hampden, Deddington, Tasmania. Went to Tasmania in the Amity 1823.Carved Hampden from virgin land.

John Ralston was baptised on 05/03/1810 and died on 27 Sep 1880, at Logan Falls, Evandale, age 70 .
Went to Tasmania per ‘Amity’ 1823, first Warden of Evandale, JP, farmed Logan Falls. Married Rachel Wier Hutchison, daughter of John Hutchison, Writer to the Sygnet (WS), Edinburgh, 10 Apr 1844 at ‘Cormiston’, on the Tamar at Riverside near Launceston.    

Jane Ralston was born in 1811 and died on 23 Apr 1879, at age 68. Baptism: 16 Dec 1811, Inch, Wigtonshire. Went to Tasmania in the Amity 1823, Never married but much loved.

Mary Ralston was born on 13 Apr 1813 in Inch, Wigtonshire and died in 1895, at age 82. Married William Learmonth in 1837. Went to Tasmania in the Amity 1823. William took up Ettrick in Victoria in 1844 and Mary joined him the following year.

Sarah Ralston was born in 1815 and went to Tasmania in the Amity 1823. Married Thomas Bruce Watson in 1844. Thomas arrived in Tasmania as a cabin passenger on the barque Rajah 22/08/1838 (Scotland).Another cabin passenger on the same vessel was James Learmonth, the younger brother of William Learmonth who had married Sarah's sister, Mary. The vessel left for Sydney on the 19/09/1838 with Thomas aboard but returned to Tasmania before his marriage.

Ann Ralston was born in 1819. Baptism: 11 Mar 1819, Inch, Wigtonshire. Didn't go to Tasmania on the Amity so could have died young

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