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Looking for Female Descendant of Nancy Ralston born circa 1818

April 15, 2009

If you’ve been reading my blog you know that we have been waiting for DNA results back on a Male DNA 12 marker test. The results indicate Cherokee blood. This is very surprising as it means we have a male Cherokee ancestor, and all we’ve previously known is that Nancy Agnes Ralston was Native American.  There are records of her being Nancy Agnes McLane and Nancy Agnes Elrod.

It may be that Nancy’s husband, John Ralston Jr., was mixed-blood. A family story says his mother Elizabeth Sharp Ralston was held captive by Indians for four years and the result was John Jr. born in 1807.

It is quite possible that Nancy Agnes McLane was adopted. It has been nearly impossible to find out who her parents were. It is also possible that Nancy re-married when she married John Ralston, Jr. After all, it was John’s second marriage, the first one being to a Susan MaWha. Susan MaWha’s family came west in Pennsylvania to teach the sons of  the Seneca Chief Cornplanter.

I would very much like to see if we can determine Nancy’s tribal identity and we can only do this through a female line. I am from one of Nancy’s sons — Millen Ralston.  The line can end in a male descendant as long as it traces back through his mother to Nancy.

I am hoping to find a cousin, to have a simple mouth-swab female DNA test and to finally lay to rest who was Nancy Ralston.  Please check the information below to see if you are related to this family and if you can help me locate a direct female descendant of Nancy’s.

John Ralston Jr married Nancy Agnes (McLane)

Butler County, PA  possibly 1834

Both of them died in Jackson County, Iowa

Nancy d. 24 May 1905


Daughter Susan b. Butler County, PA 1840 married Daniel Shirley II Mar 1854 (Divorced 1867)

Did Susan have all boys?

Orlando, Frank, Roy and William Nelson


Daughter Caroline b. Butler County, PA 1842 married John Sawyer 24 AUG 1862 went to Nebraska


Caroline’s daughters:

Mary Parkis (Charles) Osceola, Nebraska: Mary had a daughter Maude born in 1881 in Nebraska. She married Fred Leonard Johnson and they had a daughter Agnes Lena who married John D. Rosenberry in 1921. They had two daughters Bettie and Lorene. Lorene married Dan Cerny in 1952 and she has three children. This family is centered in Columbus, Nebraska.

Viola Hight (Thomas) Norfolk, NB

Nora Record (Sigal) Arcadia, NB : Nora had a daughter named Maude in Missouri in 1899. In 1920, they were living together as boarders in Fruitvale, Yakima, WA. In 1930, Maude had married Floyd F. Eberly and they all lived together in West Linn, Clackamas, OR. Maude had a son named Don Elton Eberly. Did Maude have any daughters? Nora died 17 JUL 1952 in Washington.

Luella Ross (Ellsworth) Boyd, NB

Lilly Holcomb (Earl) Arcadia, NB



Daughter Alvira b. Butler County, PA 1844 d. 1885 married Edward Albert Sutton



Alvira’s daughters:

Jennis (?)




Daughter Mary Jane b. 26 MAR 1846 d. 18 JUL 1896 Doniphan County, Kansas married Calvin Ball in 1863 Cedar County, Iowa


Mary’s daughters:

Ida Ball b. 1864  Jun 1870 was in Richardson County, Nebraska married Mr. Chambers

Edna b. 1878


Daughter Margaret b. PA 1851 married Mr. Stahl


Daughter Arozine/Arezma b. Iowa 1854 d. 26 DEC 1876 Jackson County, Iowa

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Phylllis permalink
    June 9, 2009 8:25 pm

    My husband’s grandfather was Mellon Ralston I have a picture of their tombstones in Jackson county Iowa and would be willing to send it to you. One stone for Nancy McClane says she was Blackfoot. I have tried tracing her lineage, as the family story says she was adopted by an older couple. We believe she was adopted by John Jacob and Catherine B. Hittle Mechling, their last child being born in 1791 and Nancy born in 1814. McClane is another way to pronounce Mechling, etc. Let me know if this is of any help.

  2. journeybooks permalink*
    July 29, 2009 9:44 am

    Hi Phyllis- I’m hoping some day you will get back with me on more information on your husband — which of Mellon’s children was his parent and how did you concur that Nancy was adopted???

  3. journeybooks permalink*
    August 24, 2009 7:14 pm

    When I asked Phyllis for further information, especially in regards to our Native American ancestry she suddenly stated “We are not from the same family.” Basically telling me I would never hear from her again.
    Problem is, we are.
    I am very disturbed that Phyllis would suddenly cut me off without explanation.
    Do you think it has anything to do with the Native American aspect of our ancestry?

  4. Phylllis permalink
    August 26, 2009 12:12 am

    Thanks for your little note in your journey book, Aug. 24. It had nothing to do with the Native American aspect of our ancestry. I too, have a great grandmother that was full blooded Indian. Never ASSUME!

  5. journeybooks permalink*
    September 2, 2009 11:01 am

    Thankfully, we have found a cousin who is willing to do the family tree dna test. She also provided the wonderful photo of Nancy and her daughter above. This photo is the first one I’ve ever seen of Nancy. She looks very much like she was Native American to me.

  6. Cyndi Ralston Walker permalink
    July 29, 2011 10:54 pm

    I too am a descendant of Nancy’s and sooo very interested in my family’s lineage…Please contact me.

  7. January 20, 2014 3:48 pm

    I know this is a day late and a dollar short but I am also related to Nancy. My Grandma was Bonnie Mae Ralston, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Ralston.

  8. Ginny permalink
    July 17, 2014 10:52 pm

    Hi-I was adopted at birth but have now discovered that my birth grandmother was born on August 10 1885, while her mother was living with Chief Ouray’s tribe in Utah. Does the name Edna Jane Ralston show up in any of your records?

    • Ginny permalink
      August 26, 2014 3:11 am

      That should be in Colorado, not Utah.

  9. journeybooks permalink*
    August 26, 2014 9:54 am

    Hi Ginny- I don’t know the name Edna Jane Ralston. Let me know if you can find a connection back to either Jackson County, Iowa or Butler County, Pennsylvania. That is where my Ralston’s were from- Pennsylvania to Iowa. Good Luck!

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