Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ralph History

Ralph History in Ohio County Kentucky.
(Ralph, Rolph, Rolfe)
It has been said by the Ralph family that three brothers, John, Thomas and Will came to Kentucky from Virginia and settled on the head waters of the Panther Creek.  Oxen was used to pull their meager belongings on a sled fashioned from the large fork of a Sassafras tree.  They told of chipping bark from the sled to make tea when they stopped to eat and rest along their journey.  John and Will settled on the head waters of South Panther Creek located in the Northwest part of Ohio County, Kentucky.  Thomas Ralph moved on to settle in Tennessee.
John and Will having settled and owning vast amounts of land from Deserter Creek to the divide between Panther Creek and Rough River are the forefathers of all the Ralphs in Kentucky.  Thomas having settled in Tennessee and marrying had ten children, all female. 
John and Will it is said went to Tennessee to visit their brother Tom and after an extensive visit had invited Tom to come back with them to Kentucky to meet their families.   When readying to leave Tennessee for Kentucky, Tom was saddling up his horse when it kicked and killed him.  It is said that Tom’s wife and daughters remained in Tennessee and according to Antha Belle Ralph’s account in the Ralph Genealogy book his descendants are still in Tennessee but are not as yet documented.
The Ralph’s it was said were all democrats prior to the Civil War but when the war broke out some went with the North to join the Union and others went with the Confederates.
Due to this division of family upon Will’s death it was requested by him that he not be buried at the Ralph Cemetery with all the Democrats.  He was buried at the Old Midkiff Cemetery which is located just west of Beech Valley Church on the old Harry Midkiff farm.  Will said he would scratch himself out of his grave if he were buried at the Ralph Cemetery.

This following is from Kentucky, A History of the State. Thomas (above) was not listed but his grandson John Lawson Ralph Jr. was.
John L. Ralph is a descendant of Thomas Ralph, who came from England and settled in Virginia, where he died. His son, John L., Sr., was bound out to a farmer, served his time, and when of age came to Henry County, Ky., and there married, and in 1827 came to Ohio County, and located in Ralph Settlement. Here he died in 1857; his widow in 1870. They were Methodists and the parents of six children - three living. John L., subject, was born Oct. 8, 1824 in Henry County, Ky., reared on a farm, and July 10, 1845, married Matilda A. Midkiff, of Ohio County. She passed away September 26, 1855, leaving four children. February 12, 1856, he married Aera M.B. Midkiff, a sister of his first wife. To them were born four children. Mr. Ralph is one of the most successful farmers in his neighborhood, having over 900 acres of productive land with many valuable improvements, residences, orchards, hedges, etc., etc., wholly the resort of indefatigable industry and careful management, and frugality of himself and his wife. They have given, aside from what they now own, 400 acres to four children. They are members of the Methodist Church.
John and Will settled in Kentucky when there were very few neighbors and therefore had to rely upon each other their trusty rifles.  They were forced to fight together against Indians, panthers and other wild animals.  They built small cabins on the land where the Ralph Cemetery is now located.  The Ralph’s being a close family and not being ones to ramble or move are still living on some of the original 10,000 acres reported to have been taken from the Indians years ago.

The Ralph Cemetery still in use today was started by John and Will Ralph. (Will Ralph, however, refused to be buried there after the Civil War). Today it has over 100 grave sites of which the majority are Ralph’s and their descendants.

Here is some additional information about the three original brothers that migrated to Kentucky:
John L. Ralph, Sr. married Elizabeth McClaine (1796-1870) and they had four children: William Thomas (Long Will) Ralph (1818-1888), Catherine Ann Ralph (1820 – 1878), John Lawrence Ralph, Jr. (1824 – 1901), and James Marion Ralph (1837 – 1917). All lived in Ohio County. Long Will married Charlotte Powers; Catherine first married William Sutton and next married David Westerfield; John Lawrence, jr. married Matilda A. Midkiff; and James Marion married Sally Mary Moseley.

William T. (Will) Ralph (1779 – 1862) married Nancy Sharp and they had seven children: John Riley Ralph (1821 – 1880); William J. Ralph (1825 – 1880); Phoebe Ann Ralph (1827 – 1908); Nancy Elizabeth Ralph (1830 – 1890); Cassandra Caroline Ralph (1833 – 1889); Andrew Jackson Ralph (1836 – 1907); and Charles Marion Ralph (1840 – 1880). All lived in Ohio County. John Riley married Lucinda Kelley; William J. married Frances A. Greer; Phoebe married John McKendley; Nancy married Coleman D. Greer; Cassandra married Robert D. Westerfield; Andrew Jackson married Mary Catherine Westerfield; and Charles Marion married Susan A. Kirk.

The third brother, Thomas, moved to Tennessee, as mentioned above.

Provided by Shelda Payne
Owensboro, KY

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