A Lost Son – Guest Post

Pencil drawing of Margaret Rolston, nee Logan. Our guest poster is Denise and this woman is a distant ancestor of of her husband, Jim.

As you can see by this inscription, which is on the back of the picture, she married on March 29, 1785.

[ed: I found further information in a book published by the New Jersey Historical Society: Documents relating to the colonial, Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary history of the State of New Jersey. John Ralston came to Mendham, NJ, from Ireland in 1785. Margaret and John’s March 28th marriage license was listed, and it was stated that the year after he married, he went into a partnership and operated the Ralston General Store until he died in 1819. He also built a cotton and woolen factory, but his fortunes were depleted by the War of 1812.]

The silhouette below is of Margaret’s youngest son, Daniel Stuart Rolston, born May 3, 1801. [ed: almost 20 years of childbearing!] According to the inscription on the back of the picture, he went to South America and was never heard from again. His family supposed he died there.

The lost young man and the mother who never learned what happened touched Denise. She has hung the two pictures together: mother and son visually reunited.


  1. What treasures. I like the thought of mother and son being hung together again πŸ™‚

  2. Denise says:

    WOW! The pictures look better on the website than the originals do on my wall, and I love the additional information you found out about them. There is a pencil sketch of the old Ralston General Store (now the Mendham Museum), and a watercolor of the Logan mill on my wall too, but I didn’t realize how closely they related to those ancestors, until you found out!

  3. Mike says:


    My wife, baby boy and I live in the home known as “The Widow Ralston House”. From time to time I try to search out some history on our home and came across your wonderful picture of Margaret. I can finally put a face to the name. Would be great to speak with you about your family tree/history.

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