Alonzo Dow Ralston (1870-1960), et al, Ancestor No. 34

A slightly expanded “What the Heck??!” posting featuring a couple folks I actually knew. Alonzo Dow Ralston was my Great-great grandfather’s younger brother.

RALSTON, Alonzo Dow c1960    RALSTON, Minnie Belle Clear
Alonzo married twice – first to Ada Phillips; and then to Minnie Bell Clear (above) after his divorce from Ada. Minnie and Alonzo had four children who survived infancy.

Of immediate interest, at least with respect to this post, are two of Alonzo’s children: Ruby, daughter of his first wife Ada; and Robert, son of his second wife, Minnie. Ruby married her husband Rob in 1912, and they moved off to Canada for a time, then back to the States, eventually settling in Spokane.

Robert Ralston, the son, married in Minnesota and also settled in Spokane.

And finally Alonzo, Minnie, and their younger kids headed to Spokane when Alonzo retired from barbering and farming. He died when I was very young, so I never knew him.

So, Spokane is the Center of the Universe. Again.  I remember Ruby & Rob very well from several visits when I was little. Ruby’s half-brother Robert’s house was actually much closer to my grandparents’ house than was Ruby’s – but I don’t remember him at all. And strangely, neither does my mom. Nor does she remember Alonzo.

But I digress… frequently.  It’s time to play “What the Heck??!!”:

As I already mentioned, back in Thief River Falls, Alonzo married Minnie as his second wife.

And Ruby married a man named Robert Porteous, known as “Rob”.

And after the death of his first wife, Robert Porteous – Rob’s father – married Minnie’s mother, Sarah DeWitt Clear Porteous.

SO – Rob’s mother-in-law was also his stepsister.

And to Ruby & Rob’s children, the woman who was in all practical respects their paternal grandmother was the mother of the woman who was in all practical respects their maternal grandmother.

And just for good measure:

Ruby & Rob 50th
Ruby Ralston + Robert Porteous = Ruby & Rob

RALSTON, Robert-Ruby Helleloid
Robert Ralston + Ruby Helleloid = Robert & Ruby

AND finally – Ruby Helleloid Ralston had a twin sister, Gladys. While my mom barely remembers this Ruby, she definitely knew Gladys. Gladys was married to Roland Helgoe, my grandpa’s best friend.  (To recap – Grandpa’s buddy Helgoe’s wife’s twin sister was married to Grandma’s mother’s first cousin.)

I don’t have any pictures of Gladys, but it’s safe to say she looked a lot like her sister. [Update Feb 2019: I now have a photo of Gladys. I was right.]


  1. These are my great grandparents, and grandparents. Who was your 🙂 grandpa? Great grandpa had passed before I was born. But I knew my great grandmother quite well. she passed when I was Thirteen. this information was interesting and confusing. 🙂

  2. Hello to both of you! My great-grandmother Lottie was the Ralston – she died in the 40s. Alonzo was her father’s brother – so Robert A. Ralston and Ruby Ralston Porteous were her cousins. My grandma was Lottie’s daughter. I remember Ruby Porteous and her husband Rob very well. I was a baby when Alonzo passed, and am pretty sure I never met Minnie., or your grandparents. It’s taken me YEARS to figure out just who’s who in this family – because no one ever talked about family.

    My grandpa comes into this only because of being fast friends with the Helgoes. (Louis Wright was his name.) Otherwise, it’s all grandma’s family – her name was Lula or “Lulu”.

    My grandparents’ house was 2008 West Mallon, just off Cannon. I grew up in Seattle and came to Spokane a few times a year.

  3. That’s funny, both sets of my grandparents lived on Mallon. My maternal grandparents lived at 2621 W Mallon. My Uncle Richard Ralston, probably knew Lotti.

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