IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

George B. Ralston Sawmill

Ralston Saw Mill in Action
Ralston Saw Mill, ca1951

Three employes of George D. Ralston's saw mill in Waukon paused long enough in their duties for a photographer to snap a picture one day last week. The crew is composed of, left to right: Reinhard Schlitter, 73, Ralston, Charles King and Herman Wurtzel. The saw mill has been in operation in Waukon for 20 years, but Ralston has been sawing wood for about 50 years, starting on his farm in Franklin township when he was a young man of 22. Ralston saws up any type of lumber wanted and has sawed as much as 300,000 feet in a summer. -Waukon Newspapers photo.

left: Reinhard Schlitter
right: George Ralston

left: Charles King
right: Herman Wurtzel


George D. Ralston, 82 Years Old, Still Active in Saw Mill Business Here

About 50 years ago George D. Ralston was a young farmer on an 80-acre plot given him by his father, and dollars were needed so he started helping saw wood to bring in those extra dollars.

When Mr. and Mrs. Ralston sold their farm in Franklin township and came to Waukon 21 years ago, he decided to keep at that job and for the past 20 years a familar whistle sunds about noon and again about 5 p.m. each day from start of summer until the ground freezes in the fall.

Ralstons live on West Pleasant street and to the rear of their place can be found an ancient steam engine, a large saw, a pile of saw dust and a pile of kindling wood. When the days are nice a crew of four men keep up with their 82-year-old boss and his 35-year-old engine and from can be understood that is quite a chore.

Ralston, who was born of Scotch parents on Feb. 21, 1869, two miles southwest of Waukon, sets the lively pace for his men. His engineer is Peter Campbell, who is 61, while other members of his crew are Reinhard Schlitter, Charley King and Herman Wurtzel. Schlitter is 73 or 74 said Ralston, and he doesn't know the ages of King and Wurtzell, but from all indications they are in the same age bracket.

Ralston saws for farmers and others who bring him their logs. He doesn't sell lumber commercially, but one summer he turned out some 300,000 feet for farmers.

Ralston and Mary C. Douglas were married Dec. 14, 1892 and in a little more than a year will celebrate 60 years of wedded life. They have nine children, all living. They are: Earl, Jefferson township; Mrs. Ruth Johnson, Jefferson township; Mrs. Jessie Stocker, Visalia, Calif.; Mrs. Florence Brandis, Visalia, Calif.; Mrs. Marie Tomlinson, Los Angeles; Mrs. Jeannie Sass, who lives in the Elon vicinity; Mrs. Doris Wedo, Waukon; John of Junction City, Oregon, and David of Los Angeles. There are 53 grandchildren and 42 great grandchildren in the family.


~source: Waukon newspaper clipping, ca1951
~the clipping w/photo was contributed by Russ Topel; transcribed by S. Ferrall
~note: The clipping says George D. Ralston. The middle initial is incorrect. It should be George B. Ralston.... Russ Topel

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