Ralph Maxwell 1794-1853
Ralph Maxwell Sr. was born in Celerty Ireland on the 25th of December 1794. It is assumed that he came from northern Ireland to Carlisle to seek work in the textile mills for his occupation in the census records was that of a weaver. It was there in Carlisle that he apparently met his future wife Elizabeth Donnelly.
Ralph and Elizabeth were both members of St. Mary’s Parish in Carlisle England. They were married by banns which means the announcement of the forthcoming marriage is posted for three consecetive Sundays before the ceremony. They were married on July 13, 1823 by the officiating minister, Henry Kempson.
St. Mary’s Parish records state that Ralph’s first child, Arthur, was born April 22, 1824. However, Ralph had apparently moved his little family to Kirkfield Bank, Scotland in 1829 for it was here that his second child, Catherine, was christened in the Lesmahagow Parish on June 17, 1829 into the Church of Scotland.
Three more children were born to Ralph and Elizabeth in Kirkfield Bank. Elizabeth was born on January 7, 1832, John on July 1, 1834, and Ralph (Jr.) on April 30, 1837.
The year of 1841 seems to have been a year of joy and sadness for the Ralph Maxwell family. A son, named George, who had been born May 24, 1840, was christened April 13, 1841. However, a child of “Ralf Maxels, Kirkfield Bank,” was burried in the Lemahago Parish church yard on May 5th, 1841, this must have been George since there is no further mention of him in the family records.
In the 1841 census, Ralph Sr.’s occupation is listed as a cotton hand loom weaver.
Another daughter, Ann, was born in Kirkfield bank on April 5, 1843.
While the Maxwells lived in Kirkfield Bank, some Mormon missionaries called at their home and left some tracts. The missionaries were invited to call again. Ralph’s daughter, Catherine, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first. She was baptized November 11, 1844, at the age of fifteen. Ralph, along with Elizabeth, his wife, and Arthur, his oldest son, were all baptized on November 22, 1844, just a few days after the baptism of Catherine.
Ralph Maxwell Sr. was ordained an elder by James Houston or Joseph Clements April 13, 1851. Ralph and his family were active members of the Lanark Branch of the church.
His children, John and Elizabeth were baptized on July 22, 1845, and Ralph Jr. was baptized on December 19, 1847. (Ann was not baptized until 1862.)
The 1851 census records the Ralph Maxwell Sr. family in the village of New Lanark. Ralph is listed as 60 years old with the occupation of cotton sorter.
The records of the Lanark Branch state that Ralph moved his family from Krikfield Bank to Bristol, England, on February 15, 1852, where they remained for only four month. The records of the Glasgow Branch states that Ralph Sr. returned to Glasgow on June 7, 1852 with Catherine and Ralph Jr. (Ralph’s son Arthur was President of the Glasgow Branch for several years). Elizabeth Donnelly Maxwell came a month later with Elizabeth, Arthur, and John from Bristol on July 5, 1852.
Later in the Glasgow Branch record, Elder Ralph Maxwell Sr. is listed as died. He apparently died in 1853 between June and September. This was a year before John went to America and four years before the rest of the family emigrated to America.