amuel Moffett Ralston, was the twenty-seventh (person to serve as) Governor of the State of Indiana. He was born on a farm not far form New Cumberland, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, on December 1, 1857, and moved to Indiana in the year 1865 with his parents, who settled in Owen County.
As he has little opportunity in his youth to attend school, Ralston was very largely self-educated; he applied himself so closely to his studies that he soon was able to obtain a teacher's license. For seven years he taught school in the winter and during the vacation period attended summer school.
Shortly afterward, he attended the Northern Indiana School at Valparaiso and also attended the Central Indiana Normal School at Danville. He graduated from the latter in the scientific course in 1884. After graduation he took up the study of law with Robinson and Fowler, at Spencer, Indiana, and was admitted to the bar January 1 1886, and soon after began the practice of law at Lebanon, where he soon became one of the leaders of the bar. He married Jennie Craven, of Hendricks County, December 30, 1889.
He was President of the School Board at Lebanon for a number of years and was a candidate on the Democratic ticket for joint senator for Boone, Clinton and Montgomery counties in 1888 but was defeated. He was a Democratic presidential elector in 1892. He was a candidate for Secretary of State in 1896 and again in 1898, being defeated both times. He sought the nomination for Governor in 1908 but was unsuccessful.
On March 17, 1912, he was nominated by acclamation for Governor by the Democrats, his name being the only one presented. His election followed and he served a full term from January 13, 1913 to January 8, 1917. Among the accomplishments of his administration were the inheritance tax law, vocational training law, workingmen's compensation act, primary election law and the Public Service Commission.
He was compelled to intervene in the streetcar and teamsters' strike in Indianapolis in 1913, and served as the arbitrator that restored to Indianapolis normal conditions. The celebration of the centennial of Indiana's admission into the union as a state on December 11, 1816 fell within his administration. The Indiana Historical Commission was created in 1915 and Governor Ralston, an ex-officio member, gave a great deal of attention and strong support to the historical revival, which attended the celebration. He supported the movement by which the state acquired its first park, Turkey Run.
Ralston was elected to the United States Senate in 1922, defeating ex-Senator Albert J. Beveridge, which office he held at the time of his death. In the National Democratic Convention in New York in 1924 there was a strong movement to nominate him for the presidency, but owing to ill health he insisted upon the withdrawal of his name.
Large of frame, simple in manner, direct in utterance and generous in disposition, he was popular not only in his own party but also among men of all political faiths. As an official his greatest insistence was upon enforcement of law. As an attorney he enjoyed a wide reputation for effectiveness in court. He took especial interest in cases involving questions of constitutionality.
Ralston died after a prolonged illness October 14, 1925. He was buried at Lebanon.