The Joseph A. Caulder Collection
Past Rotary International Director 1928-29   -  Regina, Sask., Canada

"Eyewitness to Rotary International's First 50 Years"


JOSEPH A. CAULDER - An eyewitness to Rotary International's first 50 years.

Album 2 - Page 64: James Layton Ralston


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James Layton Ralston




Joseph A. Caulder Remembers


On another page in this album Layton Ralston's full name, with his military title and letters are shown. We who knew him best like to refer to him as just Layton. Canada has produced few men who deserved more honours than Layton Ralston received and earned.

From 1921 until his passing he was my close friend. In the period 1929-1935 he was also my solicitor and no man could have served me and my firm better than he did. Layton was a perfectionist in everything undertaken.

I attach herewith a letter from his lifelong friend and for some years his law partner, Hon. C. J. Burchell, Q.C. of Halifax, N.S., and who has been a fine Rotarian for many years. Charlie Burchell was 3rd Vice-President of Rotary International in 1925-1926.

I also attach a letter from Lillian Dow Davidson.

In 1921 Layton (then living in Halifax) was picked by President Pete Snedecor to go to Australia and New Zealand along with Jim Davidson of Calgary to plant the seeds of Rotary in these two countries. In Jim Davidson's story I have recorded the splendid achievement of these two fine Rotarians on that memorable trip. If proof is needed of the good work done, one need only look at Rotary in these two countries today and note the contribution made by outstanding Rotarians from "Down under". Rotary's foundation in Australia and New Zealand was well and truly laid by Jim and Layton.

On Layton's return from this trip he joined a leading law firm in Montreal which later became known as Ralston, Kearney and Duquet.

Shortly after this move J. L. was drafted into politics where he served long and well. His most notable job was as Minister of National Defense during World War II.

We must not let politics get into a Rotary story but it is recognized by all who know that J. L. rendered a really great service to Canada during these years and did not get the appreciation from his government that he deserved. The 15 to 20 hours per day given to his country in this time of stress no doubt caused his passing at an age when he was prepared and willing to serve for many more years.

As a husband, father, Rotarian, and citizen Layton left a splendid record.


The following is an extract from the report of President Snedecor to the Board of Directors held at Chicago, February 24,1921:


Another epoch in the history of International Rotary has been made during the past month by the appointment of James W. Davidson, F. R. S. G., of Calgary and of Colonel J. Layton Ralston, K. C. D., S. 0., C. M. G., D. C. L., G. S. C., of Halifax as our special commissioners to organize Rotary Clubs in Australia and New Zealand. The Board at its last meeting appropriated the sum of $2,000 out of its Foreign Extension Fund toward the expense of sending two representatives to New Zealand and Australia with the understanding that the Canadian Advisory Committee proposed to enlist the interest of all Canadian Rotarians in this project so that they might be given the opportunity to contribute any amount sufficient to pay the remainder of the expenses of these delegates. Upon the recommendation of the Foreign Extension Committee, the Canadian Advisory Committee was asked to suggest the names of two Canadian Rotarians qualified to undertake this mission on behalf of International Rotary. Rotarians Davidson and Ralston were suggested by this Committee and it was the pleasure of your President to appoint them to undertake this important work for Rotary. These two Rotarians are eminently qualified to carry the message of Rotary to these countries and we are exceedingly fortunate in being able to secure their services for this exceedingly important mission.

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Letter from

Lillian Davidson to

Joseph A. Caulder, regarding

James Layton Ralston

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Letter to

Joseph A. Caulder from Ralston's Former Partner

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Copyright Daniel W. Mooers

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