Ralph Gregory is an unusual man. It’s not just because he has reached 104 years in age. He has had a full life. It is his experiences and what he chose to do with his life that make him unusual and unique.
His passion for accurate local history makes him stand out from most of us. He has dedicated his life to local historical research and writing about it. In World War II, he was a member of a bomber crew that made a crash landing in Turkey after a mission. He was interned by the neutral Turks, allowed to walk away after a period, and after an unusual journey was able to find Allied Forces and be reunited with American troops.
That experience had a bearing on what he did after the service. He farmed for a period south of Washington, studied, read books on history and philosophy and then launched his career as a local historian. He began by writing a number of series of historical articles on Washington and Franklin County for The Missourian. He also branched out into nearby counties, Warren and St. Charles, in his research. He published historical pamphlets and books centering on this area. He left this area for a period when he worked for the state in Florida, Mo., and Hannibal at Mark Twain museums. He returned to this area and spent most of his time in helping to establish the Washington Historical Society’s Museum while continuing his research and writings.
He used old newspapers for much of his research material. He was tireless in demanding accuracy in historical research.
Ralph hasn’t lost his interest in local history and still shows up at the museum in Washington on occasions. There is no one in the history in Washington and Franklin County who has matched his zeal and production of historical research. He is the master of local history!