Ralph Carson Appleby
Beryl Kathleen Moss
First published by the Appleby Heritage Association, Appleby Newsletter,
The distance from the small town of Eldon, Iowa, along the Des Moines River, to the
University of Iowa in Iowa City is not far in actual miles, but the route followed to make
it possible for Ralph Carson Appleby to become one of the University's out-standing
faculty members began far away into England's history.
In the mid-eighteen-hundreds, coal miners from England came to work in the coal
fields of America. Among these, Robert Appleby arrived with his wife and family,
between late 1868 and mid-1869. First to the mining area of Westmoreland County,
Pennsylvania, and then about 1895 the family moved to Mystic, Appanoose County,
Robert Appleby, the eldest son of Thomas and Mary (Ramshaw) Appleby, was
born June 8, 1841,in Durham County, England. He had brothers and sisters, namely,
George, Mary Jain, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isabella, Thomas, jr., Hannah (?) and
Robert Appleby married Jane Ramshaw (probably related to Mary) on the 12th of
December 1863, in St. Giles Parish, Durham, Durham County, England.
Three children were born to them in England, Ralph, Robert, jr. and Elener, she living
only nine months. The first child born to them in America was William, on the 6th of
October 1869 in Irwin Station, Pennsylvania, then a daughter, named Elener, followed
by Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, John and Thomas.
Through the marriage of their son, William, to Margaret McIntosh on Christmas Eve
1890, a son was born to them on 7th October 1892, and he was named Clarence Earl
Ralph Carson Appleby was born on the 16th November 1919, in Eldon, Wapello
County, Iowa. His parents, Clarence Earl Appleby and Doris Vivian Carson, were
married in Eldon on February 26th, 1914. Doris was the daughter of Andrew Leo and
Florence Luella (Welch) Carson. She was born 5 October 1893; died in Eldon, Iowa,
When Ralph graduated from the University of Iowa in 1941, with a Bachelor of
Science Degree, Ralph Appleby placed his decision to enter the field of Dentistry on
hold and entered, instead, the United States Army.
In 1943, Infantry Captain Ralph Appleby, American soldier, and a great- grandson of
Robert, the one born in England over a hundred years earlier, was assigned to the
European Theater of Operation during World War Two. He served exceedingly well,
receiving the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and three major battle
By 1945, Captain Appleby, representing the United States Army, was the Area
Administrative Officer in Displaced Persons' Camp. He was working with Allied
military authorities in the repatriation of Allied civilian personnel, in Germany.
In 1946, Major Appleby served as Military Attache with the Harriman Mission for
Economic Affairs at the United States Embassy in London.
Amid the wartime turmoil, Ralph Carson Appleby met British Air Force Officer
Beryl Kathleen Moss of London, daughter of Eric and Blodwen (Meridith) Moss. They
were married on the 10th of July 1945 in Sketty, South Wales.
The War over, the world returned to 'normal', and Ralph Appleby, with his wife and
son, Drew Carson, returned to the United States and to the University of Iowa. Once
again, a part of England had come to the heartland of America.
The intermission caused by a world war ended and Ralph Appleby resumed his
education with the goal being a Doctor of Dentistry. He reached this status in 1951,
continuing in specialized fields fo learning at the University of Iowa, having already
completed an R.O.T.C. Internship at Letterman General Hospital (a U.S. Military
Hospital) in San Francisco, California.
Dr. Appleby accepted a teaching position at the University of Iowa in 1951 as an
instructor in the Department of Denture Prosthesis in the College of Dentistry. By
1959, he had acquired full Professorship and had been appointed Head of Department
of Denture Prosthesis.
Drew Carson Appleby, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Appleby had been born on April 11th,
1946, in Farnboro, Kent, England, before their return to America. Their second son,
Gary Meredith Appleby, was born in Iowa City on the 28th of April 1951.
Through the years of his teaching and research and as the author of eighty-five
professional papers presented to Dental Societies throughout the United States, a list of
Dr. Appleby' professional achievements creates a most impressive career history. To
select one or two is difficult as each seems to surpass the other in importance. In the
area of dental education he helped construct the first Dental Teachers Training Program
at the University of Iowa. He produced the first sound, colored, motion pictures on the
subject of Denture Prosthesis for the College of Dentistry.
He has since produced over thirty-six such films for instructional purposes at the
University of Iowa, for other Dental Colleges and for the Veteran's Administration
Dr. Ralph Appleby received the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion, an Award presented
by the University of Iowa, to an outstanding faculty member for Learning, Leadership
and Loyalty. When a person's name is preceded by several titles, followed by a line of
initials denoting scholastic and professional qualifications, add to this several pages of
only a partial listing in several "Who's Who of Science", it may seem rather
intimidating to approach Dr. Ralph Carson Appleby for an interview.
However, encouraged by the comment of a former University of Iowa student
regarding Dr. Appleby, "for not only helping us learn dentistry, but for being just a plain
good guy," enthusiasm replaced hesitation, therefore, this article.
Adding to all of the above, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Carson Appleby are friendly, kind,
considerate and caring. Dr. Appleby's ancestors, coming to America, for fulfillment
of dreams for themselves and their descendants, would be very proud...mission
Update: Dr. Appleby died 20 March 1997, West Branch, Cedar County, Iowa.
Last Revised: 09 October 2003
reviewed: 05 March 2005