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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

William Ball





      For an extended period William Ball was actively connected with farming interest in Delaware county and won substantial success through well directed, honorable effort. He was respected by all who knew him and most of all where he was best known. His birth occurred in Wayne county, Indiana, on the 11th of September, 1829, his parents being Thomas and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Ball, in whose family were three children, one of whom, James P. Ball, survives and is now a resident of Delaware, Iowa.

      William Ball was born upon a farm and during his early children his parents removed with their family to a farm near South Bend, Indiana, where he spent his youthful days, attending school for about three months during the year, while the rest of the time was spent in assisting with the work of the fields.  He was, however, a student by nature and he spent his leisure hours in reading and self education. He possessed a retentive memory and thus his wide reading added to his knowledge year by year, while in the school of experience he also gained many valuable lessons. His training in farm work was never meager, for from the time of early spring planting until crops were harvested in the late autumn he worked in the fields, giving his father the benefit of his services until he reached the age of twenty years, He started across the plains for California, attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast, March 15, 1850. He traveled by team across the hot stretches of sand and over the mountain passes and when three months had elapsed he reached his destination. Indians still roved over the country in bands and he had several unpleasant encounters with them. For eleven years he remained in California engaged in mining and farming, his efforts being rewarded with considerable success. During that period he also visited the gold camps of Oregon and Idaho, but his operations were mostly confined to Northern California in the vicinity of Yreka. In 1861 he returned to the east, settling in Delaware county, Iowa, upon a farm of eighty acres south of the town of Delaware. There he continued to successfully engage in general agriculture pursuits until 1901. He brought his farm to a high state of cultivation and made many improvements thereon. He was over energetic, industrious and reliable, and thus his business dealings were crowned with a substantial competence.

       In 1864 Mr. Bell was united in marriage to Miss Harriett Courtney, a native of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and they became the parents of a son and daughter, Arthur L., who died in infancy; and Miss Nettie E. Ball who occupies the family home. The wife and mother passed away in 1880 and in 1901 father and daughter left the farm and took up their abode in the town of Delaware, where he remained until his death, which occurred on the 17th of November, 1912. Mr. Ball was a republican in his political view. He manifested a citizen's interest in politics and was quite active locally, but never sought office. In manner he was modest and retiring. He held membership in the Masonic lodge of Manchester and exemplified in his life the beneficial spirit of the organization. He was a man of upright character and gained many friends who valued his good opinion very highly. His life at all times commanded respect and among those who knew him he was uniformly loved and honored. 



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 277-278. Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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