Marshall County
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BALL, John D.

John D. BALL, an enterprising farmer residing on section 12, Belle Pain township, Marshall county, was born in Lacon, Illinois, February 24, 1855. His father, Jonas L. BALL, a native of Massachusetts, located in Lacon in 1841, traveling from Hamilton, Ohio, on horseback. He had lived in the latter place from boyhood, and for a number of years served as foreman in the packing house of Jabez FISHER. In the employ of that gentleman he came to Lacon, where he had charge of a packing house for four years. He then turned his attention to general merchandising and also bought potatoes, shipping them to St. Louis by boat. In 1855 he removed to a farm and after two years located on section 1, Belle Plain township. He hauled wheat to Chicago, and on the return trip brought the lumber with which to build his house. His wife, Elizabeth C. BALL, was a daughter of Dr. FETTER, who in 1845 removed from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Caledonia, Putnam county, Illinois, where his death occurred about 1850. He had an extensive practice, and was a prominent and highly respected citizen.

Jonas and Elizabeth BALL were parents of seven children, three of whom are living: John D., Jonas T. and Gertrude, wife of Sain WELTY, an attorney of Bloomington, Illinois. The father of this family was a member of the Christian church, and a valued and influential citizen, highly esteemed by all. His wife is still living at the age of seventy years and makes her home with her daughter in Bloomington.

Under the parental roof John D. BALL was reared to manhood, no event of special importance occurring in his boyhood days, which were passed midst play and work on the home farm. He was married February 24, 1876, to Anna M. GRIFFIN, daughter of Hamilton R. GRIFFIN, deceased, who came to Marshall county from Smithville, Pennsylvania, in 1848. After conducting a hotel for a year in Henry he located in Evans township, Marshall county, where he made his home until 1892, removing then to Wenona, where his death occurred in 1894. To Mr. and Mrs. BALL have been born six children, four of whom are living, namely: Electa L., Ella G., and Jonas H. and Josie L., twins. One died in infancy, and Charles L. died at the age of near two years.

Mr. BALL gives his attention to agricultural pursuits and his energy, close application and sound judgment have brought to him a handsome competence. His home farm comprises four hundred and forty-five acres of valuable land, and he also owns two hundred and forty acres in Ford county. All the improvements and conveniences known to the model farm of the nineteenth century are found on his place and indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owner. His home is one of the finest in the county, a two story frame residence, heated by a hot air furnace, and supplied with water which is piped into the house. The furnishings are tasteful and in this desirable home hospitality reigns supreme. In 1895 Mr. BALL erected a large barn. He is very progressive and follows the most advanced methods in all things. His sterling worth has occasioned his selection to public office, he having served as school director several years, as school trustee, assessor for five years and supervisor for three years. He is United States reporter for this township, to obtain statistics of the agricultural products. Religiously he is connected with the Christian church, and socially is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America. His life has been well spent and he well deserves mention among the leading citizens of Marshall county.

Extracted May 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.


John D. BALL, one of the prosperous and prominent residents of Marshall county, is living on section 12, Belle Plain township, where he owns and occupies a beautiful residence about a mile west of Toluca. He has wielded a wide influence over public life in this community, manifesting a public spirited devotion to the general good, and in his business interests has displayed a spirit of progress and enterprise that have enabled him to overcome all difficulties and obstacles in his path and make steady advancement on the highroad of prosperity. He was born in Lacon, Illinois, in 1855. His father, Jonas L. BALL, a native of Massachusetts, came from Hamilton, Ohio, to Marshall county, Illinois, making the journey on horseback. He settled here at a pioneer epoch in the history of the county, taking up his abode just west of Toluca, where G. W. THOMAS now resides on a part of the old homestead. Mr. BALL became a very extensive land owner, having at one time fifteen hundred acres, but he divided his property among his children, giving to each two hundred acres when they attained their majority. He ever utilized his opportunities to the best advantage, was quick to recognize a chance for good investment, and, moreover, in his daily life displayed a spirit of industry and capable management that constituted the strongest elements in his success. His political views were in accord with the principles of democracy and he was one of the founders of the Antioch Christian church, which was afterward removed to Toluca. His land lay just west of Toluca about a half mile and extended into Belle Plain township. For four years he served as supervisor, and his devotion to the public good stood as an unquestioned fact in his life. He contributed to the material, intellectual and moral progress of the community through his co-operation in affairs that had direct bearing upon the welfare of the county along those lines, and he passed away in 1888, respected and honored by all who knew him. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth C. FETTER, was born in Pennsylvania in 1823, and was a daughter of Dr. FETTER. She too held membership in the Christian church and was a most estimable lady. In the family of this worthy couple were seven children: Alice, who died in infancy; William L., also deceased; Charles, who died at the age of two years; Jonas T., living west of Toluca; John D., of this review; Gertrude, the wife of Sain WELTY, a lawyer of Bloomington; and George L., who was drowned in Senachwine lake while in bathing on a pleasure trip at the age of thirty-three years. He left a wife and four children, the wife being now Mrs. Maria E. BALL, who is educating her children in Eureka.

John D. BALL was provided with liberal educational privileges. He supplemented his early training by study in Eureka College at Eureka, Illinois, and he began farming on his own account in 1875. He first followed that occupation just west of the old home place on a farm given him by his father. He now has extensive property holdings, including three hundred and forty-five acres of the old homestead, three hundred and twenty acres in Oklahoma and one hundred and seventy acres in southwestern Kansas. His property holdings are therefore extensive, and return to him a very gratifying income. For the past fifteen years he has lived retired from active business life. While at La Rose, Illinois, he was engaged in the grain business and also dealt in coal, lumber, lime, salt, cement and other similar commodities. He established his store in 1888 and sold out in 1893. He removed to the town in order to give his children good educational privileges, and while residing there became connected with its commercial interests.

Mr. BALL was united in marriage to Miss Anna M. GRIFFIN, who was born in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburg, in 1853, and is a daughter of Hamilton and Nancy GRIFFIN, both of whom are now deceased. They were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Unto Mr. and Mrs. BALL have been born the following named: Charles, who died at the age of two years; L. Eleta, living at home; Ellen G., at home; Josie Fayetta and Jonas H., twins. The former is attending the Woman's College at Jacksonville, Illinois, and the latter is studying scientific farming in the university at Champaign.

Mr. BALL is deeply interested in the cause of education and is giving to his children excellent opportunities in this direction. The local schools have found in him a stalwart champion, and for twenty-one years he has served as school director and as school trustee. He has also been assessor of Belle Plain township for four years and was supervisor for three years. While living in La Rose he was a member of the village board for three years and was president at the time of his removal to the farm. In 1904 he was the candidate of his party, the democratic, for state senator, but was defeated. Fraternally he is identified with the Knights of Pythias lodge, No. 291, at Lacon, and the Modern Woodmen camp and the Royal Neighbors of Toluca. He belongs to the Christian church, of which he is serving as trustee, and his interest in various phases which constitute the general life of the individual is manifest by the hearty co-operation which he gives to many movements for the public good. He lives in a beautiful home about a mile west of Toluca, facing the main public road. His business interests have been carefully managed, and though he received from his father a good farm he has enlarged his holdings and brought his land under a high state of cultivation. He is seldom if ever at error in matters of business judgment, and his carefully directed labors have brought to him a gratifying measure of prosperity. He has never concentrated his energies, however upon business affairs to the exclusion of other interests, and, in fact, in all matters of citizenship has displayed a most worthy and generous support. Viewed from a personal standpoint he is a strong man strong in his honor and his good name, strong in his ability to plan and to perform and in his power to achieve that which he undertakes.

Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.


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