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BALL, William Lemuel

William Lemuel BALL, who was called from earth in the midst of his usefulness, spent his entire life in Marshall county, his birth occurring in Lacon, November 19, 1848, and his death on his farm in Bennington township, August 12, 1884. His parents, Jonas L. and Elizabeth C. (FELLER) BALL, continued to reside in Lacon until he was about twelve years of age, the father following general merchandising. He then removed his family to a farm in Belle Plain township, where he became the owner of a large tract of land, on which he continued to live until about two years before his death, when he went to Bloomington, Illinois, and there passed away April 7, 1888. He was one of the honored early settlers of Marshall county, a man highly respected by all who knew him.

Besides the education received in the country schools, William L. BALL also attended school in Wenona, and completed his literary course in Eureka college, in which he was a student for several year. On leaving the schoolroom he was for a time a clerk in a dry goods store of Lacon, during which time he also read medicine, but at the end of a year gave up the idea of following that profession and began farming on his own account.

On the 22d of February, 1871, Mr. BALL led to the marriage altar Miss Ruth A. STRATTON, who was born in Vanderburg county, Indiana, August 10, 1848, and is a daughter of James and Marcia (CHALCRAFT) STRATTON. Four children graced this union: Gertrude, who was born on the home farm January 3, 1872, and was married November 21, 1894, to Roscoe VAYNE, of Chicago; Cora E., born September 13, 1873; Frank D., born November 5, 1875, and William J., born August 24, 1881. Cora was educated in the Normal and Eureka college, while Frank attended the last-named institution two years, and also pursued his studies for one year in Galesburg.

Mr. and Mrs. BALL began their domestic life upon a farm of two hundred acres given him by his father, where she still resides. For three years they made their home in the old house standing there, and then erected the present comfortable residence of the family. The land was unimproved, but to its cultivation and development Mr. BALL devoted his time and attention until life’s labors were ended, and transformed the place into one of the most desirable farms of the locality. At the time of his death he was serving as vice-president of the Wenona Union Fair association, and for years had taken an active part in promoting its interests and making it a success.

Politically, Mr. BALL was a lifelong democrat, was repeatedly elected supervisor of Bennington township, and was a prominent and influential member of the board at the time of his death. His name was often spoken of in connection with the democratic nomination for the legislature, and had he lived he would undoubtedly have been nominated and elected. He also served as school treasurer. From boyhood he was a consistent member of the Christian church, to which his wife and family also belonged, and was one of its most liberal supporters. His influence was great and always for good. His sympathy, his benevolence, his kindly greetings, will long be remembered. His duties were performed with the greatest care, and throughout his life his personal honor and integrity were without blemish. His home life was beautiful and exemplary. Ardent and constant in his affections, he was a most tenderly devoted husband, and an indulgent father. His body now rests in Antioch cemetery.

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

Throughout life this gentleman was identified with the agricultural interests of Marshall county and won a place among the prosperous and well-to-do farmers of the community in which he made his home. He was born in Lacon on the 19th of November, 1848, and was a son of Jonas L. and Elizabeth C. (FETTER) BALL. For many years the father was engaged in general merchandising in Lacon, but when our subject was twelve years of age removed to a farm in Belle Plain township, on which he engaged in agricultural pursuits throughout the greater part of his life. He died on the 7th of April, 1888, honored and respected by all who knew him.

During his boyhood and youth William L. BALL pursued his studies in the public schools of Marshall county, being a student in the schools of Wenona for a time, but he completed his education at Eureka College, which he attended for several years. On starting out upon his business career he engaged in clerking in a drug store in Lacon and afterward read medicine, but at the end of a year decided to abandon that profession and turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. After his marriage he located on a farm of two hundred acres given him by his father, which at that time was improved, but to its cultivation and further development he turned his attention, finally transforming it into one of the finest farms of Bennington township.

Mr. BALL was married February 22, 1871, to Miss Ruth A. STRATTON, a native of Vanderburgh county, Indiana, born August 10, 1848, and a daughter of James and Marcia (CHALCRAFT) STRATTON. Four children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. BALL, who in order of birth were as follows: Gertrude, born on the home farm January 3, 1872, was married on the 21st of November, 1894, to Roscoe BAYNE, D. D., at Henry. Cora E., born September 13, 1873, is now the wife of H. H. BECKWITH, who is operating the old home farm, and they have one child, Harold, born September 26, 1903. Frank D., born November 5, 1875, now conducting a livery stable in Toluca, married Miss Nellie MATHIS, daughter of the postmaster at that place, and they have three children, Ruth Irene, James William and Floyd Raymond. William J., born August 24, 1881, died on the 20th of April, 1902. The children were given good educational privileges, Cora having attended the normal college and also Eureka College, while Frank was for two years a student in Eureka College and afterward pursued his studies for one year at Galesburg.

Mr. BALL was recognized as one of the most enterprising and progressive men of his community, and was called upon to take an active part in public affairs. At the time of his death, which occurred on his farm in Bennington township, August 12, 1884, he was filling the position of vice president of the Wenona Union Fair Association and had for several years been actively identified with its prosperity. At an early age he united with the Christian church, to which his wife and family also belong, and throughout life gave a liberal support to all -measures which he believed would prove of public benefit or would advance the moral and material welfare of his native county. By his ballot he always supported the men and measures of the democratic party, and was honored with several local offices, serving many years as supervisor of Bennington township, and was chairman of the board for four years, being one of the leading members of the board at the time of his death. He was several times spoken of as a candidate for the legislature, and had he lived would undoubtedly have been nominated and elected. After a useful and well spent life of forty years he passed away, honored and respected by all who knew him, and in his death the community realized that it had lost a valued citizen.

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

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