John Jones Ballard of Greene County, Indiana (1841-1909).

This biography of John Jones Ballard appears in Biographical Memoirs of Greene County, Ind., with Reminiscences of Pioneer Days, Vol. II (Indianapolis: Bowen & Co., 1908) pp. 528-33.  He and his descendants belong in Lineage Group I.  We learned his date of death from his tombstone in Worthington Cemetery, Worthington, Indiana.


Not to know the subject of this sketch is to argue oneself unknown in Greene county, for he is one of the honored and representative citizens of this section of the state, having made his home here all his life, over the psalmist’s allotted three-score years, having been prominently identified with the material and civic advancement and upbuilding of the county and city of Worthington, and he has ever stood for loyal and public-spirited citizenship, impressing his personality on the community where his activities have been confined because of the high standard of his living.

John J. Ballard was born in Greene county, Indiana, December 2, 1841, the son of Benjamin C. [Ballard] and Catherine ( Stalcup) Jones. Catherine Stalcup was first married to John Jones, of Greene county, and his death occurred within a few years, and to this union were born two children, Margaret J., widow of C. C. Howe, of Worthington, and a daughter who died young. The former’s first marriage was to Ellen Fry, of Kentucky. Colonel James Ballard, grandfather of the subject, was one of the most prominent residents of Shelby county, Kentucky, for over fifty years, having served in the legislature of that state. He raised the following children : Thomas, Harrison, Benjamin, father of the subject; Andrew J., Bland and Pauline. Thomas remained single. Harrison has six children. Benjamin C., father of the subject, was born January i, 1806, in Shelby county, Kentucky. He followed farming there until 1837, when he came to Indiana, buying land in Highland township, Greene county, rearing the following children : James F. was the eldest ; Thomas E. was a soldier in the Union army and was killed in the battle of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Benjamin H. ; Susan, the widow of William Stalcup, now of Worthington ; Catherine, the wife of Lot Owen, both dead ; John J., our subject, was the first child of Benjamin C. Ballard’s second wife. His other child was Ellen, the wife of David H. Wiley. The father of the subject passed away October 4, 1844, Andrew J. Ballard, a brother of the subject’s father, married Fannie Thruston and they had three sons and one daughter, namely: Charles T., a graduate of Yale; Samuel T. ; R. C. Ballard Thurston, and Abby. who was a student at Vassar, now deceased. Charles T. and Samuel T. are members of the firm of Ballard & Ballard Mills at Louisville, Kentucky. Bland Ballard was appointed judge of the federal court by President Lincoln and served until his death. He was the father of the following children : Austin, Bland, Jr., Mary; Fannie and Susan.

The early life of John J. Ballard was spent on his father’s farm and in attending the common schools, where he made proper use of his time, later attending the graded schools at Point Commerce. His thirst for knowledge not being satisfied, he entered Franklin College in 1873, from which he graduated with honor in 1878, since which time he has been engaged in farming and stock raising, at which he has been eminently successful. He is in possession of the valuable tract of land owned by his father, which has remained in the Ballard family for seventy years. It consists, including what the mother added after the death of her husband, of five hundred and forty acres, three hundred and fifty of which are under the plow, a large portion of the farming land being situated along the White River. The present owner has devoted much attention to this farm and spared no pains in keeping the soil in a high state of productiveness, using some commercial fertilizers, but depending largely on clover, rye and timothy, which he turns under to enrich the soil.  Most all the grain raised on the place is fed by him to cattle and hogs. His judgment in the selection of good stock of all kinds is not excelled in Greene county. He keeps the Aberdeen Angus cattle. Poland China hogs and other good breeds. He buys some stock cattle and prepares both cattle and hogs for market and his shipment of cattle in 1906 topped the market at Indianapolis. Mr. Ballard also owns one hundred and sixty acres of as fine land as can be found in Greene county, adjoining the corporate limits of Worthington, where he has resided for the past seven years, and on which he has erected one of the finest residences in the state of Indiana, a portrait of which will be found in connection herewith. It is thoroughly modern both in style and workmanship, be ing finished in fine hardwoods, wild cherry, maple and black walnut, all sawed from trees which grew on his farm, the finishing being equal to that seen in the best residences of the large cities, being the best that can be made from these fine varieties of trees. The entire house is heated by a high-grade system of hot water. A well arranged cemented basement extends under the entire house, consisting of an ample coal room, a laundry, large drying room, an immense fruit room and a furnace room, containing a modern heating plant of the best quality. Water privileges are to be found here equal to the best in the city, every convenience being up-to-date. Ventilation has been carried to perfection in every part of the house. The spacious parlors, dining room, living room and guest chambers are models of perfection. The roof is of the best grade of slate, and, standing as it does on an eminence above the city, this magnificent residence is indeed imposing, and from it one may gain as beautiful a panorama as can be found in the state, commanding as it does a scene of miles and miles of rich and highly improved agricultural estates and the well laid-out city of Worthington. A fine grove of natural growth is to be seen some distance away on an elevated knoll on Mr. Ballard’s farm, around which is the richest of prairie land, the greater part of which is covered with a luxurious growth of timothy and clover. There is also a smaller but not less beautiful grove just north of his residence which adds greatly both to the comfort and beauty of the place. It would be hard for one to find a pleasanter place in which to spend the declining years of one’s active and useful life than that of our subject, and to know that it was obtained not through the largess of another, but by the industry of the owner, would add much to the comforts of such envied surroundings.

Mr. Ballard was happily married in 1898 to Florence Owen, the accomplished daughter of H. B. and Eliza beth (Reid) Owen, both natives of Kentucky, who later moved to Morgan county, Indiana, where they spent their lives on a farm. Mr. Owen’s people came from North Carolina to Greene county. There were two brothers in the Civil war from the Reid family. Two exceptionally bright and interesting children have added sunshine and cheer to the Ballard home. They are Florence Elizabeth, born April 16, 1900, and Wayne Owen, born January 22, 1904, Both the subject and wife are members of the Christian church. The former was greatly interested as an official of general Sunday school work for a period of ten years. Politically Mr. Ballard is a Republican, but he has never sought public office. However, he is al ways willing to lend a helping hand to further any cause looking to the advancement of his county or the uplifting of his community. He was appointed by the commissioners as an appraiser of real estate for one district, and was at one time on the advisory board of Highland and Jefferson townships.

Mr. and Mrs. Ballard are not only highly esteemed by all who know them for their upright and well ordered lives, but they have also won the hearts of all their neighbors and friends through their kindness of heart and hospitality, taking pride in making visitors feel at home, and dispensing good will and good cheer to every one with whom they come in contact.


2 thoughts on “John Jones Ballard of Greene County, Indiana (1841-1909).

  1. What is the connection of the Ballard family to the Benjamin Harrison families of Surry Co, VA and Sandy Point, Charles City Co, VA, mid 1600’s and later? My Gibsons of Surry and Charles City Counties were also somehow connected to the Harrisons and are associated witht he Ballards of the Northern Neck, best I can tell at this point in my research. Also, check out James Nickens (Washington, CD) and his FB page. He has reseached many families of the Northern Neck association with the Indian trading complex there during the 17th and 18th centuries. I imagine the Ballards had some connection with that complex.

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