Bland William Ballard, the son of James Ballard and Elizabeth Shackelford and the grandson of Bland Williams Ballard, was born 23 July 1824 in Oldham County, Kentucky, and died 18 March 1904 in Aquilla, Hill County, Texas.
He married 15 July 1845 Parthena Cull, the daughter of Nathaniel Cull and Rebecca Rawlings. She was born 27 July 1826 in Henry County, Kentucky, and died 13 March 1888 in Aquilla, Hill County, Texas. They are buried at Aquilla Methodist Church Cemetery, Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas.
A biography is found in A Memorial and Biographical History of Johnson and Hill Counties, Texas (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892) pp. 534-37.
Bland W. Ballard, of the firm of Bland W. Ballard & Son, grocers of Aquilla, is a member of one of the best and most favorably known families in Hill county. Emigrating from Missouri in the ’70s, we find them identified ever since with each step in the development of progress of the county. Our subject is the son of James and Elizabeth (Shackelford) Ballard, an old Kentucky family. The father, born in Shelby county, Kentucky, March 1, 1785, was a farmer by occupation, thrifty, well-informed, and alive to all that pertained to the welfare of his State and nation. His grandfather, Bland, had emigrated to Virginia from Wales long before the war for independence, in which he took a part. James’ father, also named Bland, emigrated to Kentucky in an early day, coming down the Ohio to the Falls, now Louisville. Here he raised his family, being employed by the Government as a hunter for the army, and in scouting expeditions against the red men. He was first given command of a company, then a battalion, and next a regiment. He was elected to the Legislature several times from Shelby county, Kentucky. He followed the business as long as the Indians were troublesome, when he moved to Shelby county, where he died at an advanced age. Our subject remembers him as a most powerful man, six feet in height and weighing over 200 pounds, — a typical pioneer. In 1800 James Ballard was married, in Shelby county, to Elizabeth Shackelford. That family were originally from England, next settled in Virginia, then in Georgia (where Elizabeth was born, in 1785), thence, in 1792, on pack-horses through the wilderness, to Kentucky. To this union was born four sons and three daughters, viz.: John, deceased in infancy; Benjamin H., a retired farmer of Missouri; Bland W., our subject; James T., deceased; Mary, deceased, was the wife of George Button, also deceases; Elizabeth A., deceased, was the wife of Bland Williamson; and Dorothy, who died at the age of twelve years. The father was a man of sterling integrity, and of strong influence for good in his county. He was under Harrison in the famous Tippecanoe expedition, and our subject remembers well his vivid description of the destruction of the red men’s wigwams and stores by fires, and how each soldier, by the General’s order, loaded his horse with corn and tobacco for the homeward trip. Mr. Ballard has a hickory cane in his possession, mounted with buck horn, which was cut on that battle-field and given to his father. The latter died in 1841, and the mother in 1853.
The subject of this notice was born July 23, 1824, in Oldham county, Kentucky. At seventeen years of age the death of the father threw the burden of the family upon his young shoulders, but it only nerved the boy to manhood’s strife. He was married at the age of twenty-one, and continued with the family one year, when he bought land near Ballardsville, and for the first time rested under his own “vine and fig tree.” Three years later we find him on a wild tract of land in Clark county, Missouri, undergoing all the privations of the Western pioneer, and at one time he traveled eighty miles before he got his grain ground and home again. Six years of such life, and a large improved farm in Saline county bought, and for nine years our subject battled with the distressing times just preceding and during the Civil war. The struggle ended with the loss of his farm and the $8,500 paid on it. Nothing daunted, however, he moved to another community, five miles distant, and began again. After fifteen years of successful farming here, the failing health of his wife demanded a change of climate, and he came to this county, landing at Aquilla November 16, 1879. After some prospecting he built in Whitney, and engaged for six years in various kinds of light business, devoting a large amount of his time to the care of his invalid wife. He moved to Aquilla, and for two years engaged in the stock business, in company with is son, Elijah. In 1887 the firm of Ballard & Son was formed, which has since carried on a grocery and drug business. The Aquilla post office is also under the charge of our subject. Of him it may be said that as a father, kind and gentle, but firm, and as a citizen upright, honest and of undoubted integrity, he has the love due the one from the family, and the respect due to the other from the people. He has been a consistent member of the Methodist Church for over forty-nine years, and expects to die in that faith.
July 15, 1845, Mr. Ballard married Parthena, daughter of Nathan and Rebecca Cull, another old Kentucky family. The Culls were of Irish descent, having been banished from Ireland in the time of Cromwell. The wife in this case was a helpmate, in deed as well as in word. She was a woman of more than ordinary ability, had a remarkable taste and memory for history, and made the Bible her constant companion. In early life she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, which always found in her a great helper. For fifteen years before her death, which occurred March 13, 1888, she was a confirmed invalid, but bore her illness cheerfully and with the greatest fortitude and patience. Mr. and Mrs. Ballard have had eight childen, viz.: John E., born in Oldham county, Kentucky, in 1846, was married at the age of twenty-two years, in Missouri, to Armead L. Ingram, a sister of Mrs. E. R. Boyd, of Aquilla, now deceased. After farming several years in that State, John E. moved, in 1875, to Garrett’s Mills, McLennan county, Texas, thence to Oak Valley, next to Aquilla, and then to Hillsboro, in each place engaged in merchandising. Since his residence in teh latter palce his recognized ability has made him the servant of the people in various offices. In 1887 he was elected Court Commissioner of District No. 1, and the fine new county jail is the monument of his work. He has served several terms as Alderman in his city, the new schoolhouse attesting his interest here, and has served one term as Mayor, being elected over two popular candidates in an unprecedentedly hot contest. Benjamin W. was born in Oldham county, Kentucky, in 1848, and married in Texas, in 1878, to Bina T. Neal. They have two children: John N. and Nellie B. Benjamin farmed a few years in Missouri, then came to Texas and engaged in business with his brother at White Rock, thence to Fort Graham, next to Whitney, where he is now enjoying a thriving grocery trade. Bland A., born in Missouri, in 1852, visited Texas in 1873, and several years afterward engaged in business at White Rock, then went to Fort Graham, next to Whitney, where, at the age of twenty-eight years, in November, 1880, he succumbed to typhoid malaria. He now rests by his mother in Hillsboro cemetery. Bland was a most exemplary young man, and when cut off by the dread destroyer gave promise of more than ordinary business career. Mary A., born in Missouri in 1855, was married in 1873 to James V. Hampton, a farmer of Saline county, Missouri. In 1891 they moved to a farm five miles east of Whitney. They have had five children: B. Wade, Thomas V., Marmaduke, and Velva and Zuma, twins. James Thomas, born in Missouri in 1857, was married, in 1889, to Etta E. Swafford, of Limestone county, Texas. James came to Texas at the age of twenty-one years, and engaged in business with his brother John, at Oak Valley, thence to Aquilla, and next to Hillsboro, where he continued with his brother until 1888, when he withdrew. The next year he clerked for G. B. Brown, a grocer, next for B. K. Brockinton, when the firm of Gibson & Ballard, grocers, was formed. James is a keen and reliable business man, and a credit to the city of Hillsboro. Elijah N. was born in Saline county, Missouri, December 24, 1860; until ninteen years of age his life was that of the average farmer boy. At this time the family came to Texas, and the winter of 1879-’80 was spent in clerking for his brothers at Aquilla and Oak Valley, and in the spring he went into the grocery business with his father in Whitney. After two years Elijah went to Hillsboro, and three years were spent in clerking for his brothers, and one year for Grant & Armstrong. For the next two years he was in the stock business with his father at Aquilla, when the cattle was disposed of, and the present firm of Ballard & Son, grocers, was formed. During his residence in Whitney Elijah had taken up the study of telegraphy, but his attention was drawn from that by other business. In the summer of 1888 he resumed that study, and in September, of the same year, was appointed operator and station agent at Ross, on the Texas Central. So well did he perform his duties there that the company saw fit, after eleven months, to promote him to his home station at Aquilla, where he has since faithfully discharged his duties. He is one of the most popular agents on the road, and in direct line for promotion. In his political views he is a Democrat; and socially, a Master Mason. Harriet L., born in Saline county, Misssouri, June 17, 1863, died of spinal complaint, August 5, 1868. The family remember her as a patient little body, whom suffering only made more angelic. Annie E., born in Saline county, Missouri, May 9, 1867, is the youngest of the family. When but a child the mother’s health threw much of the burden of housekeeping on Anna, and since her death she finds it a pleasure to make glad the declining years of her father.
Their children were:
John Edward, born 4 May 1846 at LaGrange, Oldham County, Kentucky, and died 27 June 1917 at Kiowa, Oklahoma.
Benjamin William, born 24 September 1848 at LaGrange, Oldham County, Kentucky, died 8 October 1915 at Whitney, Hill County, Texas.
Bland Augustus, born 7 May 1852 at LaGrange, Oldham County, Kentucky, died 23 August 1948 at Cleburne, Johnson County, Texas.
James Thomas, born 15 August 1857 at Saline, Missouri, died September 1921 at San Angelo, Tom Green, Texas.
Elijah Nuttall, born 24 December 1860, Saline, Missouri, died 23 July 1947, Lajunta, Colorado.
Harriett Lee, born 17 June 1863 at Saline, Missouri, died 5 August 1868, Saline, Missouri.
Anne Elizabeth, born 9 May 1867, died 1947 Winslow, Washington County, Arizona.