Bland Ballard of Lake Forest, Illinois (1854-1909).

Bland Ballard, the son of Judge Bland Ballard of Louisville, Kentucky, was born in 1854 in Louisville and committed suicide at Lake Forest, Illinois on 4 February 1909.  Numerous newspapers reported the story, such as The Indianapolis Star that noted that he was a noted golfer and member of the bar until he “deserted the law to enter the brokerage business with a brother, Austin Ballard.”  “Bland Ballard, Chicago Broker, Ends Own Life,” The Indianapolis Star (5 February 1909, p. 9).    The story about his suicide in The Louisville Courier-Journal serves as his obituary, and it is transcribed in its entirety below.

Bland Ballard married 17 June 1887 Adele Laurence Shreve.  Adele Shreve was born 25 August 1864 in Louisville, Kentucky, died 10 December 1952 in Santa Barbara, California.  She was the daughter of Thomas Talliaferro Shreve (1796-1869) and Belle Sheridan Shreve (1831-1927).

In 1910 Adele Shreve married (2) Paul Stanwood Harvey.  Bland Ballard is interred at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, and Adele Shreve is interred at Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California.1


Bland, who married June W._________.  Bland Ballard was born 7 May 1888, died 5 March 1955 in Santa Barbara, California.  In 1910 he was single and living on Powell Street in San Francisco, but by 1920 living in Providence, Rhode Island with his wife June and children Bland, age 2 9/12, and Adele J., age 1 6/12.  By 1930 they had another son, Samuel S., born 1920 (in 1930 still living in Quincy), but by 1940 June is living alone in Pasadena, California; we did find a Bland Ballard born 1888 (“publishers representative”) living with a Mary Ballard (“secretary”), age 40 living in Los Angeles, California; the census states Bland was born in Massachusetts and Mary in Kentucky; assuming this is the correct Bland, it appears that the enumerator reversed the two places of birth.2

Their issue: 1. Bland, born 1917; in 1940 was then living in Portland, Oregon; the US Federal Census records that he was a clerk working in the shipping industry.  1940 U.S. Federal Census, Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, Roll: T627_3385; page 7B, E.D. 37-29.  2. Adele J., born 1918; 3. Samuel S., born 1920.

Shreve, who married Annabell Noland.  Shreve Ballard was born 5 April 1894, died 1 August 1980.  He attended Harvard College, class of 1917 (Harvard Freshman Red Book).  In 1900 he and his family resided in Monmouth, New Jersey.  In 1910 after the death of his father, he and his sister Belle Sheridan resided in Shields, Lake County, Illinois with their grandmother, Belle S. Shreve.  In 1920 when he reached the age of 25, he resided in Los Angeles, California, where he worked as a clerk for an insurance company.  By 1930 he was residing in Santa Barbara, California with his mother (who returned to using the name Ballard), and in 1940 he was married to Annabell Noland (aged 28) and was self-employed as a photographer.  They had one daughter, Pamella Shreve Ballard, who was born 9 April 1942.  Shreve Ballard died 1 August 1980.3

Belle Sheridan, who was born 17 November 1899, died 19 October 1974 at Montara, San Mateo County, California.4


1. Funeral monument of Adele Shreve Ballard and entry on; California Death Index, 1940-1997.

2. 1910 US Federal Census, San Francisco Assembly District 44, San Francisco, California, Roll: T624_102, p. 3B, E.D. 0304; 1920 US Federal Census, Providence Ward 2, Providence RI, Roll: T675_1678, p. 33A, E.D. 189′ 1930 Federal Census, Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts, Roll: 936, p. 3A, E.D. 0089; 1940 Federal Census, Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, Roll: T627_240, p. 7B, E.D. 19-451; 1940 Federal Census, Los Angeles, California, Roll: T627_393, p. 8A, E.D. 60-76.  Monument entry on; California Death Index, 1940-1997.

3. 1900 US Federal Census, Spring Lake, Monmouth, New Jersey, Roll: 987, p. 5A, E.D. 0140; 1910 US Federal Census, Shields, Lake, Illinois, Roll: T624_302, p. 9A, E.D. 0107; 1920 US Federal Census, Los Angeles Assembly District 75, Los Angeles, California, Roll: T625_116, p. 16A, E.D. 466; 1930 US Federal Census, Township 1, Santa Barbara, California, Roll: 213, p. 5A, E.D. 0054; 1940 US Federal Census, Santa Barbara, California, Roll: T627_333, p. 10A, E.D. 42-2; Harvard University Register (1914); California Death Index, 1940-1997.

4. California Death Index, 1940-1997.

Bland Ballard Kills Himself

Deed Committed Near Home At Lake Forest.

Ill Health Only Known Incentive To Act.

A Son of Judge Ballard; a Grandson of a Pioneer.


Chicago, Feb. 4. -[Special.] — Bland Ballard, a retired capitalist and well-known clubman, of Lake Forest, and lineal descendant and namesake of the famous Bland Ballard of Kentucky, American pioneer and soldier of fortune, committed suicide by shooting himself while on the grounds of the Lake Forest University to-day.

The shooting caused excitement in the fashionable North Shore suburb, where the Ballard family has lived for several years.  The shots attracted a crowd of prominent society women and others who hurried to the university, where they found Mr. Ballard lying on the grass dying.  A private ambulance was called and he was taken to a hospital.

No Intimation of Intention.

Dr. Hagen, of Lake Forest, was called, put the patient sank rapidly and died an hour later.  Mr. Ballard left his home about 7:30 o’clock and told his wife that he was going to Chicago on the 5 o’clock train.  He walked to the university.  He then crossed to a clump of trees and shot himself in the left side of the head.

Immediately a crowd gathered and the report circulated that it was Sidney C. Love.  Later he was identified at the hospital and his wife notified.  Efforts were made to keep the fact of the suicide a secret, and although the shooting occurred at 8:30 o’clock, it was several hours later before the facts became known generally outside of Lake Forest.

At the Ballard home all information was denied, but it was admitted that Mr. Ballard was dead.  Visitors were referred to Dr. Hagen, and repeated calls at the home of the physician failed to find him in.  Mr. Ballard had been an invalid several years, and passed most of his time in the most aristocratic part of Lake Forest.

Three Children Survive.

He was 52 years old.  A widow and three children, Bland, Jr., Shreve and a younger child survive.  The family is one of the most prominent in society along the North Shore, and Mrs. Ballard is noted for her beauty.  The residence is one of the finest in Lake Forest.

[text is missing from the following paragraph, losses are indicated by ellipses]

The original Bland Ballard was one of the famous scouts of early Kentucky history.  He left his Virginia home in 1782,  … was only 18.  With his parents … the family of brothers and sisters … into the Kentucky wilderness … settled in a log cabin near Shel- … Kentucky was swarming with hostile Indians.  Between these redskins and the handful of pioneer settlers there was mortal feud.  He served under “Mad Anthony” Wayne in the latter’s Indian campaign and rose by bravery to the rank of Captain.  He was a Major in the War of 1812, and led the charge in the terrible Raisin River battle against the British and Indians.  In that fight he was wounded and made prisoner.

Helped Build Up Kentucky.

After the War of 1812, the original Ballard turned to civic life, helping to build up Kentucky and to strengthen its power in the Union.  He served many terms in the Legislature and lived to see the former wilderness a mighty State.

Ballard died in 1853, at the age of 92, the idol of his fellow Kentuckians and one of America’s bravest soldiers of fortune.


Bland Ballard Had Moved Away Twelve Years Ago.

Bland Ballard, who shot himself to death at Lake Forest, near Chicago, Ill., yesterday, was born in Louisville about fifty-two years ago.  He was the son of Judge Bland Ballard, a member of a pioneer family of Kentucky.

The news of his death came as a great shock to his many friends and relatives in Louisville.  His brother, Austin Ballard, only yesterday received a letter from him dated Chicago, February 3, stating that he had just identified himself with Babcock, Rushton & Louderbeck, prominent brokers on the exchanges in New York and Chicago.  The letter was purely of a business nature and gave no hint that the writer had any intention of taking his life.

Urged To Enter Business.

Austin Ballard said last night that receipt of the letter from Bland Ballard to the effect that he had again decided to take up his business career after having been in retirement for so many years welcomed by himself and his other relatives in the city, who have been urging him to turn his attention to business again.

After having made a record as a young man in his studies, Bland Ballard was graduated from Princeton University in 1880.  Soon after that, he took up his residence in Louisville, and in 1885 entered upon his business career with his only brother, Austin Ballard, in the brokerage business.  This life, however, did not prove as fascinating as he desired, and he severed his connection with his brother in 1896 and removed to Chicago with his wife, who was Miss Adele Shreve, one of Louisville’s society belles and a member of one of the city’s oldest families.  Their wedding was one of the social events of the season.

Tired of Law Profession.

A year or so previous to going into business with his brother, Mr. Ballard practiced law in Louisville.  This was shortly after his return from Princeton University.  He was associated with St. John Boyle, chief counsel for the St. Louis Air Line railroad in the 80’s.  As an attorney Mr. Ballard was regarded well grounded, but he atmosphere of the courts was not to his taste, and he relinquished his practice.

Aside from the prominence he attained at Princeton University as a student, Mr. Ballard established himself as an all-around athlete.  He was revered by all his classmates for his wonderful achievements on the gridiron, and was looked up to in nearly all athletic contests with rival school teams to uphold the honor of old Princeton.  In 1877-78 he was captain of Princeton’s championship football team, the first aggregation of football players to score a defeat against the sons of Ell [Yale].  After graduating, Mr. Ballard always had a warm spot in his heart for his Alma Mater, and paid frequent visits to the university in after years.

Known As a Marksman.

At one time, Mr. Ballard was known as one of the best marksmen in America.  He won renown as a trap shot at Hollywood, N.J., when, in competing with Frederick Hoy and Jack Gilbert, champion sharpshooters, he brought down ninety-four birds out of the one hundred at a distance of eighty-five yards, carrying off first honors.  In this match Mr. Ballard missed his third and fifth shot, and fairly astounded the large crowd witnessing the contest by shooting eighty-two consecutive birds without a miss.  About a year after making this record Mr. Ballard was matched against the best marksmen in the Louisville Gun Club, of which organization he was a prominent member, and repeated his performance at Hollywood.


Father a Federal Judge.

The dead man was a son of Judge Bland Ballard, who served on the bench as judge of the United States District of Kentucky up to the time of his death.  He was a noted jurist and well known throughout the State of Kentucky.  His mother was Miss Sarah Macdowell before her marriage to Judge Ballard.  She died in Louisville about 1901.

Besides three sisters, Fannie T. and Souzon [Susan] Ballard, of Louisville, and Mrs. Charles H. Davidson, of Cincinnati, the dead has one surviving brother, Austin Ballard, who lives at 1064 Cherokee Road, and who is still in the brokerage business here with the firm of Austin Ballard & Co., in the United States Trust building, at Fifth and Main streets.  Charles T. and Thruston Ballard, and R. C. Ballard Thruston, among Louisville’s wealthiest and leading citizens, are first cousins.

Up to a late hour last night none of Mr. Ballard’s relatives here were able to assign a cause for the suicide, full particulars of the tragedy failing to arrive.  Mr. Ballard’s body will be interred in Chicago,* and it is probably his brother one or two of his other relatives will attend the funeral.

The Louisville Courier-Journal, Friday, February 5, 1909, p. 1.

*This last sentence is incorrect.  Bland Ballard was interred at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, Section G, Lot 22, Grave: 8.