David Ellenwood Ballard.A pioneer family in any community is of more or less historic interest, no matter if its tenure of residence be of long or short duration. But when a family is not only among the first to settle in a community, but also continues to reside in it for decade after decade and generation after generation, and certain of its members at all times are leaders in every movement intended to conserve the community's welfare and promote its progress, then that family becomes of special historic interest and prominence. One of the most prominent families of northern Kansas, and, indeed, of the whole State, is the Ballard family, of Washington, established there in 1859 by David Ellenwood Ballard, who had come to Kansas territory in 1857, locating first at Lawrence. His ancestors, paternal and maternal, were among the early settlers of America and numbered among them are men who achieved distinction in the frontier life of those early days, in the commercial era which followed, in the French and Indian wars, and later in the war of the Revolution. His grandmother Ballard was one of the Everett family of Boston, and his grandfather Ellenwood was a sea captain who sailed from Halifax and fought pirates in the Mediterranean.
David Ellenwood Ballard was born in Franklin, Vt., March 20, 1836, a son of Appleton and Epphene (Ellenwood) Ballard. The following year his father removed, with his family, to Sparta, Ohio, where he established a mercantile business. In this Ohio town the first twelve years of young Ballard's life was spent. In 1848 the family removed to Lansing, Mich., which had been made the capital of the State and where his father continued to engage in mercantile pursuits. In 1850 the boy entered the employ of an uncle, William Henry Harrison, a merchant of Mt. Gilead, Ohio, as a clerk, where he remained one year and then returned to Lansing to again attend school and assist his father. In 1852 his father's store was destroyed by fire. No insurance was carried, the stock was a total loss and the elder Ballard found himself bankrupt. David, then aged sixteen, again entered the employ of his uncle Harrison, who had established himself as a general merchant at Toledo, Iowa, and from his wages assisted in the support of a family which numbered ten brothers and sisters. At this writing, 1913, seven of the children are living: Everett, retired and residing at Port Huron, Mich.; Alonzo, a retired merchant, of Barnes, Washington county, Kansas; Henry D., a farmer, of Oshkosh, Wis.; Anna, a successful physician of Lansing, Mich.; Alice, the wife of Prof. W. O. Crosby, of the Boston School of Technology; Sarah, the wife of William West, a farmer, of Mason county, Michigan, and the subject of this article. Those de ceased are Sindenia, who married George W. Topping, M. D., a successful physician of DeWitt, Mich., also deceased; Eunice, the wife of Albert Bowker, a farmer, of St. Johns, Mich., and Allan, who was a member of Berdan's Sharp Shooters in the Civil war and was killed in the battle of the Wilderness.
During the winter of 1856-7 the New York "Tribune" was insistent in calling upon those opposed to slavery to go to Kansas and vote it a free State. Ballard heard the call, and early in the spring of 1857 packed his belongings, which included a Sharp's rifle, and went, arriving in Lawrence April 23, where, in July, he voted for a city charter. Later in the year he settled on a claim near Powhatan, Brown county, and taught school during the winter of 1857-1858. In the spring of the last named year he got into the town-site business and laid out Pacific City, Nemaha county, and ran it for the county seat against Richmond and Seneca, but lost. He next, in 1859, laid out the town of Washington, at that time a township in Marshall county, was the secretary of the Washington Town Company and, on April 29, 1859, was elected township clerk. Washington county was organized the following year, 1860, and he was elected to the office of county clerk, and to that of register of deeds on April 23 of that year. On December 6, 1859, he had been elected a member of the first State legislature from the Third district, composed of Nemaha and Marshall counties, and took an active and influential part in the work of that body. On the breaking out of the Civil war he and about twenty-five fellow members of that historic body, all of whom went to the front in defense of the Union, spent a great deal of their time on the drill ground preparing themselves for the conflict. During the fall and winter of 1861 he recruited, in Marshall and Washington counties, forty-one men and took them to Fort Leavenworth, defraying the expense from his personal funds. They were all mustered in and assigned to the Second Kansas infantry, then being reorganized, its original members being ninety-day men. The detachment afterwards became Company H, Second Kansas cavalry. Ballard, an active and ardent supporter of Jim Lane, was not in favor with Governor Robinson, but owing to his generosity in bringing his men to Leavenworth at his own expense and his qualifications as a soldier, he was given a commission as first lieutenant. He was in all the engagements in which that historic regiment participated during the war and served three years and three months. He was detailed as judge advocate on the staff of Major General Blunt and served in this capacity in several court martials and tried numerous prisoners. At the convention which nominated Crawford for Governor it was decided that the army had a right to representation in that body and each regiment was given three. Lieutenant Ballard was chosen to represent the Second Kansas in that convention and came to Washington county on his way to Topeka on an army supply train. Arriving at Marysville he found nearly all of the settlers of the surrounding district had sought refuge there from the result of an Indian scare in Washington county. He assembled them together and told them, "Let's go home," and they followed him back to Washington. On reaching that town he addressed them from the tail-end of an ox wagon, stating his desire to go to the convention at Topeka. A vote was taken and he was duly elected delegate from Washington county. He had already been given the proxies of the two others elected to represent his regiment, and therefore had four votes in the convention. The battle fought in this convention was one of the most bitter in the history of the State and resulted in breaking up the ring which had dominated politics during the absence of a large per cent. of the voters at the front, and also in the nomination of Crawford. On February 15, 1865, Lieutenant Ballard resigned from the army to accept the appointment of quartermaster-general of Kansas under Governor Crawford. His appointment was due to the belief on the part of the governor that he was the man needed to secure the return of arms, equipment and munitions of war to the National Government, for which the State had been charged, and during his service in this capacity he secured credits totaling over $41,000. In 1867 he removed to Manhattan, having been appointed revenue assessor of the Fourth district, and also sold Kansas Pacific railroad lands. In 1869 he returned to Washington county and engaged in farming, an occupation he followed until 1899, when he became a resident of the city of Washington, and retired from active labor. In 1878 he was elected for a second time to the lower house of the legislature and served during the session of 1879. He was appointed a member of several important committees and elected chairman of that on the penitentiary. He was identified as the framer and leader in the passage of the penitentiary coal shaft bill, which stopped the employment of convicts in the manufacture of harness, saddles, shoes, clothing and other articles in competition with residents of the State. He took an active part in important legislation and was considered by his colleagues as one of the energetic leaders of the Republican party therein. During this session he presented and secured the passage of the bill drawn by Judge Adams which granted the first appropriation for the Kansas State Historical Society. Shortly after he was elected a director in the society and has been one of the most potent influences in the growth and success of that organization. He was elected president of the society in 1912. As a farmer and stock raiser "Colonel Ballard," as he is known to the citizens of his home county, has realized a large and substantial success. He is the owner of one of the large cattle ranches of the State, situated in Meade county, comprising 16,000 acres, and on which is the most modern ranch house in Kansas, together with other improvements that are unexcelled by any in the State. This property is managed by his sons, David C. and Mark A. Ballard, and is one of the most profitable stock enterprises in the State. One thousand head of cattle are made ready for market annually. His is the distinction of having built the first frame building in Washington county, which still stands on one of the streets of Washington city and is occupied by a school of dressmaking. He is the owner of valuable farm lands in his home county and was one of the organizers of the Washington National Bank and served for many years as a member of its directorate. He is a member of Barnes Post No. 363, Grand Army of the Republic, in which he has filled all chairs. He has attained the Knights Templar degree in Masonry.
On December 25, 1865, he was married in Leavenworth to Miss Louise Bowen, of Brandon, Vt. They are the parents of the following children: Ernest F., born December 22, 1866, a farmer of Washington county, Kansas; Mabel, born September 9, 1871, the wife of Samuel P. Fairbanks, a fruit grower of North Yakima, Wash.; Miriam, born September 12, 1873, the wife of the Rev. Frank Demetz, a Presbyterian clergyman of LaSalle, Col.; David Chancey, born November 7, 1875, one of the managers of the Ballard ranch at Meade, Kan.; Winifred, born November 27, 1877, the wife of Albert J. McFarland, farmer and stockman, of Austin, Minn.; Mark Appleton, born December 29, 1880, one of the managers of the Ballard ranch, Meade, Kan.; Alice Anna, born July 21, 1884, the wife of Harry Bellamy, also connected with the Ballard ranch, Meade, Kan., and Stella Louise, born June 20, 1888, a graduate of the department of domestic science in the Kansas State Agricultural College, and former teacher of this branch in the schools of Washington. Two children are deceased: Louise, born in 1868, who died in infancy, and Frank Crosby, born July 14, 1869, a farmer, of Washington county, Kansas, who died March 21, 1906.
As a man among men, bearing his due share in connection with the practical activities and responsibilities of a work-a-day world, Colonel Ballard has been successful. His usefulness in connection with affairs during the formative period of the State exceeded that of many of those men who were recognized as party leaders. To do justice to the many phases of his career within the limits of an article of this order would be impossible, but in even touching the more salient points there may come objective lesson and incentive, and thus a tribute of appreciation.Pages 407-410 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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