Judge Martin Ballou, Princeton, was born July 18, 1812, in Halifax, Windham Co., Vt. His father, Asahel Ballou, was born January 18, 1771, in Rhode Island; he died March 20, 1851, in Halifax, Vt. He was a mechanic and farmer by occupation, and a son of Benjamin Ballou, whose brother, Hosea Ballou, was the celebrated clergyman of New England. The Ballou family is French extraction. The mother of the Judge was Martha (Starr) Ballou, who was born May 28, 1776; she died October 9, 1839, at Halifax, Vt. she was the mother of nine children, viz.: Hosea, Asahel, Perley, Levi, William S., Reuben and Martha (twins), Alvin and Almon. Of these Reuben died in infancy, and only Martin, our subject, Alvin and Almon still survive.
Judge Ballou received his primary education in the common schools and academy of Brattleboro, Vt. Afterward he studied law with C. K. Field, of Wilmington, Vt. and also attended the Harvard Law School at Cambridge, Mass., and was admitted to the bar in the spring of 1839, at Fayetteville, Vt. He then resolved to go West to grow up with the country.
In the same year that he was admitted to the bar he hung out his shingle in Princeton, Bureau Co., Ill., and here he has followed his profession ever since, and is the oldest member in the legal fraternity. In March, 1857, he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court of the old Twenty-third Circuit, serving till June, 1861. The Judge can look back with pleasure upon a well-spent, active, professional life, from which he is gradually retiring.
Judge Ballou was joined in matrimony in Princeton, Ill., to Miss Catharine S. Tuttle, who was born in Medina County, Ohio. she is the daughter of Carolus Tuttle, a native of Connecticut. Mrs. Martin Ballou is the mother of five children, viz.: Charles T., now living in Marshalltown, Iowa; William S., an attorney in Colorado; Frank M., a merchant in Boone, Iowa; Elizabeth M., who is the wife of Seth Mendell, a merchant of Boston, Mass., and Addie B., a student in Boston, Mass.
Mrs. Judge Ballou is a member of the Congregational Church. The Judge and his estimable wife have made many friends in Bureau County, and are widely esteemed for their many good qualities of head and heart.
Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885