Henry Ball, an extensive and successful farmer and stock-raiser of Girard Township, was born in Breconshire, South Wales, September 25, 1844. His father Richard Ball, was born on the Yatt farm, near Old Radnor, Radnorshire, Wales. His father, William, was born in Herefordshire, England. The grandfather was for many years a farmer, but in his later years opened a limestone quarry, and engaged in burning lime in Radnorshire, Wales, lime being extensively used as a fertilizer in Wales. The father of our subject was reared in his native land and becoming a veterinary surgeon, practiced in Breconshire and adjoining counties.
In the summer of 1855 Richard Ball, Sr., decided to emigrate to the New World, and leaving his family at the old home came to America and located at Virden, becoming an early settler there. After deciding upon a location he sent back for his family, and in the fall his wife and ten of her fourteen children sailed from Liverpool in the good ship “Aurora”, and landed safely in New York December 8, after a voyage of nearly seven weeks. They came directly to Virden and he bought a home in that village and engaged in business as a butcher, in which line he continued until his death in August, 1856. He was a strong adherent to the Episcopal faith having all his children baptized in infancy in the Episcopal Church. His wife bore the maiden name of Maria Evans, her father being Thomas Evans, a farmer of Radnorshire, Wales, and her mother, Mary Ball Evans. She still resides with her son, and although she has reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years, is interested in current events and especially church work, being a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Fourteen children came to bless the home of Richard Ball, Sr., all of whom were carefully reared by their devoted mother, who added to her flock two others who were orphans. She lived to see all but one of her children grow to maturity and establish homes of their own, living in comfortable circumstances and in houses which they had built for themselves. They are by name: Frederick, Arabella, William E., Thomas, Richard Jr., Maria, Mary, Frances, Ann, John, James, Henry, George, and Agnes E. Maria died in Wales at the age of eighteen years. Ann married Calvin Tunnell and died in Montgomery County, Ill.; James died in Virden at the age of twelve years; William, the second son, was a resident of London, England, about forty years, and died there February 27, 1891, and Frederick lives in Missouri, but all the other children have made their home in Illinois. William Pugh and John Dowdy are the names of the orphans whom she reared with her own family. William Pugh was a nephew of Richard Ball, Sr., and was a twin brother of James, who died in Virden.
The subject of this sketch was a boy of eleven years old when he came to America with his parents and therefore remembers well his native land, and the incident connected with their removal thither. He was reared to habits of industry, and has been very successful in his farming operations. For several years he was connected in his work with his brothers, but since 1877 has farmed alone. He now owns one of the best farms in Macoupin County, which is well tilled and supplied with necessary buildings which are of an excellent grade. Short-horn cattle are his favorite breed, although he devotes himself largely to English draft and Morgan horses. He is a member of the Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company and of Grange No. 485.
Source: Chapman bros. Portrait and biographical record of Macoupin county, Illinois. Chicago: Biographical publishing company, 1891.