I selected Daniel and James Ball to be co-subjects of this post because I’ve run into their respective descendants in the most unlikely of places.
But, first things first: answers to the two questions invariably and incessantly confronted by any Ball Family researcher:
Now then… James Ball was born in 1727 in Stafford County, Virginia in 1727, and died in 1781, maybe 60 miles up the road in Montgomery County, Maryland. He and his wife Sarah (Jones) Ball had as many as eleven children. For my purposes here, I will focus on just two, the afore-mentioned brothers Daniel Ball (1757–1831) and James Ball (1751–1834).
My 4th Great-Grandfather, Daniel Ball, married Catherine Boyer (or perhaps Byre) in Maryland in 1779. They had the first six of their fourteen children there, but were in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, by the time their seventh child was born in 1793. Sally Ball, my 3rd Great-Grandmother, came along in 1798. By 1810, the family had moved further north, to Erie County, Pennsylvania, where descendants still live today.
In Erie County, Sally married Samuel Davis, which event plunged her (and ultimately, me) into a very confusing snarl of Davises. Sally’s brother Gary Ball ended up in the same briar patch, having married Samuel’s sister Polly. (I’ll save the Davis Dilemma for a future posting.)
Sally & Samuel’s son, Otho Davis (my Great-Great Grandfather), moved to Iowa. His children ended up in South Dakota, Nebraska and Washington; only one stayed in Iowa.
Gary & Polly’s grandson, James Demetrius Ball, grew up in Wisconsin, where Polly moved her family after Gary’s death in 1839. James raised his family in Nebraska, and descendants moved off to Montana and Washington.
James’ granddaughter was Myrtle Ball, who married Cleo Madison. Presumably they met in Nebraska, but were living in Great Falls, Montana, in 1930.
They lived there with Cleo’s father and step-mother, Frank and Katie. Katie was the youngest daughter of Ancestor #1, Lula Earl Ralston. Lula’s granddaughter, my grandmother Lula, was married to Otho’s grandson, Louis Otho Wright. I think Louie and Myrtle were third cousins. I wonder if they ever knew if they were kin.
From Maryland to Montana in 180 years… by way of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. Just that easy. But there’s more…
Meanwhile back in Maryland, Daniel’s brother James Ball married and started a family, eventually moving everyone off to Ohio and Indiana. James had a son Samuel – a dapper, Dickensian-looking fellow with a terrific top hat.
Samuel’s daughter Catherine Ball was born in Ohio, lived in Iowa, and finally in Nebraska, where she met and married Alexander LaFortune. They started a family and eventually moved west, arriving in California’s Central Valley in the 1870s.
Alexander & Catherine’s son Daniel set out for the bustling and bustled city of Oakland; there he met and married Jennie Watson. Jennie was the daughter of James William Watson and his first wife, Sarah Radley – one of two children born in New York before the family settled permanently in Oakland (see the previous post, Ancestor #9, John Watson).
So – to summarize: the Ball Family is a big deal on my mom’s side. They also elbow into my dad’s side too. They are everywhere and know everyone. Deal with it.