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Clarence R. Wharton

Author and Editor


Author of the Republic of Texas, Life of General Santa Anna; Member of Southwestern Historical Association; Member of Law Firm of Baker, Botta Parker, and Garwood of Houston, Texas


Texas Biography

By Special Staff of Writers


Issued in five Volumes

Volume IV





Chicago and New York
















            The following article was written about William Anderson Ballard and published in a book entitled Texas .  The article is found on page 293.


            William A. Ballard is a veteran rancher and business man of West Texas , and is one of the oldest residents of Concho County , his activities having been more or less centered in this county for half a century.  His home is at Eden .

            Mr. Ballard was born at Camden , Tennessee , August (/) 1850, son of Alfred and Gilley (Williams) Ballard.  The Ballard family were Scotch, came to America in Colonial times and his father, Alfred Ballard, was born in North Carolina , but grew up in Tennessee .  He was a planter, also owned a steamboat plying on the Tennessee River and for a number of years he made a practice of buying produce along the river, shipping to Paducah and chartering flat boats to carry his merchandise on down the Ohio and Mississippi .  About 1850 he retired from business and in 1965 came to Texas and was living with his son William A., at Cleburne in Johnson County when he died.

            William A. Ballard was next to the youngest in a family of eight children.  His youthful years were spent at Camden , Tennessee , where he had his school advantages.  Soon after the outbreak of the war between the states three of his older brothers entered the Confederate army and all of them were killed during the war.  About six months before the final surrender William A. Ballard himself though only fifteen years old, enlisted in an independent company known as Capt. Nick Combís Company at Camden, Tennessee, and they became a part of General Forrestís brigade of cavalry and he was present at the battle of Johnsonville on the Tennessee River in the concluding phases of the war.

            After returning home a youthful veteran William A. Ballard attended school for a time in Camden .  In the fall of 1866 he and his brother-in-law, J. R. Browning, equipped two wagons and started overland for Texas , being two months en route.  The first stop was in Panola County , but after a week the journey was resumed and they went on to Georgetown , Texas .  William A. Ballard had only fifty dollars in money when he reached there.

            His first enterprise was buying four mules on credit, and with these he engaged in freighting between Austin and Brenham.  He kept up that business until the start of railroad construction between Brenham and Austin. And he did a great deal of hauling for the railroad contractors, having bought four other mules to draw his wagons.  About 1869 Mr. Ballard moved to Coryell County , farmed there three years, then bought land and farmed in Johnson County three years, was in Kaufman County two years, lived for three years at Vaca in McCulloch County and then moved into Concho County at Paint Rock.  In 1877 he established a horse ranch, and developed that business to a rather extensive scale, handling as high as 700 head of horses.  Later he bought a business.  In addition to his farming and livestock interest he became a fence contractor.  He had built the first fence in Concho County in 1885, and for about three years he carried on a business taking contracts for fence building.  His activities have gone on through the years and stock farming and other lines of commercial enterprise.  In 1918 he bought seventy-five head of cattle, and two years later sold out his herd of 100 head of registered Hereford cattle and has 200 acres in cultivation.  For two years he was in the general mercantile business and for three years conducted a grain business at Eden .

            For forty years Mr. Ballard has held the office of deacon in the Baptist church.  He also filled chars in the Woodmen of the World, for many years had been a school trustee, for twenty years was deputy sheriff of Concho County, and these positions suggest the public spirited and generous attitude he has shown toward all community matters.  He is also a director in the Federal Loan Bank.

            Mr. Ballard first married, in 1870, Miss Alice Klepper, of Washington County , Texas , who died in 1871.  In 1872 Carrie Pearson, also of Washington County , became his wife.  She died at Paint Rock, Texas in 1881, leaving one child, Betty, now the wife of T. B. Drinkard of Eden .

            On September 8, 1884 , Mr. Ballard married Mrs. Mattie Watters, at Buffalo Gap, Texas .  She was born in Louisiana and was about fifteen years old when brought to Texas.  Mrs. Watters had one daughter, Alice, now deceased, who married Jim White and had four children.  Mr. and Mrs. Ballard had a family of seven children:  Charles A., on the home ranch; Olive Gertrude, is wife of J. E. Nail, of Eden, and has five children; Alfred who lives at Lubbock, Texas, and has one son; Mary Frances, the wife of Will Stephens of Hermosa Beach, California, and they have a family of four children; Mae, the wife of Clarence Honeycutt, of Temple, Texas, and has one child; and the two youngest children are Emma and Lillie.