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Notable Adair Countians from History: A.H. Ballard

As I put together this sketch of Prof. Ballard, it occurred to me that he was not unlike Prof./Eld. Wilson Kendrick Azbill - sans the flash and the "respectable" cloak of religion. -"JIM"

By "Jim"
"Truly born again Adair Countians are more Adair Countian than the natives and accepted as such." - E. Waggener, Ye Olde CM editor.
If ever the above quote were true, it was true for Arthur Henry (A.H.) Ballard, Ohioan by birth and Columbian by choice who removed to southern Kentucky in early manhood, and, with one brief hiatus, stayed the course for the rest of his life. His obituary in the Adair County News (December 12, 1945) read in part:

"Services Today For A.H. Ballard
Arthur Henry Ballard, well-known retired citizen of Columbia, died at his home on Jamestown Street early Monday morning, after having been sick for four weeks.

Mr. Ballard came to Columbia from his native State of Ohio, in 1885 to teach in the M. & F. High School. He was a splendid educator and engaged in the teaching profession here and elsewhere in this section of Kentucky for many years...

The deceased was a man of versatile accomplishments. He was a surveyor and a competent electrician at Fort Knox during World War I. He was budget commissioner of Adair County for several years. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church...

Interment was in the City Cemetery."
(Mr. Ballard was born in the fall of 1865 in Tuppers Plains, Meigs County, southeastern Ohio. He isn't to be found anywhere in the 1880 or 1900 federal census records.)

He was, for three weeks, "Mayor Ballard"

Not mentioned in the obituary is that he served, if ever so briefly, as Mayor of Columbia. He was elected to that position in November, 1909, assumed the duties of office on January 1, 1910, and resigned less than three weeks later when he purchased W.R. Myers' half-interest in the Myers Electric Light Plant. He was also a charter member and the first vice-president of the Adair County Commercial Club, organized in the waning days of 1900.

Was involved in grocery business

Mr. Ballard was involved for a number of years in the grocery business. In late September, 1909, the News carried a brief article about the opening of Ballard & Russell general grocery store in "Cravens' old stand." This followed the August announcement that Jo Russell (J.O.'s nephew) and A.H. Ballard "have purchased Mr. M. Cravens' stock of drugs, etc., have rented of Mr. Cravens the store room, and will open a general line of groceries." (The stock of drugs was to be closed out to Columbia druggists.)

Mr. Ballard had previously been associated with the Columbia Wholesale Grocery Store as co-owner with E.L. Sinclair and its successor, the Columbia branch of the V.M. Gowdy Wholesale Grocery Company.

Was a distiller

Another of the good professor's earlier business ventures drew passing mention the Jamestown newsletter printed in the March 18, 1903 News:
"John W. Warren has been appointed storekeeper-gauger and assigned to the distillery of A.H. Ballard, to which place he goes the 25th of this month."
Immediately after Armistice Day, 1918, Mr. Ballard, who had been serving as Adair County's wartime Food Administrator, applied for a passport to go to Great Brittan and France in his capacity as an Educational Secretary with the Y.M.C.A. The December 4, 1918 News reported that "He is daily expecting a telegram notifying him to report in New York, where he will remain ten days or two weeks before sailing." Whether he made trip is not known, but it's unlikely that he did. According to the December 18 News, State Senator Robert Antle of Russell County "and quite a number of others" who had made plans for a similar trip "were notified that their services would not be needed."

Prof. Ballard married into prominent Miller family

In 1894, Prof. Ballard married Mollie, the daughter prominent Crocus citizens James P. Miller and Sarah McClure Miller. Mollie was a sister of Dr. Samuel Preston (S.P.) Miller; the great-aunt of longtime Jamestown Street resident Russell Miller; and kinswoman of several other well-known Jamestown Hill residents.

Couple taught at Russell Springs High School

The Ballards taught the 1899-1900 term at the Russell Springs High School which ended in early March, 1900. Soon thereafter, the News announced that the Ballards had removed to Columbia with quarters in the Hancock Hotel and that
"Prof. A.H. Ballard has bought from Mr. T.A. Baker his lease on the M. & F. High School in this town. Mr. Baker had the building leased for five years hence Prof. Ballard has a four year lease beginning next September.

Prof. Ballard enjoys the reputation of being one of the best educators in Southern Kentucky. He is a man eminently fitted in every particular for building up a fine school...We gladly welcome Prof. Ballard to our town..."
Headed M. & F. High School here

Come August, the News announced that "Prof. Ballard opened the M. & F. High School last Monday with flattering prospects," and a later edition stated that "He is assisted by Mrs. Ballard who is also an experienced instructor." (Mollie later taught in the Columbia Graded School; she also sold chickens on the side.)

Despite Prof. Ballard having "a very successful term" with the school achieving "the highest average daily attendance for several years," the Presbytery Home Office of New York decided to reassert control of the school and announced plans to send their own to be Principal. In the summer of 1901, A.H. and Mollie removed from Columbia to the yon kingdom of Crocus, but not before the Professor proclaimed that Columbia would remain his permanent residence.

Unsuccessful candidate for Adair School Superintendent

A.H. unsuccessfully ran for Adair County Superintendent of Schools in 1901, and by the summer of 1902, he and Mollie were residing in Middleton, Ohio. However, come winter of 1905, they had returned to Columbia and were citizens of Jamestown Hill. The August 30, 1905 News reported that "Mr. L.B. Hurt sold his home on the Jamestown road, last Saturday, to Prof. A.H. Ballard for $2,250," and the December 13 edition stated that "Prof. Ballard and wife are now enjoying their home which they purchased last Fall, from Col. L.B. Hurt, on Boomer Heights."

Jamestown Hill: Once Bomar, aka Boomer Heights

(In the early years of the 20th century, the Jamestown Hill area often was called Bomar Heights, and, as in the case above, "Bomar" sometimes got corrupted to "Boomer.")

The following summer, a bolt of lightning struck the chimney of the Ballard house, "knocking off the top." There was no other damage, and the Ballards weren't at home when it occurred.

In the spring of 1906, it was announced that Prof. and Mrs. Ballard planned to raise the ell of their house, thus making it two story, and to add a front porch. Two years later, the July 15, 1908 News informed readers that
"Prof. A.H. Ballard is making some valuable improvements to his residence on 'Bomar Heights.' A concrete walk is being put down in front of the premises, and a walk will also be made from the entrance gate to the front door. A new front fence will also take the place of the old one. Other necessary improvements are being made and when all the work has been completed the Ballard residence will be one of the most attractive on the Heights."
In 1910, the Ballard household included a servant, Sylva White (a 37-year-old widow). In 1920, some of their nearest neighbors included the families of John D. Lowe, Cortez Sanders, and Rev. F.J. Barger, and just a few households away resided the families of J.O. Russell, Joseph Russell (J.O.'s nephew) and Eros B. (Cy) Barger.

This story was posted on 2010-07-12 08:11:17
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