Thomas L. Ball biography

THOMAS L. BALL. The interests of prime importance in any community of our common country is that of the United States mail. Without exception every citizen is a patron of it and is vitally interested in its efficient care and conduct and, therefore, in the person who fills the position of postmaster in the community. Our modern mail facilities and our modern methods of handling the mails guarantee safe and expeditious transit and delivery of matter posted within the federal jurisdiction and the postmaster whose care and watchfulness adds to the least possible friction is the right man in the right place, and the office at Decatur is presided over by just such an official in the person of Thomas L. Ball, the subject of this review.

Mr. Ball represents a family of pioneer interest to the citizens of Wise county, for it was founded here in 1854 by Moses Ball, our subject’s grandfather, who settled a farm just north of the county seat and there passed the remainder of his long and active life. The latter was born in 1813, reached Texas with an ox team and a log chain, articles of prime importance then, and did a frontierman’s share of the hunting and Indian fighting that went on the first twenty years of his residence here. He married and his family comprised: Carlo B., father of our subject; Annie, wife of Zan Rieger, of Decatur; Mrs. Jane Carroll, who died in Wise county; Adaline, wife of Joseph Marlette, of Montague county; Emma, wife of William Dixon of Dimmit county; Eliza, who married Fred Olson [Fred Elsom]; and Julia, wife of Ed Ray, of Wise county; Moses, of Oklahoma; Letitia, wife of Joseph Brown, of Wise county; “Bud,” who was stolen by the Indians in childhood and held in captivity two years, was the youngest, and died leaving a family in Wise county.

Carlo B. Ball was born in 1839, in Kentucky, in the mountain country of that turbid state. He was twelve years of age when the family caravan pulled across the frontier toward its place of destination on Sandy, in Wise county, and here he grew up without educational privileges, and resided until 1904, when he took up his abode in Canadian, Texas, where he now resides. As a farmer and stock man he was modestly successful, brought up his family to become useful and honorable citizens, and took a good citizen’s part in the civil affairs of his county. He was a Ranger in the days when that service was necessary as a protection against thieving and murderous bands of red men, but evaded military duty in the Confederate service during the Civil war. He was against secession and in favor of the Union, and when party lines were drawn after the war he espoused the principles and endorsed the policies of the Republican party. He married Clarinda Conley, a daughter of Jackson Conley, a settler from Illinois. Mrs. Ball was born in Illinois in 1843, and at fourteen years of age accompanied her parents to Wise county, Texas. Her father built the first flouring mill in the county and owned and operated it several years. Of the issue of the marriage of Carlo B. and Clarinda Ball, Alice married Ed Outler and resides in Oklahoma; Mahala and Emma, twins, wives of A. B. Full, of Wise county, and W. G. Cook, of Canadian, Texas, respectively; Thomas L., our subject; Nettie, wife of Bernard Day, of Elk City, Oklahoma; Clara, who married Will Dyer, of Vernon, Texas; Delia, now Mrs. Frank Smith, of Decatur; and Carlo B., Jr., of Canadian, Tex.

The country surrounding his birthplace and the rural schools and those of the city of Decatur were the scene of the rearing and educating of Thomas L. Ball. His birth occurred September 24, 1874, and he finished his school days with two years in the Baptist College of his town. He chose the teacher’s route as a means of getting off properly in life and was engaged in this and student work almost to the time of his entering the government service. He was appointed postmaster in March, 1902, and succeeded H. H. Little at once in the office.

April 13, 1902, Mr. Ball married Mattie Standley, a daughter of W. G. Standley, formerly from East Texas, near Livingston. Mrs. Ball was born in Texas, and she and Mr. Ball are the parents of a daughter and a son, Ruth and Gene. Mr. Ball is, of course, a Republican, and is a Master Mason.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 497-498.