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Wilson County History

Judge Ballard realized his dream of legal career

Judge Ballard realized his dream of legal career

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July 15, 2009
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Judge Benjamin Franklin Ballard was born in Griggsville, Ill., in 1844, the son of the Rev. John Ballard of Pike County, Ill.

“Frank,” as he was known to family and friends, graduated from Amherst College and taught school for a while in Chicago. He did not enjoy teaching at the time, so he joined a surveying party in the Indian Territory.

In 1872, he came to San Antonio and soon found himself instructing the children of Army officers in Latin and Greek and also taught in a private school. He moved to Karnes County and taught school on the Escondido Creek. He then went to La Vernia, where he continued teaching for several years.

Frank had a bright mind and a strong character and formed a wide acquaintance throughout the county. He studied law in his spare time, looking forward to the day when he could retire from teaching and take up the active practice of law.

He came to Floresville in the 1870s, determined to permanently locate at the Wilson County seat. He was admitted to the bar and realized his long-cherished ambition.

He soon built up a lucrative practice and was recognized as one of the leading members of the bar of Southwest Texas. He became a member of the Baptist Church and was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge in Floresville.

Frank married Lizzie A. Houston, the daughter of the late Dr. John Page Houston, on Sept. 12, 1883. The wedding took place in the home of Robert C. Houston near La Vernia.

There were five children born to this union; the eldest, Bessie, died at the age of four. The other children were Mamie, who later served as principal of Floresville High School, along with Edith, Gertrude, and John, who became a successful rancher in Falfurrias.

Judge Ballard died Oct. 29, 1924. Lizzie Ballard (1860-1935) is buried adjacent to her husband.

These notes came from an old article in an issue of the Floresville Chronicle, found in family archives by Michael Blakeney, along with the photo.

Sesquicentennial Committee members are LaJuana Newnam-Leus, 830-393-2166; Shirley and John Grammer, 830-947-3176; Maurine Liles, 830-393-4959; and Gene Maeckel, 830-484-2536.

The Sesquicentennial Committee is organizing celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of Wilson County. Anyone interested in helping with one of the celebration committees is invited to contact one of these individuals.
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