Col. Ball, Noted Figure in the Life of Holyoke, Part I

by Laurel | April 18th, 2013

09 Oct 1921

Colonel E. H. Ball

Colonel E. H. Ball
Who Was One of the leaders in Public Affairs in the Early Days of Holyoke

Selectman of the Town of Holyoke, Cavalry Captain and a Militia Colonel.

 Of all the members of the Ball family who have made their mark in Holyoke history of the earlier day none were probably as influential ans as widely known as the late Col. E. H. Ball, the youngest child of Charles Ball, and whose son,m Charles E. Ball founded the Ball Drug Company and erected the Ball Building, now the Holyoke National Bank building. Col. Ball, therefore, links the past with the present. In his day he was the leading man in “Ireland Parish.”  He was selectman in 1854, 1855, 1859, 1860 and 1866; Representative to the General Court in 1866; and was collector for the town of West Springfield for several years. He was captain of a troop of United State cavalry in 1833, composed of men from West Springfield, Holyoke, Granby and Easthampton, and was appointed colonel of the 2d Massachusetts regiment in 1835. This was a militia regiment but the uniforms were most striking if the colonel’s military hat is any criterion.

The Original Ball Grants

The old original ball grants included a tract of 20 acres from the Massachusetts provinces to Jonathan Ball, the older Ball ancestor, being described as “lying near the Great Falls” — a rather indefinite description. A later grant of 16 acres mmore was described as “west of the great river.” When the first Ball to settle in Holyoke  arrived in 1745 — this the Ball that planted the famous Ball elm that the older generation of Holyokers will remember, but which the younger ones will have to depend upon photographs to picture — there were but four of five families and as one chronicle states the “forted together nights” for fear of the Indians. Just where this stockade was located seems to have been lost. One family of Days was located where the old Day house is on the farm now owned by William F. Whiting. The Millers were probably another, and their old place was just south of the D. O. Judd house on Northampton Street. The Chapins probably lived opposite the old church, now a garage, north of Crafts tavern. Col. Ball married Mesaba Miller, daughter of Abner Miller, by the way. The Ball elm was planted in 1751 by Benjamin Ball. How long they “forted together nights” the records do not show but probably after the French and Indian war was over the  settlers began to breathe more freely and the section began to be more thickly settled, as thick as settlements went in those days.

Benjamin Ball was followed by Charles Ball, and he by Charles Ball 2d, and he by Col. E. H. Ball. It was a Charles Ball — Charles E. Ball, the druggist, of more recent years — who ran to the home of James F. Allyn on Pleasant street the morning of the famous robbery by three miscreants of bond to the amount of $6000 or $7000 from Col. Ball and spread the news about the the city. This was December, 1869, and forms the most interesting chapter in early Holyoke criminal annals.

[Note: In 2011, the relative value of $6,000.00 from 1869 ranges from $94,500.00 to $11,500,000.00. Read an explanation at]

To Be Continued …

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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