of Bethel and Royalton
by Grant and Lee Fairbanks
AN UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER
David Ballard was a restless man of passionate convictions who stirred many with his energy and charm. Although born in Vermont, David grew up in Ohio and Michigan. In 1857 he entered the Territory of Kansas and worked for a time in Lawrence. David was inspired by the Abolitionist John Brown and soon joined the faction of James Lake, fighting in opposition to the extension of slavery into Kansas.
Ballard was one of the founders of Washington Co., west of Leavenworth. He was elected by the Free State party to represent his district in the new Kansas State Legislature, which convened in 1860-61.
He held several appointive positions at the state level after the war, but in 1868 settled on his farm at Ballard's Falls, the community formed around a mill he constructed on the Little Blue River.
David had married another Vermonter, Sarah Louisa Bowen, b. Royalton, November 13, 1848. "Louise" was one of the younger sisters of Caroline Frances Bowen, the wife of Capt. Luke B. Fairbanks. Louise was just 17 when she married David Ballard in December 1865. Like Luke and Caro, David and Louise exchanged their vows on Christmas Day.
Settled in Washington Co., the Ballards had 10 children, all of whom survived to adulthood. David established a 16,000 acre ranch near Barnes, KS, prospered in various other ventures, and in 1879 was elected for a second time to the State Legislature.
Louise Ballard died in 1916. At about that time, David Ballard parceled out his holdings among his children and retired to Miami. There he was well known for his charm, puckish humor and wealth of stories about the Civil War and pioneer days. He died in Miami in January, 1927, just a few weeks short of his 91st birthday.
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