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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



HILLEARY BALL. The subject of our sketch is widely and favorably known throughout McLean County as being a representative farmer and business man of more than ordinary ability. He occupies a fine homestead on section 21, Cheney's Grove Township, and since 1831 has been identified with the agricultural interests of the Prairie State. He was born in Lewis County, Ky., March 8, 1817, and is the son of Richard C. and Katie (Clary) Ball, natives of Maryland. His father was killed by a fall from a tree on the 25th of September, 1817; the mother afterward removed to Illinois, and died in this county, Jan. 25, 1849. They were not connected with any church but lived worthy and excellent lives, and were greatly respected by all who knew them. Their eleven children were as follows: William, the eldest born, died in infancy; Mary is deceased, her death taking place at the home of our subject, aged nearly eighty-six; Hilleary, Elizabeth, Annie, Eleanor, Harriett, Rhoda, Henry, David and Snowden, all of whom are deceased except our subject.

Hilleary Ball was only about six months old when his father met his death. He was reared by his mother and remained in his native county until 1831, then came with her to Illinois, and has been a resident of this county since that time. After arriving at years of manhood he was united in marriage with Miss Calista Hildreth, Nov. 22, 1838, the ceremony being performed by Rev. Jonathan Cheney. Mrs. Ball was born in Lewis County, N. Y., May 27, 1817, and was the daughter of Aaron and Betsey (Macomber) Hildreth, both natives of Massachusetts, born near the city of Boston. Some years after their marriage they removed West to Illinois, and spent their last days in this county, the mother dying in February, 1860, and the father in September, 1867. Mr. H. was Republican in politics, and both were consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their five children are recorded as follows: Calista, Mrs. Ball, was the eldest; Julia married Abijah Westover, now deceased, and lives in this county; Amos married Miss Maria Hartcastle, and is a resident of Kansas; Charles married Miss Polly Owens, and is now deceased; Alfred married Miss Annie Kender, and is living in Texas. The six children of Mr. and Mrs. Hilleary Ball were as follows: William H., born Nov. 24, 1841; Elizabeth T., Feb. 27, 1844; Julia A., July 2, 1846; Amos, Feb. 12, 1849; Alfred, born March 9, 1851, died June 5, 1852; Hattie was born Oct. 21, 1856. Most of these children are married, and settled in comfortable homes of their own, and Mr. Ball is quite proud of the fact that he has nineteen grandchildren.

The farm estate of our subject comprises 150 acres of land and besides this he has given his children each a fine setting out. He has seen the time when his taxes were less than $1, and also when they were over $300. He has preserved his various land warrants, and with them the autographs of several Presidents of the United States, which he considers beyond any value in dollars and cents. In addition to general farming he has of late years given much of his attention to the breeding of Norman and Clydesdale horses, many of his animals having been sold at the high price of $1,300. He has been uniformly prosperous in his agricultural and business operations, and besides his fine extent of valuable land has a handsome and substantial dwelling, good barns and other out-buildings, and all the accessories of a modern country gentleman, surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. He is Republican in politics, and takes a lively interest in everything pertaining to the welfare and progress of his county and community. Mr. Ball has a remarkably intelligent face, is in stature five feet and eleven inches, and weighs 140 pounds.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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