This collection consists of miscellaneous 19th-century papers of several members of the Ball family, of New Hampshire and Michigan. It also includes a number of land grant deeds and a ledger for land accounts. The majority of materials relating to John Ball and his immediate family, including his wife Mary Webster Ball and three daughters - Lucy, Kate, and Flora. However, some papers of relatives and a few 20th-century biographical sketches, several letters, a two-volume novel titled "Romance of the Forest", and research notes are present. The Ball family has a long and rich history of life and involvement in the Grand Rapids community. Graduating from Dartmouth college in 1820 with studies in law, Ball worked as a teacher, lawyer, and businessman. He first came to Western Michigan in 1836 as a land speculator and eventually settled in Grand Rapids with his wife Mary. He died on February 5, 1894.
A full listing of the contents of this collection can be found in the Finding Aid that is attached to the media section of this catalog entry.