INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF MY FATHER, HENRY BALLARD
by Rebecca Ballard Cardon
My father, Henry Ballard was the son of William and Hannah Russell Ballard. The family lived in Berkshire in several small villages and had three sons born to them.
They later settled in Thatcham, Berkshire, England, where William worked as a gardener on a wealthy man's estate. Times were hard in England at that time and William's pay was small, so to help out Hannah worked on the estate also.
She felt that she had all the children they could care for and nearly six years had passed when she discovered that she was to have another child. It was unwanted and unwelcome and she was very upset about it, and in her limited way she tried to loose the baby by working and lifting beyond her strength and other means at hand, but father used to say "the harder she tried to loose me, the harder I clung to life, for I guess it was destined that I should be born."
This child, a son, was born on January 27, 1832, and they named him Henry. Hannah did not know at that time the Lord was sending her a great blessing, and a savior for her family as well as William's, for he was the one who accepted the Gospel.
Of course, as all mothers are, she loved him very much and he was the apple of her eye. They were poor but honest, honorable people and Henry records of them, "Many times I feel to thank God that I had good parents to train me in my young days that I was not dragged down into the sins and vices of the world." And I know that many times they have thanked God for their youngest son.
Henry was born just two years after the Church of Jesus Christ was organized in America, and I feel sure it was no accident, and that the two events were related.
Of father's early childhood I know very little, only one event that he has told us many times revealed some little of what it was like at that time. This event was at the time that Queen Victoria was crowned and all the village celebrated and a free dinner was given to everyone on the village green. In the crowd father became separated from his mother and she was frantic until she found him, but he said he wasn't very much concerned, for someone put him up to the table as big as anyone and there he was eating to his heart's content. He would laugh about how excited his mother was and then would add, "I wasn't far. I was enjoying myself eating all I wanted of all that good food", - indicating that he didnít always have all that he wanted to eat. He was about five years old at that time.
Education in England was hard to get and only the better classes were able to afford it, but when father was a little past nine years old, he was accepted into a Charity school called "The Blue Coat School." I copied the following from the history of Thatcham:
"Lady Frances Winchcombes was a daughter of the Earl of Berkshire, and in her deed dated 30 June 1707, she gave to the trustees about a half acre of ground on Chapel Street, Thatcham, with an old decayed Chapel standing thereon, with directions to convert the same into a school house for the education of thirty poor boys - born or to be born, or whose parents should live in the parish of Thatcham. She directed that funds should be used to buy bibles, common prayer books and other useful books. The boys were to be taught to read and understand English, to write and keep accounts, so as to qualify them for some honest calling".
Father attended that school for four years and that was all of the schooling he ever received. I suppose four years of schooling was about all that each boy was allowed, so father's education was now complete and he was only 13 years old. The rest of his education was self acquired. He was a good reader and speller and good at arithmetic, so I suppose they gave him a pretty fair start, for he was a well educated man through his own study and reading and through the work in the Church.
Father records that on June 24, 1845, he left school and went to work on a farm for William Northaway. On this farm were many sheep, and father was given the task of caring for them, so I suppose he could be called a shepherd. There was a man by the name of Joseph Smith who was also a farm hand and a member of the Mormon Church. During their work and at lunch time, they talked of many things and often of religion.
He taught father much of the gospel and he finally began attending their meetings and was convinced that it was the truth and wanted to join the Church. His parents and brothers were opposed to this for the Mormons were very unpopular. Finally father decided he would be baptized anyway and this he did in February, 1849. He was just seventeen years of age at this time.
About midsummer of that same year, he tells that he was taken very sick with typhoid fever and became very weak and low - so much that the family thought that he was going to die. He didn't know where the Elders were and no one would find them for him, but all the time he was praying for the Lord to send them to him.
Finally his prayer was answered and they came one evening. They talked for a while and asked father if he had faith to be healed. He answered, "Yes, if they would have faith for him, for he was so very weak". They were in an upstairs room and the Elders asked his mother to leave the room, for she was unbelieving, but his father stayed in the room.
The Elder who sealed the anointing rebuked the disease and promised him that he would recover and if he was faithful he would live to go to Utah and do a wonderful work. Henry soon fell asleep and slept good all night and the next morning he got up and dressed himself and went downstairs.
When his mother saw him she thought he was delirious again and begged him to go back to bed. He said, "No, mother, I am healed and the Lord has done it". She wanted him to take some of the medicine that the doctor had left and he said, "No, I will never take another drop of it".
She said, "But what will I say when he asks me? I can't tell a lie". Father said, "All right; mother, I won't make you lie, - just give it to me", which she did and he poured it into the wash basin and said, "There, now you gave it to me and I took it. We won't need to say anything more about it".
He continued to improve and in a few days he went out of doors and was soon back to work. But, before he did this, his father was baptized into the Church, for he could not further resist the testimony that he had received through the healing of Henry, and he began to go to meetings.
His mother was not converted at this time, but was finally baptized in about three months, and they both remained faithful all of the rest of their days.
The promise made to father at that time was fulfilled to the letter, for he was healed, and he did come to Utah, and he was the father of 18 children and his posterity is numerous now, as we all know. He did great work as a bishop of a ward for nearly 40 years.
At the time of his baptism, Father's brothers were all married and had moved to London and were doing well - making bodies for carriages. Of course they were very much upset over these events and decided to do something about it.
They thought if they could get Henry to come to London and live with them that he would forget all about the Mormons and they could handle their father and mother. So they sent for Henry and made him an offer of work with them. Father says, "I could see through their plans but thought it would be a good change for a while, so I went to London and lived at my eldest bother's home".
He says "They were very kind to me but never left me alone at nights or on Sundays, but took me to places of interest and to different churches on Sunday. Nothing was said about the Mormons and I was glad to keep friends with them, so did not bring up the subject, but all the time I was keeping my eyes and ears open to find out where the Mormons were meeting".
"This went on for several Sundays and by my not speaking about them, they thought that I had forgotten all about them," so on one Sunday his brother was not feeling well and they told him he could have the day to himself and go to any of the churches that they had taken him to. Father says, "Now is my chance to find the Mormons". He went in a different direction from where he had looked before and he soon came to a small bookstore with a sign in the window telling about some book that had been written about the Mormons. There was a man looking in the window and father asked him if he knew anything about these people. He said he had heard a lot about them but he added that he thought they weren't a bad lot. Father asked if he knew where they were meeting and he said, "Yes, it is not far from here".
So he was not long in finding the place and he said it was sure a treat for him to again hear the Gospel and he enjoyed the day very much.
When he returned home that evening his brother asked him if he had enjoyed the day and he could truthfully say that he had had a good time. They asked where I had gone and I told them. They said, "Why there is no church there". He answered, "Maybe not, but I have heard the best sermon today that I have heard since coming to London". They asked what religion they taught and he said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints".
"What, those Mormons:" they exclaimed and then the trouble started. They tried to show me what they thought of my error and finally sent for the minister. He labored with me in vain. When they found that they could not argue me out of my folly they tried kindness and bribery, and offered to take me as an equal partner with them -- that I could be a gentleman and wear kid gloves and never soil my hands all of my life, if I would only give up those awful Mormons."
He said, "I told them that I knew that the Church was true and that God knew that I knew it, and I would expect Him to strike me down if I denied it. So I refused their offer, for my religion was worth more to me than all the gold or positions of the world".
When they found that they could do nothing with him by kindness and bribery, they became angry and turned on him and said that " I was no more a brother of theirs and their home was no longer his home" and so they turned him out alone on a dark, stormy night in December, moneyless in the city of London, to find his way home as best he could - 60 miles.
His sister-in-law, Rebecca, the wife of his oldest brother, stood up for him and told them that they were too hard on him but to no success. So out he went. He hadn't gone far when he heard footsteps behind him and someone called his name. He turned and found Rebecca there. She said she was sorry for me and brought me a loaf of bread and some cheese wrapped up in newspaper, but said she must hurry back before her husband found out about it. He says, "I have never forgotten her kindness to me". This happened to a boy of seventeen - now you know how I got my name. That night he slept in a barn and finally reached home - walking all the way.
Soon after his return home he was offered a chance to work his way to Utah. He gladly accepted the offer and bound himself out to work for the company for two years, to pay for passage and further journey. This company was composed of Apostle F. D. Richards, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow and Eli B. Kelsey. They were to obtain a herd of sheep to be driven across the plains and thus help the wool industry in Utah. Father was to take care of the sheep.
So on January 10, 1852 he set sail from Liverpool with a large company of, saints. - 333 on the sailing ship Kennebeck. They were bound for New Orleans where they arrived on March 10, after tossing about on the ocean for 10 weeks.
The company then took an old steamboat up the river (Mississippi} to Council Bluff, Iowa. This was the ill fated ship, Saluda, which blew up on the river killing about 50 of the saints and injuring many more. Henry was thrown and something struck him on the head, which made a large hole in it. He lay unconscious for a while with blood running down his face.
When he regained consciousness he saw a man running, and he followed him, and jumped off the side of the boat which did not sink. But he was unable to stand, and lay with his body in the water. He was finally rescued and cared for the best they knew how and through the blessings of the Lord his life was spared, but he had a hole in his head which gave him much trouble the later years of his life.
All that father could find of his things was one shirt and one sock, no hat and only the things that he had on at the time. But kind friends helped provide for them and another boat offered to take them to Council Bluffs, where they met kind friends to help them.
This was the 9th of April. Here he found his herd of sheep and they began their long walk. He would start out early and try to find a feeding place for them, then the wagon train would pass him and he would come in late in the evening.
When he had left his home and family and started on the long journey to Utah, he was in the company of the family of George May. This family was from his home town and he looked upon them as his own family. One of the daughters, Elizabeth, was his age and his little sweetheart.
They reached Council Bluffs, June 1852 where the cholera broke out in the company and on June 23, 1852, the father, George May died of this dread disease. In the morning of June 27th, the youngest daughter died and that same evening the oldest daughter, Elizabeth, died of the same disease.
When father left with his sheep early in the morning of June 27th, Elizabeth was well, and he described her as a strong robust girl. When the company caught up to him about sundown, he says that she was reduced to a skeleton and was unable to speak to him and died soon after. He dug her grave and helped to bury her himself, about eleven o'clock that night.
On July 2nd another member of the family, a son, William May died. It seemed that tragedy stalked this family for on July 4th, the mother died. Father says that he had to lift her out of the wagon and helped sew her up in a sheet, as that was all the preparation they could make for her. He said that she was like a mother to him and he loved her very dearly, and that it was one of the hardest things that he ever had to do was to lay her away.
He was now really alone in this new world, leaving all who were dear to him in unknown graves along the trail. The company arrived in Salt Lake City October 16, 1852. He was now 20 years old.
After he had worked out his time for the sheep company, he located his father and mother who had come across the plains with the P.E. fund and they settled in Mill Creek. He spent the first winter in Salt Lake City.
He then joined and belonged to the Militia. So he was with the memorable times on July 24, 1857 at the time of Johnstonís Army. He was with the guard in Echo Canyon and the move south.
After the trouble was settled, he returned to Mill Creek. This home was located on the west side of what is now 5th East and 33 South in Salt Lake City, but he felt that he needed more land and in the spring of 1859 Cache Valley was being opened up for settlers, so on May 2, 1859 he was released from the militia and on the 3rd of May, he and Aaron Dewitt started for Cache Valley.
They took 2 yoke of oxen, some young stock, a plow and seeds, tools and some bread stuff, all belonging to Henry. It took them 7 days to make the trip to Wellsville. They were sent to Spring Creek, where they put in a crop and then on June 2 they went to Logan to look around. They found some good land, but looked around further, and finally decided to locate in Logan.
He moved his logs, etc. on Jul 15 1859. He was allotted a lot on 2nd West and Center Street. The fort was down Center Street. On July 27 1859 he began building a two room log house, dirt floors and roof. It stood there for years. When it was completed he went to Salt Lake and moved his father and mother to Logan and this is where they lived.
That summer was spent building his own home in Logan and tending his garden at Spring Creek. Their food ran out and Henry records that most of the camp was out of flour and lived upon green corn, potatoes and turnips for days and they were thankful to have plenty of them. He was a minute man and spent much time helping to guard against the Indians.
He went to October conference in Salt Lake City and upon returning home they met Brother Thomas McNeil and family who had just come across the plains and were on their way to Cache Valley, and they offered them assistance on their continued journey. In Henry's journal, he stated that was the first meeting of his wife to be, Margaret McNeil.
At the time of this meeting, Margaret was a barefooted, sun-burned little girl, driving her cow along the dusty country road, but it was impressed upon her mother and to Henry at that time, that some day she would be his wife.
In January Henry asked Margaret to go to a dance with him at Providence. He had a yoke of oxen and a heavy sleigh. It was very cold and snowed a three foot wall while they were in the dance. They were unable to go home so they sat up all the rest of the night with others from the dance. They had a very hard time to get home the next day.
Their romance continued from that time, and although Margaret was only 15 years old, Henry wanted to marry her. He felt that he could take care of her and provide for her without her having to work as hard as she had been doing.
Logan City. December 15, 1860
My Request to Brother McNeil.
O give me thy dear
daughter 0 give her unto me
I want to make myself a
home a heaven on the earth
Oh give me then thy
have to fear,
A still small voice seems whispering and says "This is the plan",
To Sister McNeil
They were married on Sunday, May 5, 1861, by Bishop William B. Preston. Margaret was fifteen and Henry was twenty-nine years old. He had been put in as Bishop of Logan Second Ward a month before their marriage.
After his marriage he took Margaret to live with his parents until his own home was finished, and then they moved there.
NOTE; Because much has been written about Henry Ballard, most of which we all have access to, I am not going to include the details of his life during the nearly 40 years he served as the Bishop of Logan Second Ward. --Edna Taylor)
TO BROTHER AND SISTER BALLARD
Hail Patriarch Father,
We celebrate the
man and a
But a child in years,
They had naught the
world called riches,
Trials they met and sacrifices
and many a
Age comes on with
They not are rich,
Bright immortal souls
were given them,
No dark sorrow in their
They have bravely
fought life's battle
Brother Ballard, Sister
TO BISHOP HENRY BALLARD, ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS SIXTY-SIXTH BIRTHDAY, January 27th 1898
For Henry's 74th birthday, the ward had a fine picture
of Henry prepared and framed and presented to him on his birthday, Jan. 27,
UNVEILING OF PAINTING by Aaron Dewitt
And every beating
pulse we tell
And every day brings
A work of art will be
Revealing what we love
One who has counseled
us for years
But tried to take the
And cherish his dear
Gaining far more light
TO HENRY BALLARD
After thirty years a bishop.