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Orange County










            Dr. Charles Dexter Ball, a resident of Orange County during the past forty-six years, is a retired physician and surgeon of Santa Ana who has long occupied an outstanding position in professional and business circles and has also figured prominently in public affairs of this part of the state.  A native of Stanstead, Quebec, Canada, he was born October 5, 1859, to Seth F. and Arvilla (Field) Ball.  He is descended from one of America’s oldest families, his lineage being traced back to Wiltshire, England, from which place six Ball brothers came to the New World in 1635 on the ship “Planter.”  Benjamin Ball, a grandson of one of these brothers, settled in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1703 and he became the grandfather of Dr. Silas Ball, who was a surgeon in the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution.  A grandson of the latter, Seth F. Ball was born in Leveret, Franklin County, Massachusetts, in 1822.  He came to California in 1854 and remained for four years, after which he went to the province of Quebec, Canada.  He resided there until 1894, when he returned to California and settled in Santa Ana, where his death occurred in 1900, at the age of seventy-eight years.  Seth F. Ball was married twice, first to Miss Arvilla Field, a descendant of Zachariah Field, one of the grantees of the state of Connecticut, and Benjamin Waite, preacher, guide and Indian fighter, who was killed in the Deerfield Massacre of 1704.  To Seth F. and Arvilla Ball were born two children, Charles Dexter, of this review; and a daughter who died in infancy.  The mother of these children passed away in 1884 and subsequently Mr. Ball was married to Mrs. Mary E. Rogers.

            Charles Dexter Ball attended Stanstead Academy and Stanstead Wesleyan College in his native province, after which he took up the study of medicine in Bishop’s College, in Montreal, from which he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1884.  A number of years later (1912) he also received from McGill University the Ad Eundem degree in medicine.  Dr. Ball received a license to practice medicine in Quebec in 1884, Vermont in 1885 and California in 1887.  It was in September, 1887, being obliged to seek a milder climate that he took up his permanent abode in Santa Ana, California.  We quote from a history of Orange County published in 1931:  “Dr. Ball is now dean of his profession in Orange County and has long been regarded as one of the ablest and most successful physicians of this locality.  In the early days of his practice here he covered a wide radius of surrounding territory, and his professional calls were often made under conditions contrasting sharply with those of the present day.”  In 1889 Dr. Ball was one of the organizers of the Orange County Medical Society, of which he is a past president.  He is also a charter member and past president of the Southern California Medical Society, organized in 1888, is chairman of the history committee of the California State Medical Society and is a Fellow of the American Medical Association.  Aside from his professional activities Dr. Ball is well known in business circles of his adopted city as a director of the First National Bank of Santa Ana, president of the Santa Ana Manufacturing Company, director of the California Crate Company, president of the Raitt Dairy Incorporated Milk Company and as president for more than a third of a century of the Abstract and Title Guaranty Company.

            In May, 1883, at Stanstead, Quebec, Dr. Ball was married to Miss Lizzie S. Bates, who died in June, 1888, without issue.  On the 24th of October, 1889, in San Leandro, California, the Doctor was married to Miss Emma L. Rankin, who was born in Richmond, Canada, June 3, 1861, and is a daughter of Zera Rankin, a gentleman of Scotch descent and a prominent businessman of Richmond.  Mrs. Emma L. (Rankin) Ball, left motherless when but two months old, came to California in 1886 and was graduated from the Oakland high school in 1888.  Dr. and Mrs. Ball became the parents of four children, namely:  Charles Field, Dexter Rankin, John Dryer and Emma Arvilla.  All are graduates of the University of California at Berkeley.  The eldest, Charles Field Ball, B. S., born November 6, 1892, is a mechanical engineer by profession and is chief of the engineering forces of the Chain Belt Manufacturing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He distinguished himself while associated with the Holt Manufacturing Company by equipping Pershing’s expedition into Mexico with tractor conveyance and when the U. S. became involved in the World War, General Pershing recalled Mr. Ball to service and he had charge of equipping tanks, etc., at Peoria, Illinois.  On the 26th of April, 1917, he married Margaret G. Weeks and they are the parents of three children, as follows:  Margaret Elizabeth, born October 2, 1918; Barbara Arvilla, born February 5, 1922; and Charles Field, Jr., born February 16, 1928.  Dexter Rankin Ball, A. B., M. D., was born February 19, 1894, and became associated with his father in the practice of medicine in Santa Ana, California.  He married Edna May Taber on the 15th of June, 1921, and they are the parents of three children:  Dexter Taber, born May 24, 1923; Robert Edward, born January 7, 1927; and Donald Rankin, born August 31, 1932.  John Dryer Ball, A. B., M. D., born March 9, 1896, also joined his father in medicine practice in Santa Ana.  On the 27th of June, 1919, he married Isabel May Jayne and they are the parents of two children:  John Dryer, Jr., born July 20, 1925; and Mary, born October 1, 1928.  Emma Arvilla Ball, A. B., was born February 12, 1898, and on the 24th of June, 1923, became the wife of Paul Benjamin Witmer, the present mayor of Santa Ana.  Mr. and Mrs. Witmer are the parents of three children:  Paul Benjamin, Jr., born July 17, 1924; James Philip, born June 30, 1926; and Virginia Louise, born February 6, 1933.  Dexter R. and John D. Ball are Masons and members of the American Legion.

            An active worker in the local ranks of the Republican Party, Dr. Ball was a delegate to the Republican national convention in Chicago in 1920.  In 1923-24 and again in 1927-28 he represented the seventy-sixth district in the state legislature, in which body he served on a number of important committees.  Helpfully interested in civic affairs, he served as a member of the city board of education for two terms, was president of the public library board of Santa Ana for thirty-one years and was county physician of Orange County for seven years.  He served as a member of the Southern California Exemption Board No. 1 throughout the World War and was a member of the United States pension examining board for twenty-one years.  His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, while fraternally he is affiliated with the following Masonic bodies:  Santa Ana Lodge, No. 241, F. & A. M.; Santa Ana Chapter, No. 73, R. A. M.; Santa Ana Commandery, No. 36, K. T.; and Al Malaikah Temple, A. A. O. N. S. M., of Los Angeles.  He is also a member of the Santa Ana Lodge, No. 236, I. O. O. F.  By virtue of his regular enlistment in the medical service corps, Dr. Ball belongs to the Medical Veterans of the World War, and by reason of his descent from Silas Ball, surgeon of the Hampshire Regiment of Massachusetts, he has membership in the California Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.  He is president of the Orange County Historical Society and has performed his part in the progress and development of the community which has long numbered him among its leading physicians and foremost citizens.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 259-262, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.