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A.W. Ball

A. W. BALL, Galion, Ohio. Master Mechanic.
Few men can look back on forty-seven years of continuous honorable railroad service, yet such is the enviable privilege of A.W. Ball. He was born July 15, 1840, and when 12 years of age began his railroad career as an apprentice in the Cleveland & Pittsburg shops at Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of 14 he began his active railroad experience as fireman on the old Slater engine on the C. & P., and at the age of 18 he was promoted to engineer, since which time he has spent thirty years of his life at the throttle. From the C. & P. he went to the old Atlantic & Great Western in 1863, and in 1864 he pulled the first through passenger train on that road. It was also the first through train run from New York to St. Louis on broad gauge. J.M. Dando, now one of the oldest Erie engineers and still in service, was the fireman. The engine was the "James McHenry," named in honor of the promoter of the road. Elsewhere in this book will be found a picture of this train and the old depot and McHenry house at Meadville, Pennsylvania. The occasion when the picture was taken was at a reception held in honor of Mr. McHenry for his efforts in promoting the road.

On March 10, 1862, Mr. Ball's engine, named the "Hanover," blew up at Hanover Station, Ohio, C. & P. R.R., killing his fireman and a brakeman, and totally destroying the locomotive. Mr. Ball was three months recovering from this accident, and his escape from death was miraculous.

Mr. Ball's rule throughout his railroad life has been "orders first." Habit is stronger than will; and the habit of constantly bearing orders in mind will insure against forgetting them. This rule will make the success of any capable railroad man who will follow it. In April, 1871, he was promoted to engine dispatcher, a position he held until September, 1883, when he returned to active duty as locomotive engineer. The company had need of his ability in a more important position, and in 1887 he was made road foreman or traveling engineer. For six months he had charge of the road from Kent to Dayton, and for six months more from Salamanca to Dayton, and in November, 1888, he was further honored by promotion to Master Mechanic of the Cincinnati Division with headquarters at Galion.

This position he has held with credit to himself, fidelity to his employers and justice to those under him for eleven years. Mr. Ball has many letters of recommendation received at various times as testimonials of the high regard in which he is held by his superiors. Two of these letters which commend his ability and integrity in the highest mark are prized highly by Mr. Ball as they were received years ago when he was a young engineer. One is dated Cleveland, Ohio, March 23, 1863, and was written by J. Hovey, Master Mechanic of the Cleveland & Pittsburg Railroad. The other was written in Meadville, Pennsylvania, March 4, 1866, by Frank W. Cummings. Superintendent of Locomotives and Car Department of the A. & G. W.

Mr. Ball was married in October, 1864, to Miss Mary E. McFadden, of Meadville, Pennsylvania. He has three children living and one dead. G.W. Ball, a son, is an engineer on the Chicago & Alton, running between Kansas City and Slater. Mr. Ball is an honorary member of the B. of L.E., Division 16, and is a charter member of Galion Lodge No. 414, F. & A.M. He joined the Masonic order in Ravenna, Ohio, Lodge No. 12, in 1863. Mr. Ball is one of Galion's most substantial and respected citizens and his home is at 608 South Union Street.

Excerpted from: "American Locomotive Engineers, Erie Railway Edition," H.R. Romans Editor; Crawford-Adsit Company Publishers, Chicago, IL 1899.




From the May, 1905 issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:
Engine No. 851 recently threw her side rods at Bowlusville on Train No. 3, A.W. Ball engineer.




From the July 11, 1914 issue of the Marion Daily Star:
The Journal of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers for 1911 -- the official organ of that organization--contains a short history of the life of A.W. Ball, the retired Erie engineer, who died at his home at Galion yesterday morning. The history was written by Edward Kavanaugh, an Erie engineer, a member of the same division as Mr. Ball, who now resides in this city. The sketch which will be of much interest to local railroad men especially those who came here from Galion, was written September 8, 1911, and is as follows:

Few men can look back on fifty-seven years of continuous honorable railroad service. Yet such is the enviable privilege of Brother A.W. Ball. He was born July 15, 1840, and at 12 years of age began his railroad career as an apprentice in the Cleveland & Pittsburgh shops in Cleveland. At the age of 14 he began his active railroad experience as fireman on the Slater engine of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad; and at the age of 18 he was promoted to engineer, since which time he has spent fifty-one years of his life at the throttle or in an official capacity in the mechanical department.

From the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad, Brother Ball went to the Atlantic & Great Western, now part of the Erie Railroad, in 1863, and in 1864 pulled the through-passenger train on the road. It was also the first through-train run from St. Louis to New York on broad gauge. Brother J.M. Dando, now one of the oldest Erie engineers still in the service and a member of Division 16, was the fireman. The engine was the "James McHenry," named in honor of the promoter of the road.

On March 10, 1862, while running on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad, Brother Ball's engine, named the "Hanover," blew up at Hanover station, Ohio, killing his fireman, M. King, and head brakeman, J. Carney, and totally destroying the engine. P. McNamary was the rear brakeman. He is better known as "Paddy Mack," and ran out of Bloomington, Illinois on the Chicago & Alton some years ago. He viewed the sight from the caboose platform and said Brother Ball looked like a birdman flying through the air. His description of the occurrence was graphic. Brother Ball was three months recovering from the accident and his escape from death was miraculous.

Brother Ball's rule throughout his railroad life has been "order first." Habit is stronger than will, and the habit of constantly bearing orders in mind will insure against forgetting them. This rule will be made the success of any capable railroad man who will follow it.

In April, 1871, Brother Ball was promoted to engine dispatcher, a position he held until September, 1883, when he returned to active duty as locomotive engineer. In 1887 he was promoted to road foreman engines between Kent and Dayton, and in six months more his jurisdiction was extended to Salamanca, NY, and in November, 1888, he was further honored by promotion to master mechanic of the Cincinnati Division, with headquarters at Galion.

This promotion was held with credit to himself, fidelity to his employers and justice to those under him for fourteen years, when he again went back to the throttle, September 1, 1902, and ran between Galion and Dayton on a passenger run till he was compelled to retire in November, 1909, on account of failing eyesight, just before he reached the age limit of seventy years. He has been provided with a monthly allowance by the Erie railroad company.

Brother Ball has many letters of recommendation received at various times as testimonials of the high regard in which he is held by his superiors. Two of these leters which commend his ability and integrity in the highest mark, are prized by him as they were received when he was a young engineer. One is dated Cleveland, March 23, 1863, and was written by J. Hovey, master mechanic of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad; the other was written by Frank M. Cummings, superintendent of the locomotive and car department of the Atlantic & Great Western.

Brother Ball was married in October, 1864, to Miss Mary E. McFadden, of Meadville, PA. He has two children living. Brother G.W. Ball, a son, is an engineer on the Chicago & Alton railroad, running between Kansas City and Slater, Missouri.

Brother Ball joined the old Knights of the Foot Board and was a charter member of the division located at Meadville, PA, at the time and has held membership ever since. he is now an honorary member of Division 16 of Galion, where he holds the respect and esteem of all. There are few in the order who can compare with his record.




From the September, 1914 issue of Erie Railroad Magazine and August, 1914 Locomotive Engineers Monthly Journal:
After a lingering illness Arthur W. Ball, a former Engineer, Road Foreman of Engines and Master Mechanic of the Cincinnati Division, and one of the most prominent and highly respected citizens of Galion, Ohio, died recently (July 10, 1914) in that city, after a long illness, in the 74th year of his age.

Mr. Ball was a man who had helped to make history on the old Atlantic & Great Western, now Ohio Division of the Erie. He gave the best years of his life to railroading and was a shining light in his chosen profession. Born in Cleveland in 1840, he began railroading at the age of 12 years as an apprentice in the shops of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh road and at the age of 14 became a Fireman. At the early age of 18 he was promoted to Engineer. When the A. & G.W. was opened to Galion he became an Engineer on that line.

In 1864 he pulled the first through train on that road, which was the first through train over the then broad gauge system from St. Louis to Cincinnati over the Ohio & Mississippi and ever the A. & G.W. and Erie to New York.

In 1871 Mr. Ball was promoted to Engine Dispatcher and in 1883 again became an Engineer. In 1887 he was made Road Foreman of Engines and in 1886 was further honored by being promoted to Master Mechanic of the Cincinnati Division at Galion. Later on his love of the road prompted him to resume his former occupation of Engineer when he ran a train between Galion and Dayton, which he retained until ill health compelled him to quit. No man on the Cincinnati Division has held in higher esteem than this faithful man.

Mr. Ball was a consistent member of Grace Episcopal Church of Galion and for a number of years had been Senior Warden. He was also a charter member of Galion Lodge, No. 414, F. and A.M. and a member of Division 16, B. of L.E.

Deceased is survived by his widow, four adult children, two grandchildren and other relatives.

In the death of Engineer Ball the Erie has lost one of its most loyal employes and Galion one of its most worthy citizens. He was one of several engineers who came to the A. & G.W. from other roads in its early days and one of several Master Mechanics who had served under Mr. C.A. Allen, the highly esteemed former Superintendent of the Cincinnati Division, now Assistant to the General Manager, Ohio Division.




Per the death certificate online at familysearch.org, Arthur Wellesly Ball died July 10, 1914 at the age of 73 at his home on S. Market Street, Galion. Cause given was senile dementia. He was born July 15, 1840 in Ohio to James Ball and Mary Knight. Informant was George W. Ball, Kansas City. Burial was at Fairview Cemetery on July 13, 1914.




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