T. H. (Timothy Horton) Ball.

The lake of the red cedars ; or, will it live? Thirty years in Lake online

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home missionary made his way. He was
now commencing in reality the variety of
work which he expected to follow through
life. At the home of the Blayney family he
found a room suitable for the^ accommodation
of the neighbors. Notices were sent out that
there would be preaching that night, and the
young people, instead of going out for pleas-
ure on that New Year's night, came to listen
to the message. The subject presented was
the Choice of Moses, and earnestly and faith-
fully was the wisdom of such a choice urged
upon the youthful hearers.

A religious interest very soon grew up here.
The seed seemed to fall into good ground, into
prepared hearts.

There were two sons and three daughters of
the Graves family, two sons and two daughters
of the Blayney family, there was Mary Fuller,
there were some young people of the Bliss
family, and there were some other young per-
sons, besides a number in middle age and in
active life. The young home missionary soon


had an extensive circuit in the bounds of the
county of Lake. He was the only Baptist min-
ister within the county. His places of preach-
ing soon were at Crown Point, at the Palmer,
the Vincent, and the Adams school houses,
and at the Blayney or Graves school house.
To these other places were soon added. Those
at the last named place, where the year's labor
and the missionary labor had commenced, soon
became very dear to the heart of the home-
missionary. The interest increased there, and
it was soon found desirable to have meetings
every evening. Rev. J. M. Whitehead very
kindly came to assist in these meetings, and
several of the young people seemed to trust in
the Saviour.

Comparatively small as was the neighbor-
hood, hearts were the same there, souls were
as precious there as they are in the cities where
the noted evangelists perform their heralded
and applauded labors.

Never will that lone laborer forget the place
of his first meeting ; and in the kingdom of
the future, where the illusions of this world
will no longer blind, doubtless he and those
whose young hearts then received from his lips
the life-giving truth, the words of eternal life,
will rejoice as fervently as though their spiritual
birth had been in some city's large tabernacle,


in some spacious "inquiry room." There is a
time coming that will strip off all the tinsel
and all the show, all the glitter and all the
glare, from the simple but sublime process of
bringing New Testament truth into contact
with human souls.

Nearly all of the young people in this neigh-
borhood became church members. Pastoral
visits were made here regularly for a year.
And then the missionary pastor was called to
another field. The young people had organ-
ized in the fall of 1856 a literary society, the
existence and success of which they were
pleased to attribute very largely to their min-
ister, and when they learned that he was
about to leave the state, they presented in
and through this society — the church was
many miles away — very touching proofs of
their gratitude and love, both in written testi-
monials and in presents and in money. The
written testimonials were carefully preserved
as the effusions of loving hearts. One of them
is a little poem entitled " Our Minister." The
heading is that passage of Scripture in Daniel
12 : 3. The poem was not designed for the
public eye.

The following are the names of the girls of
this group, as they are recorded on a fly-leaf
of the "Lives of the Reformers " :


" Presented to T. H. Ball,

April 20, 1857,
as a testimony of regard
By Julia M. Blayney,
Mary E. M. Fuller,
Sarah A. Pattee,
Caroline Degroff,
Eutli A. Graves,
Louisa Pattee,
Corinna M. Graves,
Polly F. Graves,
Phebe J. Blayney,

Members of West Creek Lyceum."
To have a place in the hearts of such is not
to live in vain.


As that judicious and excellent laborer, Rev.
J. M. Whitehead, who came to assist the mis-
sionary of the county at the new West Creek
interest, examined with the missionary the con-
dition of the field, they both concluded that it
was advisable to organize a new church at
Lowell. This was a little village just starting
into life on Cedar Creek, where that very en-
terprising citizen, M. A. Halsted, had erected
a flouring mill. A small brick school house
had also been built here. At this school house
the two ministers commenced holding meet-


ings. The members of the West Creek church
and those interested in the meetings at the new
West Creek school house attended.

The following are records from the Lowell
church book. "Jany. 19, 1856. A meeting
of the West Creek Baptist church, being called
for this day, having met at the Lowell school
house, it was resolved, that the Clerk give let-
ters to all the remaining members, and the
church be hereby disbanded."

"At a meeting held at Lowell school house,
Jany. 19, 1856, present besides the brethren
designing to organize a church, J. M. White-
head of Door Village church and T. H. Ball
of Crown Point church, it was resolved to or-
ganize on the morrow a Baptist church, to be
known as the First Baptist church of Lowell.

Met on the Sabbath according to arrange-
ment. Members going into the organization:
by letter from West Creek church, O. W. Graves,
Achsah Graves, James A. Hunt, Fanny C.
Hunt, Melvin A. Halsted, Martha C. Halsted,
Rosana Barber ; by letter from Cedar Lake
church, Adeline Dumond, Mary Ann Blayney ;
by letter from Rolling Prairie church, John
Hunt, Lucy Hunt; by letter from Napoleon
church, Michigan, Munson Church ; by experi-
ence, J. Dumond.

On motion, Resolved,


That we now form ourselves into a Gospe^

The Articles of Faith as adopted by the
former West Creek church were read and

Hand of fellowship given by Elder J. M.
Whitehead. Charge by T. H. Ball. Munson
Church was chosen church clerk. Regulai
meetings of the church to be on Saturday be-
fore each first Sabbath.

Notice was given that trustees would be
elected by the church on the first Saturday in

Thus on Jany. 20, 1856, the Baptist church
at Lowell was both organized and recognized,
no council being called or further recognition
services being held. This action was approved
by the members of the Cedar Lake church.

Rev. T. H. Ball, by vote of the church,
became pastor. Meetings were held through
the year in the school house. The New Hamp-
shire Congregationalists, who had lately made
a settlement on the prairie a few miles west,
attended these meeting regularly until they
obtained Rev, H. Wason from Yevay, as pas-
tor. These Congregationalists and Presbyte-
rians have ever since been on very friendly
terms with the Baptists in the community.




The building up of a church at Crown Point
by the labors of Elder Hunt, during whose
ministry there ten were baptized, has been
narrated ; and also the efforts of that church in
building a meeting house up to the summer of

The missionary of the county, who com-
menced his labors in January, 1856, occupied
Crown Point as one of his places for preaching.
According to the records he preached in the
new meeting house for the first time about the
last of June, the first church meeting having
been held in the house May 24th. Dedication
services were held September 14th. Sermons
were preached by Rev. H. Smith, Rev. J. Ben-
ney, and Rev. J. M. Whitehead.

From the record, April 25, 1857.

" Elder Timothy H. Ball having received a
call to take the pastoral charge of the Baptist
church at Amboy, Illinois, requested letters of
dismission, for himself and wife, to unite with
the church at that place. The request was
granted. Brother T. H. Ball presented a re-
port in full of his agency in collecting funds
and liquidating the debts against the house of
worship in which the church at Crown Point
assemble. The report was unanimously ac-


cepted with the thanks of the church for his
efficient agency in the business.

Elder Ball introduced Elder John Benney, a
member of the church in Cleveland, Ohio, who
being in the neighborhood on a visit to his
family, br. Ball had induced to visit Crown
Point with a view of supplying the destitution
[filling the situation] made vacant by his own
removal from Lake county. Br. Benney con-
sented to remain and preach at the regular
appointments with us, also at Lowell and West

' ' Lord' s day, April 26. Brother Ball preached
his last discourse in the forenoon and brother
Benney commenced [his labors] with us in the

Thus, with entire unanimity and good feeling
on the part of the church and the new minis-
isters, a change in ministerial laborers was

The collecting and disbursing agency referred
to in the above record had involved securing
four hundred dollars to pay amounts still due
at the time of the dedication. This was all
secured, by the aid of Kev. J. M. Whitehead,
so that the house was dedicated free of debt.
Those who, at this time, pledged the largest
amounts, each pledging and afterward paying
the same amount, were, Mrs. Maria Kobinson,


William Banks, E. M. Cramer, Frederick Fos-
ter, Hervey Ball, T. H. Ball, and Spencer S.

The last-named of these seven was a nephew
of Judge Ball, the son of his oldest brother, a
young man then visiting at Cedar Lake. He
afterward went into Missouri, became a mer-
chant there, and his last communication to his
cousin, T. H. Ball, was some time before the
breaking out of hostilities. As his relatives
have had no tidings of him since, it is sup-
posed that he was one among many others fall-
ing victims in Missouri to the violent feelings
that arose amid the horrors of border and fra-
ternal strife.

He has one church investment in the town of
Crown Point.

T. H. Ball removed to Amboy, afterward
visited the South, and then commenced a course
of theological study at Newton in Massachu-
setts. His sojourn of nearly two years at the
home of his youth, with his chosen flower from
the South, had been exceedingly pleasant. And
that southern flower enjoyed very much the
home by the bright lake, where she learned to
breathe the air of the cold winters of the North,
where the two brothers and two sisters made
the surroundings for her as pleasant as they
could, where in the sunny days of early mar-


ried life so many rambles in the grove beside
the lake had- been enjoyed, and where, brightest
and best of all the associations connected with
that spot, was born July 6, 1856, Herbert S.
Ball, who there spent the first ten months of
his life, months which are so dear to a young
mother's heart.

There may be readers young enough in heart
to be willing to look again upon the home at
Cedar Lake before closing this chapter.

Charles Ball, one of the two remaining young
brothers, was absent during most of this time
at college, but he was accustomed to send
cheerful letters home. One of these, dated
Franklin, Feb. 10, 1856, commencing "Sister
Martha," contains the following: " I suppose
that you are, by this time, pretty well initiated
into the horrors of a northern winter. If you
are not I shall conclude that you have not been
to church every Sunday, nor sliding down hill
every week-day." The same letter contains a
humorous- account of a conversation on the cars
with two young colored men who were going
home to Kentucky with their "Massa."

Another letter dated April 13th, addressed
"Dear Sister Martha," speaks of the spring
flowers then opening, describes an exhibition
given by the girls of the Franklin Female In-
stitute, and refers to home affairs, saying; "I


am glad brother lias got such a nice pony as
Jack must be if superior to Bayard. I think
he will make a nice riding horse for you. When
I get home I am going to train Bayard so the
girls can ride him, if he is not already trained."
He was peculiarly the horseman of the family,
and when he came home for the summer vaca-
tion the two ponies were well trained for useful
service. BtTt then, in a cradle lay the little
blue-eyed boy," who had seemed to understand
his mother's language the first week of his
life ; and nestling at his feet was one of the
two white kittens, Kitty Clover and Kitty
Bover, — beautiful kittens they both were —
which had formed a clog-like attachment for
the little child, and would come to the door of
the sleeping room in the morning to meet the
mother as though to inquire about its child-
friend: and of course the young mother did
not take so many horseback rides then.

In the fall of that year there was still another

When the time came for the college student
to return early in September, the youngest of
the brothers, James H. , was ready to accompany
him ; and it was decided that one of the sisters,
Mary Jane, should go at the same time to La-
doga, there to attend the Seminary. It was
arranged in the family council, that all would go


together to Lafayette, and go by the old route
on the Grand Prairie of Illinois. So the two
now well trained ponies, Jack and Bayard, were
harnessed to a two seated buggy, and the three
students, accompanied by their oldest brother
who would drive back the ponies, having said
good-bye to their father and mother, to "sister
Henrie " and " sister Martha " and little Her-
bert, started southward, and, like^a ship put-
ting out to sea, they went "far out upon the
prairie," along the route of 1848, and journey-
ing day by day, they turned eastward and
reached Lafayette, and there the college stu-
dents leaving for Franklin the other two went
southward with the ponies to Ladoga.

One of this party, as they had passed along,
remembered his trip of 1848, and marked the
changes that had taken place in eight years.

Peaches had been abundant at Cedar Lake
in 1848 and the party of three who passed
over this route that year had taken a supply
of these with them, and also a large peach pie
of the variety called by some "peach cobbler,"
the peaches in the pie being whole ; and as
they saw the sun rise out of the distant prairie
horizon, as it seems to rise out of its ocean
bed, and soon after took their breakfast on that
wide, lone prairie, and cut that day large slices
from the "cobbler," it seemed to them that


such a delicious peacli pie was never tasted
elsewhere. One of these planted by the
wayside some stones of the uncooked peaches ;
and now, as he found peach trees on this same
prairie, he wondered whether those seeds which
he then planted had ever grown. Then the
prairie was wild. But now, more indications
of settlements were found, and there were be-
ginning to be wheat fields, and fruit trees, and
"cots and sheep folds seen," and man's en-
croachments upon the broad prairie lea. The
brothers had taken their gun along, with which
one of them shot some wild game, his last
hunting for that vacation. In the neighbor-
hood where they stopped one night, having
now reached the Indiana Wabash region, they
found all the young people assembled at an
4 ' apple paring bee, ' ' and the two college stu-
dents joined the merry party. They had ap-
ples now along the remainder of the way,
instead of the peaches of eight years before,
and with lively discourse, amid changing
scenes, in pleasant weather, talking of the
past, looking forward to the future, the long
land route was far from wearisome.

To two of the four, in this trip of 1856, the
experiences were all new and fresh. They
were going out for the first time into the
wide world and into student life from home;


but they possessed well-balanced minds and
well trained hearts. It is not likely that stu-
dents will thus travel this land route again.

The General Association of Indiana was at
this time in session at Ladoga, and there, for
the first time T. H. Ball met with Dr. J. G.
Warren, with whom he became afterward so
well acquainted at Newton.

The pony team and buggy with its solitary
occupant soon returned in safety to the Lake
of Cedars.

Very pleasant to all the household and to
their friends was this year of 1856, and no
wonder that the little family of three — how
many families of that number have gone forth
since the u holy family" went down from Beth-
lehem into Egypt ? — left with some reluctance
the home of bright treasures. The heart strug-
gle, before the question of duty was decided,
through which the home missionary passed,
was not his first and surely not the last, and is
not to be here recorded. That he was giving
up many " pleasant things " cannot be doubted.
But taking with him the dearest two of earthly
treasures he went forth with a strong and trust-
ing heart.



Kev. John Benney was secured by T. H.
Ball to take his place in Lake county. He was
then a widower and made his home with the
Ball family at Cedar Lake. That family circle
had diminished much in number. Six of the
"seven boys and girls" had gone from that
protected home, and the youngest alone re-
mained. Henrietta, who was called sister Hen-
rie, was now fifteen years of age, of medium
height, with dark, brilliant, but very sunny
eyes, a close student, an unwearied reader,
helpful in everything, as cheerful as a lark,
the joy of all the household. The vacation
times were now joyous seasons.

It was pleasant, in the now small household,
to have again a resident pastor. The family
membership had been transferred to Crown
Point ; but the attendance was divided between
Lowell, eight miles distant, and Crown Point,
six miles distant.

Elder Benney supplied these two churches,
and also had appointments at the new West
Creek, where some members of the Lowell


church resided. The records of the church at
Crown Point seem to have been kept by the
pastor from the spring of 1857 until July 17,
1859, when his labors with that church closed.
(After April 1858 he had made his home most
of the time at Crown Point.) All of these rec-
ords, as thus kept, are interesting, and some of
the entries are quite touching. The following
is one of these. The reader must imagine a
small church in a western village, some of the
members living six miles away, some busy, the
pastor a lonely, but earnest and patient man,
making always the best excuses that he can,
but feeling sometimes depressed in spirits. A
school has been started in the village, by an
earnest pupil of Miss Lyons of Holyoke, which
Henrietta Ball and other young members are
attending. This is the record. 1859, "March
26th. Another covenant meeting day. It is
truly lamentable that so few find it in their
hearts to attend. The young sisters who are
usually with us have entered upon the last
week of their school term and are so crowded
by their excellent but exacting teacher that
they felt they could not spare the time. Sister
Abrams [Miss Mary J. Foster] is too sick to be
out. We had present, Deacon Fisher, Bro.
Blowers, and Father Ball, whose son is again
sick, together with four sisters, and the pastor.


The covenant was read and the exercises were
of a profitable character." It does not need a
personal acquaintance with the writer and his
surroundings to enable us to appreciate some-
thing of the pathos of this record.

To the one now copying this record there
come some plaintive reflections in regard to the
changes of life. Although anticipating some
events these reflections may be left here. Of
those young sisters referred to above, one has
finished all the activities of life and has gone
where they rest from toil, but not from love
and joy. Another has ceased to attend such
meetings altogether, thinking that she has
reached here on earth a higher life than is
known in a Baptist church. A third, perhaps,
has a home and some loved ones around her,
but once and again has she been called to com-
mit a choice young blossom of earth to the
silent dust. That "excellent but exacting
teacher" did not live to carry out her plans
and found another Holyoke seminary, but her
dust reposes in the Crown Point cemetery.
None of the three brethren and "four sisters"
present on that March 26th meet together in
church relations now. One of the brethren is
sleeping with his fathers. And the pastor him-
self, having passed through changes of various
kinds, has gone from earth and entered, no


doubt, a world where lamentations and excuses
are alike unknown.

Within the two years and a quarter of pas-
toral labor as performed by Elder Benney at
Crown Point a few were received by letter, but
there were no baptisms. The church was edi-
fied and built up. There was not much mate-
rial for an ingathering.

At Lowell and at West Creek the work was

Elder Benney became pastor of the church
at Lowell in May, 1857.

M. A. Halsted, whose untiring efforts to
build up the town of Lowell, whose enterprise
and industry, have made him a prominent busi-
ness citizen in Lake county, commenced the
erection of a brick meeting house. This house
was dedicated June 28, 1857, sermons by Rev.
H. Smith of Valparaiso and Rev. J. M. White-
head of Westville. Pledges were made at this
dedication for the payment of three hundred
and seventy -five dollars, and the house became
the property of the church, it being understood
that quite a large share of the expense of build-
ing had been borne by M. A. Halsted, the
owner of the mill property and the founder of
the town. His generosity and enterprise de-
serve to be held by the Lowell church and the
Baptists of the county in grateful remembrance.


Baptized in Elder Benney's pastorate : Delia
Fry, Obadiah Taylor, John Gregg, Elias Fer-
guson, Cynthia Ann Ferguson, Abigail Ault,
Corinna Graves, Ruth Ann Graves, ¥m, F.
Graves, and Samuel M. Graves.

Therl were changes at Cedar Lake. The
spring of 1860 came, a year to be so long re-
membered over the whole United States for its
stirring events, and their momentous, even ter-
rible consequences. James H. Ball had spent
the preceding winter in South Alabama, at
Grove Hill, for his health. His brother Charles
was again at home, and the sisters, Mary Jane
and Henrietta, were at Indianapolis.

The dearly loved homestead had been sold
and a new home, one mile and a half south; had
been occupied for a few months. It was near
the lake but not bordering, like the other, upon
it. A prominent, delightful little grove was
near the house, which from its physical peculi-
arities the girls named Jungle-Dell.

Buildings were erected here unlike the former
ones, and home life was readily transplanted
further out in the prairie.

Again in the South the calycanthus fragrance
was on the air, cape jessamines and magnolias
were promising their accustomed beauty, when
a little party left Grove Hill for the new home.
These were then the travellers : Mrs. M. C. C.


Ball and her son Herbert, who was not yet four
years of age, Mrs. E. H. Woodarcl and her
daughter Lillie four years old, and daughter
Genie, two years old, and James H. Ball. In
all six, not then very experienced travellers.
They went down the river to Mobile, Crossed
over to New Orleans, skirting the Gulf of Mex-
ico, ascended the Mississippi and the Ohio,
passed between hurricanes, and reached the new
prairie home in safety. The meeting there and
the greetings were exceedingly pleasant. The
three little grandchildren added a large amount
of life. They found among the horses on the
prairie farm an old and faithful one called Selim,
somewhere between twenty and thirty years old.
This 'horse their grandfather, Judge Ball, often
drove. lie was very gentle and trusty, and as
he was so advanced in years, the three children
to show their respect called him uncle Selim.
They were fresh from the South, ^where old and
faithful servants were in those days called
" uncle " and "aunt," and with childlike sim-
plicity and directness of thought they adopted
the term " uncle Selim." They fed and petted
the intelligent animal, they 'loaded his mane
with flowers.

They found also one younger and more fleet
of foot called "Dove," which had been , the
valued buggy horse of Elder Hunt and of which

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Online LibraryT. H. (Timothy Horton) BallThe lake of the red cedars ; or, will it live? Thirty years in Lake → online text (page 7 of 19)