Ball Family Ancestral Home

The ancestral home of John Ball’s great-great-grandfather; Nathaniel Ball (1663-1725) in Concord, Massachusetts, was originally owned and built by him. From April 1845 to November 1848 it becomes the Alcott’s “Hillside” Home the setting for Louisa May Alcott’s book; “Little Women”, and later immortalized as “The Wayside” by Nathaniel Hawthorn. (It’s not to be mistaken as Longfellow’s; The Wayside Inn which is located in Sudbury, Massachusetts.)

Nathaniel Ball’s Home, Concord, Massachusetts

Nathaniel Ball’s Home, Concord, Massachusetts

The Illustration by National Park Service artist; Steven N. Patricia, shows The Wayside House during the Colonial and American Revolutionary War period, circa 1775, when the house was a fairly simple structure, and the grounds were not well developed. It looked much the same as when the Ball family lived in the house in the early 1700s. Later owned and lived in by Samuel Whitney, Muster Master of the Concord Militiamen, from 1769-1775.

“The house stands within 10 or 15 yards of the Old Boston Road (along which the British marched and retreated)…” — Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1852

The dwelling cited in the 1717 deed was a typical New England farmhouse, two storied, made of wood with two rooms per floor and a central chimney.

However, the house dates back much earlier, according to National Park Service historical architects, who worked on its restoration in the 1960’s. Minuteman Samuel Whitney was living in this house, which still retained most of its original appearance, on April 19, 1775 when British troops passed by on their way to the confrontation at Concord’s North Bridge.

The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts is a National Historic Landmark lived in by three American Literary figures: Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Sidney and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

©1998 Illustrations used by permission from The National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center Commissioned Art Collection, artist Steven N. Patricia.
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6 thoughts on “Ball Family Ancestral Home

  1. Thank you for the history. My mother, Jo Ann Ball made all four of her daughters read Louisa May Alcott’s books. I had no idea it was part of our family history. My daughter and I loved learning the real facts.

    I have letters in my possession written by Rev. Jasper Newton Ball, who traveled to Turkey to convert the Muslims to Christianity.

    • Allison, That’s a great story. I’ve been in discussion of working on a John Ball documentary and the movie of Little Women has been an inspiration for the time period and New England setting. Strange how some things from the past are so connected. So are you descended through William Ball’s lineage? If so is Ebenezer Morris Ball an uncle or great grandfather? Thanks for sharing. Jim

      • Hello James,

        According to a family history drawn up by our mother Jo Ann’s cousin Edward Graham Ball Jr., Ebenezer Ball (b. 1712) was Nathaniel’s (b. 1692) younger brother. Nathaniel also had a son Ebenezer (b. 1721). I can send you the family lineage as per Edward, if you wish. I will need your e-mail.

        Sheilagh Knight

  2. 1708 first edition book with early BALL Inscriptions
    Good Morning from the UK.Please forgive this method of contact but I am seeking knowledgeable assistance and saw your work on the John Ball name.
    I have recently acquired a first edition ‘A Warning against the Quakers’by Antonia Bourignon printed in 1708.Few copies exist and this to me is interesting but additionally the book has four previous owners handwritten script from the 18th century which I believe may be early Quaker Friends in America or descendants of them.
    Briefly they are; John BALL,who bought the book in England in 1708,Isaac BALL 1781,Sarah BALL 1784,John BALL 1791,Plus a later label of R H FOOKS.

    John Ball writes ‘John Ball is my name and England is my nation and Dointon is My Dwelling place and Christ is My Salvation amen’plus a further script in the same hand dated 1791.I believe this place could be Dowingtown PA.The emphasis on England could also relate to him being in a new country and within a generation of the War of Independence,but equally any other area I have yet to discover.

    Sarah Ball’s has a dated birth of 1784,Isaac Ball is listed as a birth in 1781.
    I appreciate these first names are common with early Quakers.I cannot find records of these dated births or Dointon in the UK and they do not relate to birth dates found on various internet sites or papers by Claudette Maerz of the PA Ball family

    Any comments would be appreciated

    Best Regards Clive Myhill (Norfolk UK)
    c.r.myhill@talktalk.net

    • Dear Clive,

      In our family tree, there is mention of five men named John Ball. The first three (b. circa 1505, circa 1535 and circa 1585) are born too early to be owners of the book “A Warning against the Quakers”. One of these two may be the owner: John Ball b. circa 1620 (less probable) or John Ball b. 1647 (most probable).
      The only Sarah in our family tree was born in 1714, so it is unlikely that she is related to the owner of the book.

      I wish you well in your research. I would appreciate hearing about any discoveries you make.

      Best regards,
      Sheilagh Knight

  3. I just found this site and find it very interesting. I’ve done quite a lot of research on the Ball family tree and love learning all of the history that is out there. I would appreciate any information anybody wants to share and I am happy to do the same. My ancestry.com family tree is open to the public.

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