WPA A. J. Ballard


Source of Information: Mrs. Berta Ballard Manning


By: Georgia B. Redfield

Roswell, N. M.

Corrected-copy SEP 26 1938

Subject: (Pioneer Story)

Source of Information:


A. J. Ballard

Buffalo Hunter on Llano Estacado (Staked Plains)

Roswell Builder, Agriculturist, and

Father of First Anglo-American Boy Baby

Born In Roswell Vicinity.


A. J. Ballard, born in Tennessee, his wife, Katherine (Redding) Ballard, born in Texas and their six older children Charlie, Will, Berta, Ann, James C. and Dick, came to New Mexico in 1869, traveling across the plains, in covered wagons, from Fort Griffin, Texas. The seventh child Robert L. was born in New Mexico.

In New Mexico they stopped first at Portales Springs where they found fresh cold water and camped all night, going on the next day to Fort Sumner, where - though they had not expected to establish their residence - they decided to remain.

A few months after their arrival in Fort Sumner their home was destroyed by an explosion caused by some man (a drunk) shooting into a keg of gun powder at a store on the plaza around which the houses were built.

After the loss of their home in Fort Sumner, Mr. Ballard moved his family to Lincoln, New Mexico, where they were soon in the midst of the dangerous and exciting experiences of the Lincoln County War.

Not desiring to raise his children, especially the boys, in the atmosphere of unrest, hostilities and outlawry, that had taken possession of the town of Lincoln, Mr. Ballard in 1881, moved to Roswell.

Mr. Ballard after coming to Roswell established and improved what is now known as the Arthur Stevens farm three miles east of Roswell on East Second Street, where Robert L. Ballard, the first Anglo-American boy baby of the Roswell vicinity, was born. Mrs. Ella Lea Dow, daughter of Captain Joseph C. Lea, was the first Anglo baby girl, born in Roswell. Richard Ballard was a babe in arms when the Ballard family first came to New Mexico. Mrs. Berta (Ballard) Manning was ten years of age. Charlie and Will were old enough to lend a hand during the first hard years of cultivating and improving the Ballard farm.

Mr. Ballard assisted financially in the expenses of the first school constructed of adobe, that was built near his home, in 1881, on the southeast corner of school section thirty-six, three miles east of Roswell, on East Second Street.

The Ballard children attended this first school. Here they were taught by Asbury C. [Rogers?] the first person to teach a school in what is now Chaves County.

After improving the farm on East Second Street he desired, for his children, the advantages of schools and churches that had been established in Roswell. He sold out and built a home on what is now the one hundred block, South Pennsylvania Avenue. At this place the Ballard family lived for many years, and here his children grew into useful men and women citizens, in the home their father planned for them.

In 1875 and 1876 Mr. Ballard had hunted buffalo on the Llano Estacado (Staked Plains) hunting as far west as the Pecos River. He liked the country around which Roswell was built later and planned to return some day with his family and establish a home in the lower Pecos Valley.

All during the journey to New Mexico the Ballard family expected Indian attacks daily especially around the watering places in which they made camp each night, but they were never molested by Indians.

The buffalo that had roamed the plains in herds of thousands when Mr. Ballard had hunted them in previous years were fast disappearing, but hundreds were seen in bunches by the children, who had never seen them running free before. They speak of that covered wagon journey as being the most interesting experience of their lives.

Mrs. Berta (Ballard) Manning, while living in Lincoln, was a child friend and pet of Billy the Kid, whom she remembers as being quiet and gentlemanly and not at all like the two-gun-desperadoes of the present time.

Mrs. Manning, James C. and Robert L. Ballard, and Mrs. Ann Ballard Johnson (who is supervisor of the W. P. A. Production Products) live in Roswell. Charlie and Will Ballard live in Artesia.

Dick Ballard and his wife Laura (Gayle) Ballard live in Phoenix, Arizona. Robert Ballard and Mrs. Laura (Ballard) Lodewick, children of Dick Ballard, live in Roswell.

Members of Mr. Ballard's large family (of which there are children, grandchildren and great grandchildren) living in Roswell at the present time have been identified with the upbuilding and improving of the Pecos Valley for the many years (over half a century) of their long residence in the valley, and have ever been leaders in church and club organizations and in the social life of the City of Roswell.

Mr. Ballard lived to see the town he assisted very materially in building, developed into a modern city of 10,000 population, before his death which occurred at Roswell in 1914. Mrs. Ballard, his wife, died in 1926.


Source of Information:

Mrs. Berta Ballard Manning (daughter) - Roswell, New Mexico.


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