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Friday, June 5, 2009

Grandmother and Grandfather Ballard


The picture above is my grandparents (on my mother's side). Mom's mother was Ida Elizabeth Bruce Ballard and Mom's father was James Franklin Ballard. Ida was the oldest of the seven Bruce children. She was born Dec. 21, 1874.

On December 28, 1899, Ida (at the age of 25) married James Franklin Ballard (age 37). Here is an article that was published in the Big Stone Gap Post (newspaper) on Jan. 4, 1900 entitled "A Novel Wedding." OR as the Bristol newspaper said, "Former Bristol Boy Gets a Bride in his Stocking".

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"During the Christmas holidays, Mr. J. F. Ballard, formerly of Bristol, TN and a frequent visitor to Big Stone Gap, but now a resident of Newport News, VA., went to Norfolk, and after sending up his supplication to "Santa Claus", hung up his stocking at one of the popular hotels of that city and then went to bed like many other anxious boys, dreaming of "Dear Santa Claus" and Christmas toys.

New morning he awoke and ran to see what "Santa Claus" had sent him, and to his great delight, he found in his stocking a very beautiful and charming young lady, whom he was enabled to identify by the jewel she wore, being that of Miss Ida E. Bruce, the accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D.H. Bruce of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, who was the object of Mr. Ballard's frequent visits to our town.

Mr. Ballard was overjoyed, and danced the "can-can" around the room and sang like a "lark" in the spring time, and said that Santa Claus was a dear old fellow and never went back on a little boy when he prayed to him in the right way.

He called in a preacher, who forthwith united them in the holy bonds of matrimony, and pronounced God's richest blessing upon them, and bade them God-speed upon the broad ocean of life.

Mr. Ballard and his bride took the Old Dominion steamer via Old Point Comfort for Newport News, where they now reside and will make their future home.

Both parties are well and favorably known at Big Stone Gap, and their novel wedding was a great surprise to their many friends here, who join us in wishing them a long and prosperous union, and the return of many a merry Christmas."

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I'm not sure who wrote that article for the newspaper--but many of the Bruce's were creative writers. I thought it was an interesting way to 'announce' a wedding--although it 'appeared' as if it was a SURPRISE to the family back in Big Stone Gap.

Sadly, Ida and James were only married for a little over four years. Ida became very sick and died on May 16, 1904. During the years they were married, they had three children: Edith Marguerite Ballard (Oct. 1, 1900)--my mother; Elsie Lura Ballard (born on Feb. 4, 1902 and died on May 19, 1902); and Ernest Carl Ballard (born on January 5, 1904 and died from whooping cough on September 15, 1904).

There's an interesting and sad story in my family history notes about my Grandmother and her sister, Lula, riding on the train from Newport News back to Big Stone Gap with my Mom (age 1.5) and the new baby (Elsie). The baby had been very sick since birth and the doctors told my Grandmother to take the baby back to another climate. So--they headed for the mountains of Big Stone Gap. Sadly though, the baby died on the train ride, before they even got to another climate. AND--because Ida and Lula were afraid of being put off of the train, they had to carry the dead baby to their destination without telling anyone. How Sad is that!

After my grandmother died, Mom was raised by her Big Stone Gap and Bristol aunts. Her father (she called him "Papa") remarried and went on with his life. I don't think that Mom got to spend much time with her father, all through the years--from what I have read. I do know that she lived with her Papa and his new family in Oklahoma for a short time. But most of the time, she lived in Big Stone Gap. James F. Ballard died on January 8, 1936 near Bristol. I'll talk more about the Ballard family in another upcoming blog.

Hugs,

UPDATE: Yesterday, George and I went to Hendersonville (north of Nashville) to check on his elderly parents. Mom and Dad Adams are still doing great. They are such an inspiration!!!!