James T. Ball

Obituaries of James T. Ball  

James T. Ball was born March 11, 1843 and married Sarah Frances Waller in Monroe County, Missouri on August 31, 1865. He died on June 14, 1893, and is buried at Long Branch Cemetery, north of Mexico, Mo. 

Collected information indicates that he was a veteran of Co. C, 1st Northeast Missouri Cavalry and Co D , 9th Missouri Sharpshooters, a Military POW and admitted to the USA Post Hospital on June 12, 1865. 


Last Wednesday morning, about 6 o’clock, Mr. James T. Ball, residing two miles north of Paris, went to his barn, telling his wife he was going to shoot some rats. She heard the report of the gun, and he not returning to the house for sometime, she went to the barn to see about him. She found him lying in the barn, the gun across his body, and him dead. He had pulled the foe off of his right foot, placed the muzzle of an old musket in his mouth, pulled the trigger with his toe and shooting himself through the head, bursting the skull tearing out the right eye. The screams of the ladies of the house celled in the neighbors who removed the body to the house, where it was viewed by coroner Johnson and Jury, and the following verdict rendered: We, the jury, impaneled and sworn by Dr. G.A. Johnson, coroner, do find that James T. Ball came to his death, on June 14, 1893, by a gunshot wound administered by his own hand, the cause supposed to be temporary insanity”. Mr. Ball was about 55 years and a member of the Baptist church. He leaves a wife and three grown children. Mr. Ball was about 55 years old and a member of the Baptist church. He leaves a wife and three grown children. He has been an intense sufferer of dyspepsia for sometime and had been heard to say that he would rather be dead then continue in pain, and had threatened to take his life. He was a kind, good man, and was highly respected by his neighbors.” 

(Note: Dyspepsia is the medical term for heartburn or acid indigestion, and can have symptoms similar to a heart attack.) 


This community was again startled, on Wednesday morning by the news that James Ball, living about 2 miles north of Paris, had committed suicide that morning. It seems that he had been low spirited and depressed for some time; and that his family had felt some uneasiness in regard to his condition. On Tuesday evening he took an old musket to the barn and shot some rats. Early on Wednesday morning he went into his house and picked up the gun and started out again. His wife asked him if he was going to shoot rats, and he replied in the affirmative. He went to the barn, and in short time the report of his gun was heard.  

In a few moments breakfast was ready and his wife called him to come in, and after waiting, but not hearing an answer she went out to the barn and there found her husband already dead, with the whole front part of the skull blown away. It appears that after he left the house he went immediately to the barn, removed his shoe and sock, placed the muzzle of the gun in his mouth, and pulled the trigger with his toe. The charge went up through hi s face and head, blowing his forehead entirely away. The sight must have been a terrible shock to his wife, who, while fearing the worst was hardly prepared for the sight that met her gaze. We know of no cause for this rash deed. Mr. Ball was about 52 years of age, and leaves a devoted wife and three children, all grown, to mourn over his sad fate, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies.” 

Compiled using miscellaneous sources, to include “The Bravest of the Brave – Pindall’s 9th Missouri Battlion of Sharpshooters” by Carolyn M. Bartels and newspaper articles from the files of Brad Taylor – The Paris Mercury, June 16, 1893, and the Monroe Appeal, June 16, 1893; . Transcribed by Lisa Perry.