Joseph Ballard

No. 13143 Joseph Ballard.

Photograph in a collection of photographs and service records maintained by Dr. Nathaniel Royal Perkins.  During World I, Dr. Perkins was employed by the draft registration board to examine young men for the draft.  During this job, he befriended many servicemen and kept track of their military service during the war.  Dr. Perkins died in 1922, and his widow, Clara, donated the collection to the Dorchester Historical Society in 1924.

Joseph Ballard by Camille Arbogast.

Joseph Ballard was born on September 18, 1894, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, to John Ballard and Delia (Curley) Ballard. Joseph was their fourth son. John Ballard was working as a brass moulder (making molds for casting brass) at the time of his son’s birth.

In 1900, the Ballard family was living in a rented house in Hyde Park, and at that time  the family had grown to four sons and two daughters. Joseph’s father, John, was working as a carpenter.  By 1910, the family owned their home at 4 Middleton Street in Dorchester and John was then working as an inspector for the railroad. Joseph’s three older brothers were all working adults, but they were still living with their parents. John, age 20,  was working as a printer for a newspaper; Thomas, age 18,  was a shipper of plumbers’ supplies; and William, age 17 was  a salesman of wholesale wool.

Joseph registered for the draft in 1917, when he was 22 years old. At the time, he was working as an attendant at North Grafton State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Grafton, Massachusetts, about 45 miles away from his parents’ home, where he was still living. His WWI draft card describes him as medium height and build, with light hair and blue eyes. He was inducted into service in the Army on September 6, 1918.

James was assigned to the Supply Company Ordnance Training Corps. The Ordnance Corps is the branch of the US Army that deals with the supply and storage of weapons, ammunition, and related equipment. By the end of the war, almost 8,000 plants were working on Ordnance contracts for the war effort. To train new Ordnance soldiers, the Ordnance Department established schools at a wide array of locations, including universities, civilian factories, armories, arsenals, and field depots. Eventually, much of the training was consolidated at the Ordnance Training Camp at Camp Hancock, Georgia, where James was stationed until his discharge on February 14, 1919.

James returned to his parents’ home after the war, and a few months later, his mother passed away in June, 1919. The 1920 census shows Joseph living at 4 Middleton Street in Dorchester with his widowed father and some of his siblings. His father  was then  working as a gas fitter for the railroad; his brother John  was still a printer for a newspaper; his brother Thomas  was an elevator constructor; his brother William  was a checker for an army base; his sister Hazel was  a housekeeper; and his younger brother Walter  was a clerk in a shoe store.

By 1930, Joseph’s sister Hazel had married an accountant named Lester Menkes. Lester and Hazel  were living at 262 Codman Street (present day Gallivan Boulevard) in Dorchester, and Joseph and his sister, Florence (Ballard) Dowling, were living as lodgers in their home; Joseph was working as a clerk for the US government. In the 1940 census, the four were still living together at the same address in Dorchester; Joseph was working as an office clerk for the Federal Bureau of Veterans.

In 1942, Joseph registered for the WWII draft. He was living in Newton Centre, Massachusetts with his sister Hazel, and working at the Veterans Administration Post Office Building in Boston.

Joseph Ballard died on April 30, 1964 at the age of 69. His obituary mentioned he had been the supervisor of the records and mail section of the Veterans Affairs in Boston. He is buried at Newton Cemetery in Newton Centre, Massachusetts with his sisters Hazel and Florence in a family plot.

Researched and written by Donna Albino.

Sources: Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Hyde Park, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Page: 21; Enumeration District: 1042; FHL microfilm: 1240670

Year: 1910; Census Place: Boston Ward 24, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_625; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 1638; FHL microfilm: 1374638

Year: 1920; Census Place: Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_739; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 510

Year: 1930; Census Place: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Page: 23A; Enumeration District: 0463; FHL microfilm: 2340689

Year: 1940; Census Place: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01676; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 15-600 U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

Registration State: Massachusetts; Registration County: Suffolk; Roll: 1685013; Draft Board: 21

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2090

United States Army Ordnance Corps: The History of Ordnance in America by Karl Rubis, Ordnance Branch Historian

The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 24 Jun 1919, Tue page 17

The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 01 May 1964, Fri page 32

The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 03 May 1964, Sun page 69, Eileen O’Donnell Family Tree


Posted on

March 23, 2022

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