Ballard was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 1779, at age 18, he moved to Kentucky. Ballard married three times. He and his first wife Elizabeth Williamson were the parents of seven children. Elizabeth died in 1827, and he married Diana Matthews in 1833. Diana death in 1835, in 1841 Ballard married Elizabeth Weaver Garrett.
Ballard served as a scout in George Rogers Clark's 1780 expedition into the Ohio country. During the Northwest Indian War, he served as a scout for Clark's 1786 Wabash campaign. Ballard participated in the battles of Fallen Timbers (1794), Tippecanoe (1811), and the River Raisin (1813). As a major of Kentucky volunteers, he played a leading role in the expedition against the British and American Indians who had invaded southeastern Michigan. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Frenchtown, but was among the group of prisoners who were transported into Canada and so escaped the River Raisin Massacre. Following the war, Ballard served as a Delegate from Shelby County in the 1800, 1803 and 1805 Kentucky General Assembly.
When Ballard died in 1853, he was initially buried in Shelbyville, Kentucky. In 1854 the State of Kentucky moved his and his first wife's remains to the State Memorial section of the Frankfort Cemetery. His namesake grandson, Bland Ballard, was appointed by Abraham Lincoln as a judge for the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky.
- Madigan, Mary Lou (1992). John E. Kleber, ed. The Kentucky Encyclopedia. University Press of Kentucky. p. 44.
- Smith, Zachariah Frederick (1892). The History of Kentucky: From Its Earliest Discovery and Settlement, to the Present Date. Courier-journal job printing Company. p. 237. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Klotter, James C.; Nelson L. Dawson (1981). Genealogies of Kentucky families: from the Filson Club history quarterly. Kentucky Historical Society/Genealogical Pub. Co. p. 56.
- Perrin, William Henry; J.H. Battle; G.C. Griffin (1888). Kentucky: a history of the state, embracing a concise account of the origin and development of the Virginia colony;. F. A. Battey & Company. p. 44. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Bogart, William Henry (1875). Daniel Boone, and the hunters of Kentucky. Lee and Shepard, Publishers. pp. 417–425. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Kentucky Historical Society. "Kentucky's War of 1812: Ballard County (Marker 826)" (PDF). State of Kentucky. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Rennick, Robert M. (1988). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 26. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Collins, Lewis (1877). History of Kentucky. p. 39.
- Rennick, Robert M. (1988). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 12. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Lazarus Whitehead Powell (et al) (1855). Obituary addresses delivered upon the occasion of the re-interment of the remains of Gen. Chas. Scott, Maj. Wm. T. Barry, and Capt. Bland Ballard and wife. State of Kentucky State Printer. pp. 3–5.
- Horace Fuller, ed. (1897). The Green Bag: an entertaining magazine of the law, Volume 9 ("Bland Ballard"). Boston Book Company. p. 262. Retrieved June 15, 2012.