Bland Ballard (judge)

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Bland Ballard
A man in his fifties with thinning hair and a rather prominent nose. He is wearing a white shirt, black tie, and black jacket, and leaning against a black object to the left
Associate Justice of the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky
In office
October 16, 1861 – July 29, 1879
Nominated by Abraham Lincoln
Preceded by Thomas Bell Monroe
Succeeded by William Hercules Hays
Personal details
Born (1819-09-04)September 4, 1819
Shelby County, Kentucky
Died July 29, 1879(1879-07-29) (aged 59)
Louisville, Kentucky
Resting place Cave Hill Cemetery
Spouse(s) Sarah McDowell
Relations Grandson of Bland Ballard
Alma mater Transylvania University
Profession Lawyer

Bland Ballard (September 4, 1819 – July 29, 1879) was a United States federal judge.

Ballard was the son of James and Susannah (Cox) Ballard and grandson of the Kentucky pioneer of the same name. Ballard was born in Shelby County, Kentucky. He read law in the office of Judge James Turner Morehead in 1840 to enter the Kentucky Bar, and later was graduated from the law department of Transylvania University in 1846. He opened a private practice in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and then moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he practiced law in partnership with the Henry Pirtle, later the distinguished Chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court, until 1861. Ballard was connected with the business interests of Louisville and took an active interest in the city and its institutions. At one time he served as city councilor for the City of Louisville.

On October 16, 1861, Ballard received a recess appointment from President Abraham Lincoln to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky vacated by Thomas Bell Monroe, who had become a member of the Congress of the Confederate States. Ballard was formally nominated on December 9, 1861 and on January 22, 1862, he was confirmed by the United States Senate and received his commission. He quickly reorganized the court and insured that the federal court system in Kentucky would continue without disruption. "His district was responsible for more indictments for treason and conspiracy than perhaps any other" and he was "regarded as fair-minded and guided by the law, not prejudice. He was opposed to slavery and strongly supported the Union".[1]

The years immediately following the Civil War saw a great increase in cases filed in the district court from questions growing out of the war, especially the internal revenue law and bankruptcy law. In addition to his duties as district judge, Ballard served as president of the Kentucky National Bank and the Cave Hill Cemetery Company and was active in various civic organizations.[1] He continued to serve on the court until his death in Louisville, Kentucky.

Personal life[edit]

Tombstone of Bland Ballard in the Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky.

On December 16, 1846, Judge Ballard married Miss Sarah McDowell. They had five children: Mary H., Austin, Fanny, Bland, Jr., and Susie. Ballard died in office on June 29, 1879, and was buried in the Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky.[2]


  1. ^ a b The Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentucky (Cincinnati: J. M. Armstrong & Company, 1878), p. 15.
  2. ^ "Judge Ballard Dead." The Courier-Journal (July 30, 1879); Judges of the United States. 2d ed. (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1983). The grave is located in Section G, Lott 22, Cave Hill Cemetery.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas Bell Monroe
Judge of the U.S. District Court
for the District of Kentucky

October 16, 1861 - July 29, 1879
Succeeded by
William Hercules Hays