New Hampshire Suffragist, Civic Leader, and Philanthropist: Julia Beatrice (Ball) Thayer of Winchester and Keene (1835-1905)

Photograph of Julia Ball Thayer from Thayer Public Library, Ashuelot NH. Thanks to Karen Berthiaume of the Thayer Public Library. Used with permission.

She was born Julia Beatrice Ball on 19 January 1835 in Winchester NH, daughter of David & Fanny Parker (Capron) Ball. She would have attended the local Winchester NH schools, and possibly either an academy or a music school, for by the 1870 United States census her occupation is shown to be “music teacher.”

Her father was a “merchant manufacturer” who had many business interests including merchandising, the manufacture of linseed oil, and was the owner of a woolen mill. [Editor’s note: to avoid confusion it should be known that Ashuelot is a village within the town of Winchester, Cheshire County, New Hampshire.]

Piqua Daily Dispatch of 10 April 1908, photograph of Mrs. Julia Thayer.

She was active and popular in her community as shown by the following notice. Vermont Chronicle, Bellows Falls VT, 25 Nov 1871, page 6. “ASHUELOT–The friends of the Ashuelot Sabbath School, met in a levee, at their school house hall on Monday evening, Nov. 13th, when they took advantage of the occasion to present a nice gold chain and sleeve buttons (a product of their united contributions) to Miss Julia B. Ball, their worthy and highly esteemed friend, and Superintendent of the Sabbath School who has voluntarily taken charge of the school for the last dozen years, and for the past three years has not only Superintended the School but favored them with a regular church service, to their great advantage and profit. The affair was very successfully arranged.

Julia Beatice Ball married on 22 July 1873 in Winchester NH to Edward Carrington Thayer. At this time she moved to his home in Keene, New Hampshire. He was a wealthy, influential businessman and manufacturer who served on many local boards and committees. He was also a philanthropist who donated frequently including to the Uxbridge (MA) Public Library in memory of his parents, and also to the Keene (NH) Public Library.   Edward Carrington Thayer, son of Hon. Joseph & Chloe (Taft) Thayer. He was b. 10 May 1828 in Uxbridge MA and d. 4 July 1898 in Keene NH.  They had no children.

Before and after her husband’s death Julia B. (Ball) Thayer continued her civic and philanthropic work with great energy.  She served as vice president of the NH Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1885 [also on Executive Committee same year]  and 1887, and probably other years.

Julia Beatrice (Ball) Thayer died on 25 May 1905 in Keene NH, more than a decade before the 19th Amendment was passed.  She is buried next to her husband in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Uxbridge, Worcester Co. MA.   A newspaper obituary provided additional details about her amazing life.

Vermont Phoenix newspaper, Brattleboro Vermont of 2 June 1905, page 7: “Death of Mrs. Edward C. Thayer of Keene. A woman whose life has been of exceptional usefulness passed away in the death at Keen May 25 of Mrs. Julia Beatrice Thayer. She was born in Ashuelot 73 years ago, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Ball, and made her home in that village until July 1873, when she moved to Keene upon her marriage to Edward C. Thayer. Mrs. Thayer attended the public schools in Ashuelot and completed her education in seminaries in West Brattleboro, Rutland, and in Springfield, Mass. When young she took up the work which she continued through life, that of doing good to others whether in affliction or adversity. For years she was known in Ashuelot as the kind, generous and lovable woman who took upon herself the task of bringing a light and sunshine to all. She taught a Sunday school for years and always filled the largest room in the village to its full capacity. Only recently Mrs. Thayer had rebuilt and remodeled the house that came to her from her grandmother into a beautiful library for her native village, stocking it with books and providing every convenience and necessity. During her residence in Keene Mrs. Thayer did much for the support of public institutions. The invalids’ home has a $5000 memorial fund to maintain a room, which Mrs. Thayer fitted up herself. The Thayer library, given to the city by her husband, has received much from her, including her share of the Thayer-Chapin fund of $5000. She placed a large drinking fountain at the ladies’ park and always gave liberally to the humane and other charitable societies. In Piqua, O., where her brother DeLos C. Ball was in business and lived for a long time, she has just been building to his memory a hospital that is nearly completed and will cost upward of $25,000. Mrs. Thayer leaves no relatives nearer than cousins.

Photograph of Ball Memorial Hospital in Piqua Ohio. The $20,000 to build this hospital were provided by Julia B. (Ball) Thayer in honor of her brother Delos Ball. Julia Thayer died before the building was completed. From book, The First Century of Piqua, Ohio,” 1916, p 184

The details of her will were published as follows in the Boston Journal of 4 July 1906 Boston MA p12. “Headline: THAYER WILL GIVES TO BROOKLINE AND BOSTON
— Copy Filed in Worcester Court of Keene, N.H. Woman’s Bequests Leaves Hospitals and Schools Large Sums of Money. — Worcester, July 3. — A copy of the will of Julia B. Thayer of Keene, N.H. has been file din the Probate Court of this county. Over half a million dollars goes to public bequests as follows:
— Worcester City Hosiptal, $20,000, trustees Worcester Nurses’ Home, $10,000; Brown University, $80,000; New England Hospital for Women and Children, Boston, $10,000; American Unitarian Society $10,000; Thayer Library Keene NH $10,000; Uxbridge Library, $5,000; town of Uxbridge, $20,000 for books, pictures and apparatus for High School.
— In memory of a sister, Jennie E. Ball, $100,000 is left to a niece, Margaret C. Bazeley and Mrs. Louis Deer of Brookline, to establish a summer home for poor children and their mothers and for working girls.
— Other public bequests: Orphans’ Home, Franklin NH $500; hospital cottages for children of Baldwinsville $10,000; Wellesley College $6000, this for a scholarship to be known as a Julia Ball Thayer scholarship; Smith College, Northampton $6000 for a Julia Ball Thayer scholarship; Elliott City Hospital, Keene NH $5000; Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, $5,000; Invalids’ Home, Keene NH $10,000; Rural Improvement Society, Keene NH $1000; Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Keene NH $1,000; Society for Prevention  of Cruelty to Animals in Massachusetts $5,000; trustees of Kurn Hattin Home, Westminster VT $10,000; Working GIrls’ Vacation trust fund $10,000; Ladies’ Park trustee, Keene NH $1,000; Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children In Boston $10,000; Town of Winchester NH $10,000 to buy books, pictures, apparatus and appliances for the High School there; Unitarian Society of Warwick $1000;each of the three churches in Winchester, $5000; Y.M.C.A. Keene, NH $5,000.
— The executors indicate the estate to be valued at about $715,000 of which over $400,000 is held in Massachusetts.

=====GENEALOGY OF JULIA B. (BALL THAYER) ======

John Ball (c1620-1676) & Elizabeth Pierce [England to the American Colonies]

John Ball (1644-1722 & Sarah Bullard

Joseph Ball (1674-1730) & Elizabeth Parkhurst

John Ball (1697-1756) & Mary Clark [2d wife]

Samuel Ball, son of John & Mary (Clark) Ball, b. 24 Aug 1734 in Watertown, Middlesex Co. MA and d. 17 June 1799. He is buried in Warwick Cemetery, Warwick MA. He married 1783 [intentions 22 Nov 1783] in Warwick MA to Lucy Leonard, daughter of Moses & Bulah Harriet (Rice) Leonard. She was b. 31 March 1743 in Rutland, Worcester Co. MA and d. 20 Juy 1782. Buried Warwick Cemetery, Warwick MA. Samuel Ball m2d) Sarah Ward.
————————-
Children of Samuel & Lucy (Leonard) Ball:
1. Mary Ball, b 1762
2. John Ball, b 1764
3. Sarah “Sally” Ball b 1766
4. Samuel Ball b 1769
5. Lucy Ball, b 2 July 1771
6. +Stephen Ball b 21 Feb 1775 in Warwick MA
7. Eunice Ball b 1777
8. David Ball, b. 1780
9. Ebenezer Ball, b & d. 1782
Child of Samuel & Sarah (Ward) Ball:
10 Ebenezer Ball, b. 18 Feb d. 16 Aug 1786

Stephen Ball, son of Samuel & Lucy (Leonard) Ball, b 21 Feb 1775 in Warwick MA, d 5 July 1838 Warwick MA, aged 63; He m. 30 December 1799 to Elizabeth “Betsey” Wells/Weld. She b. abt 1782 and d 7 April 1838 in Warwick MA. They are buried in Warwick Cemetery, Warwick, Franklin Co., MA.
———————–
Children of Stephen & Betsey (Wells/Weld) Ball:
1. + David Ball, b. 7 October 1801 MA
2. Stephen Ball 1804-1827
3. John Pratt Ball(1) b 1806, d. 1806
4. John Pratt Ball (2) b 1807, d. 1888
5 Betsey Elmenia/Almenia Ball, b. 9 Feb 1810
6. Lucy Ball b 11 May 1813
7. Samuel Ball b 14 Dec 1815
8. Alvan Whitmore Ball b 12 Dec 1818
9. Benjamin Franklin Ball, b. 10 Aug 1822

David Ball, son of Stephen & Betsey (Weld) Ball was b 7 October 1801 MA d 4 August 1864, aged 63 in Winchester NH. He married 29 December 1825 to Fanny Parker Capron, daughter of John & Persis (Hawkins) Capron. She b 21 Dec 1806 d 6 Sep 1863 in Winchester NH. They are buried in Tufts Cemetery, Winchester NH.
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History of Cheshire and Sullivan Counties, New Hampshire; Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1886, 1073 pgs. “In 1799 we find that STEPHEN BALL, a resident of Warwick, Mass,married Betsey Weld of the same place, and to them was born DAVID BALL, the subject of this sketch, October 7, 1801, and was the eldest of the family. His boyhood..was spent mainly at the home of his parents until about 1817 or 1818, when he went to Keene NH, and engaged as a clerk in mercantile business with Mr. Wheelock; from there he removed a few years later to the village of West Winchester, continuing in the same line of business with William F. Pulsifer, later as Pulsifer & Ball, Ball & Capron, and D.&A.W. Ball. He married Fanny P. Capron, December 29, 1825. He was also identified with other kinds of business, being interested in purchasing real estate, the lumber business, and later in manufacturing.  Mr. W.F. Pulsifer, his partner, died February 22, 1837, leaving for that time quite a large estate, of which disposition was made by will to his heirs in Boston. Mr. Pulsifer showed his confidence in Mr. Ball by making him executor of his will. About the year 1838 he, with his brother, John P. formed a co-partnership and started the manufacture of linseed oil, locating a branch of their works in Pittstown NY. This partnership continued for over 20 years, David attending the mill in West Winchester, while his brother John Ball gave his time and attention to the one in Pittstown. In 1840 David Ball purchased the woolen-mill located at what has since been known as Scotland, and which had been owned by CYrus Greenwood. This he continued to operate until it was destroyed by fire in 1847. In 1860 he engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods.  David Ball was one of the original instigators of the Ashuelot Railroad, and the Winchester Bank. The name of the village was  changed to “Ashuelot” through the efforts of his son, D.L.C. Ball, postmaster in 1852, and has since been known by that name. David Ball died August 4, 1864. His children were: D.L.C. Ball, Mrs. W.E. Thayer and Jennie E. Ball all of whom survived him. His  wife died September 6, 1863.
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1850 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Winchester
David Ball M 46 Massachusetts
D Ball F 44 New Hampshire
Delos Ball M 19 New Hampshire
Julia Ball F 14 New Hampshire
Jane Ball F 11 New Hampshire
Lucy Ball F 40 Massachusetts
Allan Magrew M 18 Ireland
Peter Jeffrey M 40 France
T J Wheelock M 35 New Hampshire
Patrick Hannegan M 25 Ireland
Frank Carver M 19 Ireland
——————————-
1860 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Winchester
David Ball M 59 Massachusetts
Fanny Ball F 54 New Hampshire
Julia B Ball F 24 New Hampshire
Jane E Ball F 22 New Hampshire
Versie Mayner F 20 Ireland
Peter Jaffrey M 36 Canada
George Tuffts M 20 New Hampshire
——————————-

Photograph of Delos C. Ball from a Piqua Ohio newspaper.

Children of David & Fanny Parker (Capron) Ball.
1. David Emmett Ball, b 31 March 1830 Winchester NH, died 3 September 1830. Buried Tufts Cemetery, Winchester NH.
2. Delos “De Los” C. Ball, b 3 Feb 1832 in Winchester NH. He d. 3 February 1901 in Lexington MA. He is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery. He married 20 April 1858 in Miami Ohio to Jennie Shannon. She was b 2 April 1832 and d. 8 Feb 1864. Children, Robert De Los Ball, Wintie and Nellie. DeLos C. Ball ran a linseed oil mill in the city from 1855 to 1870.
3. +Julia Beatice Ball, born 19 January 1835 in Winchester NH, and died 25 May 1905 in Keene NH. She married Edward Carrington Thayer, son of Hon. Joseph & Chloe (Taft) Thayer. He was b. 10 May 1828 in Uxbridge MA and d. 4 July 1898 in Keene NH. They are buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Uxbridge, Worcester Co. MATHIS STORY IS ABOUT HER, SEE PHOTOGRAPHS AND BIOGRAPHY ABOVE.
4. Jane Eveleyn Ball, b 24 Jan 1839 in Winchester NH. She d. 7 Feb 1902 in Boston MA. Buried Woodland Cemetery, Keene NH.

 

 

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