“Local Civil War Soldier Remembered with Permanent Grave Marker”

“Local Civil War Soldier Remembered with Permanent Grave Marker”
East Liverpool Review
Monday, October 1, 2012
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Volney Epicurious Ball

U.S. Army Private
Volney Epicurious Ball

EAST LIVERPOOL – In these times when life is marked by hectic schedules, ever-changing technology and modern conveniences, the details of the Civil War may seem like ancient history. But for East Liverpool residents Barrie Smith Archer and her brother, William L. “Wink” Smith, that history was brought to life recently, thanks to the efforts of two local men.

The present-day story began to unfold when Archer heard that the local historical society was looking for information about area men who had been involved in the Civil War. Knowing that at least one of the branches on her family tree reached back that far, she started to gather what few facts she could, checking with various family members who she felt might know a little more genealogical history.

Archer also recalled several meaningful discussions with local historian Joan Witt, whose knowledge was a constant source of accurate information as well as inspiration. Sadly, Witt passed away in April before Archer was able to gather any more details from her.

Archer then spoke to her father’s sister, Shirley Smith Koenig, who asked if she could take a photograph of the grave of one of their ancestors who had served during that time. It turns out that Archer’s great-great grandfather, Volney Epicurious Ball, was indeed buried at Riverview Cemetery, so she promptly went to ask cemetery Superintendent Helen Stenger about it.

Stenger’s infinite knowledge of the cemetery came in to play, as she not only knew exactly where Ball was laid to rest, but she knew he had never received a government marker on his grave that he was entitled to all those years ago.

The fact that the unmarked grave belonged to one of their descendents was brought to the attention of Dan Ibbs of the Dawson Funeral Home, who enlisted the help of Attorney Tim Brookes, knowing of his love for Civil War history. Brookes did a little research and found out that a grave located just over a grassy knoll of a rolling hill near the cemetery entrance was indeed the final resting place for U.S. Army Private Volney Epicurious Ball.

Ibbs was able to utilize some of the skills he employs each week, as the person in charge of all Veteran’s affairs at Dawsons. He routinely orders VA markers, applies for flags for eligible veterans and even assists families with finding discharge papers and other important documents when they can’t be located. With information he retrieved from Brookes, he was able to collect enough data about Ball to order a granite marker to identify the grave, more than 100 years after his death.

Volney Ball was born in Burslem, England, in 1843, a year before his father, Thomas Ball, came to America to find work in the local potteries.

Thomas Ball became one of the pioneer potters in the area, and was part owner of Ball and Morris pottery, making Rockingham and Yellow ware on the south side of East Second Street in downtown East Liverpool.

Young Volney became one of the first men to enlist when the Civil War began, and eventually served three years with the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, finishing his service with a Massachusetts battery. At the conclusion of the war in 1864, he returned to East Liverpool and married Mary A. Burton. Together, they raised their family here. Generations later, Archer and Smith remain in the area that was once home to their great-great-great grandparents.

Recently, those credited for their part in putting the pieces together gathered at Riverview Cemetery to see the granite marker placed on its foundation. The marker now permanently identifies the grave of Private Ball, who passed away on June 21, 1910.

The serene setting overlooking the beautiful Ohio River seems to leave the ravages of war all but a memory in the distant past. Here, under the shade of a hickory tree, one Civil War soldier has found his peace.

Photo from East Liverpool Review: http://www.reviewonline.com/page/content.detail/id/560291/Local-Civil-War-soldier-remembered-with-permanent-grave-marker.html?nav=5008

Contributed by Jackson Edward Wilson