Ball, William B. (1839–1923)

By: Nolan Thompson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 8, 2020

William B. Ball, Black soldier, school official, and minister, was born in Danville, Kentucky, on February 5, 1839. He grew up at his parents' farm and then moved to Xenia, Ohio, where he worked his way through Oberlin College. He enlisted in the Union Army in 1860 and served in the cavalry of the Ninety-ninth Division, 149th Regiment. He received an honorable discharge in 1868 and moved to Texas in 1869. He organized a military company at San Antonio, obtained a commission as captain, and served for a time on the frontier. Ball moved to Seguin in 1871, and on March 21, 1872, he married Rachel Cartwright. The couple had ten children. In 1871, with the help of Rev. Leonard Ilsley, Ball organized the first school for Blacks in Guadalupe County, the Abraham Lincoln School in Seguin. He was its principal for many years. In 1884 he and an association of Black Baptists founded Negro Baptist College at the site of the present Joe F. Saegert Middle School in Seguin. In 1887 it was reorganized as Guadalupe Colored College. Ball later obtained the help of philanthropist George W. Brackenridge, who funded the expansion of the college's physical plant in 1904 and purchased a new site for the institution in 1905. Ball served as the president of the college for eight years. In 1920, after thirty years of service as pastor of the Second Baptist Church at Seguin, he resigned from his position. He died on January 26, 1923, at Seguin. In 1925 Lincoln High School was renamed Ball High School, and on June 19, 1939, a swimming pool and an auditorium-gymnasium for the school were dedicated and named in his honor. The building was used for an elementary school in the 1980s but still carried Ball's name. A major street in Seguin is also named for W. B. Ball.

Andrew Webster Jackson, A Sure Foundation and a Sketch of Negro Life in Texas (Houston, 1940). Arwerd Max Moellering, A History of Guadalupe County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1938).

  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Educators
  • Religion
  • Baptist

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Nolan Thompson, “Ball, William B.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022,

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September 8, 2020

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