From the Oak Park, Illinois "Oak Leaves", April 4, 1902.
The Illinois Judicial system of the late 19th and early 20th century can be considered a veritable treasure trove of oddly named public servants. A quick glance at the Illinois Blue Book's roster of the state Judiciary Department of the early 1900s brings up such strange names as Mancha Bruggemeyer (1865-1949, a Chicago Municipal Court Judge), Mazzini Slusser (1853-1922, a Circuit Court Judge), Colostin DeKalb Myers (1847-1920, a Circuit Court judge), Kickham Scanlan (1864-1955, a Circuit Court judge), Lockwood Honore (1865-1917, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court) and Sain Welty (1853-1920, a Circuit Court judge). With all of these oddly named jurists peopling the benches of Illinois's courtrooms, one can wonder if criminals of the time period ever had a good laugh when they were sentenced by a judge with a name like "Sain Welty"!
All humor aside, the above assemblage of funnily named jurists grows ever wider with the addition of today's write-up on Farlin Quigley Ball, a decorated Civil War veteran and attorney who went on to serve nearly two decades as an Illinois Superior Court Judge. A native son of Ohio, Farlin Q. Ball was born in Shelby County on the 28th of March 1838, one of four children born to James Moores (1812-1897) and Keturah Ford Ball (1813-1860). At a young age, Farlin removed with his family to Wisconsin where he attended high school in the city of Monroe. In 1858 he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and graduated with his B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree in the class of 1861.
During the early days of the Civil War, Farlin Ball enlisted in Co. G of the 31st Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and served with this outfit from mid-1862 until the hostilities ceased, and was brevetted as a Major towards the end of his service. After leaving the military Ball returned to Wisconsin and decided upon a career in law, and following his studies was admitted to practice by the state bar. In 1866 he was elected to the first of two terms as Dane County attorney, holding this post until 1868. In the latter year, he married to Elizabeth Hall (1842-1920), and the couple became the parents of three children, Robin (died in infancy in August 1871), Farlin Herbert (1872-1942), and Sydney Hobart (1877-1949). Of these children Farlin Herbert followed in his father's footsteps and became a distinguished lawyer, later serving as a Circuit Court judge for Cook County beginning in 1920.
In August 1869 the Ball family left Dane County, Wisconsin, and resettled in Chicago. Shortly after his removal Ball was admitted to the Illinois state bar and began a law practice. In the succeeding years, he gained recognition as a lawyer of repute and in 1878-79 served as Treasurer of the Chicago Bar Association. Ball would later serve a term as president of this organization, and also held the presidency of the Chicago Law Institute for a time. Ball also became an author during this time period, publishing "Ball on National Banks" in 1880.
From the Oak Park Vindicator, September 21, 1900.
In the November 1895 Illinois election, Farlin Quigley Ball won a seat on the Superior Court of Cook County, succeeding Judge George Blanke, whose death some months prior had created a vacancy on that court. Ball won reelection to a term of his own on the court in 1900 and continued to serve on both the Superior and Appellate Courts until his retirement a decade later. During his tenure on the bench, Judge Ball served as the court's Chief Justice for a time and also held court as a Judge Advocate of the Illinois National Guard's 1st Brigade. Ball retired from judicial service in 1911 and was widely praised by his contemporaries, being referred to in sources of the time as "the ideal jurist." Ball was even honored with a banquet in his honor, and his 1917 Oak Park Oak Leave obituary notes that:
"He has always been correct in his judgement of the law, always patient and of the judicial temperament. His record as a man, a soldier, a lawyer and a judge is without a blemish."Following his retirement, Judge Ball remained a prominent public figure in his neighborhood of Oak Park in Chicago and is remarked as belong to a number of fraternal clubs, including the Masons, Knights Templar, and the Oak Park Club. Sources of the time note that although advanced in age the retired judge remained the picture of health until a few days before his death, which occurred at the West Suburban Hospital in Chicago on August 29, 1917. He was later buried at the Forest Home Cemetery in Chicago. He was survived by both his sons and his wife Elizabeth, who followed her husband in death in 1920 at age 79.
From the Carbondale Illinois Daily Press, April 3, 1908.