Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas Page: 127 of 372
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AXILINGER, WILLIAM P. Tihe subject of
this sketch was born in Barbourville,
f Knox county, Kentucky, September 25th,
1825. His family, on the father's side,
*came fromn Wales to Virginia, where his great
grand-father was a planter and Baptist preacher.
His grand-father, Richard Ballinger, a native of
Amherst county, Virginia, removed to Garrard
county, Kentucky, and thence to Knox county.
HeI was an aid-de-camp to General St. Clair, and
was present at his bloody defeat by the Indians,
in 1791; was a State Senator in Kentucky; for
many years Clerk of the Courts in Knox county,
and was highly respected. James Franklin Baltlinger,
his oldest son and father of Judge Ballinger,
was an Ensign in the Northwestern army, in
1812, at the age of seventeen; wats captured at
"Dudley's defeat," and compelled to run the
gauntlet; was afterward a member of the Kentucky
Legislature; Whig elector; succeeded his father as
Clerk of the Courts of Knox county; hliad the reputation
of being the best Clerk in tlhe State, and
possessed much popularity and influence in his
locality. His wif.e was Olivia Adams, daughter of
.Judge Randolph Adams, also an emigrant from
Virginia, and belonged to a family of worth and
distinction in the Kentucky mountains. The little
town of Barbourville is noted for the men of ability
and force of character it hlias sent into the world.
The subject of this memoir had only the school
advantages of his native town, and two years at
the Catholic College of St. Mary's, near Lebanon,
Kentucky. At a very early age hlie assisted his
father in the Cleric's office, especially during the
courts, and his boyhood associations were in the
court-house and among the lawyers. Growing up
in. feeble health, requiring a milder climate, ihe
.accepted the invitation of his uncle, Judge James
Love, an emigrant from Barbourville, to remove to
"Texas, and become a member of his family. He
arrived at Galveston, in December, 1843, and at
the age eighteen, and read law and pursued his
.general studies until the spring of 1846, when,
soon after the battles of the 8th and 9th of May,
.he joined, as a private, a Galveston company,which
wdnt at once to the Rio Grande. The coimpany
became a part of the regiment command(led
by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, (who afterward
fell so gloriously at Shiloh) and a vacancy
occurring, he was elected first-lieutenant of the
company, and appointed by Colonel Johnston, the
Adjutant of his regiment.- In a letter published in
the Life of General Johnston, by his son, Judge
Ballinger says "he had a veneration for General
Johnston which classed him withI the loftiest beau
ideals in all history."' The regimnent hlaving been
disbanded at Camargo, at tlhe expiration of its
term of service, he joined a volunteer rifle comnpany
which was attached to the brigade of regulars,
and was engaged in the battle of Monterey, the
surrender of which took place on his twenty-first
birth-day. Returning to Galveston, he commenced
the practice of law, which hlie lias ever since pursued
with untiring energy and rare enthusiasm.
In 1850 lie was appointed by General Taylor,
United States Attorney for Texas, .and held that
office until the close of Fillnore's administration.
Soon after this appointment lie was most fortunate
in his marriage, to the oldest daughter of William
H. Jack, tlihe distinguished lawyer, statesman, and
patriot of the Republic of Texas, and they fixed
their homestead on thle spot in Galveston whliere
they have ever since resided. In 1854 his brotherin-law,
Colonel Thomas M. Jack, became his partner
in the practice of law, and the association lias
conitint(ed to thlie present time with tlie closest
union and identity.
Imnbibing his early political faith from the Whig
party, although in a minority which cut off all
hopes of political advancement, he adhered to its
fortunes as long as tlihe party remained in existence.
In the election of 18(0, he was an ardent
supporter of the " Union ticket "-Bell and Everett,
was opposed to thle disunion and secession movemenit,
and was onie of the small number of voters
in Galveston, who cast their ballots against secession.
men could have been more profoundly exercised
in that momentary period. Unalterably opposed
to all the merely constitutional and legal
principles of "secession," but one with its fortunes;
believing it wholly revolutionary, but identified
in all interest and feeling with Texas, to
which, when a Republic he had removed in his
boyhood, he determined to adhere to her as his
country, through weal or woe, with a loyalty not
the obligation of legal dogma, but from the ties of
nature and affection and interest. When secession
became an accomplished fact; although unchanged
in his conviction of thIe unwisdom of the original
movement, no one could have been more unwilling
to submit to an enforced Union by the subjugation
of the South in arms or readier to do. whatever
was in his power for the success of the Confederate
struggle. One of a commnniittee, sent by the
citizens of Galveston to Richmond, in July 1861, to
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Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas, book, 1880; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5827/m1/127/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .