Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 453 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
JUDGE WILLIAM PITT BALLINGER,
The distinguished subject of this sketch was born
in Barboursville, Knox County, Ky., September 25,
1825, and died at his home in Galveston, Texas,
January 20, 1888.
His grandfather, Col. Richard Ballinger, was a
native of Virginia, and an Aide-de-Camp of Gen. St.
Clair at the time of that officer's defeat by the
Indians. He settled early in Kentucky; was the
first clerk of Knox County; was, later, a member
of the State Senate; lived to a great age, and sustained
throughout the highest personal character.
His father, James Franklin Ballinger, was a native
of Barboursville, Ky., and, for the greater part of
his life, clerk of the courts of Knox County. A
soldier of the War of 1812, at the age of seventeen
years he was taken prisoner upon Dudley's defeat,
and forced to " run the gauntlet" for his life. He
was a presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1837.
He removed to Texas in 1868, and died at Houston
in 1875, in the eighty-second year of his age.
W. P. Ballinger's early education was derived
from the schools of his native town; a two years'
course in St. Mary's College, near Lebanon, Ky.,
and a faithful training in his father's office in the
practical details of court business. His health requiring
a milder climate, in 1843 he availed of the
invitation of his uncle, Judge James Love, of Galveston,
Texas, and moved thither, beginning the
study of the law in that gentleman's office. Joining,
as a private soldier, a volunteer company for
the Mexican War, he was soon elected First Lieutenant
of the company. Afterwards appointed
Adjutant of Col. Albert Sidney Johnston's Texas
Regiment, he participated with it in the storming of
Monterey, and in other service. Returning to Galveston
in the fall of 1846, he was admitted to the
bar in the spring of 1847 and began the practice of
law. His prompt admission to partnership in the
firm of Jones and again, in
1874, was appointed to the bench of that court by
Governor Coke; but, constrained by the demands
of his private engagements, he resigned the office
upon the very day of his confirmation. In 1877,
he was recommended by the Governor and all the
judges of the higher courts, and by the Texas
delegation in Congress, for appointment by the
President to the vacancy on the bench of the
Supreme Court of the United States, caused by
the resignation of Judge Davis; but sectional
spirit was too powerful at Washington to admit of
his nomination to that high post. In 1879, Governor
Roberts tendered him the office of Commissioner
of Appeals, but he could not be induced
to accept it.
With the hope of rendering service to the State,
he was prevailed upon to serve as a member of the
Convention which framed the State constitution of
1876, and found his fitting sphere of labor as *
member of the Judiciary Committee of that body.
His views on many important questions were not in
accord with those entertained by a majority of the
Convention. He was opposed to an elective judiciary,
as baneful and corrupting to the administra
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/453/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .