Joe Ballard, born December 20, 1825, was a beloved figure in Salisbury. He was the slave of Miss Margaret Ballard who married John M. Horah, Clerk of Superior Court. Ballard continued working for them after the Civil War had ended. He was a skilled blacksmith and ran his shop until he was quite an old man. He also was a politician, serving as chairman of the Republican executive committee after the Civil War. And people considered him a philosopher. Ballard was one of few who witnessed Haley’s Comet in 1833.
The hat he is wearing in the picture is rumored to be one that once belonged to Michael Brown, a prominent citizen. Chief Marshall of parades, he was a striking figure in a long tailcoat and silk hat. J. M. McCorkle wrote that he would lead the Memorial Day parade on horseback in full regalia. He died February 25, 1917 in his home in East Spencer and was buried with Masonic honors at Oakdale Union Hill Cemetery at present with no marker.
13142 Publ. by Theo Buerbaum, Salisbury, N.C. Printed in Germany
Heritage of Rowan County, North Carolina, Volume 1, 1991, edited by Katherine Petrucelli, Salisbury: Genealogical Society of Rowan County, 1991
McCorkle, J.M. “Salisbury Yesteryears” Salisbury Post various articles