Ballard, Martha - Research Article from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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Mother of Nine

Born to Elijah and Doratha Moore in 1735, Martha Ballard lived the first several decades of her life in the small town of Oxford, Massachusetts, near the Connecticut border. At nineteen, she married twenty-nine-year-old Ephraim Ballard on December 19, 1754. Ephraim milled wood, as his family had done for four generations. He also acquired the skills of a land surveyor, learning how to set precise property boundaries measured from fixed points. The couple had nine children: Cyrus (born in 1756); Lucy (1758); Martha (1761); Jonathan (1763); Triphene (1765); Dorothy (1767); Hannah (1769); Dolly (1772); and Ephraim Jr. (1779). Between 1767 and 1770, a diphtheria epidemic swept through Oxford, killing 144 persons, 12 percent of the community's population. Most of the deaths were children. Between June 17 and July 5, 1769, three of the Ballards' daughters—Martha, Triphene, and Dorothy—died. Martha's uncle and aunt, Richard and Mary Moore, lost eight of their eleven children to the epidemic. These experiences instilled in Martha...

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This section contains 3,460 words
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Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library
Ballard, Martha from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.