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The Wives

Earlier, I introduced the Ball brothers, their parents, and their sisters. This month, we’ll meet the wives.

William was the first brother to marry. His bride, Emma Wood, was born in Massachusetts, graduated from Concord Ladies Seminary, and then moved to Buffalo, New York, where she met William. In Muncie, she was active with the county humane society and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her obituary noted that “She was one of those kindly, generous people who derived their chief satisfaction in helping others….”

In 1893, three brothers married. Lucius married Sarah Rogers of Lockport, New York, at her family’s summer home in Bay City, Michigan. She was a graduate of Buffalo General Hospital’s Nursing School. Sarah was especially popular with her nieces and nephews, who described her as “very congenial,” “a character,” and “fun to be with.” Her associations included Matinee Musicale, Art League, and Visiting Nursing Association of Muncie, among others.

George was the second to marry in 1893 when he returned to Buffalo to marry Frances Woodworth in October. A family story relates that as Frances and George traveled toward Muncie to take up residence, Frances saw the burning natural gas flambeaus and thought that they were campfires of “wild west Indians.” Upon her death, it was noted that Frances was “a patron of the arts, including music and painting.” She also served as an officer of the George and Frances Ball Foundation.

One week after the wedding of George and Frances, Frank married Elizabeth “Bessie” Brady of Muncie. Edmund F. Ball, Frank and Bessie’s nephew, felt that this marriage was a determining factor in moving all Ball operations out of Buffalo. He said that “Until Uncle Frank married Bessie Brady, a Muncie girl whose grandfather and brother had both served as mayors of Muncie, there was little likelihood Muncie would become Ball Brothers Company headquarters.” She was active with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Art Student League, Matinee Musicale, and Conversation Club.

Edmund was the last brother to marry at age 48. Bertha Crosley was president of her class at Vassar and had traveled abroad frequently, often helping her parents lead tours of foreign countries. She was a friend of Bessie Ball and met her future husband at Frank and Bessie’s home. After her husband’s death, Bertha was on the first board of Ball Brothers Foundation, where she championed causes she was interested in, such as tuberculosis.

Now that you’ve met the wives, stay tuned to take a look into the lives of the Ball brothers’ children. 

Emma Wood (1855-1942) married William C. Ball December 22, 1890.

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Sarah Rogers (1857-1952) married Lucius L. Ball June 1, 1893.

Elizabeth Brady (1867-1944) married Frank C. Ball November 1, 1893.

Frances Woodworth (1872-1958) married George A. Ball October 23, 1893.

Bertha Crosley (1875-1957) married Edmund B. Ball October 7, 1903.