Luther and Iona Ball


    Luther (1893-1973) married Iona (1896-1988) on August 22, 1913. The daughter of Elijah and Lucinda Cummins, Iona was the oldest of seven children.


    ...over the fierce objection of her father, she ran away with Luther James Ball, all the way to Bonham, to be married. Her father sent the sheriff to stop the wedding but fortunately he was too late. She was all of 16, and Luther James was nearly 19, when they began their marriage and started the Ball family. They had five sons, Homer, Wesley, Leonard, James and Jack, and two daughters, Alice and Janice.  Little did she dream that she would be the much loved matriarch....

    Luther Ball was ten when he left Tennessee with his mother, Alice. His father, Ike, had already come ahead. And he never forgot a sadness he felt as the train started to move, seeing his grandfather ride away on his mule, long white hair falling back over his shoulders, hands were raised to heaven. Luther knew he was praying, and he continued to remember during the years he lived as a boot-legger at the ferry in Mulberry. One day hogs broke in and became intoxicated too. “Everybody laughed so hard.” Maybe it was another day, and Miss Iona decided she’d had enough. She took a stick and broke up all the bottles. Luther became religious after the age of forty, and was for many years a mainstay of the Assembly of God Church in Mulberry, and his children after him.

    When C. W. Parks gave a lease for less than half an acre—“used for the erection of church”—the date was December 22, 1934 and the trustee was J. J. Hyatt. Roy Finley witnessed; John Palmore notarized.

    Luther’s grandfather in Tennessee had memories too: Alice, in the excitement of getting her children on the train, lost her hat. A few days later “grandfather found it on the right-of-way and took it home to keep.” 

    Luther and Iona Ball were in Mulberry before they got a government farm. They lived first on the Messenger place, in a house near the “old barns”. Farther west was the “saloon house,” about 30 x 40 feet, with “square nails”. As late as the early ‘30s the Balls could see “firelight and people digging”.  Others called it “the old store”. Alonzo Larkins’? Digging for gold. Around 1932 the Balls moved to a farm near Denison, also owned by Bright Messenger. Then they moved back to the Messenger place in Mulberry. They were one year on the Bramlett place; next they moved to the Hall place; then they got the government farm.  


Ball Family

front: Luther, Janice, Iona, James    back: Jack, Luther, Alice, Homer, Wesley       

    Luther Cummins, Iona’s brother, married Elsie Hall; Iona’s youngest child, Janice, married Ted Hall. Her oldest, Homer (1914-85), married Daisy Finley in 1935.  She (b. 1918) was a daughter of George Washington “Dick” (1886-1945) and Marthena Finley. Dick was a nephew of Tom Finley, Ravenna’s Methodist preacher. In November of 1931 the Finleys moved from Ravenna to the Wisely house in Mulberry, owned by John Palmore. Later they moved to John Parks’ place, then to Sandy, Fairview and Ector where Dick died at fifty-nine. He “owned his own mules, a few cattle and hogs”.    

     In 1940 Homer and Daisy moved to Clayton Hall’s farm. Daisy and Gladys shared birthdays: October 16. Gladys taught Daisy in school and spanked her for throwing a little boy’s cap in the pit toilet. “We stayed nineteen years,” Daisy remembered. “Mr. Clayton always thought so much of Homer.”

photos: Daisy (Finley) Ball

            Assembly of God Church, beloved by the family