Devillo P. Ballard was born October 19, 1833 in New York. He was one of eleven children born to Moses and Eliza Ballard. According to the 1850 U.S. Census, the family resided in Frankfort, Will County, Illinois where Devillo’s father was a physician. On November 19, 1855 Devillo married Mary A. Ward in Will County. By 1860 Devillo and Mary were living in LaFayette Township, Story County, Iowa where Devillo practiced law. The couple had two daughters and a son born in Iowa. The Ballard’s only son died in childhood.
At age 29 Ballard enlisted in the 23rd Iowa Infantry, Company A. His residence was listed as Camden, Appanoose County, Iowa. He was appointed First Lieutenant on July 20, 1862. The 23rd Iowa Infantry was mustered into service on September 19, 1862 at Des Moines, Iowa. Ballard was wounded May 1, 1863, in the Battle of Port Gibson at Port Gibson, Claiborne County, Mississippi. Records indicate he suffered a gunshot wound to the left thigh. He was promoted to Captain October 22, 1863. Ballard was mustered out July 26, 1865 at Harrisburg, Harris County, Texas and discharged in August of 1865.
The 1870 U.S. Census reports that Ballard and his family were living in Benton, Holt County, Missouri where Devillo continued his law practice. A fourth child, a daughter, was born while the family was in Missouri. By 1883 Devillo Ballard headed west. He and his wife are listed in city directories as living in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington Territory. His occupation is listed as attorney. On August 15, 1883 Ballard joined the George H. Thomas Post No. 5 of the GAR in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington Territory.
Ballard struggled with legal and health issues in his later years, including dementia. According to Washington Territory news reports from January 1888 he faced disbarment due to charges of fraud, corruption and other offenses. Sometime later Ballard left Washington. His health deteriorating, Ballard was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio in July of 1902. Admission records report his previous residence as Prescott, Arizona Territory and his occupation as miner. In 1903 while at the Soldiers’ Home in Dayton, he charged the Governor of the state with cruelty towards residents of the home and misuse of funds. The charges were determined to be baseless.
Although some of the Soldiers’ Home records for Ballard report him as a widower, his wife continued to reside in the Vancouver, Washington/Portland, Oregon area in the care of her daughter. Mary Ballard died in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon in 1916 and is buried in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington.
Devillo Ballard later transferred to the Soldiers’ Home in Marion, Grant County, Indiana. In January of 1904, while at the Soldiers Home in Marion, he was openly critical of recently assassinated President McKinley. Because of Ballard’s reputation as a Civil War Captain, accounts of his behavior were reported in multiple newspapers, with reference usually made to his mental condition. By 1910 Ballard had spent time between the Soldiers’ Homes in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee. Records show that in 1911 Ballard was at the Soldiers’ Home in Johnson City, Tennessee where he spent the last years of his life.
Devillo Ballard died January 20, 1917 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Information about his grave can be found here.