William Ball (1729-1810). Merchant, planter, and first Provincial Grand Master of the Ancient (York) Order of Free Masons, was son of William Ball (1686-1740) and was born on his father's estate at Point no Point, or Richmond, and more recently called Port Richmond. In 1795, Ball was living on Market Street at No. 41, now No. 125, and was described simply as gentleman, having retired. He was the owner of Richmond Hall, as his estate was called, and the few houses near it, known as Balltown. He was distantly related to Washington, whose mother was Mary Ball. In 1761, Ball was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania by the Earl of Kellie; the Grand Master of England. In 1795, he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, of Pennsylvania; and was a large contributor to the erection of the first Mason's lodge or meeting-place, in Lodge Alley (Gothic Street). He married his cousin, Elizabeth Byles, of Boston, niece of Rev, Dr. Mather Byles, but had no issue.
Rev, Wil1iam Ball Wright, in his "Ball Family Records (York, England, 1908), describes Richmond, as a manor, in these words: "William Ball, probably a native of Devonshire, purchased 21 March, 1728-29 the 'Hope Farm,' a manor created by Patents, under Governors Lovelace and Andross, from James, Duke of York. Neither Scull and Heap's map (1750), of Philadelphia, show "Hope 'Farm,' or "Richmond Manor" and no list of manors' in Pennsylvania includes either, while Holme's map shows the site purchased by Samuel Carpenter. The Ball land was bounded on the south and west by Gunner's Run , and on the east by the Delaware River, while its northern boundary is not indicated on the map of 1750, the first on which the Ball possession was shown. William Ball signed the "Non-Importation" Agreement in 1765
Taken from Joseph Jackson's Encyclopaedia of Philadelphia, Volume 1, Page 216.
Policy Number 345
Location: South side of Spruce Street between Front and Second Streets.
Policy Date: 21 October 1792.
Survey Date: September, 1792.
Policy Value: 250 Pounds.
Rate: 30s/100 pounds.
Policy History: Final term policy renewal, 1799. Renewed to William Ball as perpetual Policy No. 2179, 14 April 1806. Cancelled by attorney for Harriet S. (nee Ball) Dodson, 27 October 1892.
Building: House, 18' x 16', 3 stories. A Small, nearly-new building with no uncommon interior features, probably constructed to be rented.
Policy Holder: William Ball (1729-1810), merchant and planter, retired by 1792 and resided at 41 High Street as a "gentleman" until his death. Ball owned extensive properties: "Richmond Hall," near Kensington and Balltown in Port Richmond, Pennsylvania; tenements and land in Philadelphia, such as the insured house; properties in Berks, Northumberland, Luzerne, Huntington, and Westmoreland Counties (Pennsylvania); and land in Delaware, and Virginia. Ball apparently participated in speculative land settlements in Nova Scotia. His mercantile interests included animal feed; George Washington's account books list yearly payments to Ball for hay and straw from 1795 to 1797. He served as Inspector for Pennsylvania Customs in 1791 and 1793.
Ball was a Mason. In 1791, he was appointed First Provincial Grand Master of the Ancient Order of Free Masons; he served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1795. His funderal procession included a large number of Masons.
Ball died in 1810 leaving no descendants. His will named his nephew, Joseph Ball, son of his brother Samuel, his father-in-law John Hewson, and Joseph L. Inglis executors of his estate. He was buried at the First Baptist Churchyard, Philadelphia.
Taken from "The Mutual Assurance Company Papers. General Editor: Anthony N. B. Garvan. Volume 1. The Architectural Surveys 1784-1794." Philadelphia, 1976. Page 225-226.
William Ball, 1761, 1764-1765, 1767-1772,1776-1782, 1795 [years as Grand Master]
William Ball was born in Philadelphia, Oct. 6, 1729. He was a skilled goldsmith who prospered in his business and, through the rental income from vast property holdings, became one of the richest Philadelphians of his day. He served as Justice of the Peace in 1776 and 1779 and Judge of Orphans Court for Philadelphia County in 1779. William Ball became a Mason by joining Lodge No. 2, "Moderns," Philadelphia, in January 1751. Apparently uncertain as to the direction of Pennsylvania Freemasonry, Bro. Ball also joined Lodge No. 2, "Ancients" in January 1760 without demitting his membership in the "Modern" lodge, which he retained for another three years. Finding himself at the forefront of the movement of "Ancient" Masons for a new Grand Lodge, Bro. Ball was elected Grand Master of "Ancient" Pennsylvania Masons in February 1760 and received official recognition as Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania "Ancients" on July 15, 1761, from the Right Worshipful Grand Master of England "Ancients." In 1795, William Ball was also the first Grand High Priest of the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania.
From the website of "The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania."