Summary/Overview – Joseph and Salome Ball Farmstead

Joseph and Salome Ball House

               Lytle, Bexar County, TX


The Joseph and Salome Ball House and Farmstead dates back to c1898.  It has been restored by the current owner.

Joseph Ball, Jr. immigrated from Alsace/Germany in 1852.  In May 1867 he married Salome Keller of Castroville, Texas, who was also Alsatian.

In 1898, Joseph and Salome Ball purchased the current property (194.86 acres) from Maria Conlon (Bexar County Deed Records vol. 175, p.142).  They immediately built a brick house which they occupied as their home.  They enclosed the property with a “substantial fence together with cross fences” and cultivated the land themselves or through tenants.  (Source:  Affidavit of Possession, Ball Estate, Affidavits by E.C. Campbell, Trawalter and Chas A. Fischer.  Bexar County Deed Book 1972, pages 478-480, filed 6/11/1943)

The 2-story cross-gabled dwelling, built by Joseph Ball, Jr., was constructed of handmade brick covered with a layer of white-washed plaster.  Family legend indicates that the brick came from a local brickyard.  Several additional structures on the properties also date to c1898.

In 1943 the property was conveyed to Lawori and Elsie Scoggins, the grandparents of the current owner.

A comprehensive National Register nomination was prepared in 2017 and approved for listing on the Register in June 2018.

Family Information:

Joseph Ball’s father, Joseph Ball, was born about 1805 in France.  He immigrated to this country with the Castro colonists and became a naturalized citizen on July 29, 1858 in Medina County. (Commissioner’s Court Minutes #2, p.145).  He established his family in the D’Hanis area of Medina County.  Joseph Ball, the son, was born on Feb. 24, 1836 in Alsace, Germany/France.  He stated on the 1900 Bexar County census that he immigrated in 1852.  He married Salome “Sallie” Keller on May 18, 1867. 

Sallie was born Oct. 24, 1844 (or 1841) in Baden, Germany.  She was the daughter of Francois Joseph Keller and Anne Marie Mann who were also immigrants from the Alsace region.  Francois Keller was born on June 27, 1807, Alsace and died on March 23, 1868.  Anne Marie Mann Keller was born on Dec. 25, 1815, Alsace and died on July 29, 1907 in Lytle, TX.

Joseph Ball was a stonemason by trade.  On the 1870 and 1880 Bexar County census’, Joseph Ball listed stonemason as his occupation. By 1900 and 1910, however, his occupation listed on the census records had changed to Farmer.  He was 63 and 74 years old respectively.

On Feb. 23, 1889, Byron and Frances Van Raub paid Joseph Ball $25.00 to build a rock house for use as a store.  The building was to be on Lots #24 and 25 situated on the Van Raub Road station in and around the railroad 24 ½ miles in a south westerly direction from the City of San Antonio, on the west side of the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Rail Road tract, out of the survey in the name of M.T. Hernandez.  Each lot was 50 x 150 feet.  Source: Bexar County Deed Book 35, p. 617, Filed 3/2/1889.)

In the Bexar County 1890 Tax Rolls, Joseph Ball is listed as owning 2 properties: 1) a lot in San Antonio and 2) a lot in Van Raub town.

Joseph Ball and Salome (Sallie) Keller Ball reported in the 1910 census of Bexar County that they had had 13 children, 10 of whom were living at that time.  In the 1920 census, the Joe Ball family was living on Frio City Road.  In 1920, Sallie Ball was still living on Frio City Road.  She was 75 years of age and a widow.  Her child, Severin (age 48) was living with her and his occupation was listed as an operator of a cotton gin.  Also living with her was her daughter, Anna and her son, Albert.

Joseph Ball died on March 11, 1918.  Salome “Sallie” Keller Ball died on June 16, 1929. They are both buried in the Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in La Coste, TX.

On Jan 27, 1925, an Affidavit was filed in Bexar County that listed the heirs of the Estate of Joseph Ball, deceased.  The styling of the affidavit is:

Estate of Joseph Ball, deceased  -      Proof of Heirship           F.X. Ball,

The heirs were listed as follows:

Salome (Sallie) Ball, F.X. Ball, Caroline Werner wife of Adolph Werner, Serverin Ball, Albert Ball, Henry Ball, Matilda Ball Huebner wife of Joseph Huebner, Annie Ball, Theresa Ball, George Ball and Crystal Mae Ball Clark wife of William Clark. 

Source: Bexar County Deed Book 806, pgs. 340-341

The Ball House serves as a unique example of  19th century German folk architecture and has been loveling restored by the current owner.

Compiled by Pat Ezell,

Historic Farm & Ranch Complexes Committee

Conservation Society of San Antonio

December 2016/Revised 2021

Summary/Overview – Joseph and Salome Ball Farmstead