Born: 1800-11-10 Madison County, Kentucky
Died: 1872-08-10 Peoria, Illinois
Charles Ballance was a lawyer, alderman, mayor, Union Army officer, and pioneer settler of Peoria County, Illinois. Ballance spent his boyhood in his native Kentucky, where he received a rudimentary education. He taught school for several years, and subsequently read law, earning admission to the Kentucky bar at either age twenty-nine or thirty. Ballance practice law in Kentucky for two years before moving to Peoria, Illinois in 1831 or 1832. He opened a law practice and continued to practice law in Peoria until his death. In March 1836, he married Julia M. Schnebly, with whom he would have nine children. Ballance garnered wealth and fame by successfully litigating a series of cases in the U.S. Supreme Court involving the title of land claimed by French inhabitants of Peoria. In 1850, he and Julia were living in Peoria with their six children and owned $50,000 in real property. Beyond the French claims cases, Ballance handled cases in various circuit courts in Illinois, the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois, and the Illinois Supreme Court. He opposed Abraham Lincoln in the case of
Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Peoria County, 24 March 1836, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Ernest E. East, ed., "The Journal of Charles Ballance of Peoria," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 30 (April 1937), 70; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Peoria, Peoria County, IL, 14; Portrait and Biographical Album of Peoria, Illinois (Chicago: Biographical, 1890), 217-18; Cromwell & McNaghton v. Bailey, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds. The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136360; Carl M. Adams, "The First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln: A Biographical Sketch of Nance Legins (Cox-Cromwell) Costley, circa 1813-1873," For the People: A Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association 1 (Autumn 1999): 1-2, 4; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Peoria, Peoria County, IL, 64; Roger D. Hunt, Colonels in Blue: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin: A Civil War Dictionary (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2017), 20; Gravestone, Springdale Cemetery and Mausoleum, Peoria, IL.