Biography of Claude Cuthbert Ball

Dauntless ambition and determination to make a place for himself in the ranks of one of the most exacting professions were the instruments employed by Claude Cuthbert Ball, of Providence, to attain a wide reputation as an able member of the bar of Rhode Island. No easy road to fame was set before the youth who had made up his mind to a certain end and the difficulties were many, but in his blood are the elements that make failure impossible, for they include indefatigable industry, a keen mind and an ability to absorb knowledge in intricate detail. These attributes he coordinated to such success that his position in the legal ranks has been long one of enviable standing, while his personal characteristics are of such nature that he has made a large circle of loyal friends and built up an extensive clientele.

He was born in Birmingham, England, March 19, 1881, a son of Charles Ball, a manufacturing jeweler there and later in Providence, who was also born in Birmingham and came to Providence in 1891, when he was just under fifty years of age, and died in 1916. Charles Ball was associated in England with his father, Charles I. Ball, under whom he learned his business, and in this country he established himself in that occupation. His wife, mother of Claude Cuthbert, was Clara E. Smith, born in Birmingham, May 6, 1848, who died in Cranston, in 1930. Their children were: 1. George Edward, a consultant in design with headquarters in New York, and a member and secretary of the Rhode Island State Commission to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. 2. Percy B., designer and manager of Watson and Company, silversmiths, of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 3. Claude Cuthbert. 4. Leo R., a master mariner and pilot, captain of the steamship “China,” of the China Steamship Company, which was taken over by the government during the World War and at that time was the only ship sailing from San Francisco that flew the American flag, and who died in Shanghai, China, in 1930. 5. Ethel G., married George F. Parker, of the Towle Company, of Newburyport, Massachusetts. 6. Ella Beatrice, a violinist of note; married James E. Battey, a real estate broker.

Coming to Providence with his parents when he was ten years of age, Claude Cuthbert Ball completed the elementary courses of the Peace Street Grammar School and then obtained a position as an office boy with the Silver Spring Bleachery, later the United States Finishing Company. While working there he attended evening high school and afterward took a special course at Brown University, fitting himself for business advancement and securing this as a shipping clerk. He had at this time decided to make the law his profession and with this in view resigned his position and was enabled to begin his studies under the expert guidance of Judge Harry C. Curtis and Senator Edwin C. Pierce. He continued under these distinguished lawyers until he was admitted to the bar of Rhode Island in 1906, later becoming partner of Judge Curtis, then Judge of Probate for the city of Warwick. Mr. Ball himself later became Judge of Probate for the city of Cranston, and Governor’s appeal agent in draft procedure. In politics he is a Republican and he stood as a candidate of the Progressive party for Congress in 1914 and 1916. He is affiliated with Harmony Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, St. John’s Commandery, and Palestine Temple of the Shrine; St. Andrew’s Chapter of All Saints Church; and Calvary Baptist Church.

Claude Cuthbert Ball married, in Providence, Rhode Island, June 1, 1916, Elsbeth B. O’Brian, a granddaughter of Leander C. Belcher, of the Belcher and Loomis Hardware Company, of Providence. They are the parents of a son, Edward Edmonds, born June 20, 1917, and a daughter, Elsbeth Beatrice, born June 5, 1921.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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