Portrait of J. Austin Ball Sr MD
Dr James Austin Ball was born in 1875 near Cordesville SC which lies in the area between the East and West Branch of the Cooper River. He was born into a world of extreme poverty in a rural area devastated by the Civil War . His ancestors were rice planters and physicians, and eventually followed his Moultrie ancestors in the profession as a fifth generation doctor here in the Lowcountry. His family lost all that was cut from the raw terrain over 200 years as drifters , soldiers, carpetbaggers, and scalawags ran about in the lawless land that was post-war South Carolina. His parents who married in the wake of the war had 12 children, 10 of whom survived childhood and survival was bleak to say the least. Nevertheless, he was able to enter Porter Military Academy and successfully graduate to enter the College of Charleston as his ancestors before him. As an excellent student, he was granted a position at the Medical College of South Carolina and graduated as first honor graduate in 1900. He departed for New York City to train at what would become Bellevue Hospital and threw himself into the maelstrom of the massive immigration to the mecca of the entire world, bringing in innumerous and diverse diseases from all over the world.
He then returned to Charleston to practice medicine for the next 35 years until glaucoma and the ravages of tobacco usage incapacitated his abilities to render adequate care to his numerous patients.
Of note , he married in 1915 as a 40 year old, had 3 sons, but lost the first born most likely from the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. All 3, the physician, his bride and their first born are buried together at Magnolia Cemetery.