Reverend Dr. William Baton Ball, African-American soldier, teacher, school official, and minister, was born into slavery in Danville, Kentucky, on February 15, 1839. He grew up on his parents' farm and then moved his way through Oberlin College.
After being a servant for an officer early in the Civil War, Ball enlisted in the Union Army, serving until the war came to an end. In 1866, Ball re-enlisted and became one of the famous Buffalo Soldiers, serving for a time on the frontier. He received an honorable discharge in 1868 and moved to Texas in 1869.
Ball settled in Seguin in 1871, and on March 21, 1872, he married Rachel Cartwright. The couple had ten children.
In 1871, with the help of Rev. Leonard Ilsey, Ball organized the Abraham Lincoln School in Seguin, the first school for African-Americans in Guadalupe County. Along with being a teacher, he was its principal until 1906.
In 1884, Rev. Dr. Ball and an association of African-American Baptists founded Negro Baptist College. Ball helped obtain funding for the expansion of the college's physical plant in 1904. The following year, a new site was purchased for the institution. Ball served as the president of the college for eight years, from 1906-1914.
In addition to his accomplishments in the field of education, Rev. Dr. Ball was pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Seguin for 37 years.
Rev. Dr. W.B. Ball died in January 26, 1923. He is buried in the historic Riverside Cemetery on South River St. near downtown Seguin.
In 1925, Lincoln High School was renamed Ball High School in Rev. Dr. Ball's honor.