William I. Ballinger, M. D., Plain City, is the oldest son of Joshua and Delilah (Inskeep) Ballinger, of Logan County, Ohio, where he was born October 18, 1828. The former, who was born in New Jersey, came to Ohio with his parents in 1810, and settled on the head-waters of Big Darby Creek, where he died. The latter was a native of Ohio, and still lives. The subject of this sketch spent his youth and boyhood with his parents, brothers and sisters, on a farm, until the spring of 1848. Then, having no special appetite for the gymnastics and manual duties of farm life, he was sent to the " Old Academy." in Marysville, Ohio, at that time under the auspices of the Rev. James D. Smith, who was assisted by the Rev. James A. Sterrett, as Principal. He spent three summers in this institution, the last two of which were under the tutelage of the now Hon. James W. Robinson, of Marysville, Ohio, who took charge of the academy as Principal in 1849. Here he acquired the rudiments of algebra, Latin, and of such branches as are usually taught in the high school departments in the graded system of the present day. The winters were passed in teaching district schools, and our subject remembers, with much regret. the mistakes of those whose duty it was to employ teachers, and to look after the moral and mental welfare of the youth, in employing young men and young women to perform these sacred duties, whose only qualifications were a "certificate to teach," and a sufficiency of muscular development to assert their authority in the schoolroom by the help of the rod. In September, 1850, he was sent to the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, and entered the Senior Preparatory Class, and remained in the university for three years, pursuing the classical course of study. In the fall of 1853, he commenced the study of medicine in the office of Dr. D. W. Henderson, of Marysville, Ohio; taught a district school at Amity, in this county, during the following winter months, resumed his studies in the office in March 1854 and, in October of the same year, entered Starling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio, for his first course of lectures. In March of 1855, he returned to Dr. Henderson's office, and there remained till the October following, when he went to Cleveland. Ohio, and entered the Cleveland Medical College, where he was graduated a Doctor of Medicine early in March, 1856. Through the kind offices of his much-esteemed preceptor and friend, Dr. Henderson, he was introduced to Hon. Dr. John N. Beach, then in Pleasant Valley, now Plain City, this county, a partnership for business purposes agreed upon, and, on the 9th of April 1856, the subject of our sketch became the object of curious eyes among the inhabitants of Pleasant Valley and vicinity, trying to weigh the acumen and mental force of the "new doctor." First impressions of Pleasant Valley were not favorable. It was at a time of the year when mud reigned supreme over foot-paths and highways. Teams were bemired in the main streets, and had to be pried out with poles. Sidewalks were few and far between. The town had a railroad and depot, but to reach the same you had to travel -- man, woman, child. horse, hog and cow -- from McCloud's corner over the entire length of Railroad street, through a sea of mud and water, the exact depth of which no man, perhaps, ever exactly fathomed. The late sleeper was aroused from his dreams, of mornings, by the sonorous notes of " P-o-o-i-g, p-o-o-i-g, piggy, piggy!" coupled with the pleasing strain, " S-o-o-k, boss! s-o-o-k, boss! " and, upon gaining the front door, the foot-paths and streets were found to be the common feeding-yards; and for the balance of the day Mr. Porker plied his snout diligently to plowing the streets and grass plats. The moral and social status was not wholly out of keeping with the physical comforts and conveniences of the place. Although there were a number of intelligent, generous hearted and Christian people there, yet there were a great many who had their "peculiar views" and their peculiar ways. Bad whisky then, as now, was not unknown; and for many, Saturday was the day of days for settling old scores. This element mostly came from the country. They would commence coming in about 9 or 10 o'clock A. M., and by 2 o'clock P. M. their ranks would be full, and the early comers well fired up. Accounts were called, and the swearing would begin. After exchanging a great many oaths and vulgar epithets, and passing the bottle around several times, the preliminaries of battle would be arranged; but not many hard battles were ever fought. Pleasant Valley at the time was a dead town so far as business and building enterprises were concerned. From 1856 to 1866, one had to count in all the barns built to make an average of one building per year; and the business of the place was limited to three small dry goods stores, one grocery, one drug store and one restaurant. To return to our subject. The "new doctor" was kindly received by his new acquaintances, and, in course of time, was intrusted with a fair share of the afflicted portion of humanity to care for. He found many warm hearts, and true and genial friends. On the 18th of February, 1857, he was united in marriage with Miss Matilda Taylor, the oldest daughter of John and Eliza Mark Taylor, who were both born and raised in Madison County, and still reside two miles south of Plain City. They have had five children, viz.: Charles, who died in infancy; John T.; Oliver, who died aged fourteen months; James Llew and Eve. Mr. Ballinger is a member of the Methodist Church and of the Masonic Order, and in politics is a Republican. The Doctor pursued his professional duties assiduously until the spring of 1873, when he, in company with Mr. Richard Woodruff, a merchant of Plain City, conceived the project of building a flouring-mill in Plain City. Neither party knew anything about mills or milling, but the scheme was put into execution, and the mill, a substantial brick structure, with two run of buhrs for wheat, and one for corn, was put in operation about Christmas of the same year, costing about $13,000. Mr. Woodruff dying in 1875 left the entire care of the mill in the Doctor's hands. This so interfered with his professional duties that he has given but little attention to them since. The Plain City Mills have had a fine reputation for the quality of their flour for several years, and any one visiting the Doctor's sanctum will find his table covered with both medical and milling literature, and will find him as ready to discuss the best methods of milling as he is to discuss the best methods of preventing and treating diseases. He is now decidedly in favor of bread pills.


From HISTORY OF MADISON COUNTY - W. H. Beers [Chicago, 1883]