James Vinton Ballentine, who has retired from active farm work and is now dealing in stock in Lawrenceville, is an energetic business man who recognizes that toil is the foundation of all prosperity and thus he has labored earnestly to acquire a competence that will enable him to provide a good home for his family. He was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1823, and in the year 1831 his parents, William and Nancy (Neal) Ballentine, came from the Keystone state to Ohio, locating first in Montgomery county, where they remained for a year. His parents were natives of courity Armagh, Ireland, and it was in the year 1798 that they left their home in the mirth of the Emerald Isle and crossed the Atlantic to America. John Ballentine, an uncle of our subject, had been drafted by England to serve as a soldier, but when he reached this country he severed his allegiance to the British crown and became an American soldier. William Ballentine never succeeded in finding him, but afterward learned that he died in Greenbush, New York, he and his wife lived in Pennsylvania for a number of years, then, as stated above, came to Ohio. In 1832 they came to Clark county, through which they had passed when they sought a home in Montgomery county, and here the father purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, to which he afterward added a tract of forty-four acres in German township, his place being pleasantly located a mile and a half from Lawrenceville. Our subject has since made his home in this county and in the common schools he acquired his early education, which was afterward supplemented by a year's study in the high school of Springfield. For nine years he engaged in teaching, entering upon that profession in 1846. although he later attended school to some extent. He was a successful educator, earnest and thorough in his work, and thus he gave general satisfaction wherever he was employed. In early life he was also a clerk in his brother-in-law's store in Tremont, and likewise acted as a clerk in the postofiice at that place.


On the 21st of August, 1853, Mr. Ballentine was united in marriage to Miss Rosanna Domer, who was born in Clark county, and was a daughter of John and Sarah (Myers) Domer, who came from Maryland to Ohio. Five children have been born unto our subject and his wife, but one of the number died at the age of six months. The others are: Charles F., who is a teacher of this county and lives in Lawrenceville; Eliza J., the wife of Dr. Reynolds; Nancy A., the wife of Enos Xanders, who is living in Lawrenceville; and Marion Seymour, who is a grocery merchant of Darnell, Champaign county, Ohio, and is married and has one child.


iTThrough a number of years Mr. Ballentine carried on general farming, applying himself closely to his work and following progressive methods. He obtained thereby a good living. At length he put aside the more arduous duties of the farm and began dealing in stock in Lawrenceville, the business which he yet follows. In politics he is a Democrat and has been quite prominent in public affairs. He was elected justice of the peace and served in that office in a most creditable manner for twelve years. At the end of that time he was again chosen for the position, but refused to serve longer. Of all the many cases he tried only one was ever appealed, and in that his decision was sustained. He has also married about sixty-nine couples and has performed other duties in connection with his office. He acted as assistant to an assessor in his township for six years and afterward was elected to the position of assessor and continued in that capacity for ten years. He has been a delegate to various state conventions of the Democracy and was elected a delegate to the national convention, but did not attend. During the administration of President Johnson he served as revenue collector for three townships in Clark county. Mr. Ballentine has long been deeply and actively interested in everything pertaining to the public good and his efforts have been effective in promoting the general progress. He was one of the prime movers in establishing the township high school—in fact this school owes its existence to Mr. Ballentine and Squire Eli Kizer. It is now a source of pride to the community and has done much toward promoting educational advancement here. Mr. Ballentine was likewise among the first to advocate free pikes, and was superintendent of the construction of one pike that is twelve miles in length and is called the Ballentine pike. He was also instrumental in building Flick pike and largely assisted in getting the toll gates removed so that the pikes became free highways of travel. Thus in all matters of public progress and improvement Mr. Ballentine has borne an active part in the community where he resides and where he is regarded by his friends and acquaintances as one of the substantial and representative citizens.

 

From "A Biographical Record of Clark County Ohio," S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1902