Born a free man in Virginia in 1825, Ball was a not only an extremely successful Daguerrean/photographer but was a businessman and dabbled in politics later in his life becoming a Montana delegate to the Republican convention in 1894. His reputation spanned from his beginnings in Virginia to Cincinnati to Minneapolis to Montana to Seattle and finally to Hawaii. He produced hundreds of photographs of the white, black, and Chinese community. He was the official photographer of the 25th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and photographed the construction of the Montana state capital.

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