James Ballou Place

James Ballou (1684-1764)

James Ballou Place

Location on 1838 map: The house was adjacent to the Elder Ballou Meeting House, and appears on the 1838 map as the Abner Ballou Jr. house.

Map of the Town of Cumberland, RI by Newell Nelson, Published by Aaron White, Jr., Rouvés Lithography, Graphic Court, Boston, MA, 1838.

James was the oldest of the three brothers (James, Nathaniel, and Obadiah)  who originally moved to the Cumberland area. Their father, James, who lived near present-day Albion, acquired a large tract of land in what is now Cumberland and divided it between his sons James, Nathaniel, and Obadiah. James was the grandson of Maturin Ballou.

James donated the land for the Elder Ballou Meeting House, which was built between 1745 and 1750. [1]

President James A. Garfield was James’ great-great grandson, through his mother, Eliza Ballou Garfield. Garfield was the 20th President and  the second American president to be assassinated. He was in office less than a year. [2]

James Ballou left his house to his son James, who sold it in 1774 to his cousin the Elder Abner Ballou, and moved to Richmond, NH.  Elder Abner Ballou left it to his son Abner, who left it to his son Abner, who sold it to a Mr. Jason B. Adams in 1857 (see 1870 map) and moved to Woonsocket. [3]

The Meeting House was named after Elder Abner Ballou, who served as pastor for many years.

Abner Ballou, the son of Elder Abner Ballou, expanded the family home about 1800, “with a handsome two-story mansion, retaining in the ell a rejuvenated portion of the original structure.” [4] An engraving of the house from page 91 of “An Elaborate History” is shown below.

James Ballou House, p. 91

The picture from the album is clearly the same house, with a second addition.

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  1. An Elaborate History”, pp. 39-42
  2. Ibid, p. 431, and Wikipedia entry, James A. Garfield.
  3. Ibid, p. 572
  4. Ibid, p. 227


Atlas of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, p.47.    Compiled and Published by D. G. Beers & Co., Philadelphia, 1870

Cumberland Town, from the Atlas of Providence County 1895, Rhode Island. Published by Everts and Richards in 1895