Skip to main content

Warren Lafayette Ball papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8990

Scope and Contents

Contains typed copy of Warren Lafayette Ball's journal written in his home in Salt Lake City during the last year of his life (1878) and a copy of "The Travails of Warren Lafayette Ball: Pony Express Rider," (2015) a biography of Ball written by Ohio State University professor Dale W. Adams discussing Warren’s early life and work in establishing the Pony Express. Ball’s journal discusses events that occurred in that year including his service as the guard of Brigham Young's grave and his death, which was written by his wife Charlotte. Materials dated 1878 and 2015.


  • 1878-2015, bulk 1878


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Access

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Warren Lafayette Ball papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Dale W. Adams (1934-) is a Utah State University alumni and Ohio State University professor best known for his historical research on topics about Mormon history, including the history of the Kirtland Safety Society, D.P. Hurlbut, and controversies concerning the authorship of the Book of Mormon.

Dale W. Adams was born in Pleasant Grove, Utah on June 21, 1934. He attended Utah State University, majoring in economics. He was a professor at the Ohio State University for 30 years. A self-styled "weekend historian," Adams' hobby is researching the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, focusing on its history in Kirtland, Ohio. He has published articles on the Kirtland Safety Society, controversies concerning the authorship of the Book of Mormon, and on D. P. Hurlbut. Dale Adams is now retired and currently resides in Park City, Utah.

Biographical History

Warren Lafayette Ball (1834-1878) was a Mormon pioneer originally from Massachusetts who settled in Salt Lake City and worked for the Pony Express.

During his time in Utah, Ball worked with Howard Egan in establishing the Pony Express, a short-lived messaging service which ran from St. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA to ship goods quickly and efficiently across the Western United States.

Warren Lafayette Ball was born in Franklin County, Mass. to Joseph Randolph Ball and Sophronia Horr on November 9, 1834. While little is known about his life when the family lived in Massachusetts, in 1843 the family left Massachusetts to travel to Nauvoo, IL -- probably due to family contentions caused by Warren's father's decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

While in Nauvoo, the family faced much difficulty. In 1844, Warren's infant sister Sophronia died. Likewise, in April of 1845 Warren's father died from tuberculosis, and, in spite of receiving a $200 inheritance, Warren later lived with the Anderson family, eventually having to move again as the Mormons decided to head west to Utah.

At the age of 19, Warren worked with Howard R. Egan in establishing a route to deliver goods throughout the Mountain West known as the Pony Express. Originally in the 1850s this route ran through Ibapah, Utah, to California, but eventually the route was expanded to St. Joseph, Mo. While this venture proved to be successful, soon Warren was called by Brigham Young to labor to the Native Americans in Deep Creek, Utah. Warren served dutifully in the region between 1874 and 1875, then relocated to Salt Lake in 1877. In 1878, while living in the region (particularly in American Fork) and writing in his journal, Ball passed away from cancer, only months after marrying his wife Charlotte.


2 folders (0.1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Donated by Dale W. Adams in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Dale W. Adams; February 2017


Utah and American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1 and 4, November 2013).

Processing Information

Processed; Eric Wolford, student manuscript processor, and Ryan Lee, curator; 2017.

Register of Warren Lafayette Ball papers
Eric Wolford
2017 May 16
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States