Queer Places:
Greenville Cemetery Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi, USA

Henry Waring Ball (November 3, 1859 - June 21, 1934) was a lawyer, journalist, and planter of Greenville, Miss.

According to Benjamin E. Wise, author of William Alexander Percy: The Curious Life of a Mississippi Planter and Sexual Freethinker, faced with the various tragedies of his generation of the Percy family, William Armstrong Percy took comfort in a romantic friendship with a neighbor, Henry Waring Ball. Though William Armstrong did not keep a diary of this friendship, Ball did. In that diary, Ball charts a string of such friendships: “Will Percy was my first love, my original Damon and Pythias. There has been a long line of them since—Will Percy, Will Mays, Sam Bull, Will Van Dresser, Tony Russell, and now Eugene”. Wise is quick to clarify that the numerous relationships Ball recounts occurred from the 1870s to the 1890s, at a time when “homosexuality was not yet conceived as an identity, an either/or sexual preference, [and] men were free to share romantic love without the stigma of being homosexual”.

Henry Waring Ball married Eleanor Carter Randolph (1870–1955). He tried to piece together a living as a joumalist and a lawyer's assistant, and although well-read and intelligent, he found the going tough. "I am now in about as tight a place as I have ever been in my life. I am in debt all around," he wrote in 1894. "How I have pulled through the last year God knows. I can't stop to think of it, even. Sis works like a slave from morning until night at her [sewing] machine, poor child! and somehow we keep plenty to eat, and hold our place before the world, but how long we can keep it up I cannot tell. I feel pretty desperate tonight." Ball hated working for the lawyer: "Nothing but the bitterness of very necessity would make me bear it a minute—work all day long for King and half the night for the Times and still I can't make a living." Later that month Ball was appointed editor of the the paper and his hardest limes had passed.


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