The history of Captain Ball's Fountain includes three main characters.

concept map illustrating relationship between different David Balls

Which David Ball?

Another confusing part to the story of the fountain is which David Ball? There was more than one! In Charles Morse's Book (p.175) he says Julia is the daughter of Captain David Ball. This cannot be the same Captain David Ball on his black horse and Marshal of the Parade in 1881, described by Morse (p.170), as Julia's father died in 1864.

No mention is made in the newspaper clip of why the fountain was being donated or in whose honor.  Perhaps the town later decided to dedicate the fountain to the highly revered Warwick veteran of the civil war and the famous battles on the fields of Gettysburg? Perhaps we will never know? If you have any ideas, comments, or find the real answer you can contact me here.

Final Thoughts


It is worth considering the potential uses of the fountain, and what a great gift it was to the town. There are some very interesting histories regarding fountains at that time such as the temperance movement and the humanitarian groups. Meanwhile the potential for bickering households having to share water, freezing pipes in the winter, dried up wells in the summer. There is much which could be researched and written about.

The Walling Map of 1858 shows the dwellings of two D. Balls living in the northern section of town. This is close to the water trough mentioned by Morse (p. 175), supposedly given to the town by Captain David Ball. This would have been a welcome water source for those living downhill from the center of town. The steep climb up through the gully would potentially have been quite difficult at times depending on the season.

The fountain continues to provide a fresh source of drinking water. Power outages brings householders with their gallon plastic jugs, sometimes having to wait patiently in line. During dry spells in summer the fountain provides relief; even hoses have been known to be used to siphon off some water! Cyclists and hikers are often seen filling up their water bottles.

There are no doubt a lot more stories to be told. It would be particularly interesting to discover more about how the fountain is maintained. This may in part help document something which is intangible yet part of our cultural heritage. That is the way in which such a structure at that time was created, the mechanisms used, the processes, the way in which things were made in times gone by which may be very different to present manufacturing. Currently the cavity of a septic tank provides greater access to the plumbing. This was installed in 1979. Henry F, Jenks, the inventor of the fountain, created a system which cleverly prevented it from freezing. The patent illustration and some descriptions provide a little insight into how this fountain works, however there is no doubt more to research.

The sources page provides the sources of information used throughout this website. If you would like to provide more insight, stories, any useful pieces of information, you can contact me here.


Morse, Charles A., (1963). Warwick, Massachusetts: Biography of a town. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Dresser, Chapman & Grimes.

The New England Ball Project: From the immigrants to the present.

You can find more research resources on the Sources Page