Thomas H. Ball was a successful and prominent politician and lawyer,
widely known as the "Father of the Port of Houston" and as the reason
Tomball, Texas has such an unusual name.
Tom Ball was born in 1859 in
the town of Huntsville and was married in 1882. He had a total of six
children - three biological and three adopted.
Thomas H. Ball - A Short Biography
Tom Ball went to Austin College in 1871 where he studied law and became
a lawyer in 1888. He became well known in Texas as a strong prohibition
supporter, as well as a three-time mayor of Huntsville and a
a four-term US Congressman.
A deep water port coming from the Gulf of Mexico into Houston used to be
a dream that seemed impossible in the late 1800s. The amount of effort
required to complete such a task was immense - a channel to Houston would
have to stretch 53 miles inland and would take a huge amount
of money and effort. Tom Ball made a name for himself as the man who
made that dream a reality, becoming the "Father of the Port of Houston" for
his tireless work against opposition in support of a new Houston Ship Channel,
which was completed in 1914. Today,
Ball's contribution to the Houston-area economy is immense: the port he
championed is now the 2nd largest port in the United States, and the
8th largest port in the World.
In addition to his contributions to the city of Houston,
Tom Ball helped route a railroad through the then- little-known town
of Peck, Texas. The result was significant economic growth,
and in appreciation for Ball's efforts the
citizens of the area gave the town a new name: "TomBall, Texas."