Archives and Special Collections
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
Born into slavery in Calvert County, Maryland, Charles Ball’s family was dispersed when he was at a very young. Ball’s grandfather was a native African. Charles Ball was given permission to marry in 1805. Eventually, he was sold to a cotton planter in South Carolina. This event separated him from his wife and children. After working for sometime in South Carolina, he attempted to escape. He then became a slave in Georgia where he attempted to escape again. He hired himself out as a laborer and served in the navy during the War of 1812. After his wife died, Charles Ball remarried and created a small homestead in Maryland. He was captured and resold into slavery. After a time, Ball again made the treacherous journey north, this time settling in Pennsylvania. He learned that his second wife has been sold into slavery even though she was born free. With the help of a Philadelphia lawyer, Ball wrote an autobiography detailing the trials of slavery and his escapes.