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Joseph William BALLANTINE

Male 1888 - 1973  (84 years)

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  • Name Joseph William BALLANTINE 
    Born 30 Jul 1888  Ahmadnagar, Maharashtra, India Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Name Joseph William "Jody" BALLANTINE 
    Died 29 Jan 1973  Fairfield, Fairfield County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Old Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Bennington County, VT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • (1) Source: "Park Family," a Public Member Tree on

      (2) The Political Graveyard <>:

      Ballantine, Joseph William (b. 1888) - also known as Joseph W. Ballantine - of Amherst, Hampshire County, Mass. Born, of American parents, in Ahmednagar, India, July 30, 1888. Son of William Osborn Ballantine and Josephine Louise (Perkins) Ballantine. Foreign Service officer; U.S. Deputy Consul in Kobe, 1911-12; U.S. Deputy Consul General in Yokohama, 1912; U.S. Vice & Deputy Consul in Taihoku, 1912-14; U.S. Vice & Deputy Consul General in Yokohama, 1914; U.S. Consul in Dairen, 1921-23; Tokyo, 1923-29; U.S. Consul General in Canton, 1930-32. Congregationalist. Member, Phi Gamma Delta. Burial location unknown.

      Relatives: Married, October 30, 1917, to Emilia Ashburner Christy.

      (3) Kilbourn-Jacob, Daphne, "Joseph William Ballantine, American Statesman," Part 1 of 3, in Ballentine Branches, Family Newspaper for Ballentine, Huxford & Connected Families, Vol. 7, No. 2 (April - June 2003), pp. 1, 6; copyright © 2003, all rights reserved; commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited:

      On January 29th, 1973, Joseph Ballantine died in near obscurity in a Fairfield, CT nursing home. Only his immediate family was aware of the significance of his life and diplomatic career, in which he had helped shape some major world events in the first half of the Twentieth Century.

      Although Joeph Ballantine's natural sense of modesty had contributed to a low profile of his achievements, close colleagues had been aware of the importance of his work. These colleagues constituted a very large group - officials in the U. S. Foreign Office and State Department under six American presidents, Japanese and Chinese leaders, diplomats, and generals, American and foreign correspondents, and native scholars, both recognized and not, in their respective lands. By 1973, these professional associates had passed away as well.

      Researching these data has presented unique challenges. There is very limited documentary evidence. Some of his work was officially signed, not by himself, but by Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under FDR, to whom Joseph Ballantine was the personal/confidential advisor. Much of his work has been permanently sealed by the US State Department or is buried in the Columbia University Archives. Although Joseph Ballantine penned several published books himself, it is left for his descendants to tell his story.

      Born in Ahmadnagar, India, on July 30th, 1888, to Rev William Osborn Ballantine, MD, DD, and Josephine Perkins, he was the oldest of the third generation of a missionary family that had lived in this British Colony since the 1820s. His grandfather, Rev. Henry Ballantine, the brother of Rev. Elisha Ballantine, had come to India with his wife, Elizabeth Darling, and their children had been born and raised here. At age 7, Joseph's father had been trapped in the Indian Mutiny in 1857, in the Ahmadnagar fort where he escaped the widespread slaughter of foreigners. The depth of their ties may be seen in the fact that Marathi, the regional language, was also the home language of the Ballantines. Whether they were in India or on a periodic trip back to the States to complete the childrens' education or to renew the required Congregational Credentials for missionary work, Marathi was spoken at home.

      When Joseph was 10 years old, his mother, a missionary-teacher, decided to take the children back to the States to complete their education. After five years of formal primary education, Joseph was admitted to Amherst College, where he studied French. During this time he was unsure of his future. In spite of, or perhaps because of, his immersion in a missionary family, he knew he did not have the Calling, although he adhered to a strict moral code.

      A fellow student suggested he take the Foreign Service examination and he passed with distinction at age 19, undertook his training in Washington, D.C. and London, and was posted to Japan as an interpreter. Rigorously studying the language (the only official to do so at this posting), he became familiar with the customs and values of the people. He rose rapidly through the ranks and soon became Vice-Consul. When he was posted to China, he was Consul General to Peiking (now Beijing), although stationed in Japanese-occupied Manchuria (now Manchukuo).

      China was reeling from centuries of fighting by warlords. By the 19th century, the British Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion to expel all foreigners, and the last gasp of the Manchu Empire had left the country ripe for further strife. Sun Yat Sen had begun to form a republican government. The Japanese already occupied strategic commercial areas and by 1922, Chinese Communism was well established. The Japanese had the upper hand in the North and were at least willing to trade with the West, for the time being.

      It was into this maelstrom of events that the young Joseph, known as Jody to intimates, began his career. His methods - diligently studying Japanese, traveling the countryside in his free time to meet with the people and learn the mores and values of the local culture - made him popular both personally and professionally with the real regional leadership and enhanced his ability to carry out his consular duties. These were not the methods of his insular colleagues. The Japanese could not understand the "legalistic" ways that the Westerners did business, with their multiple documents. To Japanese officials, professional standing and one's personal honor were the prerequisites to doing business, and Jody embraced these native values, contrary to Foreign Office rules.

      He was also in Japan when he met and married Emilia Ashburne Christy in Yokohama in 1917 and there had his first two daughters, Elizabeth Copley and Alice Field. In 1923, Jody and his family were in Manchukuo, where Louise Adele was born in July. He was recalled to Japan before September of that year when the Great Tokyo earthquake struck, killing about 142,000 and destroying 700,000 households in Tokyo and Yokohama. As the Senior American Official there, he was in charge of the rescue and rebuilding efforts of foreign nationals. This task was made more painful by the death of his pregnant sister and brother-in-law in the disaster. Emilia had been left in China to assume Jody's professional duties there with two trusted Aides, as well as to care for the young family.

      By this time, chaos and violence were increasing in the Far East. The Japanese occupying forces had absolute power over the Chinese, and the puppet Chinese government was under constant surveillance from Tokyo. Even during their leisure, Jody recalls going on a hunting trip with the Chinese mayor of a key city and being surrounded with Japanese at all times, never out of earshot. Over the following years, the suspicious nature of the occupying force became an impediment to doing business. American and British companies such as Standard Oil pulled out of the country. Before this happened, though, the family was able to travel on vacations in Japan, China and French-IndoChina as a number of photographs of Imperial Palaces, great monuments and beautiful natural scenery reveal.

      Part 2 of this 3 part article will cover Jody's pre-war contributions to the current US foreign policy, predictions for major hostilities in the Asian Theater and how his Asian experiences shaped his later investigation of the events of December 7, 1941, at the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

      [Note by compiler: The compiler has not found Part 2 or 3 of this article.]

      (4) Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2001 [database online], Provo, UT: Operations Inc, 2003:

      Name: Josep[h] W Ballantine
      Death Date: 29 Jan 1973
      Death Place: Fairfield, Connecticut
      Age: 84 Years
      Birth Date: abt 1889
      Marital Status: Married
      Spouse: Lesl[ey]
      State File #: 00464
      Residence: New York
      Race: White

      (5) Social Security Death Index:

      Name: Joseph Ballantine
      SSN: 579-44-5893
      Last Residence: 10003 New York, New York, New York, United States of America
      Born: 30 Jul 1888
      Died: Jan 1973
      State (Year) SSN issued: District of Columbia (1952)


      Joseph William Ballantine
      Birth: Jul. 30, 1888
      Death: Jan. 29, 1973

      Burial: Old Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont, USA

      Created by: Spydergal 2011
      Record added: Jul 14, 2011
      Find A Grave Memorial# 73346990
    Person ID I15266  Frost, Gilchrist and Related Families
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2021 

    Family 1 Emilia Ashburner CHRISTY,   b. 26 Oct 1883, Berkeley, Alameda County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Jan 1952, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, MD Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Married 26 Oct 1917  Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Elizabeth Copley BALLANTINE,   b. 17 May 1919, Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Jan 1990, Bakersfield, Kern County, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     2. Alice Field BALLANTINE,   b. Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Louise Adele BALLANTINE,   b. Manzhouli, Manzhouli Shi, Nei Mongol, China Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2021 
    Family ID F13402  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Lesley FROST,   b. 28 Apr 1899, Lawrence, Essex County, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Jul 1983, Fairfield, Fairfield County, CT Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years) 
    Married 23 Aug 1952 
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2021 
    Family ID F6835  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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    Joseph William BALLANTINE
    Joseph William BALLANTINE