Steve Ball is a musician and historian from Columbus Ohio. Steve started both playing the guitar and studying the American Civil War at the age of twelve. Over the years, Steve developed an interest in older styles of American music, and has performed in Folk groups, Bluegrass and Country bands, Square dance bands, and even a Western trio. His interest in Civil War music was generated by tunes he learned while in the western trio, and eventually he built a repitore of songs from the 19th century, both before and during the Civil War period of 1861 to 1865. His interest in the history of the war led to learning about the composers, and the events that led to many of the songs of the period being written and composed. As his knowledge grew, he developed a presentation that explains both why the tunes were written, and what was going on in the war at the time. The songs are presented in a somewhat chronological order, and Steve tells the story of each song, and keeps listeners informed of the progress of the war at the same time. Steve will play at any kind of an event, schools, retirement centers, anywhere someone would like to hear some authentic Civil War music performed as it sounded in the 1860's, on a true period-correct Civil War era guitar. Steve can be a part of your event by giving a informative presentation, or by simply being a part of the event, moving thru the camps, displays, and the general area, playing for people at different locations at your event, or he can do both. In the event any sound equipment may be needed, Steve also can provide any equipment of this type, speakers, microphones, etc. Rates vary according to the distance traveled, and the amount of time at the event. Rates are also very reasonable. He also has CD's available for anyone interested.
As a collector of vintage instruments, mainly guitars, Steve has built a collection of Civil War Era guitars, the earliest being an 1845 Martin size 3 model 17, followed by an 1850 Martin size 3 model 17, as well as an 1850 James Ashborn size 2 guitar. His main guitar, used throughout his career as a Civil War Musician, is an 1860's size 2 model 20. All guitars are in thier original cases, and all are used in performances to minimize the amount of wear to any single instrument.
In Steve's family heritage is his Great-Great Grandfather on Steve's Mothers side of the family, a Union Private by the name of William Tyler Butts, born in Athens County Ohio in 1842. He married in 1861, and moved to the town of Yellowbud in Ross County Ohio to work on the Ohio Canal. William enlisted in the Union Army in December of 1861, in the newly formed 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, out of Chillicothe Ohio. Private Butts saw action in the battles of Cross Keys, Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. Private Butts re-enlisted at the end of 1863, and then went with General Sherman on the drive to take Atlanta. Private Butts was shot at Kennesaw Mountain Georgia on June 19, 1864, badly wounded in the left leg. This wound stopped him from participating in the famous "March to the Sea", but he rejoined the 73rd in the Carolinas, shortly before the end of the war. He was mustered out of the Union Army on July 7, 1865, a significant date in history, being the same day the Lincoln conspirators were hung in Washington D.C. William Butts returned home to Yellowbud with a still badly wounded leg, Tuberculosis, and chronic dysentery. His son, born in 1861, died in 1866. William then fathered four daughters, the youngest becoming Steve's Great Grandmother.
William Tyler Butts died on August 28, 1874, at the age of 32 of "consumption", the then-title for TB. He left a widow and four daughters. He was buried in Yellowbud, his grave left unmarked for 117 years, until Steve confirmed his burial site in 1991. Steve contacted the Veterans Administration, and Private William Tyler Butts finally received his Military Grave marker in August of 1991. Steve is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, always wearing his SUV medal on his uniform. Steve wears a Union sergeant's uniform with the number 73 for the 73rd OVI, and a "K" for company K, the company Private Butts served in during the war.