Francis Vergnies Balch - Born: Feb. 3, 1839

Francis Vergnies Balch (Feb. 3, 1839 - Feb. 4, 1898) was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Joseph and Ann Lathrop (Noyes) Balch. Francis' father died in 1849 when he was only ten years old. In his early years Francis developed a love of classic literature and New England Botany.

In 1855 Francis entered Harvard College at the age of sixteen. During his time at Harvard he was at the top of his class and he graduated as Valedictorian and class orator. In 1859 Francis graduated with an A.B. Degree from Harvard College. Eighteen months later, in 1860, he graduated from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the bar.

Francis legal career started with him being partnered with a man by the name of Francis Winthrop Palfry and a professional relationship with George S. Hillard. In 1862 he enlisted with the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment (Francis Palfry was Lt. Col.). Francis and the Twentieth Regiment were involved in the Peninsula Campaign of Southeastern Virginia. The hardships of fighting were so hard on Francis that he ended up developing a severe fever and was barely nursed back to health. It is believed that this illness had permanent effects on him over the rest of his life.

In 1864 Francis entered the world of politics when he became a clerk in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Also around this time he served as a private secretary for Charles Sumner and then as his general executor and literary executor. During this time he wrote various pamphlets on international and tax law. Francis was also responsible for the authorship of the first Civil Service Reform Bill that was eventually adopted with only minor changes.

During this time Francis briefly was in partnership again with his original partner Francis Palfry. In 1867 Francis became a partner in the law offices of William Minot. He would remain in partnership with William Minot for many years.

In 1868 Francis married Ellen Maria Noyes (his cousin) and together they had seven daughters and one son. Francis and Ellen's marriage is described as being a beautiful marriage and when Ellen died in 1884 it was a difficult loss for Francis.

In the years before and after his marriage Francis professional development came gradually. On the death of William Minot, in 1873, he would open a law office at 39 Court Street (Boston). In 1881 he added Charles S. Rackemann and in 1887 he added Felix Rackemann to the law firm that would become known as Balch and Rackemann.

Francis died suddenly on February 4, 1898 from complications from Pneumonia. It is believed that Francis had a certain amount of health issues throughout much of his life. Every indication is that Francis didn't allow these issues to interfere in the living of his life.

Genealogy of Francis Vergnies

Father: Joseph Balch
Mother: Ann Lathrop Noyes

Wife1: Ellen Maria Noyes
Married: 1868


1. Catherine
2. Anne Lathrop
3. Emily Greene
4. Elizabeth
5. Ellen
6. Francis Noyes
7. Alice
8. Marion Casares

Primary Sources/Links

Rootsweb - Francis Vergnies Balch [1]

Genealogy of the Balch Families in America - By: Galusha B. Balch [2]

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register - By: Henry Fritz-Gilbert Waters [3]

Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Volume 12 (Image Source) [4]
By Colonial Society of Massachusetts

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