**Wabash Courier, July 17, 1841; page 2, column 6**
An important milestone in the commercial life of Terre Haute occurred when Thomas H. Blake sold the entire stock of his dry goods to William J. Ball in July 1841. Thomas Blake’s political career focused on urging funding for the completion of the Wabash & Erie Canal through Terre Haute. William J. Ball, a native of Virginia, had been commissioned to work on the Wabash and Erie Canal as the resident engineer. The management of Thomas Blake’s dry goods store was assisted by Alexander Beard. This was one of many other successful business ventures. William J. Ball was appointed chief engineer of the Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad in 1850, and later served the same function for the Terre Haute, Alton & St. Louis Railroad. He was also president of the Terre Haute Gas Company and later in life owned and managed the Eagle Foundry.