Williams-Ball-Copeland House

Also known as: Franks House; Villa,The; Hampton Heights; Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Center
544 Ball Dr., Laurens, South Carolina


Williams Ball Copeland House - Built ca. 1859-61

Photo taken by Michael Miller on June 23, 2016


Street View 


The Williams-Ball-Copeland House is significant for the contributions made by four of its former residents, John Drayton Williams, Beaufort Watts Ball, William Watts Ball, and Sarah Ball Copeland, to the fields of publishing, politics and government, and civic work. The house is an outstanding example of the Italian Villa style of architecture. Built ca. 1859-61 as a winter residence for Colonel John Drayton Williams (1798-1870), the house was one of at least four in the city of Laurens built in this style; it is the only one that remains intact. The contractor for the house was Dr. John Wells Simpson, who employed skilled, slave artisans in its construction. Dr. Simpson also built the Laurens County Courthouse. John Drayton Williams and Beaufort Watts Ball, the first two owners of the house, were active in state government. Williams served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and the Southern Rights Convention of 1852. He was also a member of the Secession Convention and a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. Ball was a member of the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1865 and a State Representative. Ballís children William Watts Ball and Sarah Ball Copeland were editors of their fatherís newspaper the Laurens Advertiser. W.W. Ball later served as editor of The State and The News and Courier. Sarah Ball Copeland served as Chairman of the Library Board of Trustees for twenty-seven years. The house is a two-story brick residence that is stuccoed and scored. The house is situated on the crest of a prominent hill in the western section of the city. To the north of the house are two, small, brick outbuildings which date from the same period as the house. One was originally the summer kitchen and the other was a combination smokehouse and food storage house. Listed in the National Register November 19, 1986. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 19, 1986
Reference number
NR name
Williams--Ball--Copeland House
Architectural style
Victorian: Italianate
Areas of significance
Politics/Government; Architecture; Communications
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction; B - Person
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Current function
Institutional housing
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874
Significant years
1860; 1875; 1902
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3

Update Log 

  • June 24, 2016: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • September 22, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View", Corrected "Alternate Name" and Imported Photo
  • September 22, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller