Olive May Keith

OLIVE MAY KEITH was born December 02, 1838 in Benton County, Arkansas, and died June 01, 1891 in Benton County, Arkansas. She married ARCHILLIS GARRARD BALLINGER, son of EASTHAM BALLINGER and MELINDA SANFORD. He was born Abt. 1835 in Missouri, and died July 1863 in Benton County, Arkansas. Olive was the 7th child born to William Bird Keith and Sarah Ruth May. Olive is buried in Keith cemetery at Maysville.

Archilles Garrard Ballinger joined the 2nd regiment of the Cherokee Mounted Rifles as a doctor. He was killed at the battle of Honey Springs, Indian Territory in July of 1863. In a letter written in 1925, Joseph G. Heaslet recounted some of his experiences:

“Now sometime early in July 1863 there was a good many of our Company in Benton Co., Ark. The officer that was in command called the men together for them to go to the army then stationed at Honey Springs, Indian Teritory. We got the army a few days before the Honey Springs battle the 17th. Our army didn’t try to hold the ground any longer than to get our baggage on the road when all the army retreated. There were several of our boys wounded and our third Lieutenant, Dr. Ballenger, was killed. The army retreated all that day and all night following. My brother, William, was in a one-horse rig and had a wounded man with him. My brother was a captain of a company.”

It is easy to draw some conclusions about the Ballinger family; and this is where nothing but pure speculation comes in from this historian, so take it with a grain of salt and, as always, look for facts. Archillis Ballinger was born in Missouri, most likely part Indian (probably Cherokee) because of the regiment that he joined in the Civil War. Sometime after his death, his sons moved to what was then called “Indian Territory” and later Oklahoma. Some of Bird Ballinger’s children were counted as part Cherokee in the census there. We don’t know A. G. Ballingers birthdate, but we do know that his wife, Olive May Keith, was born about 1839. This was prime time for the “Trail of Tears” migration of the Indians to what would become Oklahoma. This tragic event may have left an impression on the Ballinger family that was part Caucasion. At any rate, his sons ended up in Oklahoma after his death; and at least one of them married a woman who was at least part Cherokee, as indicated in the 1910 census.


EASTHAM L. BALLINGER b. March 1862, Missouri.
BIRD KEITH BALLINGER b. December 24, 1861, Benton Conty, Arkansas; d. Abt. 1937.
SARAH LEVITIA BALLINGER b. January 1864, Arkansas.

Genealogical Sources

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