Born Martha Moore in 1735 Oxford, Massachusetts, she married Ephraim Ballard in 1754.
In 1777 she joined her husband in Hallowell, to which he had traveled seeking land and work. The following year Ballard began her practice as a midwife.
It was not until 1785 that she started her now famous diary, which chronicled daily life in frontier Maine and her experiences as a midwife. Without the diary, little would be known about Martha Ballard since she was not a public figure as was her husband.
The diary became the subject of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s book A Midwife’s Tale, and has been transcribed by Robert R. McCausland and Cynthia MacAlman McCausland as The Diary of Martha Ballard 1785-1812.
On April 26, 1812 she made her last visit as a midwife. Soon after the final entry in her diary, on May 7th, she died.
Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. A Midwife’s Tale. New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House. 1990
McCausland, Robert R. and Cynthia MacAlman. The Diary of Martha Ballard – 1785-1812. www.dohistory.org (accessed September 5, 2011).