Originally called Hutchins City, promoted by Santa Fe Rwy. Named for Judge William Pitt Ballinger (1825-1888), railroad attorney and townsite official, distinguished Texas statesman, veteran of the Mexican War. In Civil War helped establish defenses of Galveston. Served as Confederate receiver of enemy aliens' property. Was sent to negotiate peace for Texas.
Ballinger is county seat and farm ranch center. Industries include dairying, meat products, leather goods, manufacturing, and annual rodeo, livestock, and quarterhorse shows.