Re-visiting the Descent of Francis Ballard of Elizabeth City County, Virginia (c.1675-1719/20).

The descendants of Francis Ballard, the son of Thomas Ballard of James City County, Virginia, are a difficult lot to understand.  They resided in the Hampton Roads area, in Elizabeth City County and Warwick County, both extinct and now known as Hampton and Newport News.

The discovery of a news story out of Philadelphia describing the murder of a Mr William Ballard of Hampton piqued our interest in discovering where he fit in.  One thing led to another, and the result is a complete re-working of this line, which appears below.

No doubt there are errors in what follows, and any information to help clarify these relationships would be welcome.  And there are still loose ands to attend to, such as the ancestry and descent of an Edward Ballard of Elizabeth City County (c.1694-1728), who does not fit within what is outlined here, even though the name crops up in later generations, and other items that simply cannot be resolved for lack of data, such as the reference to the estate of a William Ballard in Warwick in a land tax list of 1788.

Francis Ballard Sr of Elizabeth City County, Virginia (c.1676-1719/20).

Francis Ballard, son of Thomas Ballard of James City County, Virginia, was born probably c. 1675 in James City County.  In 1693 and 1694 was sub-Sheriff of York County,1 and sheriff of Elizabeth City County in 1705.2

He appeared on the Quit Rent Roll of 1704 with 460 acres in Elizabeth City County (with the notation next to his name, “per Selden”).  He may have lived in Hampton, Elizabeth City county, for on 18 September 1718 he sold a lot in the town.3  On 2 December 1718 he purchased another lot in Hampton that he had previously purchased, but probably failed to build on.4  In 1704 he served as justice of the peace and again in 1716, and in 1705 Sheriff of Elizabeth City County; in 1710 to 1712 he was a Burgess for Elizabeth City County.  He was appointed with Henry Irvine and Joseph Curle to dispose of several lots in Hampton.5

He married c. 25 December 1699 Mary Servant (Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds, Wills, Misc., 1688-1702, p. 218 (133)), who died before 10 March 1719/20.6

Besides the marriage record, we have found mention of Mary Ballard in one other document, when on 19 March 1713, she witnessed the will of Sarah Curle, which named her daughter Mary Jenkins; son-in-law Captain Henry Jenkins; daughter Sarah, wife of Joshua Curle; daughter Judith Bayley; son Joshua; son John; son Nicholas.  Other witnesses were: Elizabeth Jenings and Euphan Roscow.  Recorded before 15 September 1715, Elizabeth City Co. Va Book 1715-21, p. 13.

Mary (Servant) Ballard was the daughter of Bertrand Servant, who was born c. 1632 in France.  He died between 1 November 1707 and 18 November 1707, when his will was recorded in Elizabeth City county.7

In the Name of God Amen, the first day of November in the year of our Lord God 1707

I Bertrond Servant in Elizabeth City County in Virginia gentlemen being very sick & weak in Body but of perfect mind & memory Thanks be given to God therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my Body & Knowing That appointed for all men once to Die do make and ordain This my Last will and testament principally and first of all I give and recommend my Soul unto the hands of God that gave it and for my Body I recommend to the earth to be Buried in a Christian like manner at the discretion of Executors nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Mighty Power of God and as Touching such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

Imprimis, I give and bequeath to my Dearly Beloved Daughter Frances George the sum of one hundred Pounds sterling to be raised & levied out of my Estate.

Item I give and bequeath to my Dearly beloved Daughter Mary Ballard the sum of 100 pounds to be Raised & levyed out of my estate and the benefit of half the stock upon the plantation and to Enjoy the plantation peaceably between Mary & my beloved son James till he becomes of age at 20 years and that if Francis Ballard my son in law will go to the charge of Runing the Plantation That Sam Selden has called the Strawberry Banks to Keep it and enjoy it for himself & his Heirs and in case That the goods come in Safe from England which are mine to be divided between my Three children Frances George, Mary Ballard and son James Servant but my grand children to have fifty pounds more.

Item To my Daughter Mary Ballard I give Mortenique, Hannah & Sue for her and her Heirs.

Item I give an bequeath to Elizabeth Marinburgh my cow Browing & a feather bead with Bolster pillow & Blankets belonging. Item I give and Bequeath each of my grand children the sum of 50 pounds a piece an in case my goods arrive safe from England here I give and bequeath to each of them 50 pounds more.

To Peter Proby 50 pounds, Rebecca Long 50 pounds onely and to my grand children Servant Ballard & Francis Ballard 50 pounds each but in case the goods come safe 50 pounds more Rebecca Long Excepted I give my grand daughter Frances George the sum of 50 pounds & 50 pounds more in case the goods come safe.

Item I give and bequeath to my dearly Beloved son James Servant all my lands and houses in Town and my plantation and houses in Town to him and his Heirs and Tony Judy Emmanual, Jack Samson & Toffe these negroes to him forever. I likewise make and appoint and constitute and ordained my Executors of this my will and Testament my friend and loving Son James Servant and Frances Ballard and my loving friend James Burtell and John George my sole Executors of this my last will and Testament by them to do justice and I doe hereby utterly disallow Revoke and disannull all every other former Testament Wills and Executions. Desire James Burtell to manage my sons Business for him till he comes of age. I disallow my Executors By me any ways before this Testament Willed and Bequeathed Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and Testament. Witness hereof set my hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed Sealed Published and Provened and Delivered by the said Bertrond Servant as his Last Will and Testament in the Presence of us the Subscribers. Joshua Curle, James Howard, Thos Faulkner (seal) Elizabeth City County. Proved in Cur. the 18 day of November 1707 by the oaths of Joseph Curle, Thos Faulkner two of the Witnesses and admitted to Record. Tests. Charles Jennings cl Cur.

On 24 December 1716, F. Ballard, with Thomas Howard and William Bossell appraised the estate of James Burtell.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1715-1721, p. 86.  On 17 May 1718 he was an appraiser of the estate of Major William Armistead, Sr, with John King and Joseph Banister (Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1715-21, p.113).  On 1 September 1718 he appraised the estate of James Gilbert, with James Ricketts and William Smelt.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1715-21, p. 225 [interestingly, Mary Gilbert was qualified as security with Joseph Wragg and William Winterton; Mary Gilbert’s bond was signed by Henry Robinson and William Sorrell on 18 June 1719, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1715-21, p. 206 and 285 — could this be a connection to a progenitor of the William Sorrell Ballard who resided Southside?].  Francis Ballard was appraiser of the estate of Captain Henry Jenkins, again with John King and Joseph Banister on 17 August 1719.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1715-1721, p. 208.

Francis Ballard was dead after 10 March 1719/20, when his will was written in Elizabeth City county (some sources give a date of 12 March 1719/20) and recorded in Elizabeth City County on 16 March 1719/20.

Francis Ballard of Elizabeth City County, Lawful Debts and funeral charges paid.   Son, Servant Ballard one Silver Tankard, My silver hilted sword and my silver watch.

Daughter Frances Ballard six silver spoons a cordial silver cup and the cover six silver guilt tea spoons the choyce of feather beds one pair holland sheets one boulster 2 pillows a silk guilt and calecow curtains & c.

Daughter Mary one silver Paringer and one silver spoon one silver Salner The second best feather bed boulster and 2 pillows one pr of holland sheets.

Daughter Lucy one silver Porringer one silver spoon and a dram silver Tumbler one feather bed one boulder 2 pillows one Rugg two blankets one pair sheets.

Daughter Ann one silver porringer and one silver spoon and one small silver spoon.

Son Francis one Point silver tumbler and a silver Tobacco box and ½ peut tumblers.

Remainder of plate to be equally Divided betwix 2 sons Servant and Francis.

Daughter Mary one rugg and one pair of Blankets one new black hood.

Daughter Ann one feather bed one boulster two new pillows one Rugg and Pr Sheets Two blankets.

Daughter Francis a silke Scarfe and the best black hood.

Daughters Mary and Ann a Remnant of Callico to be equally divided and all the Remnant of stuff to be divided between my daughters Lucy and Ann.   Rest of personal Estate sold at Public auction.

Son, Servant Ballard all my land upon James River side joining on Mr. Jennings Containing 100 acres to him and to The male heirs of his body lawfully begotten for ever.

Son Francis Ballard the remainder of my land being 84 acres being the remainder of my pattent be it more or less to him and to the male heirs of his body lawfully begotten forever.  Should Servant and Francis dye without male issue said land to be equally Divided betwix my four daughters Frances, Mary, Lucy and Ann.

54 pounds to be paid to Mr. Perry out of my personal Estate. Mr. John Curle Senior, Mr. Alexander McKenzie, and Son Servant Ballard Executors.8

Francis’ will fails to name his wife; presumably she pre-deceased him.

A word should be included on the death of a number of members of the family in 1719 and 1720.  Francis Ballard, his nephews Matthew Ballard and William Ballard of York county all died in 1719; Francis and Matthew just days after writing their wills and William dying intestate.  Given that two of the three had the wherewithal to write their wills during their last days, most likely their lives were claimed by a virulent respiratory disease, such as influenza or pneumonia, for the Boston News-Letter reported that in 1720 it was a “sickly” time in Virginia and that many persons were dying “of a Fever with a pain in their Side and Breast.”9

The children of Francis Ballard and Mary Servant were:

SERVANT, born before 1707 (having been named in the will of Bertrand Servant), likely c. 1700.

Frances, likely born c. 1701; was living 10 March 1719/20.  She may have married Charles Bailey.  See James Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia.

Mary, likely born c. 1702; was living 10 March 1719/20.  She may have married Carter Tarrant.  See James Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia.

Lucy, likely born c. 1703; married Samuel Galt (1700-1761).  She is probably the Lucy Ballard who witnessed the will of Ann Wallace on 14 March 1739, with John Selden.  Ann Wallace devised property to her granddaughter Mary Westwood; grandson James Westwood; the children of her daughter Ann Armistead; grandson Matthew Ballard [the son of Matthew Ballard of York County]; grandson George Wythe; granddaughter Mary Wallace; daughter-in-law Martha Wallace; son James Wallace.  The executor was her son, James Wallace.  Recorded 18 February 1740, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1737-1749, p. 99.

Anne, likely born c. 1704.  Many researchers have assumed that this Anne married Captain Henry Talman, but this is probably incorrect.  The will of Elizabeth Ballard of Charles City County (contained in the page for her likely husband, William Ballard of Charles City County) specifically names her daughter Anna Talman; Cabell names an Anne Elizabeth Ballard, the daughter of Thomas Ballard of Charles City County as the wife of Henry Talman.

FRANCIS, likely born. c. 1705.  Born before 1707, like his brother Servant received a bequest from his father’s will of land that was located in Warwick County, Virginia. His was a smaller allotment (and named second in order of succession), so we assume that he was the younger son.

Endnotes:

1. “25 June 1694. Mr Francis Ballard, an appointee of his brother Thomas Ballard, High Sheriff of this county, was sworn to the performance of office as under sheriff.” York Co. Va. Records Book 10, p. 4.

2. Cabell, p. 101.

3. Deed from Francis Ballard, Gent., Parish & Co. Of Elizabeth City, to [George?] Sweny, Gent., Town of Hampton, Parish & Co. Aforesaid, Lot in Hampton.” Recorded 15 October 1718, Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1715-21, p. 151.

4. “Francis Ballard of Parish & Co. Of Elizabeth City, 5 shillings current. Lot in Town of Hampton, co. Elizabeth City (which said Lott was by the said Francis Ballard purchased of Nick Carter, Gent., one of the feoffees of the co. Aforesaid, by deed dated 18 May 1708.” Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1715-21, p. 184.

5. “Francis Ballard, Henry Irvine & Jos. Curle feofees appointed by order of Elizabeth City Co. To dispose of the several half acres of Lotts of town land to the purchasers or takers up thereof.” Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1715-21, p. 154.

6. The William & Mary College Quarterly, Volume 5 (1897) p. 57.  Cabell writes that the date is 12 March 1719.

7. Recorded Elizabeth City Deeds & Wills, 1704-30.

8. Recorded 16 March 1719, Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1715-21, p. 244.

9. Boston News-Letter, No. 830, March 7-14, 1720, cited by John Duffy, Epidemics in Colonial America (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971) p. 190. There were no newspapers published at that time in Virginia; The Virginia Gazette did not begin publication until 1736.

A. Servant Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia (c.1700-1748).

Servant Ballard, the son of Francis Ballard of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, was born between 1700 and 1707; certainly no later than 1719/20.  He appears in very few records, which are listed below.

A Virginia Colonial Records Project Survey Report notes among the records of the Board of Trade is found the following endorsement: “Memorial of Loss, sustained by Samuel Smith of Virginia Owner of the Sloop Catherine (Servant Ballard Master) taken in February 1728.”  Survey Report No. 1376, Public Record Office Class C.O. 388/92, 1728-1730, Lists and Indexes No. XXXVI (List of Colonial Office Records preserved in the P.R.O.) p. 334.

Servant Ballard appraised the estate of Joshua Curle, Jr., with Anthony Tucker, John Moore and Richard Hawkins, on 21 February 1732. Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1731-1747, p. 46.

In May 1732, “Servant Ballard negro Boy Hampton is adjudged to be eleven years of age.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1731-1747, p. 22.

Servant Ballard witnessed the will of Bertrand Proby dated 4 November 1736 (in which Proby devised to his wife Sidwell; son Servant John Proby, with reversion to son Minson Turner Proby; son Bertrand; son Thomas; son Peter; daughter Mary Gilbert; daughter Rebecca; daughter Elizabeth; daughter Jane. Executors wife Sidwell and son Servant John Proby. Dated 4 November 1736, recorded 18 May 1737. Witnesses James Gilbert and Servant Ballard. Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1737-1749, p. 12. Original Will.

In 1738, the following notice appeared in The Virginia Gazette: “Clear’d out.  Scooner Darby, of North Carolina, Sarvent Ballard, Master, for James River, with Pork, Corn, Wax, Tallow, &c.  The Virginia Gazette, 25 August 1738, p. 3.

Servant Ballard, David Meredith & Thos. Faulkner witnesses to the Indenture of John Batts, which was recorded 21 May 1748.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1736-1753, p. 79.  We need, however, to verify the date this document was executed.

The name of his wife is unknown.  We suspect, however, that she may have been Mary Roe, the daughter of Ann Roe, because of connections between the Meredith and Tarrant families.  Unfortunately she just as easily could have been the wife of Servant’s brother, Francis.

Ann Roe’s will dated 31 October 1747 names her daughter Mary Ballard.

Will of Ann Roe (abstract).  To daughter Grisel; daughter Mary Ballard; daughter Ann Moore; daughter Sarah Cooper; daughter Elizabeth Merriday; daughter Cathrin Boutwell; daughter Margaret Merriday [likely Meredith]; daughter Ellenner Mitchell; daughter Luce Loyal.  Exs. Mr. John Moore and Abraham Cooper.  Recorded 8 June 1748.  Witnesses Robert Brough, John Bennett.  Abraham Cooper qualified security, Samuel Jones and Adam Boutwell.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1737-1749, p. 292.

But note in the Order Book 1747-1755, there is a suit in Chancery that includes Mary Ballard, Jno. Moore and Ann, his wife, Sarah Cooper, Eliza Meredith, Adam Boutwell and Catherine his wife, Margaret Meredith, Grissell Roe, William Loyal and Lucy his wife, complainants against Ann Roe and Eliza Roe, Respondents in Chancery.  “It is ordered & Desired that the Heirs at Law pay unto the complainants £5, 14, 8, Each as their proportionate part of the appraised value of the slaves of Edward Roe Senior deceased & that the costs of this Suit be equally born by all the compet & the Defts.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1747-1755, p. 172.  This entry tells us that Mary Ballard was a widow; had she been married, her husband would have been named in this suit.  Her husband probably died c. 1748.

Given that the 100 acres in Warwick County devised to him by his father was later sold by a Servant Ballard in 1792, we have proof that he had at least one son, James Ballard, whose name is recorded in the Order Books of Elizabeth City County.

Servant Ballard and ______________ had issue:

JAMES, born before 1748.

A.1 James Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia (c.1748-c.1773).

James Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia, the son of Servant Ballard of Elizabeth City County, was likely born c. 1748.  He resided in Warwick County, Virginia on property that passed to him from his father, Servant, that was devised to Servant by his father, Francis Ballard of Elizabeth City County, and later passed to James’ son Servant.  Unfortunately (for us) he must have lived the bulk of his life in Warwick whose records are now lost, for the only mention of him we have found is in the Elizabeth City County Order Books, for on 26 January 1785 we see that Servant Ballard “came into court and made choice of George Hope for his guardian who is approved of by the Court with Bagley his security.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 781.  That fall, another order dated 24 November 1785 states that “George Hope guardian to Servant Ballard orphan of James Ballard deceased being summoned to render an act. of the said orphans Estate.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 201.  George Hope was again called to render an accounting 2 December 1785.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 204.

His wife was likely Rebecca Meredith, who survived him.  Confirmation of this remains elusive, but we have evidence from secondary sources that a Rebecca (Meredith) Ballard, a widow, married George Hope c. 1774.

Servant’s choice of George Hope as his guardian is a valuable clue.  Who was George Hope?  According to notes published in The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Apr., 1900), pp. 257-258:

George Hope, of Hampton, Va., was born in Cumberland, England, March 28, 1749. He came to Virginia from White Haven about 1771, and married Rebecca Meredith Ballard, sister to Capt. Joseph Meredith, who served in the Revolution as captain of the privateer La Fayette.  George Hope superintended the construction of gunboats for the Virginia navy during the Revolutionary war at Warwick on the James, “thus assisting in establishing the independence of our country.”

George Hope married Rebecca (Meredith) Ballard March 5, 1774. Children: 1 George, born June 5, 1775; 2 Sarah, born July 25, 1777; 3 Meredith, born October 5, 1780; 4 Isaac, born April 5, 1782; 5 John, born January 25, 1786; 6 Isaac, born August 3, 1787 ; 7 Joseph, born March 31, 1789 ; 8 Thomas, born November 27, 1790; 9 William, born November 30, 1792; 10 Wilton, born January 1, 1795.

A young male upon reaching 14 years of age, by law, could select their own guardian.  Servant Ballard would have been 14 years of age or older in 1785, putting his birth year at 1771, which corresponds with his sale of the 100 acres in Warwick in 1792, something he could legally do upon reaching the age of 21.

The other important corroborating evidence is the Will of Mary Tarrant that was recorded 22 April 1796, which devises the proceeds of a prospective judgment to her nephews Servant and John Ballard.

Will of Mary Tarrant (abstract).  Dated 1790.  Legatees: Frances Bayley; nephew William Bayley, a bond due me from James Latimer; nephew Charles Bayley, a bond due me from Miles King, Esq., nephew Thomas Bayley; if a claim due me from the United States Government be recovered to be divided between my nephews Servant and John Ballard and niece Rebecca Baker.  Executors: George Wray and John Ashton Wray.  Witnesses: Pascow Herbert, William King, Samuel Healey.  Recorded 22 April 1796, Book 1787-1800, p. 297.  Original Will.

She was probably the widow of Carter Tarrant, whose own will mentions that “my friend William Ballard has died.”

Will of Carter Tarrant (abstract). Dated 28 July 1783. Legatees: wife Mary; son Leonard; son Francis; daughter Jane Talbot; daughter Mary Carlton; daughter Kitty, debt due me from the estate of John Riddlehurst. Executors friend William Ballard and son Francis Tarrant. Witnesses: Elizabeth Brough, Ann Brough, Robert Brough. Codicil dated 15 October 1784: Whereas my friend William Ballard has died, executors wife Mary, friend Robert Brough and son Francis Tarrant. Witnesses: Elizabeth Brough, Ann Brough, Sally Wilson. Recorded 28 October 1784. Original Will. Blanch Adams Chapman, Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, Virginia 1688-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2008) p. 92.

We know Mary Tarrant was a widow because she appears holding real property in a real property tax list of 1787 — the same list that includes Servant Ballard as an “orphan.”  Please note that at the time, an orphan was an individual who lost their father; their mother could still be living.  See Bob’s Genealogy Cabinet, Orphans & Guardians.  The will of Charles Bailey, dated 8 March 1794, names his wife Frances and his sons William, Charles and Thomas, confirming that Mary Tarrant’s maiden name was not Bayley/Bailey.  Mary Tarrant and Frances Bayley may very well have been sisters of James Ballard; these were the names of two of the sisters of the elder Servant Ballard and his brother Francis Ballard.

Excursus: Mary Tarrant’s Claim from the United States Government Referenced in the Will

Mary Tarrant was possessed of a slave named Caesar, who during the American Revolution served as a pilot of the schooner Patriot and captured the British brig called Fanny.  After the war, Carter Tarrant re-claimed Caesar as his slave, who was devised to his widow Mary Tarrant in his will of 1784.  The General Assembly, however, wished to reward Caesar with his freedom and appointed a mediator.  Tarrant agreed to his emancipation, and she was given a certificate stating the amount she was to receive for Caesar’s freedom, which she presented to the state auditor of accounts.  In return, she received a warrant to the treasurer who was to pay her from the legislative fund.  Caesar was “manumitted and set free to all intents and purposes” on 14 November 1789.  Oscar Reiss, Blacks in Colonial America (McFarland: Jefferson, N.C., 1997, p. 250).  Apparently at the time of the drafting of the will, Mary Tarrant had not yet been paid.

From Hening’s Statutes at Large, Chapter 13, p. 102.

CHAP. LXXXIV.

An act for the purchase and manumitting negro Cæsar.

(Passed the 14th of November, 1789.)
WHEREAS it is represented to this Assembly, that Mary Tarrant of the county of Elizabeth City, hath her life in a negro named Cæsar, who entered very early into the service of his country, and continued to pilot the armed vessels of this state during the late war; in consideration of which meritorious services it is judged expedient to purchase the freedom of the said Cæsar; Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that the executive shall appoint a proper person to contract with the said Mary Tarrant for the purchase of the said Cæsar, and if they should agree, the person so appointed by the executive shall deliver to the said Mary Tarrant a certificate expressing such purchase and the sum, and upon producing such certificate to the auditor of accounts, he shall issue a warrant for the same to the treasurer, to be by him paid out of the lighthouse fund. And be it further enacted, that from and after the execution of a certificate aforesaid, the said Cæsar shall be manumitted and set free to all intents and purposes.

A biography of Caesar Tarrant (given below) gives additional insight into the Tarrant family.  According to this biography, Caesar Tarrant was devised by Carter Tarrant to his wife Mary for life, and after her death to his son Francis.  It is not clear from the abstracts consulted whether the Mary Tarrant who left a will dated 1790 is indeed Carter Tarrant’s widow; had she named the same children in her will as Carter had, there would be no question, but in her will she devised what are essentially unpaid debts to her sister and nephews and niece.  It could be that Carter’s will was fairly comprehensive and she had no property to dispose of herself apart from the bonds and the claim against the United States Government (perhaps she received a life estate for all personal property).  Given that the action to manumit Caesar Tarrant originated with the Commonwealth of Virginia and not the United States Government, it is not clear what the subject of the claim might be.  Additional research is warranted.

Caesar Tarrant (c. 1740-1797), patriot, was born into slavery, probably at Hampton, Virginia. The identity of his parents is unknown. In his early adulthood, Caesar was sold to Carter Tarrant upon the death of his master Robert Hundley. His purchase price exceeded the normal price for male slaves because Tarrant had a particular skill, that of a river pilot. Just how Tarrant acquired the skill is unclear. Typically, the Tidewater area river pilot was white and passed the skill on to his son. In any case, Tarrant would eventually use this skill to parlay his freedom.

Sometime prior to the American Revolution, Tarrant married Lucy, the slave of neighbor John Rogers. This so-called “broad”marriage of slaves who resided apart from one another produced three children.

Throughout his life, Tarrant longed for his family’s freedom. The American Revolution provided Tarrant with the opportunity to secure his own freedom. As a pilot his knowledge of the waterways could have been valuable to either side. John Murray, Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, promised in his 1775 Proclamation freedom to all runaway slaves who would join his “Ethiopian Regiment.”

Many African Americans decided to do just that. Indeed, many more African Americans actively supported the British than the patriots. Tarrant, however, for reasons that are not known, chose to support the patriot cause. This was fortunate for the patriots, as Tarrant quickly demonstrated his abilities. His skill induced the Virginia Navy Board to appoint him a pilot in the Virginia State Navy, one of seven such appointments. For three years Tarrant successfully piloted a number of vessels, enhancing his reputation as a skilled and valiant pilot.

Among the several ships Tarrant piloted was the tender Patriot. In 1777 a group of ships commanded by Commodore Richard Taylor encountered the British naval vessel Lord Howe. When it appeared that the British privateer would escape, Taylor personally took command of the Patriot, piloted by Tarrant. Tarrant skillfully maneuvered the faster ship, which succeeded in ramming the larger and better-armed British vessel. Fierce fighting resulted in numerous deaths and injuries on both sides, including Taylor, who was shot. Nevertheless, Tarrant’s skill and bravery in the face of enemy fire earned him praise from his captain, who stated he had “behaved gallantly.”

In addition to this engagement, Tarrant piloted the vessel when the Americans captured the British ship Fanny, which was attempting to bring supplies to British troops in Boston. Although the Patriot was later itself captured, no record indicates that Tarrant was on board at the time.

Following the Revolution, Tarrant returned to the status of slave despite the heroism he had displayed. His master Carter Tarrant continued to make money from his slave’s important skills. When Carter Tarrant died in 1784, Caesar Tarrant was willed to Mary Tarrant, Carter Tarrant’s wife. The will stipulated that Caesar Tarrant was to remain her slave for her natural life and, further, he was to be given to Francis Tarrant, their son, upon the death of Mary. If it had not been for the intervention of the Virginia General Assembly, Caesar Tarrant might not have seen freedom for himself.

In 1789 the Virginia General Assembly moved to secure Tarrant’s freedom. The reason for this action is not clear, though numerous possibilities exist. Other pilots who were his friends may have petitioned in his behalf, the navy board may have taken some action, or Tarrant may have petitioned. What is clear, however, is that Tarrant was finally free by 1789.

By the act of the assembly, “in consideration of which meritorious services it is judged expedient to purchase the freedom” of Tarrant, a representative contacted Mary Tarrant and expressed the assembly’s intention to manumit Caesar Tarrant. After the purchase price was agreed upon, a certificate manumitting Caesar Tarrant was issued to Mary Tarrant. Having become a free man, Caesar Tarrant, infected with what Benjamin Quarles termed blacks’ “contagion of liberty,” then worked to secure the freedom of his family.

At the time of Tarrant’s manumission, his wife and children were held in bondage by John Rogers. In 1793 Rogers manumitted Lucy and their fifteen-month-old daughter Nancy. The other children, Sampson and Lydia, remained enslaved, presumably because of their high value. What prompted the manumissions is not clear. It is not known if Caesar Tarrant worked for Rogers, Tarrant raised the money through his own efforts, or Rogers felt some need to liberate the mother and young child. The “Reason for Manumission” expressed in the records of Elizabeth City County simply state that Lucy was the “wife of Caesar Tarrant” and Nancy was the “daughter of Caesar Tarrant.” Payment of some specified amount or “faithful service” as indicated for others manumitted were not listed as reasons for Lucy or Nancy’s freedom.

With part of his family free, Tarrant purchased a lot in Hampton in a section where white river pilots lived. This further indicated how highly regarded Tarrant was among this closed brotherhood of river pilots. Indeed, these white river pilots petitioned the legislature in 1791 to include skilled black river pilots among those granted licenses. They more than likely thought of Tarrant as they fashioned this request.

Yet freedom proved ephemeral. Although Tarrant had the respect of his peers, was now a property holder, and apparently continued to pilot the rivers, he, like other free African Americans, could not fully enjoy the benefits of liberty. As an African American he could not vote or hold public office, neither could he testify against any white person nor serve on a jury. Full citizenship was reserved for others; “freedom” for African Americans was limited. Robert Francis Engs has argued that Hampton may have been something of an anomaly among southern communities as there appeared to be a strong “cordiality between” the races. Yet even there Tarrant’s dream for his family went unrealized.

Tarrant died in Hampton, Virginia, only eight years after receiving his freedom, while his two older children remained in bondage. The thirst for freedom–Tarrant’s legacy–was not abandoned by his descendants and heirs. His will specified that all his property be given to his wife and upon her death the proceeds from the sale of that property be used to purchase his eldest daughter’s freedom. Whatever remained was to be given to Tarrant’s son, Sampson. In a concluding comment, Tarrant asked the county court to “see justice done my children.”

After another twenty-five years, Lydia obtained her freedom. Prior to that, she was sold to a Norfolk resident for the sum of $250. When in 1822 her mother was able to purchase her freedom, Lydia herself left a child in bondage. The fate of Sampson is unclear, because his name disappears from the records. It is possible that he died still enslaved. What is clear, however, is that despite Tarrant’s contributions to American freedom, he, like so many antebellum African Americans, was unable to secure justice for his children.

From American National Biography, published by Oxford University Press, Inc., copyright 2000 American Council of Learned Societies.

Servant Ballard’s Guardian, George Hope

George Hope left a will dated 1818, which indicates that his wife Rebecca was still living  Unverified sources online state that she died in 1821.

Will of George Hope, 1818

In the name of God, amen, I George Hope of the Town of Hampton and County of Elizabeth City, being of sound mind and perfect memory, praised be God, but calling to mind the shorting of life and certainty of death, do make and ordain this my last will and testament and thereby dispose of such worldly estate as God of his great mercy has been pleased to bestore upon me in the manner following:

I give unto my son George Hope one hundred and twenty nine acres of land bought of William Cary and Mary Smallwood, adjoining the land of Thomas Jones.

I give unto my daughter Sarah Wills, the plantation known by the name of Round Ponds.

I give unto my son John Hope, one hundred and fifteen acres of land adjoining Capt. William Armestead. Known by the name of Gustwoods, which I bought of Worledge (?) Westwood and Thomas Latimer. I also give him Isaac and Charlotte and at his mother’s death give him George Washington.

I give unto my son Thomas Hope, one hundred and fifteen acres of land known by the name of the Gustwoods being the other half of the tract which I gave my son John Hope and adjoining him on the East. I also give him at his mother’s death Abraham and a part of the plantation known by the name of Bethel, extending from the southwest end of the barn and running from thence along the road to the line between Thomas Jones and myself, from hence down the line as far as Back River and bounded on the North by a ditch being the line between him and his brother Wilton Hope.

I give unto my son William Hope he Academy and lot whereon it stands, bounded by my son George Hope on the east and the upper falls in the Mill Garden, which said falls is the line between William and George Hope, from thence extending Westward until it joins by son Thomas Hope on the South by Charles M. Collier and on the North by a line leading to the Academy. I also give him one hundred and nineteen and a half acres of land known by the name of Sawyer’s Swamp together with the houses and orchards thereon. I also give him Peter and at his mother’s death I give him Poimu and Mary.

I give up to my son Wilton Hope a lot in the shipyard bounded on the East by John Hope, on the South by Hampton River, on the West by William Hope and on the North by the street with a reservation between him and John Hope of seven feet for a road to the shipyard and at his mother’s death I give him the other part of the plantation known by the name of Bethel, including all the houses thereon with an apple and peach orchard adjoining his brother Thomas Hope on the South and Thomas Watts and Henry on the North and Back River on the West. I also give him the house on the shipyard which was formerly occupied as a schoolhouse and at his mother’s death I give him Merica, Caesar and Lucy.

I give unto my daughter-in-law Ann Pool [the widow of his son, Joseph Pope] sixty acres of land adjoining Robert Armestead on the East and William Hope on the West being a part of the same tract.

I give up to my beloved wife Rebecca Hope, Jinny. I also lend her during her natural life the plantation known by the name of Bethel. Also Merica, Pincus, Caesar, George Washington, Abraham and Lucy. Also the choice of two rooms in the house of her son William Hope. I giver all the stock of a cattle of every description with all my books and furniture of every kind. At the death of my beloved wife that part of the plantation known by the name of Bethel, with Merica, Caesar and Lucy returns to my son Wilton Hope. The other part of said plantation with Abraham to be possessed by my son Thomas Hope. Primus and Mary to be possessed by my son William Hope. George Washington to be possessed by my son John Hope. I do hereby nomate and appoint my sons George and William Hope joint executers of this my last will and testament in witness there of I have hereunto put my hand and seal, this twenty-third day of November in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and eighteen.

George Hope

Test; William B. Armistead, William Skinner, James Thomas

George Hope Will, 1819 July, proved by the oath of Mr. Skinner, one of the witnesses. Proved on the twenty-sixth day of Augest 1819 by the oath of James Thomas and William B. Armistead. Recorded and examined by W. Armistead, Clerk.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Will Book 4, 1701-1859, p. 490.

James Ballard and Rebecca Meredith had issue:

Servant, born c. 1771, died after 1794.  A “Servant Ballard (orphan)” appears on a property tax list for Elizabeth City County dated 1787.  If he were an “orphan” that year, this indicates that he was younger than 21 years of age, but by 1792, by a deed dated 29 February 1792, he conveyed 100 acres in Warwick County to Isaac Avery. If he was able to sell land in 1792 (note that the land had been entailed in the devise from Francis Ballard, but entails were abolished after the American Revolution), that would put his birth date at approximately 1770.  Lost Records Localities Digital Collection, Warwick Co., (Va.) Records, Servant Ballard to Isaac Avery, Deed 1792, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

This last record is the conveyance of the land that was devised to an elder Servant by his father, Francis Ballard in 1719/20.  We find in the Elizabeth City County Order Books that on 26 January 1785 that Servant Ballard “came into court and made choice of George Hope for his guardian who is approved of by the Court with Bagley his security.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 781.  That fall, another order dated 24 November 1785 states that “George Hope guardian to Servant Ballard orphan of James Ballard deceased being summoned to render an act. of the said orphans Estate.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 201.  George Hope was again called to render an accounting 2 December 1785.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 204.  A child age 14 could select their own guardian, which dovetails with our other observations about Servant.

We know from the will of Mary Tarrant that she had two nephews, Servant and John, so absent proof to the contrary (for now) we are assuming that James Ballard had sons Servant and John, and possibly William Ballard, a pilot who met an untimely end in 1784.

This indenture made and executed this 29 day of February anno domini one thousand seven hundred and ninety two between Servant Ballard of Elizabeth City County in the State of Virginia of the one part, and Isaac Avery of the County of Warwick of the other part …

That the said Servant Ballard for and in consideration of one hundred pounds current money of Virginia, in hand paid by the said Isaac Avery to the said Ballard, the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge hath given, granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, confirmed and doth by these present give, grant, bargain and sell, convey and confirm unto the said Isaac Avery and his heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land in the said County of Warwick containing one hundred acres, bounded northwesterly on the lands of the said Isaac Avery, Southwesterly on the lands of Miles Carey, and Westwardly on James River.

To have and to hold (etc.) … [signed] Servant Ballard

Signed and sealed in the presence of Samuel Thomas, Snr., Samuel Dubroe (sp?), Saml. Selden, Nancy, Dalley, John Flax (his mark); Jacob _________ (his mark). Proved at Warwick Court July 12, 1792 by oaths of Samuel Thomas and John Flax; at a Court held Sept. 13, 1792 the same were further proved by oath of Samuel Dubroe (sp?) and ordered to be recorded. Signed: Miles Carey, Cl. Cur.

Other records from Elizabeth City County follow:

In February 1789 his name appeared among a list of persons who purchased items from the sale of the estate of Col. Francis Mallory and Mary Mallory; the accounting was not recorded until 25 October 1798.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, pp. 436-37.

Servant was witness to an indenture between Francis Ross and Miles King on 10 March 1791, for 50 acres on Back River, three slaves, 12 head of cattle, 10 head of sheep.  With John Hunter, Edward Face, David Saunders and John Bean, recorded 22 September 1791.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, pp. 46-47.

On 4 December 1791, he witnessed a deed for the sale of slaves bequeathed by their father, William Parish by Elizabeth Parish, John Parish Jr, William Parish and Mark Parish to Grace Elizabeth Bowery.  The other witnesses were Henry Dunn, Rob. Brough and James Baker.  Recorded 23 February 1792, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, p. 62.

On 2 January 1792, Servant Ballard witnessed an Indenture for a lot in Hampton between David Pierce of Norfolk and Warren Hopkins.  The other witnesses were George Hope, J. Smith, Robert Brough, William J. Hunger and John rogers.  The deed was not recorded until 23 January 1793.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, pp. 423-24.

On 17 April 1792, Servant Ballard witnessed an Indenture for 50 acres between Thomas Hatton and Wilson Miles Cary, with Miles King, Thomas Jones, John Perry, George Minson, and Robert Elliott.  Recorded  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, pp. 66-67.

On 25 May 1792, he witnessed an Indenture for the sale of slaves and livestock between John Applewhaite and Miles King, with William Kerby.  Recorded 24 January 1793, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, pp. 112-13.

On 1 January 1793, he witnessed an Indenture for a lot in Hampton between Warren Hopkin and George Hope for a lot bounded by Wilson Wallace, westerly by William Hunt, northerly by a street commonly known by the name of the Poack Street, and southerly by a branch of the Hampton River.  The other witnesses were T. Smith and Jno. Banks.  Recorded 24 January 1793, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deed Book 1787-1800, pp. 113-14.

***

A curious record appears in an unexpected place — the diary of one Thomas Lloyd (1756-1827), who was an American Revolutionary and is best known as the creator of American Shorthand.  The diary has been preserved at Villanova University.  Lloyd was incarcerated in London for seditious libel and sentenced to three years in Newgate Prison (from 1794 to 1796).  While in prison he kept a diary with near-daily entries on topics ranging from prison life to recipes for medicines, shipping manifests and the prices of goods.  One such entry in May of 1794 mentions a Servant Ballard:

Ship Ann Servant Ballard at Iron gate mooring ties 2 deck measures 203 tons per Register 9 years dd sails fast to be sold … May at 1/2 past 2 at New Lloyds.

It was common for entries published about shipping to name the ship and its’ commander.  It’s likely this younger Servant Ballard, like many of his cousins, was also a pilot.  This last record from 1794 is the last this compiler has found; perhaps he met his end at sea, or chose to remain in England or some other place he encountered during his travels.

John, who was named a devisee with Servant Ballard in the 1790 will of Mary Tarrant. Mary Tarrant’s will named her sister Frances Bayley; nephew William Bayley, “a bond due me from James Laitmer”; nephew Charles Bayley, “a bond due me from Miles King, Esq.”; nephew Thomas Bayley; “if a claim due me from the United States Government be recovered to be divided between my nephews Servant and John Ballard and niece Rebecca Baker.”  Executors: George Wray and John Ashton Wray.  Witnesses were Pascow Herbert, William King and Samuel Healy.  Recorded 22 April 1796, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 1787-1800 (No. 34), pp. 297-98.  Note that the will of William Ballard mentions John Ballard and his daughter Mary Ballard, but fails to state their relationship.

There is preserved in the Library of Virginia an undated petition (though it appears, according to the cataloging, to date from 1817) of a Mary Ballard, widow of John Ballard, seeking permission to sell a Lot in Hampton that her husband John Ballard died seized of for the benefit of their infant daughters, Mary Ann and Sally — and please note: anyone under age 21 at the time was legally an “infant”:

Petition of Mary Ballard Widow Etc. Index No. 1817-004

To the worshipfull the justices of Elizabeth City sitting in Chancery humbly complaining unto your Worship your ??.

Mary Ballard widow of John Ballard. Mary Ann & Sally Ballard infant children of said John Ballard departed this life some time in the year seized & possessed of a lot in the town of Hampton with a house thereon. intestate leaving your ??? Mary his widow & your ??? Mary Ann & Sally his only children. Your ??? are informed that whatever lands descend to two or more any of whom is an invent or femme cours, and the of each will not amount to more than one hundred dollars if sold that the court designated by the law shall have power to sell said land and divide the proceeds between those entitled. Your ??? have to show that from the small size of the lot being a fourth only of an acre, and from the ??? of the house being almost in a state of ruin, they are of an opinion that the shares of each will not amount to more than $100. They therefore pray your worship to decree a sale of the house & lot mentioned and a division of the money among your overseers in their proportion as the law requires. And your order is in duty bound will ever pray –

On the petition of Mary Ballard & others praying for the sale of a house & lot in the Town of Hampton of which John Ballard died seized, it is ordered adjudged and decreed that Bagwell W. Pryor & John L. Westwood be and they are hereby appointed commissioners who are hereby directed after advertising twenty days publicly to sell the said lot & house on a credit of six months taking bond with security & a lien on the premises for the payment of the purchase money – After selling the house & lot aforesaid the said commissioners are directed to assign to Mary Ballard in right of her dower one fifth of said sale and to each of the other parties the remaining four fifths in equal portion, to be paid to the guardians of said Mary Ann & Sally Ballard.

Possibly William.  He was probably the William Ballard who proved the nuncupative will of John Riddlehurst, in which he leaves his entire estate to his brother Francis Riddlehurst, November 1761.  Original Will.  (Blanche Adams Chapman, Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County Virginia, 1688-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, p. 74).

He may be the William Ballard who appeared on list of tithables for Elizabeth City County for 1782, which notes “paid for by Charles Baylis” (Chapman, p. 147).   One may assume that he was likely at sea, and so the tax was paid by a friend or family member.  “Charles Baylis” may be the Charles Bayley named in the will of Mary Tarrant.

William Ballard was named executor with Francis Tarrant of the will of Carter Tarrant, dated 28 July 1783, but a codicil notes that “Whereas my friend William Ballard has died …” and so he names an another executor: wife Mary, friend Robert Brough and son Francis Tarrant.  Original Will. (the will names wife Mary; son Leonard; son Francis; daughter Jane Talbot; daughter Mary Carlton; daughter Kitty, “debt due me from the estate of John Riddlehurst.”)  (Chapman, p. 92).  Given that the will was drafted after the death of William Ballard of Elizabeth City in 1782, we know this does not refer to him.

A news story describing the untimely demise of a Mr. William Ballard of Hampton, Virginia, appearing in The Philadelphia Packet of Thursday, 11 March 1784 (p. 2), which, for ease of reading, given the antiquated typeface, we have transcribed below. The paragraph has been broken into several parts for ease of reading. A link at the end takes you to an image of the original.

By a gentleman from Northampton county, we are informed, that several vessels have been wrecked on the coast during this intense weather, amongst which he mentions a brig from Dublin, with goods and servants, intended for Philadelphia; several of the people died with the severity of the weather, but they had got great part of the goods on shore, which were to be sold at public sale. A schooner from Martinique was likewise lost, and some of her people perished.

A large French ship from the same port, was drove ashore in the snow storm which happened on Monday the 19th of January last, and ten of the people were frozen to death. On board of this ship was Mr. William Ballard, a noted pilot belonging to Hampton; he piloted out a French ship some considerable time since, and the wind blowing very hard, could not be put on shore, and was carried to France, from whence he got to Martinique, where he was recommended to the captain of this ship as a good pilot, and shipped himself in her to come home; but on being off our capes when the snow storm came on, the ship struck on the Middle Ground and sprung a leak; he advised the captain to run her ashore, which was done, but the captain feeling himself and crew in danger of being drowned, he struck Mr. Ballard on the head with a spy glass, and afterwards had him stripped naked and killed him with the pump brake.

This is reported by a young Scotch sailor who was on board, and brought over Mr. Ballard’s watch to Norfolk with him, which his relations knew. They have taken the young Scottish sailor over to the Eastern shore, to enquire more particularly about the murder, that it may be brought to light.

See The Pennsylvania Packet, 11 March 1784, p. 2

William Ballard may have been administrator of the estate of Francis Leanis, but having died, was obviously unable to attend to his duties so alternates were appointed to complete the work on 22 July 1784.  “Ordered that John Hunter, Roe Cooper, Wm. Brough and Robert Brough or any three of them examine state & settle William Ballard’s administration of the estate of Francis Leanis deceased and they are to make report thereof to the next Court. ”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 1.

We do not know if William had a will, but none survives, and his estate was probated in 1785, when “An Inventory and appraisement of the estate of Wm. Ballard deceased was returned & by the Court ordered to be recorded.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 781.

B. Francis Ballard, Jr of Warwick County, Virginia (c.1705-c.1748).

Francis Ballard, Jr, son of Francis Ballard Sr of Elizabeth City County, like his brother Servant received a bequest of land located in Warwick County, Virginia from his father’s will.  His was a smaller allotment (and named second in order of succession), so we assume that he was the younger son.

Given that he likely resided in Warwick, there is little record of him due to catastrophic record losses.  We do not find the name in Elizabeth City County until 1758, so we cannot say definitively whether this is the same Francis, or another (his son or a son of his brother Servant or some other relation).  For now we assume those later records belong to the Francis Ballard, son of William Ballard, who we believe is the son of Francis Ballard, brother of Servant.  Here are the connections to support this assumption:

William Ballard appraised the estate of Edward Roe, with Robert Brough and Angus McKay, recorded 20 July 1738, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills 1737-1749, p.55. The will of Edward Roe mentions his mother, Ann Roe, whose own will names her daughter Mary Ballard.

On 7 October 1755 William Ballard is appointed appraiser of the estate of John Ryland, with Charles Pasteur, Willis Scott and George Johnson. The Administratrix is Grissel Ryland, Security William Naylor and Philip Cowper. Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-1760, p. 26.

The name “Grissel” is an important clue, for a Grissel is named as the daughter of Ann Roe, who left a will dated 31 October 1747 that also names Ann’s daughter Mary Ballard.

Will of Ann Roe (abstract). To daughter Grisel; daughter Mary Ballard; daughter Ann Moore; daughter Sarah Cooper; daughter Elizabeth Merriday; daughter Cathrin Boutwell; daughter Margaret Merriday [likely Meredith]; daughter Ellenner Mitchell; daughter Luce Loyal. Exs. Mr. John Moore and Abraham Cooper. Recorded 8 June 1748. Witnesses Robert Brough, John Bennett. Abraham Cooper qualified security, Samuel Jones and Adam Boutwell. Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1737-1749, p. 292.

But note in the Order Book 1747-1755, there is a suit in Chancery that includes Mary Ballard, Jno. Moore and Ann, his wife, Sarah Cooper, Eliza Meredith, Adam Boutwell and Catherine his wife, Margaret Meredith, Grissell Roe, William Loyal and Lucy his wife, complainants against Ann Roe and Eliza Roe, Respondents in Chancery. “It is ordered & Desired that the Heirs at Law pay unto the complainants £5, 14, 8, Each as their proportionate part of the appraised value of the slaves of Edward Roe Senior deceased & that the costs of this Suit be equally born by all the compet & the Defts. Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1747-1755, p. 172.

This last entry tells us that Mary Ballard was a widow; had she been married, her husband would have been named in this suit. Her husband probably died c. 1746, so therefore she was not the wife of this William Ballard (son of Francis), and probably the wife of his likely father, Francis Ballard of Warwick County.  Though she could also be the wife of Francis’ brother, Servant Ballard of Hampton, Virginia.

(Likely) Issue:

WILLIAM.

B.1 William Ballard Sr of Hampton, Virginia (c.1721-1782).

Having lived in one of the maritime counties that were oriented toward the sea, William Ballard, the likely son of Francis Ballard Jr of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, is known to have been a pilot.  We believe this William Ballard was a son of Francis Ballard because the property devised to Francis’ son Servant descended to a son named James, then to James’ son Servant; and (2) this William Ballard was of age to appraise an estate, that is, older than age 17 in 1738).

William Ballard appraised the estate of Edward Roe, with Robert Brough and Angus McKay, recorded 20 July 1738, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills 1737-1749, p.55.  The will of Edward Roe mentions his mother, Ann Roe, whose own will names her daughter Mary Ballard.

On 7 October 1755 William Ballard is appointed appraiser of the estate of John Ryland, with Charles Pasteur, Willis Scott and George Johnson.  The Administratrix is Grissel Ryland, Security William Naylor and Philip Cowper.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-1760, p. 26.

The name “Grissel” is an important clue, for a Grissel is named as the daughter of Ann Roe, who left a will dated 31 October 1747 that also names Ann’s daughter Mary Ballard.

Will of Ann Roe (abstract).  To daughter Grisel; daughter Mary Ballard; daughter Ann Moore; daughter Sarah Cooper; daughter Elizabeth Merriday; daughter Cathrin Boutwell; daughter Margaret Merriday [likely Meredith]; daughter Ellenner Mitchell; daughter Luce Loyal.  Exs. Mr. John Moore and Abraham Cooper.  Recorded 8 June 1748.  Witnesses Robert Brough, John Bennett.  Abraham Cooper qualified security, Samuel Jones and Adam Boutwell.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1737-1749, p. 292.

But note in the Order Book 1747-1755, there is a suit in Chancery that includes Mary Ballard, Jno. Moore and Ann, his wife, Sarah Cooper, Eliza Meredith, Adam Boutwell and Catherine his wife, Margaret Meredith, Grissell Roe, William Loyal and Lucy his wife, complainants against Ann Roe and Eliza Roe, Respondents in Chancery.  “It is ordered & Desired that the Heirs at Law pay unto the complainants £5, 14, 8, Each as their proportionate part of the appraised value of the slaves of Edward Roe Senior deceased & that the costs of this Suit be equally born by all the compet & the Defts.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1747-1755, p. 172.  This entry tells us that Mary Ballard was a widow; had she been married, her husband would have been named in this suit.  Her husband probably died c. 1746, so therefore she was not the wife of this William Ballard, and probably the wife of his likely father, Francis Ballard of Warwick County.

The Order Books contain a few additional entries for William Ballard.  on 6 October 1762, Wm Ballard served as a Juryman.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1760, p. 108.  On 7 May 1767 Wm. Ballard was paid for 4 days attendance and Wm. Servant Ballard for 6 days attendance as witnesses for Ballard & als.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1760, p. 429.  Could it have been father and son?

The will of Ann Moore dated 27 December 1767 (Ann Roe’s daughter) was recorded 20 years later and also mentions sister Mary Ballard.

Will of Ann Moore (abstract).  To sister Lucy Loyall; nephew Lewis Meredith; niece Jenny Barron, reversion of bequest to her son Archibald Bordland; sister Mary Ballard; niece Sarah Webb; sister Sarah Cowper; sister Elizabeth Jeggitts; to Anne Armistead, the daughter of James Armistead the money he owes me.  Executors Lewis Meredith and Lucy Loyall.  Recorded 29 January 1768.  Witnesses James Cunningham, Mary Tarrant.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1763-1771, p. 187.  Original Will.  Lewis Meredith qualified, security Roe Cowper.

William Ballard left a will dated 22 April 1775, which was recorded 28 February 1782 among the records of Elizabeth City County:

Will of William Ballard, Town of Heampton, County of Elizabeth City Pilot.  Just debts and Funeral expenses to be paid.

Son Francis Ballard, negro woman named Tilpha.

Son Edward Ballard, my boat & negro fellow named London. In case said Edward should die without heirs lawfully begotten said negro fellow named London unto my son Francis.

Son James Servant Ballard, house & land with yard & half the garden whereon I now live.

Son Edward Ballard, the houses and land adjoining near Wm. Armisteads lott together with the other half the Garden to be for the use of both Houses.

(Son) James Servant my negro girl named Jenny.

Son Francis Ballard in trust until my two grand Children Wm. Servant and Ann Ballard shall come of age, negro child named Pamela and when my said two grand children Wm. Servant and Ann Ballard shall come of age said Negro Pamela to them.  In case either of my two grand children should die before they come of ageI give and bequeath heror their part to my Son James Servant.

Son Francis shall have care of my said son James Servant until he comes of age.

My will is that my Beaufatt remain as a fixture to the house. Son Edward and Son James Servant a bed & furniture each, rest of personal Estate be sold and after paying my just debts residue equally divided between children Francis, Edward & James Servant.

Mary Ballard, daughter of John Ballard, £5.1

Son Francis & my friend Henry Ring Executors. Witnesses: Banister Minson, Moseley Armstead, Francis Riddlehurst, John Hunter, Miles King.

Codisal, 21 September 1781: Will to stand except that, half of negro girl named Pamela given to grandson William Ballard which said half I give to grand daughter Ann Ballard.  In case said grand daughter die before she come of age or marries Then said girl Pamela with her increas to son James Servant Ballard.  Son James to have silver watch.2

His son Francis declined administration of the will: “This is to certify I do decline administration on the estate of Wm. Ballard deceased.  Feb. 21, 1782.  Frans. Ballard” (Original Wills, Box 1).  His children were:

William Ballard, Jr, was also a pilot like his father.  On 11 January 1767, Jno. Speoning, Town of Hampton, County of Elizabeth City to Wm. Ballard Jr. of the same county, 60 pounds current, about 3/4 of an acre or lot of ground in the town of Hampton.  Bounded by the land of John Cook now possessed by one William Westwood, Charles Cooper, Wilson Miles Cary & al.  Recorded 7 January 1767.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1763-1771, p. 112.

27 May 1768.  Edward Cooper of Elizabeth City and Anne his wife to William Ballard, Junior of same county, for 100 pounds.  Land lying on the North Side of Mill Creek containing 47 acres and bounded as followeth, to wit, Beginning at Mill Creek and Running & etc. to George Walkers quarter thence to the lands of Edward Cooper and Philip Cooper etc.  Recorded 27 May 1768, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1763-1771, p. 220.

William died of smallpox in August 1772, as reported in The Virginia Gazette of 27 August 1772, “William Ballard, Jr, Pilot in Hampton, died there of smallpox last Monday.”3  

The language of William Ballard Sr’s will suggests that the grandchildren in the care of his son Francis are not Francis’ children (especially considering Francis died without issue, as indicated by his will (below)). they were probably the children of William Ballard, Jr, and in which case, his issue were: 1. William Servant Ballard; and 2. Ann Ballard.

Francis, who was of age in 1758, when William and Francis Ballard appear on a Poll for the Election of Burgesses for Elizabeth City County, 11 July 1758, and Francis Ballard again (without William) in a poll of 23 August 1765 (Blanche Adams Chapman, Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, Virginia 1688-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980) pp. 144-45.

On 1 January 1760, he appraised the estate of Morris Jones, with Francis Riddlehurst, John Riddlehurst, and Thomas Dixon.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-1760, p. 268.

Francis Ballard appraised the estate of William Baylis, a Mariner of the Town of Hampton, 2 January 1760, which appeared in Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-60, p. 270 (with Charles Pasteur, Francis Parker and Francis Riddlehurst).

He witnessed the will of Nathaniel Cunningham dated 27 April 1760, recorded 6 July 1762, with James Bullock, John Sheppard and Ann Cunningham.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1758-1764, p. 342.

On 5 January 1761 he apparaised the estate of Monson Turner Proby, with Charles Pasteur and John Langley; Robert Armistead, Administrator.  Elizabeth City Co. Book 1758-1764, p. 287.

He is likely the Francis Ballard who appeared in 1782 on a list of tithables for Elizabeth City County with a household of 5 free males, 2 slaves; Edward Ballard and William Ballard (the latter “paid for by Charles Baylis”) appear in the same list (Chapman, p. 147).

Francis Ballard Pet. against William Henderson Deft. attachment.  Dismissed.  23 March 1786.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 264.

He was living 25 August 1786, when Francis Ballard and Jno Robinson were executors for James Manson deceased, Pets. against Joseph Needham Deft.  In debt upon bond &c.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 323.

Francis Ballard appears to have died without issue between 1802 and 1804 (assuming the grandchildren named in the will of William Ballard were the children of William Ballard, Jr), as evidenced by his will dated 25 November 1802.

Will of Francis Ballard, co. & Parish of Elizabeth City, Town of Hampton. My negroes Jim, Barber, Charlotte, Nell, Rebecca & Phillis (the last two children of Charlotte) after my death to be free, & I lend to them during their lives the use of my kitchen. To Jane Latimore, youngest daughter of James & Priscilla Lattimore, my house & lot in the town of Hampton, all personal estate except negroes to be sold to pay debts, balance equally divided between my two faithful servants Jim Barber & Charlotte.” Executor: friend Capt. James Latimore.4

James Servant, who died without issue before 25 April 1799, leaving a will dated 21 February 1788:

Will of James S. Ballard of Elizabeth City Co., town of Hampton, belonging at present to the schooner Dove. To brother Edward, lot in town of Hampton, he paying to eldest brother Francis Ballard 1/3 the value thereof. To my cousin (or niece) Sarah Ballard, daughter of brother Edward, a negro girl named Jenny. Executor: brother Edward Ballard. Witnesses: John Seymore, Wm. Dunn. Recorded 25 April 1799.5

Edward, who married Mary _____.6  Edward Ballard appears listed in The History of Virginia’s Navy of the Revolution, by Robert Armistead Stewart (Richmond: Mitchell & Hotchkiss, Printers, 1933) p. 143: “Edward Ballard, Pilot and Lieutenant.  Proved by testimony of James Barron.  July 27, 1832.  “He rendered important services during the whole war, as did also Edward Cooper, William Roe Cunningham, William Watkins and James Latimer, Pilots.  Mr. Ballard was promoted to a Lieutenancy for his patriotism, shortly before the close of the war.  The rank of a Pilot in those days corresponded to that of a Junior Lieutenant.”

In the Order Books appears 24 August 1787  “Wm. Armstead and Katherine Armstead Exors. &c. of Moss Amstead dec’d.  Pet. angst. Minion Proby and Thos. Minion Defts.  In Case.  Edward Ballard of this county comes into court and undertakes for the Defendants that in case they shall be cast in this suit They shall satisfy and pay the condemnation of the court or render their bodies to Prison in Execution of the same or that he the sd. Ballard will do it for them etc. etc. etc.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 449.

On 1 May 1791 Edward Ballard with Thomas Jones, John Taner and Warren Hopkins witnessed the sale of personal property and slaves from Grace Brough, the mother of Job Colton’s wife Ann from Job Colton to William Brough. Recorded 22 September 1791, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 42.

He must have been a close associate of William Brough, for on 17 May 1791 he witnessed a conveyance from John Williams to William Brough of a slave named Lancaster on 23 February 1792, with J. Smith. Recorded 23 February 1792, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 63.

On 6 November 1797 he witnessed an indenture between Miles King, acting as executor for Arthur Anderson to David Muray for 75 acres between adjoining the lands of Andrew Bully and Miles King. Other witnesses were John Russell and William Kerby. Recorded 28 June 1798, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 403.

He was named in the will of John Williams, dated 13 August 1797, with John Williams’ wife, Nancy; his daughter, Mary Williams.  Witnesses were Richard H. Hurst, John Britain and Sarah Barron (he was executor with Nancy Williams).  Recorded 25 October 1798, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 441.

On 29 March 1800, Edward Ballard and Mary his wife conveyed to Abraham Cooper, Town of Hampton, for 66 Pounds, 13s, 4d, 2/3 part of a lot belonging to the late James Ballard “left him by his father as will more fully appear by his will” & adjoining lots of late John Hunter and Edward Ballard.  Recorded 24 October 1800.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1792-1808, p. 35.

He left a will dated 10 June 1802, recorded 26 February 1808, in which he devised to his wife Mary “all of my estate for life to descend to our [unnamed] issue.  If there is no issue, then property to descend to my granddaughter, Polly Mitchell Barron.”  Witnessed by G. Minson, John S. Westwood and Rebechah Baker [this Rebechah Baker was probably the niece of Mary Tarrant named in her will of 1790.  See James Ballard of Warwick County].  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Wills, 1800-1858, p. 378.  Issue: Sarah.

Endnotes:

1. It would be very interesting to confirm the relationship of this Mary Ballard and her father, John Ballard to William Ballard. The degree of relationship is not stated in the will, but we believe they are cousins, as outlined in James Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia.

2. Will dated 22 April 1775, recorded 28 February 1782, Elizabeth City Co. Original Wills, Box 1.

3. “William Ballard, Jr, Pilot in Hampton, died there of smallpox last Monday.” Reported in The Virginia Gazette, 27 August 1772.

4. Recorded 26 April 1804, Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1796-1806, p. 320.

5. Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Original Wills, Box 1; Deed Book 34, p. 463.

6. 29 March 1800. Edward Ballard & Mary, his wife to Abraham Cooper of town of Hampton, £66.13.4, 2/3 part of a lot belonging to the late James Ballard, left him by his father as will more fully appear by his will & adjoining lots of late John Hunter & Edward Ballard. Recorded 24 October 1800, Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1792-1808, p. 35.

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