A Possible Welsh Origin of Lineage Group I & A Biography of Bland W. Ballard of Aquilla, Texas (1824-1904).

Below is a biography of Bland William Ballard of Aquilla, Texas that was published in A Memorial and Biographical History of Johnson and Hill Counties, Texas (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892), pp. 534-37.  This was thoughtfully provided by a fellow researcher and is transcribed here.  Bland William Ballard (1824-1904) descends from Bland Ballard of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, which places him in Lineage Group I.

We will note a curious bit of information that bears further study, namely that the subject — who no doubt was interviewed by the author for this publication — stated that his ancestor Bland “had emigrated to Virginia from Wales long before the war for independence, in which he took a part.”  He was referring to Bland Ballard (c.1735-1788), son of the first Bland, which suggests he conflated the two; an easy error, given the repetition of names, for Bland’s activities in Spotsylvania are fairly well documented from the date of his Spotsylvania land patent in 1734.  But one can’t help there is a kernel of truth to the assertion that the family is indeed from Wales, and that information was lost or forgotten over time.

There has been another suggestion of a Welsh connection from another source, the administrator of the R1b-CTS446 Plus Project.  This Project includes several members of Lineage Group I.  We were invited to participate because we tested positive for at least one of the SNPs defining the Irish Type II subclade, which is found in the south of Ireland and other parts of Great Britain.

The stated objective of the project are as follows:

The R1b-CTS4466 Plus project will research the parameters of this major subclade which features strongly in the south of Ireland, but it is found as well in other areas of the Isles, including some in the west of Ireland, Wales, western England, an apparent branch in Northern Ireland and Scotland and a few continentals.  We hope to discover the ancient history of this subclade – where it may have originated, how old it might be, which groups within it share more recent ancestry and how different branches may have developed and migrated from the time of the common ancestor.

On 18 July 2015 we received this email from Elizabeth O’Donoghue-Ross, Group Administrator of the R1b-CTS446 Plus Project:

Hello, Everyone.

With so many CTS4466 SNP Pack results coming in together, the issues that have needed to be addressed and reported, plus some new BIG Ys in as well, I’ve been unable to contact each of you directly about your results.  Apologies for this delay.  I’ve decided that the most efficient way to contact you would be to include all of you who are in the same branch in one email to explain the results.  If some of you have already been contacted by me or Ed, please forgive the duplication.

Your result shows you in the FGC29280 branch, and you have been placed in the ‘ A1b1a S1121+ // Z16252+ // FGC29280+’ group in the spreadsheet.  Your surnames vary with origins in Clare and Cork for Reddin and Hurley, to an ostensibly Anglo-Norman surname in the Ballards, which in principle you would not expect to be Irish Type II at all.  The group of Ballards is relatively closely related, and though some indicate England as their country of origin, I can’t help but wonder if this group of Ballards might be Welsh, which is where many of the Anglo-Normans were based before coming to Ireland with Strongbow.  The force included a number of Welsh archers.  There may be a connection of interest to the CTS4466* group that appear to be of Welsh origin.  This could indicate the early origins of the whole subclade.  We are looking into this possibility.

The variety of surnames found in your branch indicates that there are probably more branches to be discovered, but it will need further tests through the BIG Y or the Y-Elite at FGC to identify them.  Ideally, two participants of each surname would test for comparison purposes to discover the SNPs that define their own surname-specific branch.

If you haven’t yet, you should join our Forum – https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/R1b-CTS4466-Plus/info.  We were discussing the CTS4466 SNP Pack results and you can always look through the previous messages posted

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about the results.

Thank you for testing.  I hope you are pleased that you have discovered more of your heritage.

Best Wishes,


Elizabeth is assuming Lineage Group I’s ancestor emigrated from Wales to Ireland (Strongbow came to Ireland in 1170), but note that the subclade is present throughout the United Kingdom, only strongly represented in Ireland.  We do know there was a William Ballard who was mayor of Cork, Ireland in 1690, and several streets in Cork bear the name “Ballard,” so possibly a Welsh branch of the family did settle there.  Assuming a Welsh origin, other branches could just as easily have gone in the other direction and settled in England.

The ever helpful Wikipedia has an interesting observation about the origin of the Ballard name, unfortunately without citations:

There are other sources for this name, besides the Anglo-Saxon. Not all people bearing the name are of English origins. It is common, with native etymology among several Celtic nations, although the British Celtic form is likely the original, and it may be that “Bald head” is a false etymology designed to give the name English roots. The earliest form is Ap Alard, meaning the “son of the fox” in Welsh, and it passed from Wales to Brittany as Aballard, whence it became popular in France under the form Aballaird, and thence to Spain.

In future we’ll keep an eye out for possible Welsh ties.  We find it interesting that the Welsh name Rhys is usually Anglicized as “Rice,” which was the name of one of Bland’s Virginia descendants, Rice Carter Ballard, the son of Benjamin Ballard of Spotsylvania County, Virginia (1768-1864).

Copied from Nell Cason

Bland W. Ballard, of the firm of Bland W. Ballard & Son, grocers of Aquilla, is a member of one of the best and most favorably known families in Hill county.  Emigrating from Missouri in the [18]’70s, we find them identified ever since with each step in the development of progress of the county.  Our subject is the son of James and Elizabeth (Shackelford) Ballard, an old Kentucky family.  The father, born in Shelby county, Kentucky, March 1, 1785, was a farmer by occupation, thrifty, well-informed, and alive to all that pertained to the welfare of his State and nation.  His grandfather, Bland, had emigrated to Virginia from Wales long before the war for independence, in which he took a part.  James’ father, also named Bland, emigrated to Kentucky in an early day, coming down the Ohio to the Falls, now Louisville.  Here he raised his family, being employed by the Government as a hunter for the army, and in scouting expeditions against the red men.  He was first given command of a company, then a battalion, and next a regiment.  He was elected to the Legislature several times from Shelby county, Kentucky.  He followed the business as long as the Indians were troublesome, when he moved to Shelby county, where he died at an advanced age.  Our subject remembers him as a most powerful man, six feet in height and weighing over 200 pounds, — a typical pioneer.  In 1800 James Ballard was married, in Shelby county, to Elizabeth Shackelford.  That family were originally from England, next settled in Virginia, then in Georgia (where Elizabeth was born, in 1785), thence, in 1792, on pack-horses through the wilderness, to Kentucky.  To this union was born four sons and three daughters, viz.: John, deceased in infancy; Benjamin H., a retired farmer of Missouri; Bland W., our subject; James T., deceased; Mary, deceased, was the wife of George Button, also deceases; Elizabeth A., deceased, was the wife of Bland Williamson; and Dorothy, who died at the age of twelve years. The father was a man of sterling integrity, and of strong influence for good in his county.  He was under Harrison in the famous Tippecanoe expedition, and our subject remembers well his vivid description of the destruction of the red men’s wigwams and stores by fires, and how each soldier, by the General’s order, loaded his horse with corn and tobacco for the homeward trip.  Mr. Ballard has a hickory cane in his possession, mounted with buck horn, which was cut on that battle-field and given to his father.  The latter died in 1841, and the mother in 1853.

The subject of this notice was born July 23, 1824, in Oldham county, Kentucky.  At seventeen years of age the death of the father threw the burden of the family upon his young shoulders, but it only nerved the boy to manhood’s strife.  He was married at the age of twenty-one, and continued with the family one year, when he bought land near Ballardsville, and for the first time rested under his own “vine and fig tree.”  Three years later we find him on a wild tract of land in Clark county, Missouri, undergoing all the privations of the Western pioneer, and at one time he traveled eighty miles before he got his grain ground and home again.  Six years of such life, and a large improved farm in Saline county bought, and for nine years our subject battled with the distressing times just preceding and during the Civil war.  The struggle ended with the loss of his farm and the $8,500 paid on it.  Nothing daunted, however, he moved to another community, five miles distant, and began again.  After fifteen years of successful farming here, the failing health of his wife demanded a change of climate, and he came to this county, landing at Aquilla November 16, 1879.   After some prospecting he built in Whitney, and engaged for six years in various kinds of light business, devoting a large amount of his time to the care of his invalid wife.  He moved to Aquilla, and for two years engaged in the stock business, in company with is son, Elijah.  In 1887 the firm of Ballard & Son was formed, which has since carried on a grocery and drug business.  The Aquilla post office is also under the charge of our subject.  Of him it may be said that as a father, kind and gentle, but firm, and as a citizen upright, honest and of undoubted integrity, he has the love due the one from the family, and the respect due to the other from the people.  He has been a consistent member of the Methodist Church for over forty-nine years, and expects to die in that faith.

July 15, 1845, Mr. Ballard married Parthena, daughter of Nathan and Rebecca Cull, another old Kentucky family.  The Culls were of Irish descent, having been banished from Ireland in the time of Cromwell.  The wife in this case was a helpmate, in deed as well as in word.  She was a woman of more than ordinary ability, had a remarkable taste and memory for history, and made the Bible her constant companion.  In early life she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, which always found in her a great helper.  For fifteen years before her death, which occurred March 13, 1888, she was a confirmed invalid, but bore her illness cheerfully and with the greatest fortitude and patience.  Mr. and Mrs. Ballard have had eight childen, viz.: John E., born in Oldham county, Kentucky, in 1846, was married at the age of twenty-two years, in Missouri, to Armead L. Ingram, a sister of Mrs. E. R. Boyd, of Aquilla, now deceased.  After farming several years in that State, John E. moved, in 1875, to Garrett’s Mills, McLennan county, Texas, thence to Oak Valley, next to Aquilla, and then to Hillsboro, in each place engaged in merchandising.  Since his residence in teh latter palce his recognized ability has made him the servant of the people in various offices.  In 1887 he was elected Court Commissioner of District No. 1, and the fine new county jail is the monument of his work.  He has served several terms as Alderman in his city, the new schoolhouse attesting his interest here, and has served one term as Mayor, being elected over two popular candidates in an unprecedentedly hot contest.  Benjamin W. was born in Oldham county, Kentucky, in 1848, and married in Texas, in 1878, to Bina T. Neal.  They have two children: John N. and Nellie B.  Benjamin farmed a few years in Missouri, then came to Texas and engaged in business with his brother at White Rock, thence to Fort Graham, next to Whitney, where he is now enjoying a thriving grocery trade.  Bland A., born in Missouri, in 1852, visited Texas in 1873, and several years afterward engaged in business at White Rock, then went to Fort Graham, next to Whitney, where, at the age of twenty-eight years, in November, 1880, he succumbed to typhoid malaria.  He now rests by his mother in Hillsboro cemetery.  Bland was a most exemplary young man, and when cut off by the dread destroyer gave promise of more than ordinary business career.  Mary A., born in Missouri in 1855, was married in 1873 to James V. Hampton, a farmer of Saline county, Missouri.  In 1891 they moved to a farm five miles east of Whitney.  They have had five children: B. Wade, Thomas V., Marmaduke, and Velva and Zuma, twins.  James Thomas, born in Missouri in 1857, was married, in 1889, to Etta E. Swafford, of Limestone county, Texas.  James came to Texas at the age of twenty-one years, and engaged in business with his brother John, at Oak Valley, thence to Aquilla, and next to Hillsboro, where he continued with his brother until 1888, when he withdrew.  The next year he clerked for G. B. Brown, a grocer, next for B. K. Brockinton, when the firm of Gibson & Ballard, grocers, was formed.  James is a keen and reliable business man, and a credit to the city of Hillsboro.  Elijah N. was born in Saline county, Missouri, December 24, 1860; until ninteen years of age his life was that of the average farmer boy.  At this time the family came to Texas, and the winter of 1879-’80 was spent in clerking for his brothers at Aquilla and Oak Valley, and in the spring he went into the grocery business with his father in Whitney.  After two years Elijah went to Hillsboro, and three years were spent in clerking for his brothers, and one year for Grant & Armstrong.  For the next two years he was in the stock business with his father at Aquilla, when the cattle was disposed of, and the present firm of Ballard & Son, grocers, was formed.  During his residence in Whitney Elijah had taken up the study of telegraphy, but his attention was drawn from that by other business.  In the summer of 1888 he resumed that study, and in September, of the same year, was appointed operator and station agent at Ross, on the Texas Central.  So well did he perform his duties there that the company saw fit, after eleven months, to promote him to his home station at Aquilla, where he has since faithfully discharged his duties.  He is one of the most popular agents on the road, and in direct line for promotion.  In his political views he is a Democrat; and socially, a Master Mason.  Harriet L., born in Saline county, Misssouri, June 17, 1863, died of spinal complaint, August 5, 1868.  The family remember her as a patient little body, whom suffering only made more angelic.  Annie E., born in Saline county, Missouri, May 9, 1867, is the youngest of the family.  When but a child the mother’s health threw much of the burden of housekeeping on Anna, and since her death she finds it a pleasure to make glad the declining years of her father.