Guest Post: A Possible Descendancy of Thomas Ballard (1) of James City County, Virginia.

By Carolyn Cosgriff


The notes below by Carolyn Cosgriff make a compelling case identifying the origin of Thomas Ballard of James City County, Virginia (1630-1690).  This information has not been independently verified, but the reader is invited to submit comments, suggestions and corrections.

A Possible Descendancy of Thomas (1) Ballard of James City Co, VA

Based on extracted marriage & Christening records found in FamilySearch.Org & other sources quoted where relevant.

(Note: Research on this line has been ongoing for some 50 years and very little of it has turned out to be straightforward. Expect some convoluted reasoning & lots of suppositions, which hopefully are yet interwoven & supported well by the facts that follow.)

Thomas Marriott md Anna Halfhide 31 Jan 1621 at St. Nicholas Acons, London, England. (She maybe same as Ann Halfhide chr 13 Apr 1600 as daughter of John in Addington, Surrey, England.) The christenings of their dozen children are recorded, including their 3 youngest surviving daughters:

Sarah chr 6 sep 1635 St Bride Fleet St. London, London dtr of Thos & Ann
Jane chr Feb 1637 St Mathew Friday St., London, London dtr of Thos
Mary chr 2 July 1645 St Mathew Friday St., London, London dtr of Thos

It may be noted here that these are the same names as Thomas Ballard’s “sisters” & these birthdates also correspond perfectly with what we know about them. They were actually step-sisters of Thomas, if this rendition correct, for their mother, as Ann Merritt, re-md on 21 Feb 1649 at St Mary’s, Essex to Thomas Ballard (whose 1st wife was evidently, Elizabeth Shiphard whom he md 29 Jun 1624 in St Dunstan, Stepney, London, & who was the mother of 2 sons born in that same parish: THOMAS chr Jan 1626/7 son of Thomas & Elizabeth (hypothesized immigrant to VA) & Richard, chr 8 Mar 1628, son of Thomas & Elizabeth, with his death also recorded on 4 Dec 1631.)

Possibly the father Thomas Ballard was the same as Thomas Ballard chr 24 Sep 1593 at Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, son of Henry & Johana. We find the marriage of Henry Ballard to one Joane Webb recorded 15 Oct 1586 in Bromham, Wiltshire where their 1st children (twins) Edward & Ann are chr 3 May 1587 as son & dtr of Henry. Edward is married in this same parish to Ann Pountney on 23 Nov 1612 & the christenings of 3 children of theirs are also recorded there in 1616, 1624 & 1626. However, on 19 July 1621 we find recorded the christening of one Angela Ballard, dtr of Edward, in Weston Subedge, Gloucester. Recalling that Gloucester borders on Wiltshire, and comparing this to the christening dates of his other children, I think we are safe in assuming that this is also the dtr of this same Edward.

I am also assuming that Angela Ballard is the same as “Angelica” who married 1st to John Fisher who was listed as a 1651 headright of Wm Armistead (from Cavaliers & Pioneers, [hereafter C&P] vol 1, p. 45) & who died in Jamestown, VA before the 1655 suit of John Dibdall. She then md to Col James Bray, member of the Council) who lists her 2x as his headright in 1658 (also in C&P). Several records support her 2 marriages, as, e.g. In VA Pats. 9, p. 133 in Library of VA Digital Collection: Land Office Pats & Grants, under date of 26 Apr 1698: “Whereas a certain tract in James City, 190 acres late in possession of John Fisher, decd, is lately found to escheat…..for which said land Mrs Angelica Bray of sd County hath made her Composition….Know ye therefore that the sd Edmund Andros, Knt, Gov., etc. doth Give & grant Mrs Angelica Bray ye sd 190 acres..afsd.

What is of interest here is that our Thomas 1 Ballard of VA lists 2 Fisher headrights (Robert & Grace) as early as 1653 & then, as recorded on 24 Apr 1660 in James City Co, Thomas Ballard acts as attorney for “James Bray who md John Fisher’s relict”–in that same record this statement also found “acknowledge land boundaries between Ralph Simpkin & John Fisher, certified by Ab. Moone in 1650.” Thomas Ballard intersecting with the latter husband of Angelica, as well as with the surname of her 1st husband’s family, both at the correct times, no less, for her respective marriages to these men, I submit as fairly good circumstantial evidence of Edward Ballard, father of Angela Ballard, being connected to our Thomas Ballard as his uncle & I also postulate that the Henry Ballard who came to VA by 1635 was another uncle, the namesake son of Henry Ballard who md 1586 to Joane Webb.

Another reason why I think that our immigrant Thomas was he who was chr 1627 to Thomas & Elizabeth (Shepherd) Ballard is because of the prestigious Shepherd connections to VA, some of which connect into this Ballard line & will now be noted.

Thomas Shepherd, bd 17 Dec 1607 in Maulden, Bedfordshire, married there 7 Oct 1577 to Amphilice Chamberlayne, dtr of Wm & his wife, Jane Neville, & widow of Richard Faldo. By her 1st husband she had 4 children that included Elizabeth Faldo who md Dec 1595 to Nicholas Everett. Elizabeth Everett who was chr Sept 1608 in Warrington, Lancashire is identified in that record as the dtr of Nicholas. I think she is the same who md on 31 Jan 1629/30 to John Hiller at St Margaret, Westminster, London. It was their eldest son John Hollier aka Hilliard chr 23 Jan 1630/1 at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London who is believed to be the 1651 headright of Henry Singleton (from Greers, Early VA Immigrants) & likely husband of Thomas’ [step-]sister, Jane (Marriott). Two younger Hollier brothers evidently followed John Hollier to VA also, including Simon Hollier chr 26 Oct 1644 at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London whose will was proved Oct 1690 in Elizabeth City Co, VA (a direct ancestor of mine, btw) & Edward chr 3 Sep 1646 also at at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, who is listed as a 1670 headright of George Chapman & as purchasing 200 acres in Lynhaven parish, Princess Anne Co, in Feb 1670 (C&P 2: 97)

Returning to Amphilice Chamberlayne, she md 2nd, as Amphyllus Faldo, at Maulden, Bedfordshire on 7 Oct 1577 to Thomas Shepherd & they were the parents of 3 children all born in that same parish: Constance, Richard & Thomas. Richard, chr 6Mar 1680 is who I believe md 1599 in Finchley, London to Alice Allen, mother of the Elizabeth Shepherd chr May 1600 as dtr of Richard & who md 29 Jun 1624 to our immigrant’s father, Thomas Ballard & had the 2 sons, our Thomas (the immigrant) & then Richard who died young.

The younger brother of Richard, also a Thomas Shepherd, was chr 18 Nov 1582 & he fathered yet a 3rd Thomas in this same parish, christened 13 Aug 1609, and this is the man I hypothesize as the Thomas Shepherd found on the York Co. VA records as early as 1645/6 when he & Richard Flint are witnesses of Edward Cole who sells land to Michael & Henry Smith. (Edward Coles also appears in 1653 Northumberland records: “John Hopper being at house of Edward Coles, heard Wm Thomas say….[a debt to be paid at Martin Coles also mentioned here.]. (From VA Colonial Abstracts by Fleet.) There were a lot of men named Wm Thomas already in VA this early, so we don’t know for sure he is the one who md Thomas Ballard’s step-mom, Anna (Halfhide) Marriott Ballard, but the possibility is provocative at least., & even seems likely since Thomas Shepherd seems to have left York Co. for Northumberland Co about the same time Edward Cole did, being listed as a juryman there in this same abovementioned 1653 case between John Hopper & Wm Thomas.

This Edward Cole, btw, I believe was the same as the son of an Alice Webb (md 1602 in Gloucestershire to Wm Cole) & the husband of another Johane Webb (they md Oct 1637 in Kidlington, Oxfordshire–she also christened 1615 in Bromham, Wiltshire (see above where Henry Ballard’s wife with this same name also christened there some generations previous) to a Wm Webb & Edith Cole.

But back to Thomas Shepherd who is found in 1640s York Co, VA records. In a land record for him dated 5 Jul 1653, he patents 66A, “due by virtue of the rights of part of a patent for 850 acres granted Cpt. Yeo which being resurveyed was found to be wanting 107 acres of the quantity patented in 1653/4.” Cpt. Leonard Yeo w/Clare Yeo, his assumed wife, are listed as headrights of John Shepherd as early as 1639 (C&P vol 1). Btw, John Shepherd is listed as a York Co. landowner in 1645 adjacent to Henry Ballard–who we have hypothesised to be the uncle of Thomas the immigrant (C&P 1: 156) & this would seem to lend at least some small circumstantial evidence to support that claim. Thinking that Clare may have been a sister of this John Shepherd, as well as of Thomas Shepherd chr 1609, (making Leonard & Clara Yeo the aunt & uncle to the Thos Shepherd to whom they give some of this land patent) I went looking & found a marriage of Thomas Shepherd to a Clare Tokesfield in May 1618, St Mary Lee Bow, London, England. She appears to be his 3rd wife, & the likely mother of a namesake child of the right age to have married Cpt. Leonard Yeo. His 2nd wife, Elizabeth Deighton he had married on 23 Apr 1612 in St Gregory by St Paul, London, London, followed by the christening of 3 children by her: Constance in Sep 1612, John in May 1614 (this is the one who i think brought over his younger 1/2 sister & her husband to VA by 1639) & Elizabeth in Mar 1617/8. These same Shepherd children are mentioned by name among the probate records of one Thomas Roper whose administration was made in May 1624/5 in James City Co, VA as found in Virginia Gleanings in England: Abstracts of 17th & 18th Century English Wills & Administrations re: Virginia….by Lothrop Withington. Quoting from that will & it’s associated records:

He 1st sets free his servants, John West & Alexander Gill…”all tobacco due me in VA to my brother John Roper in England” plus “300 lbs in hands of my father in law Mr Thomas Sheaperd of Moine in Bedfordshire.” britches to Wm Smith; Item, gold in money to Mr. Haute Wyatt, minister of James City. Wits, Wm Smith, Haute Wyatt, Geo Fitzjeffries. May 1624 administration granted to Thomas shepherd, father of John, Elizabeth & Constance Shepherd, bro & sisters ex materno of sd decd during minor estate. 5 Feb. 1626/7 admn granted John Roper, principal legatee.”

Thus it would appear that the Elizabeth Deighton that Thomas Shepherd md as his 2nd wife had been previously married to a Mr Roper & had 2 sons, Thomas of the Jamestown will, & John who in1627, as main legatee, became administrator of that will.

Note & compare these marriages:
Thomas Roper 1 Nov 1607 St Gregory by St Paul, London, London: Elizabeth Dighton
Thomas Shepherd 23 Apr 1612 (same parish) : Elizabeth Deighton

Whaaaat? Have never seen this before in an English marriage record where a woman reverts to her maiden name, rather than her married surname, on a 2nd marriage.  (My husband, who has been researching his Irish lines for even longer than I have been researching my English ones, assures me this is not unusual, however, among his Celtic peoples.) So, even though I am not 100% sure these are the marriages we want, yet, as the same woman in both marriages, it fits perfectly based on the 2 marriage dates together with the known christening dates of the 3 Shepherd children as given above. But this is assuming that John Roper was born to Elizabeth Deighton by her 1st husband very soon after (maybe even before?) their Nov 1607 marriage in order to be (close to) being of age in 1627 when he is made administrator of his brother’s will.

But if that is the case, that would make Thomas Roper a younger brother–if they did indeed have the same mother, as seems to be so strongly implied in the above quoted probate papers. in which case he could have been born no earlier than 1609, we’ll say. Note he left no land in his will & did not have to be of age to leave only personal property, as he did, if I understand the legal requirements correctly. So he likely was no older than maybe 14 when he arrived in VA in September 1623 and probably that same age when he died shortly thereafter, as recorded on the 16 Feb 1623/4 VA census.

So a 14 year old, younger son who brings 2 servants, leaves a lot of $ to an elder (& so probably wealthier) brother, & has among his will witnesses Haute Wyatt, a member of one of the most influential & prestigious families of early Virginia, leads us to believe his Shepherd 1/2 siblings were likewise of the “upper-crust” English elite. Which, if they were related to our Thos Ballard’s mother, Elizabeth Shepherd, as here hypothesised, would certainly explain why & how he as an immigrant was given his enviable start.

Of those Shepherd siblings, btw, both John & Constance stayed in the Elizabeth City Co area of VA, leaving a numerous progeny, many of whom, in colonial elite fashion, intermarried among themselves. Constance, for example, 1st wife of Richard Wyatt** was the gt-grandma of George Wythe through the Thos Wythe who md his cousin Ann SHEPHERD & whose sister Ann was the 1st wife of Mathew BALLARD, grandson of Thomas the immigrant.

Contemporaneously we note that Simon Hollier, the 3rd generation of that name, had married to Mary Wallace, the daughter of this same just-mentioned Ann Shepherd by her 2nd husband, Rev. James Wallace & so when she assumes the administration of her Hollier husband at his death in 1753, her cousin Thomas Wythe III (father of George) is named as her 1st security. All these later familial connections seemingly provide even further circumstantial evidence for the hypothesized relationships proposed herein.

**Richard Wyatt, as his name appears in the VA records, was the earliest progenitor of the reknown Wythe family of Elizabeth City Co. The establishment of that line is next on my agenda to be written up &, fortunately, is not quite so circuitous as this Ballard-Shepherd-Hollier account has been. Richard’s ancestry has yet to be determined. But based on the implied connection of the Roper-Sheperd family with Haute Wyatt, it seems a good possibility that he may have been connected with Haute’s family.