A Line Clarified: Thomas Ballard of Surry County, North Carolina (c. 1755-1794).

One of our hopes in publishing this blog is that people with a fresh perspective or information unknown to us will come forward and supply something new that helps us sort out the various lines we are attempting to document.  We received just such a message yesterday, offering vital information about the family that is the subject of this newspaper notice:


Surry County.

In Equity.

John Bryson, vs. the heirs of Thomas Ballard, dec’d. David Blackwell and Elizabeth his wife, David Hains and Mary his wife, Ann Ballard, Charles Ballard, Sadell B. Brooks and Sarah, his wife, William Ballard, and ——– Roberts, and Susannah his wife — Petition to compel a conveyance of land.

It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that these defendants are not inhabitants of this state. It is ordered and decreed by the court that publication be made in the Raleigh Star for six weeks, that the said defendants appear at our next court of equity to be held for said county, on the first Monday in March next, at the Court House in Rockford, and plead, answer or demur to said petition or the same will be heard exparte at the next term.

Witness, JAMES PARKS, Clk in our said court, at office the fir[s]t Monday in Sept. 1819.

The North Carolina Star, Fri, Mar 17, 1820

Here is the message:

I have some information on your post John Bryson vs. The Heirs of Thomas Ballard, dec’d.

My ancestor is Lucy Jane Ballard, daughter of Thomas Horace Ballard of Albemarle. She is listed in her father’s will as Lucy Harvey. She married Joseph Harvey in 1778 in Albemarle Co, VA. In 1855 Barren County, KY Lucy Harvey’s son, James Harvey of Barren County, KY applied for the funds that were due his mother based on her deceased husband’s Rev. War service. At that time she was 88 years old. She states that they were married in Orange Co, Virginia. The application was suspended, as Lucy died before the case was settled.  Included in the application is the following statement made by James Harvey (her son) Statement by James Harvey, Monroe co, KY:

“..my father’s fellow soldiers of whom I have heard him speak (viz) Jacob Burrus or Burroughs, Thomas Ballard (my mother’s brother) and one (Jonathan?) Davis – Said Burrus was our neighbor when we lived in Surry County North Carolina – and he moved to either Smith or Sumner County Tennessee where he died many years ago (I forget whether before or since my father, before I think. Thomas Ballard died when I was a young boy and his widow Betsey married David Blackwell.”  source: eFold Pension Record of Joseph Harvey.

One of Lucy Ballard and Joseph Harvey’s daughters, Olive, married John Bryson. The 1790 and 1800 census of Surry Co, NC show these families living next to one another: Thomas Ballard, John Brison, John Brison Jr and David Blackwell.

Lucy’s sister Elizabeth Ballard married Frost Snow, son of John Snow.

The entire Pension Application of James Harvey is transcribed below.

This is an exciting revelation.  We tried mightily to find a place for this Thomas Ballard, but he didn’t quite fit, but this information puts us in an entirely different direction.

What this information tells us is that this Thomas Ballard is an otherwise undocumented son of Thomas Horace Ballard of Albemarle County, Virginia (c. 1732-1804).  He was not mentioned in the better known Albemarle Ballard family histories, namely Edgar Woods’ Albemarle County in Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.: Michie Co., 1901) and William H. Miller’s History and genealogies of the families of Miller, Woods, Harris, Wallace, Maupin, Oldham, Kavanaugh, and Brown (illustrated) : with interspersions of notes of the families of Dabney, Reid, Martin, Broaddus, Gentry, Jarman, Jameson, Ballard, Mullins, Michie, Moberley, Covington, Browning, Duncan, Yancey, and others. (Richmond, Ky.: Transylvania Co., 1907).  This isn’t unprecedented, given that these same books overlooked the existence of Thomas Horace Ballard’s grandson James Ballard, Jr of New York, New York (1815-1882).

When Thomas Horace Ballard made his will on 14 December 1802, he named his sons John Ballard and James Ballard, daughters Ann Bruce, Mary Davis, Lucy Harvey, Betsy Snow and Patty Pettit, and granddaughter Justina Burruss (this last devisee begs the question — whose daughter was she?).   Evidently the younger Thomas was not named in the will because he was dead by 1794, as shown below.

From the information here, we now know that Thomas Horace Ballard had a son Thomas who lived in Orange County, Virginia, and from there went to Surry County, North Carolina, where he died.  We have not yet ascertained the subject of the suit in the newspaper notice, but its now clear that it names his widow Elizabeth (Betsy) Blackwell, and presumably names their children Mary (Ballard) Hains, Ann Ballard, Charles Ballard, Sarah (Ballard) Brooks, William Ballard and Susannah (Ballard) Roberts.  While it’s a reasonable assumption that these were his children, we’d be more comfortable with proof of some sort.

An apparent connection between Thomas Ballard and John Bryson appears in the records of Orange County, Virginia.  On 24 March 1742, John Snow of Louisa County, planter, conveyed to Thomas Ballard of Orange County planter, Lease and release for £25 current money. 200 acres in St. Thomas Parish near the Head of Blew Run corner to a tract formerly belonging to John Bryson. . . brow of a hill. . . Mathias Gale’s corner.”  Signed: John Snow.  Witnessed by John Allen, George Taylor, Thomas Scott.  Recorded Orange Co. Va. Deed Book 7, pp. 209-211.  Given the date of this conveyance, however, this is probably Thomas Horace Ballard and not the son named in the newspaper notice, who was likely born in the 1750s since he fought in the American Revolution.

This 200 acres conveyed by John Snow to Thomas Ballard of Orange County was conveyed by Thomas to a William Ballard by “deed dated 15 February 1758 from Thomas Ballard of Orange Co. & William Ballard of same, for £20; 200 acres near head of the Blue Run … bounded land formerly belonging to John Bryson.” Witnessed by Frs. Jones, Barnett Franklyn, Jas. Griffith. Recorded 23 February 1758, Orange Co. Va. Deed Book 12, pp. 432-36.   To our knowledge, Thomas Horace Ballard did not have a brother named William, though he certainly had a cousin William Ballard, son of John Ballard of Albemarle.  We are told that this William “lived below Mechum’s Depot” by both publications listed above; we have not tried to trace his family, but this connection suggests that this may be the correct William, so we may have a starting point.

A probate record in Surry County, North Carolina dated 1794 is an inventory of the estate of Thomas Ballard by his wife Elizabeth Ballard, who was appointed Administratrix, which tells us that Thomas died without a will (if he had one Elizabeth would have been Executrix, if named so in the will).  We have an accounting of his belongings, but apart from the name of his wife, there is no information of genealogical value.

Incidentally, the Frost Snow who married Elizabeth Ballard (Thomas and Lucy’s sister) also removed to Surry County, North Carolina and left a will there dated 6 February 1837, recorded Surry Co. NC Will Book 4, p. 325.

Since Thomas died in 1794, what prompted John Bryson to initiate his suit against the heirs of Thomas Ballard in 1819?  Additional research is needed on that point.  Still, its gratifying to find a place for that particular piece of the puzzle.

Pension application of Joseph Harvey R4711 Lucy Harvey f97VA

Transcribed by Will Graves 2/26/14

State of Kentucky Monroe County: Sct.

On this the 23rd day of May 1850 personally appeared before me Samuel Gearhart an acting justice of the peace in and for the County aforesaid Lucy Harvey a resident of said County aged Eighty Eight years past who being first duly sworn according to law doth on her oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress passed July 4th 1836, that she is the Widow of Joseph Harvey who was a soldier in the Army of the Revolution he enlisted under Francis Coward in arrange [presumably Orange] County State of Virginia in the early part of the War for two years and served to the end of his enlistment, he was first marched to Williamsburg then through the various Counties in Virginia she thinks he took up winter quarters on Schuylkill River and then at Philadelphia she recollects of no particular Battles that he was in but heard him speak of many skirmishes he was again drafted for three months in the spring of 1781 and served out the said three months but cannot recollect his Officers and he never went in the Army after. She further declares that she was married to the aforesaid Joseph Harvey on the 12th day of November 1778, that her husband the aforesaid Joseph Harvey Died on the 25th of March 1828 and that she has remained a Widow ever since that period as will more fully appear by reference to the proof hereto annexed. She further states that the Family record which is here with file for proof of marriage is the true and original record of their own and the ages of all of their Children and that the same is in the hand writing of her husband the aforesaid Joseph Harvey.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year above written before me.

S/ Samuel Gearhart, JP MC                                               S/ Lucy Harvey, X her mark

[p 5: On July 19, 1855 in Monroe County Kentucky, Henry Bushong and Ann Harvey gave testimony as follows: Henry Bushong testify that he is 84 years old; that he was intimately acquainted with Joseph Harvey who died in Barren County Kentucky about the year 1828; that he knew him for many years prior to his death; that Harvey told him he was raised in Virginia; 2 of Harvey’s sons married to of the affiants daughters; affiant was himself in the Indian wars and the War of 1812; that Harvey always told the affiant that he served in the Regular Army in Virginia; Ann Harvey, 56, gave testimony that she was intimately acquainted with Joseph Harvey; that she knew him for 10 years or more prior to his death; that he told her he had been in the Virginia Regulars during the war; that her husband Austin Harvey (now deceased) was a son of Joseph Harvey and his wife Lucy; that Joseph Harvey died in Barren County Kentucky March 25, 1828; that the widow Lucy Harvey died in Monroe County Kentucky in October 1851; that the names of her children living when she died were Betsey Lawrence, a widow, James Harvey and William Harvey all now living in this County – Martin Harvey and Abner Harvey in Missouri and Patsy Davis a widow now living in Cumberland County Kentucky; that both Abner Harvey and his widow have since died leaving the following children: Greensville Harvey, Jane Harvey, Almarine H. Harvey, Joseph Harvey and William Harvey.

Both affiants signed their affidavit with their mark.]

[p 9: family record:

Betsey Harvey Daughter of Joseph Harvey and Lucy Harvey his wife was born the 14th day of October 17 [last 2 digits written over and illegible]

John Harvey was born the 30 day of September 1781

James Harvey was born the 21 Day of February 1784

Thomas Harvey was born the 8th day of January 1787

Wilson Harvey was born the 28th day of September 1789

Martin Harvey was born the 10 day of February 1792

William Harvey was born the 20 Day of September 1794

Austin Harvey was born the 3 Day of August 1797

Abner Harvey was born the 1 Day of October 1800

Patsey Harvey was born the 26th of November 1804

Joseph Harvey was born the 12 day of November 1754

Lucy Harvey was born the 9 November 1761]

[p 12]

This is to certify, that it appears from a list in this office of such Officers and Soldiers of

the Virginia Continental Line as settled their accounts and received certificates for the balance of their full pay, according to an act of assembly, passed the November session 1781, directing the Auditors of Public Accounts to settle and adjust the pay and accounts of said Officers and Soldiers from the first January 1777 to 31st December 1781, (see Hening’s Statutes at Large, vol. 10, p. 462,) that a settlement was made on the 30th day of July 1783 in the name of Joseph Harvey as Soldier of Infantry and evidence of the indebtedness of the State to him was £16.15.0, delivered to John Burton but as the original settlements or copies thereof or not to be found in this office, the term of service embraced therein cannot be stated.

Given under my hand at the First Auditor’s Office, Richmond, this 23rd day of March 1850.

S/ Ro Johnston

[No Seal of Office] Auditor Public Accounts

[p 18: On July 18, 1855 in Monroe County Kentucky, James Harvey, 71, gave testimony that he is one of the children of Joseph and Lucy Harvey who he has always believed were legally married in Virginia some time above 5 years before he was born; affiant remembers the names of some of the fellow soldiers who served with his father including Jacob Burras or Burroughes, Thomas Ballard (his mother’s brother) and one Jonathan (?) Davis; that Burras was a neighbor of theirs when they lived in Surry County North Carolina and moved to Smith or Sumner County Tennessee where he died many years ago; that Thomas Ballard died when the affiant was a boy and his widow Betsey married David Blackwell; Davis the affiant believes died in the service; that his father died in Barren County Kentucky March 25, 1828; that his mother died in Monroe County Kentucky October 4, 1851 and left at her death the following children surviving:

  1. Betsey Lawrence a widow Monroe County Kentucky number
  2. James Harvey this declarant
  3. Martin Harvey Cooper County Missouri
  4. Abner Harvey, Moniteau County Missouri, Abner has since died leaving a widow who has since died survived by Greensville Harvey, Jane Harvey, Almarine M. Harvey, Joseph Harvey and William Harvey all living in the same County
  5. William Harvey, Monroe County Kentucky
  6. Patsy Davis a widow Cumberland County Kentucky;

The affiant makes the declaration in his capacity as executor of the estate of Lucy Harvey for the purpose of applying for and receiving the old whereas of pension money due her at her death.

The affiant signed this document with his mark.]

[p 24: Clarissa H Huffman, 29, and James W Harvey, 26, children of James Harvey gave testimony that Lucy Harvey the mother of James Harvey died at the widow of Joseph Harvey in Monroe County Kentucky October 4, 1851 having never remarried]

[p 27: On July 19, 1855, John R H Palmore, 72, of Monroe County Kentucky gave testimony that Joseph Harvey told him that he came from Albemarle County or an adjoining County in Virginia; that he served in the Virginia regulars; that affiants father Pledge Palmore served in the Virginia troops, the militia he believes. He signed his affidavit with his mark.]

[p 39: On July 18, 1855 in Monroe County Kentucky Matthew Amyx gave testimony that he was intimately acquainted with Joseph Harvey who was reputed to have been a soldier in the Virginia regular troops; that he had frequent conversations with him regarding his services; that affiants father Matthew Amyx served in the Virginia troops in the revolution and was an invalid pensioner on the Kentucky rolls on account of wounds received in the war.

[He gave another affidavit posted on p. 86]


3 thoughts on “A Line Clarified: Thomas Ballard of Surry County, North Carolina (c. 1755-1794).

  1. ❤️ Best Christmas present EVER – brick wall Ancestor confirmed and located. Thank you so much!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I’m just sitting down with my daddy going thru this BALLARD email with him. He’s researched this kind his whole life, and this is what we’ve been waiting for. Still reading first page and daddy mentioned he has uncle named Horace and Harvey Ballard. Also that we are related to the MULLINS listed. I’m so excited. Thank you so much. Will send more info after we decipher. We descend from Charles Ballard listed, and that William and Susanna are our BALLARD family names.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Its always a thrill to help someone with this research — I’m so glad its helpful to you. And any info you can share is ALWAYS welcome!

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