This compiler recently turned his attention to this branch of the family because of a research study by Kathleen Kerwin, one of the administrators of the RL 21 CTS4466 South Irish Group with FamilyTreeDNA, which studies the ancestry of certain haplogroups endemic to Southern Ireland. The Ballards who placed in Lineage Group I bear this marker, suggesting ancestry in Ireland rather than England as is commonly assumed. One researcher in the group speculated that perhaps a Ballard was among the Welsh archers who accompanied Strongbow to Ireland in 1170.
Anyway, Kathleen asked about any old family lore that might shed light on the origins of the earliest ancestors, and I recalled this biography of Bland William Ballard and his family that appeared in A Memorial and Biographical History of Johnson and Hill Counties, Texas (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892) pp. 534-37. The author of the sketch noted His grandfather, Bland, had emigrated to Virginia from Wales long before the war for independence, in which he took a part. While this sentence is referring to Bland Ballard (c. 1735-1788), the author could very well be conflating him with that Bland’s father, the first of the name in Virginia, who first appears in a land patent taken 27 January 1734. Still, the explicit statement that the family came from Wales is extremely interesting, and is likely family lore that has been passed down.
However, our cursory sketch did not include Bland William Ballard’s will. We are admittedly less interested in studying 20th century records (they don’t present the same challenges as 17th, 18th and early 19th century records), but the omission is easily remedied and here we present Bland William Ballard’s will. Bland dispenses with his elder surviving children by devising them each one dollar, since he recites that he had already provided for them, and leaves the remainder of his real and personal property to his youngest daughter, Anna, who cared for him when his wife Parthenia Cull became an invalid and after Parthenia’s passing in 1888. in light of the information contained in the biographical sketch, this outcome is perfectly understandable. It states that 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.
Bland W. Ballard left a will dated 7 January 1901, recorded 21 March 1904 at Aquilla, Hill County, Texas:
A Will. In the name of God, I Bland W. Ballard of Aquilla, Hill County, Texas, being of sound mind, and realizing that all men must die, do make my last will and testament on earth. After defraying any funeral expenses, and paying all my just debts, I will my sons John E. and Ben W., J. T. and E. N. Ballard and my daughter Mary A. Thompson [Hampson?]* one Dollar each, having given them money and property previously. Now give by this will my daughter Anna E. Ballard the remainder of my property, consisting of lots 8 and 9 and part of 6 & 7 Block 20 with my dwelling and all improvements, also all stock and household goods I may have. Also lots 1, 2 and 3 in same block, also lot 1 in Block 21 together with my storehouse and any and all goods therein; to have and to hold the same in consideration of her long painstaking care of me in my old age. I hereby annul all former wills made by me. This seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and one. I appoint my son J. T. Ballard my sole executor.
Bland W. Ballard
Witness. E. R. Boyd
Filed 21 day of Mch 1904, M.L. Wiginton Co. Clerk, Hill County, Texas by respondent
Codicil, Aquilla, Texas, Feby 2, 1904
In the name of God I Bland W. Ballard being of sound mind and knowing death comes to all men I desire to make this my last will and testament, having previously made my will I desire to add this much more to said will which was duly signed by E.R. Boyd in said will for the kindness and care that I have received from my daughter Anna E. Ballard I gave most of my property. Now since said will was written I have accumulated some other properties all of which I desire my daughter Anna E. Ballard shall at my death after paying all of my just debts and funeral expenses than and as in former will I appoint my son James T. Ballard my executor.
Bland W. Ballard
Witness E. R. Boyd
Filed Mch 21st 1904, M.L. Wiginton, Co. Clerk, Hill Co. TexasRecorded Hill Co. Tx. Probate Minutes, Vol. 18-19, 1896-1902, pp. 242-243.
* The will excerpt noted above gives the name of Bland’s eldest surviving daughter as “Mary A. Thompson [or “Hampson].” This is a transcription error by the clerk who recorded this in the county records. According to a correspondent (who we thank for pointing out the error), Mary Adeline Ballard on 20 January 1873 married James Volentine Hampton at the home of her parents in Marshall, Saline County, Missouri.