Thomas Ballard, Jr of York County, Virginia (c.1655-1710).

James Branch Cabell’s summary of the life of Thomas Ballard of York County, Virginia is the definitive treatment, and follows here.1   Just as we did with his father, Thomas Ballard of James City County, Virginia, the Endnotes below highlight more recent scholarship.

Thomas Ballard was the second son of Colonel Thomas Ballard of James City county.  The younger Thomas Ballard was, therefore, probably born in York county c. 1655, and reared at his father’s home at Middle Plantation, which more lately became Williamsburg.  That he eventually returned to York county was due to his parent’s wise choice of his godfather in Major Robert Baldrey.  Baldrey had come to Virginia in 1635, being then aged eighteen, had married, and had acquired a considerable plantation in York, where he was for years a justice of the peace.  He married, as has been said, but had no children: and in his will (dated 1 May 1668, recorded in York 30 December 1676),2 he bequeathed with the exception of 130 acres left outright to Thomas Greene, a life interest in all the testator’s property to his wife, Elizabeth, with reversion at her death to Baldrey’s godson, Thomas Ballard.3  Baldrey’s widow seems to have died before 1684, at latest, as in that year Thomas Ballard, Junior, removed to York and took possession of his godfather’s estate.  He was certainly still living in James City 28 March 1683-4, when he witnessed a power of attorney from John Suckell to Joseph Topping; but he was a member of the grand jury in York in November 1684.4

He married about this time Katherine, daughter of John Hubard of York (then deceased); the marriage must have taken place at all events before 9 May 1685, as Ballard and his wife were witnesses on that date to a deed given by Thomas and Sarah Aylett to Thomas Wade.  Ballard’s succinct power of attorney to represent Mrs. Aylett on this occasion is likewise preserved in the York records.

“Couzen Ballad – After my service to yo’rself and Lady, this is to request the favo’r of you in my behalfe to acknowledge the land to Mr Wade w’ch he hath bought of my husband, and this shall discharge me from any Right or tytle any more.  I am yo’r Servant & Kinswoman – Sarah Aylett.”

Among the York records for these years is also to be found an entry which, omitted here as without genealogical significance, affords a sufficiently vivid glimpse of the young couple’s menage and the immemorial liability to have trouble with servants, common to all young couples, even then, to warrant its citation [below].

The death of Thomas Ballard’s older brother, John Ballard of Nansemond, without issue, and the death in 1689 of his father, Colonel Thomas Ballard of James City, had presently made Thomas Ballard the head of prominent and wealthy family.  He was appointed a justice of the peace for York,5 and retained this honorable position until is death: and figures extensively in the contemporaneous York records as the Feoffee in trust, with Joseph Ring, under the Act for Ports, passed by the Assembly in April 1691 – through which important law Thomas Ballard became, with ring, the founder of historic Yorktown.

The statement demands a word of explanation.  In Virginia at this period there was nothing anywhere resembling a city, with the solitary exception of Jamestown; and it required some stretch of the conscience to describe Jamestown as anything more than a village.  The exigencies of their life, and in particular that fact that the colonists were for the most part dependent upon tobacco raising for their sustenance, tended inevitably toward the establishment instead of innumerable widely scattered plantations.  There was no need for harbor towns, since each plantation adjoined a navigable stream; the planter shipped his tobacco and unloaded his foreign supplies at his own wharf; and such articles as were not imported from abroad were manufactured by his own servants on his own land.  The authorities in England could not, however, view with equanimity the spectacle of a vast colony wherein, after nearly a century of existence, there was nowhere to be found a town; it was so un-English; and they had made numerous efforts, all unsuccessful, to remedy the defect.

By this Act of Ports – which nominally, and with a deal of beclouding verbiage, aimed merely to increase the facilities for storing and shipping tobacco – fifty acres were set aside in each county as a site for the county port.  In York the Read plantation was selected, and laid off into eighty-five lots.  By the Feoffees (Ballard and Ring) these lots were granted to such persons as requested it, in fee simple, but “under such consideration, that such grantee, his heires and assignes shall within the space of four months next ensuing such grant, begin and without delay proceed to Build and finish on each halfe acre granted to him one good house, to containe twenty foot square at the least.”  The experiment, while it failed in most of the counties, proved in York a success, very largely through the number of mechanics who chanced to acquire lots there, whereon they set up shops; the Feoffees reserved for themselves two of the most desirable plots in number 16 and 10, fronting on the river; several persons had presently opened inns for the entertainment of visitors to the new town; and in the outcome Yorktown was in 1705 formally incorporated.  Of its former glories there survives to-day only its admirable view of the river; but Thomas Ballard is entitled, none the less, to the credit of having had the chief part in the town’s establishment.

Ballard meanwhile had been chosen to represent York county in the Virginia House of Burgesses for the sessions beginning 1 April 1692 and 2 March 1692-3.  And in the last mentioned year he had a hand in founding yet another famous and enduring institution, when Thomas Ballard sold to the trustees of the proposed College of William and Mary a tract of land, inherited from his father, whereon the college buildings were afterward erected, and stand to-day.

The original deed from Ballard was long preserved, but mysteriously disappeared from the college archives some twenty years ago.6  The first expense accounts of the college from its opening in 1693 to April 1697, sent by Governor Andros to England and still to be seen there, contain under the heading The College of William & Mary is D’r, 1694 the item: “To Capt Thomas Ballard, for 330 acres of land, whereon ye Colldge is built . . . . . £170.”  The college has since sold, at various times, all save some thirty acres of this land, which, purchased for £110 by Colonel Thomas Ballard of James City in 1674-5 and sold for £170 by Captain Thomas Ballard of York in 1693, was thus owned by the Ballards not quite twenty years.

In 1694 Captain Thomas Ballard was chosen High Sheriff of York.  His commission, given in full in the York records, was dated 27 April 1694, and granted by Edmund Andros, who as has just been said, was gen Governor of Virginia.  In consequence, as is duly narrated likewise in the York records for the edification of posterity, “Capt Tho: Ballard, aduceing his Ex’lly ye Governour’s Comision to this Court appoynting him High Sherr: of this Countie this present year, which being accordingly sworne, entered into bond, with security, for ye due p’formance of his Office therein according to Law.”  He selected his brother , probably his only surviving brother, as sub-sheriff; and “Mr Frauncis Ballard, p. appoyntm’t of ye High Sherr: was accordingly sworne sub.sherr: as afores’d.”

The Governor by ordinary chose the sheriff, every year, from among the justices of each county, who filled the office in turn, as it was not found equitable to impose its burdens on any one magistrate for more than twelvemonth.  Yet it was a very remunerative position.  In consequence, the justice whose proper year it was to be sheriff would not infrequently cede his right to a fellow magistrate who chanced at the time to be financially embarrassed,– as when in 1665 the York justices unanimously requested that Colonel Ralph Langley be nominated sheriff of that county, out of his turn, on the grounds that he had recently lost his house by fire.  Some of the sheriff’s fees, as fixed by a law enacted in 1661-2, amounted to five pounds of tobacco for delivering a summons to court or for issuing a bond to keep the peace; ten pounds for every arrest he made, for every subpoena served, and for every commitment to prison or release therefrom; twelve pounds for impanelling a jury; and twenty for placing a culprit in the pillory or for whipping him.  In serving an execution the sheriff worked on a commission basis, according to the amount of the judgement: if the latter was less than a hundred pounds of tobacco, his fee was ten pounds; if between one hundred and five hundred, twenty pounds; if between five hundred and a thousand, forty pounds; and so on.  These fees in a locality like seventeenth century Virginia, where everyone appears to have been more or less litigiously inclined, added up at the year’s end to a tidy sum; and Captain Thomas Ballard, as will be seen, was ready enough to resume the office when his turn came about once more.

Ballard returned to the House of Burgesses for the session of 1696-7, and again for the sessions of 28 September 1698, of 27 April 1699, and of 5 December 1700, which last was proroged to 30 May-14 August 1702.  He was again High Sheriff of York in 1699; was for years one of the leading lawyers of Virginia, and was long an officer of the York militia,7 ranking as captain in 1693, and being commissioned lieutenant-colonel on 3 June 1699, – Edmund Jennings being then made colonel and commander-in-chief, and William Buckner, afterward Ballard’s son-in-law, major.

John Major, thus, married c. 1705 the daughter of one of the Colony’s most prominent men.  John Major and his wife appear to have lived near her father’s big plantation for some five years after their marriage, and then to have removed from York to Charles City county, just as Colonel Thomas Ballard was preparing, after seven years retirement, to return to the House of Burgesses.  It is noticeable that Ballard’s will, hereinafter given, drawn up in 1706, states that he was then “weak of body”; and he probably never recovered robust health, as for the ensuing four years, beyond occasionally sitting as justice of the peace, he seems to have held no public office.  Now, however, he was elected to represent York county once more as burgess, for the session beginning 25 October 1710, but died in the preceding September.

Cabell continues:8

 Colonel Thomas Ballard of York was among the magistrates who sat at a court held in York 24 June 1710: he did not sit at the July court, nor after; but at a court held in 5 October 1710, “Matthew Ballard, as executor of the last will and testament of Lt: Coll: Thos Ballard, deceased, presented a Certificate under the hand of Wm Barbar, Gent, for the said Ballard’s takeing up a runaway Indian Woman, & it appeareing by the sd Certificate that the sd Indian Woman was apprehended twenty miles distant from her Master’s dwelling, it is ordered to be transmitted to the Assembly for allowance.”  This entry shows that Colonel Thomas Ballard was dead by October 1710; yet, rather curiously, his will, dated 26 September 1706, was not yet recorded until 18 June 1711.

On the same date Edward Powers, William Lee and Bassett Wagstaff were named to appraise the estate.  Their inventory, returned and recorded 16 July 1711, amounts in all to £603, 12s, 8d.  It includes eighteen negroes, six horses, fifty-one head of cattle, seventy ounces of plate, and “a parcell of Bookes, val’d at £2, 10s.”

Indeed, it should be borne in mind that Colonel Ballard was one of the wealthiest men of his time and neighborhood.  For this reason his will is especially worthy of careful consideration, and a copy is in consequence appended.

In the name of God Amen:    I, Thomas Ballard of the Parish of _____ in the County of York, Gentleman, being weak of body but of Perfect mind & memory, thanks be to almighty God, do hereby Revoke all former wills & Testaments by me hitherto made, and make & ordain this my last will & Testament in manner and form  following my Just debts being first paid–

Imp’s, I freely resign up my pretious Soul into the hands of my most gracious redeemer & mercifull Saviour, on whom always I trust for Justification & Salvation, and my body for Xtian burial according to discretion of of (sic) my Executors hereafter named, in hope of a glorious Resurection:  and as for my worldly Estate which God hath lent me, I dispose of as followeth:

Imp’s, I give & devise the plantation or tract of Land I now live on, — beginning its bounds on York River, runing up the North west side of the Creek that parts it from the Land late of one Walner to a Spring called Oxespring, and from thence North west to the great Road, down to the  marked white oake near the Road that devides it from the Land of Colo: Diggs, so from thence along the line of the said Diggs down to a pasetur on the River Side, & so along by the said River to the Corner where it begun, –  unto my Son Matthew & to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten; and in case my said son Matthew dye without issue, I give it to my Son Thomas & to the heirs of his body Lawfully begotten; & if my Son Thomas dye without issue then I give it to my Son Robert & to the heirs of his body Lawfully begotten, and if Robert dye without issue I give to my Son John & the heirs of his body Lawfully begotten, & if he leave no issue then to remain to my Son William & his heirs for ever.

Item, I give & devise my tract of Land whereon one John Brookes now Lives, — beginning its bounds at the deviding line of one John Potter from the Land once of Major Robert Baldrey, & now mine, so down the main Road toward the said Colo: Diggs’ line to the aforemenconed white oake, so from thence up into the woods along the said  Diggs’ line near South west, & so along my line bounding the land of Charles Colleir untill it come to the Land of Thomas Jefferson, and along the said Jefferson’s line to the main Road where it begun, —  unto my Son Thomas & to the heirs his body; and if he, my son Thomas, dye without issue, then I give it to my Son Robert & the heirs of his body; and if Robert dye without issue, then to my Son John & the heirs of his body; and if John dye without issue, then to my son William & his heirs forever: and my will & meaning further is, if my tract of Land above devised to my son Matthew shall descend or come to my son Thomas or his heirs, that then & from thenceforth th tract of Land herin menconed to be devised to my Son Thomas shall be & remain unto my Son William & the heirs of his body Lawfully begotten, anything s’d to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Item, I give & devise the tract of Land on w’h I formerly dwelt, – and begining its bounds at the main Road & runing along the line of the abovenamed Potter to the head of a Swamp called White Marsh, so along the Swamp to the line of the Land late belonging to one Walners, and along the said Line to a Creek, and up the Same to the Spring called Oxespring, and thence Northwest to the great road that leads from Colo: Diggs’s is to Williamsburgh, and thence up to Potter’s Corner where it begun, — to my son Robert & the heirs of his body Lawfully begotten; and if Robert dye without issue, then I give it to my son William & to his heirs for ever.

Item, I give & devise unto my Son John all my Land on the South side of the Swamp called White Marsh to him & to his heirs for ever.

Item, I give to my daughter Elizabeth, the wife of William Smith, twenty shillings to buy her a Ring, I haveing given her her portion already in marryage.

Item, I give unto my Daughter Anna, the wife of John Major, my negro Sue and the boy Larence or fifteen pounds Sterling in Lieu of the said Larence, at the Choice of my Executors, to be delivered or paid within six months after my decease.

Item, I give unto my Daughter Katherine Molotto Susanna & her Increase, twenty pounds Sterling, the negro boy Tom Puding, my Second best featherbed, Beadstead, bolster, Pillows, blankets, Sheets, Covering, Curtains, Vallens thereto appertaining, & the young horse now breaking called Ring.

Item, I give to my son Thomas Negro frank, four young cows & a steer of four or five years old, a featherbed, bolster, Pillows, Blanketts, Sheets, Covering, & bedstead, three pewter Dishes worth eighteen shillings, Six plates & four Cain Chairs, to paid & delivered to him when he comes of age.

Item, I give to my Son Robert negro Jane with her increase, ten pounds Sterling, three young Cows & a Steer of four years old, to be paid & delivered to him when he comes of age.

Item, I give unto my Son John negro Madge & her Increase, ten pounds Sterling, & three young Cows to be Delivered him when he becomes of age.

Item, I give unto my Son William negro Giles, Molatto Kate with her Increase, & ten pounds Sterling, to be Delivered & paid when he comes of age.

Item, I give unto my Daughter Mary my two Molattoes called Betty & Anne & their Increase, & a good featherbed performed as the beds above-menconed; and my will further is, that if any of my said five Children dye before they come to the age of one & twenty years, & not marryed, that this & their portions be Equally divided amongst the survivors of them.

Item, I give to my three Sons Robert, John & William to every of them, a young horse to be Delivered when they come of age.

Item, my mind & will is, that my Exec’r shall have the Benefitt of the Labour of all the Negroes & Molattoes given to my last named five Children, (Vizt:) To Thomas, Robert, John, William & Mary & he therefore  _____ to give & allow them a Sufficien & proper Maintenance & Educacon, the s’d Mary till She comes to age or be marryed, & the boys till they come age or by him putt to Lawfull Callings, as Apprentices, w’ch I hereby Impower him to doe.

Item, all the rest of my goods & Chattles not before given nor disposed of I give unto my Son Matthew, whom I make and appoint whole & sole Exec’r of this my Last Will & Testament; and I hereby request my trusty & well beloved friend Mr Lawrence Smith & Major William Buckner to direct, assist & advise my said Exec’r in the Execution of this my will.  In Witness & Confirmacon of all which I have hereunto set my hand &sSeal this 26th day of Septem’r 1706.


Attested in the presence of the Testator: (Signed) Jer: Ham, John Brooke, Solomon Harmon (the mark of), Sam’l Seldon.

At a Court for York County June 18 1711. This will & Testament was presented in Court by Matthew Ballard, the Exec’r therein named, who made Oath to it, and the Same being proved by the Oaths of John Brook & Saml Selden, is admitted to Record; and on the mocon of the said Matthew, & his performing what is usual in such cases, Certificate is granted him for obtaining Probate there of in due form.  Test, Phi Lightfoot, C:Cur.  Truely Recorded.

Colonel Thomas Ballard had married, as previously recorded, Katherine Hubard, who died before her husband’s will was drawn up in 1706.

The children of Thomas Ballard and Katherine Hubard were:

MATTHEW, married Anne Wythe.

Elizabeth, according to Cabell, was born in 1687; married before 26 September 1706 Captain William Smith, who in 1708 was of Abingdon Parish, Gloucester county, and in 1725 and 1726 of King William county; died in June 1734 in Spotsylvania county; he was the son of Major Lawrence Smith (1629-1700) and Mary Hitchen of York county and of Severn Hill in Gloucester county.  Yet there exists a Collier Family Bible in the collection of the Daughters of the American Revolution (typescript in the collection of the Library of Virginia, “Collier Family Bible Record, 1660-1901”) which records “Married Tuesday, Dec. 31, 1704, John Collier to Elizabeth Ballard, daughter of Colonel Thomas Ballard;” “Died [illegible], 1705, Elizabeth Collier, beloved wife of John Collier (1st wife);” and later: “Elizabeth Ballard Collier was born December 31, 1685.”  The next entry after the marriage of John and Elizabeth is his marriage to Mrs. Elizabeth Gaines, daughter of Francis Ironmonger, Esq. on Wednesday, 3 February 1706; she died 3 April 1709.

Anna, born in 1689; was living in 1743; married in 1705 John Major who was born c. 1677, and died before 1737 in Charles City county, and was the son of William Major c. 1639-1716), an attorney and planter, and Elizabeth Mason of York county.

Katherine, born c. 1692, married after 26 September 1706 Major William Buckner of York county, who was a magistrate, in 1699 a Major of the Militia, Burgess for York county, deputy surveyor for William and Mary College; died in 1716 or before 21 May 1717 in Yorktown, and was the son of John Buckner and Deborah Ferrer.

Thomas, born c. 1695.  Likely the Thomas Ballard of York County who took a patent on 28 September 1728 for 330 acres of new land in Spotylsvania County in St. George’s Parish, on the North side of the Northanna River & on the South side of the Main Road; adjacent Mr. Augustin Moore, in the County line.  Patent Book No. 13, p. 452.  There is no mention of him in the Spotylvania County records before or after 1728, which suggests that the land was never seated.  Thomas is believed by some researchers to have married (1) Mary Dancy, the daughter of Francis and Amy Dancy, and (2) Elizabeth_____, and removed to Charles City county.  This compiler disagrees, and believes that this Thomas likely predeceased his brothers without issue, and that the Thomas Ballard who married Mary Dancy is the son of William Ballard of Charles City County, Virginia (c. 1668-c. 1725).  It’s likely that Thomas predeceased his brother Matthew, for in Matthew’s will of 13 May 1719 (recorded 18 May 1719), Matthew devises property to his brothers Robert and John, but not Thomas.  It should be noted, however, that Matthew’s will fails to name his brother William, who was then still living and died about 21 September 1719.  But should also be noted that William may have been omitted from the will because he was younger than 21 years of age — legally, an “infant.”  Perhaps Thomas was omitted as well, but in his case because he did not need to be provided for.  Yet the York County records show that there is no mention of Thomas after the death of his father, only Robert, John and William; in William’s case, we learn of him only when he died and his estate was probated (see below).

Robert, born c. 1697.  On 15 October 1725, Robert Ballard, Carpenter, and his wife Jane Ballard conveyed Plot 24 in Yorktown to Vincent Pearse of the Kingdom of Great Britain, Gentleman, by a deed dated 15 October 1725, recorded in York county 15 November 1725.9  On 20 May 1726, he was licensed to keep an Ordinary at his house, and patented 1,000 acres in St. George Parish, Spotsylvania county on 14 September 1728, which was never cultivated or improved, as noted in a patent taken by Zachary Taylor on 15 March 1744/5, which noted, “Whereas by Patent 14 September 1728 granted Robert Ballard formerly in Spotsylvania County now Orange.  “And Whereas the said Ballard hath failed to make Cultivation and Improvement and Zachary Taylor hath made humble suit and obtained a Grant for the same.”10  He died intestate before 19 May 1735 in York county.  He married Jane _____, who was living 19 May 1735,11 and as his widow married (2) before 16 June 1741 Matthew Hubard, who was living 3 November 1688 in York county, and was the son of Matthew Hubard.  The children of Robert Ballard were: 1. Jane (who married before 15 September 1740, William Dudley, who died between 24 October 1757 and 23 October 1758 (William being the son of Captain George Dudley, who in 1722 to 1757 was Church Warden and Vestryman of Kingston Parish, Mathews county, and Judith Armistead, who was the daughter of William Armistead (1671-1711) and Ann Lee of Kingston Parish, Mathews County)); 2. Henrietta (born in 1722; was living 16 June 1741 in York county; married William Powell12); 3. Charlotte (born in 1724; was living 14 September 1740 in York county; married Nicholas Dickson13).

JOHN, married Elizabeth Gibbons.

William, a minor on 26 September 1706; Cabell simply notes that “he seems to have died unmarried.”14  William Ballard died in York county before 21 September 1719, for on that date “Robert Ballard came into Court and made oath that William Ballard departed this life without making any will so far as he knows or believes.  Said Robert Ballard gave bond with Philip Lightfoot & John Gibbon his security and was appointed administrator of the Estate of the said William Ballard decd.”15  We know this William Ballard died without issue when his estate is presented in court by Thomas Vines, Edwd Baptist, Walter Butler and Robert Ballard, and consists solely of “a Negroe girle of about 19 years old which we value to 30 pd.”16  No provision was made for a wife or orphans.

Mary, a minor on 26 September 1706; no record of her marriage or descendants has been preserved; she probably died young.


1. James Branch Cabell, The Majors and Their Marriages (Richmond: W.C. Hill Printing Co., 1915) pp. 57-61.

2. Will of Robert Baldrey, of Parish & Co. Of York, Gent., body to be buried in my orchard near end of my new room where an apricot lately stood.  Wife Elizabeth to hold & enjoy all lands, houses, etc. in York Parish for life, except 130 acres lately taken up by me adjoining my dwelling house, which I give to Thomas Greene of York Co.

After death of my wife, to godson Thomas Ballard the younger, son of the elder Thomas Ballard of Middletown Parish, James City Co. If he dies, then to Lydia, eldest daughter of Thomas Ballard; if she dies, to Elizabeth, second daughter of Thomas Ballard; if Elizabeth dies, then to Martha, youngest daughter of Thomas Ballard.

To godson Peter Goodwyn, son of Maj. James Goodwyn, £5 to buy a piece of plate.

To godson Robert Petters, son of Mr. Edmund Petters, a young cow.

To Charles Webb, son of Henry Webb, a young cow.

To Thomas Greene, over and besides the 130 acres, a featherbed in the little room behind my dwelling in the orchard.

Rest of estate divided ½ to wife & ½ to Thomas Ballard the younger. Wife and godson Thomas Ballard to be executors. Loving friends Mr Thomas Ballard & Mr James Bray to be overseers of my will & they to accept 40 seq. apiece to buy rings.

Signed: Robert Baldrey. Witnesses: Isaac Collier, John Myhill, Thomas Ballard. Probated: Isaac Collier sworn by Col. Nathaniel Bacon & Mr John Page. Will opened under two seals 26 December 1675 by Thomas Ballard, Esq., Hen. Lee & Rich. Moore. Recorded York Co. Va. Records 1672-76.

3. Lyon G. Tyler notes in “Pedigree of a Representative Planter” in the William and Mary College Quarterly (October 1892, Vol. 1, No. 2) p.82, note 9, that “The Ballards resided for generations at a spot early known as “Pryor’s plantation.” William Pryor, gent. was Justice of York county, and patented lands next to Capt. Richard Townsend in 1637 and 1642. Pryor left the plantation to his daughter Margaret in his will proved 25 January 1646. Margaret married “Thomas Edwards of the Inner Temple” and on 1 December 1652 sold it to Anna Bernard of Purton in Petsworth Parish, Gloucester county. Anna Bernard, in turn, sold Pryor’s plantation on 18 March 1661 to Robert Baldrey, who dying without issue devised it to Thomas Ballard.”

4. On 24 November 1684 we find Thomas Ballard, Jr witness to an appraisement of cattle in York county from the estate of Mrs Mary Townsend, but recorded in Stafford Co. Va. Deed Book D, Part 1, pp. 92-92a.

5. “Mr Thomas Ballard appointed Justice of the Peace for York Co., 3 June 1691.” York Co. Va. Records Book 9, p. 27.

6. The deed disappeared c. 1895, and should it still exist, its location is unknown.

7. See, for example, a Militia list dated 6 March 1701 for York preserved at the Public Record Office, London, England. Public Record Office, File No. C.O.5/1312, in Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988) p. 223; also p. 232 (Militia within several counties as they were returned by the respective officers, 1698 – “Major Thomas Ballard, troop of 53 men”); p. 233 (Order to the settling of the Militia in the several counties within his Majesty’s Colony and Dominion, 3 June 1699 – “York: Edmund Jennings, Col. & Commander in Chief; Thomas Ballard, Lt. Col.; William Buckner, Maj.”); p. 234 (Militia Officers in Virginia, 17 June 1703 – “York: Thomas Ballard, Lt. Col.”).

8. Cabell, pp. 71-76.

9. Cabell, p. 75.

10. 14 September 1728. Robert Ballard of York Co. 1,000 acres in St. Georges Parish, on n. side the Northanna Riv. Land Office Grants No. 13, 1787, p. 338 (Reel 79).; 15 March 1744/5.  Zachary Taylor, 1,000 acres, Orange County on North side of the Northanna, on a Ridge, in the Head of a Valley.  Patent Book No. 22, p. 215.  £5.  Cavaliers & Pioneers, Vol. V, pp. 80-81.

11. Robert was dead by 19 May 1735 when “Jane Ballard, widow and relict of Robert Ballard, dec’d made oath that said Robert Ballard died intestate. Said Jane Ballard is appointed admx. of the dec’d estate.” York Co. Va. Records, Book 18, pp. 190-93. Estate appraisal returned and ordered recorded 16 June 1735; value: £359.18.5, appraised by John Trotter, Edward Baptist & Robert Harris. York Co. Va. Records Book 18, p. 206. Account of Math. Hubbard, Guardian of Miss Henrietta Ballard, Miss Charlotte Ballard, orphans of Robert Ballard returned 15 September 1740. York Co. Va. Guardian Book 1735-1740, pp. 16, 27, 37.  His estate was finally settled 15 June 1741:  “In obedience to an order of the justices to settle and divide the estate both real and personal of Robert Ballard late of York Town decd, Richd Ambler, John Buckner, Wm Nelson Junr & Saml Reade allotted the several proportions to each claimant 16 Mar 1740: to Matthew Hubard & Jane his wife widow of said Ballard their 1/3 of 500 pd, to the children the other 2/3. The lott whereon he dwelt assigned his widow now w/o Matthew Hubard, lott in the tenure of Wm Harwood now assigned to Wm Dudley who married Jane the eldest dau of said Robert Ballard, the lott in the occupation of Elizabeth Williams now assigned to Henrietta second dau of said Ballard, lott adj the back of lott assigned to Mr. Hubard & is pt/o his guardian, now assigned to Charlotte the youngest child of said Ballard. Negroes mentioned: Sawney, Cockhill, Pat & youngest child, Pat’s eldest child, Whitehall, Brunswick. Ordered to be recorded 15 Jun 1741. Attest: Matt Hubard clerk.”  York Co. Va. Wills, Inventories & Court Orders No. 19, 1740-1743, p. 36.

12. Lynne D. Miller,  The Descendants of Thomas Ballard and Anne Thomas (privately published, June 2008), Vol. 1, p. 29 [hereinafter TB].

13. Miller, TB Vol. 1, p. 29.

14. Cabell, p. 76.

15. 21 September 1719. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills Book 15, p. 485; p. 489. Inventory recorded, p. 505.

16. 17 December 1719. Presented in Court 21 December 1719. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders Wills, 1718-1720, p. 527. Note that William Ballard was devised two slaves in the will of his father, “negro Giles, Molatto Kate with her Increase” and ten pounds Sterling.


8 thoughts on “Thomas Ballard, Jr of York County, Virginia (c.1655-1710).

  1. Stephen, you seem to have done a good job of debunking the widely held belief that William Ballard, the son of Thomas Ballard and Katherine Hubbard, married a woman name Philadelphia (possibly, Lee; possibly Ludwell) and sired — among others — another William Ballard (1715-1794) who married Mary Ann Byrum. Many of their descendants were Quakers. Have you encountered the latter William Ballard anywhere else?

  2. Mark,

    Just saw your post on the Ballard-L list about the infamous William and Philadelphia Ballard (damned if I know where it was posted — Ancestry? I don’t subscribe to Ancestry at the moment, so I’m not sure). I don’t know how to post there, so I’ll comment here.

    In any event, you see from the research I’ve done that I’m fairly certain that William Ballard, son of Thomas Ballard died Intestate; the record you quoted notes that a Robert Ballard came into court to declare as much; that Robert was likely William’s brother.

    It isn’t exactly easy to find, but here are my notes on the William Ballard/Philadephia union transactions in Essex mentioned by Cyndy Cox:

    Cyndy Cox also mentions that some people believe that the William Ballard who died in York was the son of John Ballard, but the York records show that this William removed to Norfolk with his mother. Besides, the dates are all wrong. See:


    “William, born 31 October 1743.29 “William, Born Monday the 31st Day October 1743 Baptised 13 November following by Mr Fontaine. John Steth, my Son Thomas & my Nice Jane Dudley Stood for him (child birth was about eleven aclock in morning).” On 21 July 1760 when he was 16 years of age, he placed himself apprentice to David Jameson of York “to be instructed in the art of merchandize and book keeping until he arrives at the age of 2[ ]…30 By 18 June 1770 he had removed to Norfolk, when for £140 he is described as “of the Borough of Norfolk” and sold to William Mitchell of Yorktown “one lot or ½ acre of land in the Town of York bounded by lot number 39, a lot the property of John Davis, land which Elizabeth Ballard purchased of the executors of Robert Martindale & Church Street, & is the same lot which was devised to the sd William Ballard by the will of John Ballard late of York merchant.”31 His mother Elizabeth apparently removed with him to Norfolk, for on 12 October 1770 “Elizabeth Ballard late of York Town & Co but now a resident at Norfolk for £40 sold to William Stevenson of York Town & Co all that lott or ½ acre of ground lying upon the street & opposite to the lott & houses of the sd William Stevenson in York Town being ½ of the ground she formerly purchased of the executors of Robert Martindale decd.”32” [check the footnote references on the page].

    You do raise a very interesting question — what would compel someone in the 18th century to become a Quaker? I’ve been looking for social histories that might shed light on that; haven’t found any, yet.

    The William who married Philadelphia is probably of the Quaker lines cited by so many researchers. Cyndy Cox offers the usual narrative, and I have no quibbles with it (that the William who married Mary Chenault was the son of William and Philadelphia). But none of that proves that the first William (who married Philadelphia) was the descendant of any of the York or James City County Ballards.

    A contemporary who lived in Caroline, Richard Ballard, also moved to Bedford — and they were also Quakers. See:

  3. Would love to read your notes, above, because this is the line I am questioning, but the link doesn’t work. Have you disconnected it? : ) C

    • I’m not sure which links you are referring to — in the comments? As research continues, the pages get re-organized, but nothing ever goes away (unless its clearly erroneous). Anyway, the pages and the data are there. I am not going to go back and correct old comments.

  4. Greetings Stephen, I descend from William 1715, Moorman 1745, Simeon 1783, Isaac 1817, James 1845, William 1892, Mary 1928, Me. Simeon has the distinction of being the first (white) man to die in Story county, Iowa in 1850 after statehood. A couple of us found the burial site years ago and have a fence and stone put up to remember this pioneer family. I took a dna test through my heritage recently but don’t know if my test does any good on the Ballard project as my mother was the first one to break the male chain. I did discover a female cousin in another state who is the daughter of an uncle who died 21 years ago. I did find one surprise that I have much more UK and Scandanavian ancestry than I would have thought. Most of my research goes back to Germany.

  5. […] Matthew Ballard (c.1685-1719), the eldest son of Thomas Ballard, Jr. of York county, Virginia, died between 13 May 1719, the date his will was written, and 18 May 1719, the date his will was entered into the York county, Virginia records. Matthew was survived by his son Matthew, who in turn died without issue in 1741. […]

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