Matthew Ballard of York County, Virginia (c.1685-1719).


Matthew Ballard, the eldest son of Thomas Ballard, Jr of York County, Virginia, was born c. 1685 and resided in York Hampton Parish, York county, Virginia.  On 24 January 1705, M. [probably Matthew] Ballard witnessed a deed between Thomas Ballard and William Buckner, Gent., trustees to the port land of York Towne, to Hester Sessions, the widow of Thomas Sessions, lately deceased.1  On 30 August 1709, Matt Ballard, Humphry Haynes and John Potter witnessed the will of William Davis of York Hampton Parish.2  On 13 May 1715, Matthew Ballard of York Hampton Parish sold to Philip Lightfoot all of his lot in the Town of York (Lot 16) “together with the houses, barns, stables & gardens … which sd granted premises were granted to Tho Ballard father of the sd Matthew (as one of the trustees for the Port Land for & in consideration of his trouble & charge in the sd office) by the order of York Court dated 25 November 1692, & after his decease came & descended to the sd Matthew as son & heir at law of the sd Thomas … Anne wife of the sd Matthew who being first privately examined relinquished her right of dower & admitted to record.”3

On 20 November 1716, “Andrew Elsmey, Math Ballard & Jno Gibbons of York Co. are firmly bound unto ye justices of York Co for 400 pd”, providing security for Andrew Elsmey as guardian of Jno Brook, orphan of Eliz Brooke, dec’ed.4  On 16 March 1718/9, he and Wm Sheldon “gent. justices” were recommended to Lt Govr. Henry Hayward as “fitt & capable to execute the office of Sheriff for the ensuing year.”5  This was not to be, however, for he fell ill the next May, wrote his will 13 May 1719, and was dead by 18 May 1719 when it was presented to record.

Matthew Ballard married Anne Wythe, the daughter of Thomas Wythe Jr (born 1670; he left a will dated 10 March 1693/4) and Anne Sheppard (who died between 14 March 1739 and 18 February 1740, the daughter of John Sheppard, the widow of Quintillian Gutherick, who died in 1689, and she married (3) Reverend James Wallace, who died in 1712).6

Matthew Ballard died before 13 May 1719 in York county, Virginia, when his will bearing that date was recorded in York county:

Mathew Ballard of the Parish of York Hampton, York Co.  My desire is that the grave yard or usual burying place in the orchard be walled in with brick & that the dwelling house & young orchard be kept continually in repair for the benefits & advantage of my heir.

I give one suit of my wearing cloths to Henry Blackgrove & the rest of my wearing apparell I give to be divided between my brothers Robert & John Ballard.

I give all my lands, Negroes, money, plate, cattle, sheep, debts & other estate whatsoever in Virginia or elsewhere to my son Matthew Ballard & his heirs, & in case he should happen to die without such heirs then I give my land, Negroes &c. to be devided between by brothers Robert Ballard & John Ballard & their heirs, but in case my brother Robert should refuse to permitt my brother John quietly to enjoy the ½ part of my lands [moiety7] then it is my will & I do hereby give & devise all my Negroes & personal estate to my sd brother John Ballard & his heirs.

I further order & appoint that all my estate (except Negroes, land, plate, sheep & cattle & they to be preserved in kind) be sold & reduced into money without appraisement & that the same be (with my other estate) lodged in the hands of my executor until my son becomes of the age of 18 when I do order that he receive the same.  I give one mourning ring to my executor.  I appoint my friend Philip Lightfoot executor.  Witnesses: Cole Diges, Wm Stark, Mary Joby.  Attest: Phi Lightfoot clerk.  Proved 18 May 1719.8

An inventory of the estate of Matthew Ballard taken 11 June 1719 included “32 head of cattle, 12 calves, 2 horses, 3 mares, 1 colt, 16 old sheep, 9 lambs, 1 silver watch, takard, spoons, tumblers, 7 gold rings, shirt buckles, 1 silver seal with his arms, 1 girdle, money scales, snuff boxes, 1 case lancetts, 1 case 2 razors, 1 old gun screw, 1 lead ink pott, etc.  Jno. Vangremburgh, 2 ½ years to serve.  Negroes: Cooper, Tomboy, Guy, Harry, Dick, Frank, Patty, Great Moll, Kate, George a boy, Rose a girle, Little Molly, Little Tom … a true and perfect invetory of what estate of the sd Ballard is yet come to my hands.  Phi Lightfoot executor.9

The child of Matthew Ballard and Anne Wythe was:

Matthew, a minor in 1719, died intestate before 18 May 1741 when his widow Rebecca _____ was living, and left no issue.10  About 1719-1720, Matthew Ballard and his guardian Philip Lightfoot were named in an action of ejectione firma brought by Robert Faldo agent of Richard Aldo for damages arising from Robert Ballard ejecting him from a farm subject to a lease with Thomas Vines as tenant in possession.11  On 15 January 1738 “Mattw Ballard acknowledged a deed of lease unto John Dixon,”12 and on 30 September 1738, “Matthew Ballard of York Co. mariner for £4.6 farm lett to John Dixon of the Town of York, York Co merchant a tract of land called Baldries Old Field adj Col. John Lewis, Major John Buckner, Capt. John Ballard, Edward Potter & the road that goes from York Town towards Williamsburgh, also a 40 acre tract of land adjacent York River, Matthew Ballard & Col. Cole Digges … for the term of 21 years or during the said John Dixon’s life if he should live longer than 21 years, paying every year £5, also to build a good Negro Quarter & tobacco house …”13  By will dated 19 August 1739 and proved 17 March 1739, he was devised a riding horse by John Roberts of Yorktown; the remainder of Roberts’ estate was devised to his sister Elizabeth Roberts.14  On 11 September 1740, Matthew Ballard sold for £80 to John Dixon of York Town several male and female slaves.15  On 22 July 1741 John Dixon assigned all his right in the previously recorded mortgage unto Philip Lightfoot, Esq., administrator of the estate of Matthew Ballard.16  The inventory and appraisement of his estate was recorded 15 June 1741.17  When settling the estate, apparently there was a question pertaining to an easement over Ballard’s plantation: “A report of Mattw Hubard, Isaac Collier & John Trotter tree of the persons appointed to view the path leading from the dwelling house of Edwd Digges gent through Ballard’s plantation to York Town is returned to court and is as follows, it is our opinion that the path commonly used from Digges’s house along the river side til it comes to the hill where Mrs Burkey’s little gate now stands and along that hill where the path formerly ran down to Ballard’s Creek is a convenient bridle path for the said Digges and of no damage or prejudice to Ballard’s plantation, therefore ordered that the said path be as it is hereby established.”18


 Endnotes

1. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills, 1701-08, p. 166.

2. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills, 1706-1710, p. 254.

3. 15 August 1715. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills, 1713-29, p. 81.

4. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills, 1716-1718, p. 46.

5. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills, 1718-20, p. 394.

6. John M. Weisner has proven the identity of Matthew Ballard’s wife; see English Origins of the Ballards of America: The Ballards of Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. The 1674 sale of 500 acres of the Northumberland county land (now in Westmoreland county) states that the former owner John Sheppard had resided at Harris Creek in Elizabeth City county and that he had willed the land to his son Baldwin and daughter Elizabeth. The sellers are recorded as Baldwin Sheppard of Harris Creek in Elizabeth City County, Quintillian Gotherick of Kequotan and his wife Elizabeth Gotherick, the daughter of John Sheppard. Westmoreland Co. Deeds, Patents, Etc. 1665-1677, pp.205a-207; Westmoreland Co., Virginia Deeds, Patents, Etc. 1665-1677, Part Three, pp.14-15 (Washington D.C., 1974).

After the death of Quintillian Gutherick (1689-90), Elizabeth married Thomas Wythe, Jr (died 1693-4) and later wed (1695) Rev. James Wallace. Her two children with Thomas Wythe, Jr were Thomas Wythe and Anne Wythe. This Anne Wythe, the granddaughter of John Sheppard married Mathew Ballard, the son of Thomas Ballard, Jr. See “Wythe of Elizabeth City” in John Bennet Boddie, Virginia Historical Genealogies (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1975), pp. 122-25.

In her will dated March 14, 1739, Anne Sheppard/Gutherick/Wythe/Wallace mentions her grandson Mathew Ballard (Lucy Ballard, possibly the daughter of Francis Ballard, was a witness). Elizabeth City Co. Deeds, Wills, Bonds, Etc. 1737-56, p.99; B. A. Chapman, Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, 1688-1800 (Baltimore, 1980) p. 98. Ten years earlier, in 1729, when her son Thomas Wythe, died, he also mentioned the same Mathew Ballard as his nephew in his will. See “Wythe of Elizabeth City,” p.124; Elizabeth City County Deeds & Wills & Orders 1704 [1724]-1730, p.188, Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, p.107 (Will of Thomas Wythe (abstract).  To wife Margaret my slaves except those hired to Robert Ballard of York County; son Thomas; son George; daughter Ann (all children under 18); my nephew Mathew Ballard; brother James Wallace; mother Ann Wallace; debts due Cole Digges and Major Lightfoot to be paid.  Witnesses: John Tabb, Sarah Walker, Abraham George.  Dated 3 November 1728, recorded 15 October 1729, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1704-1730, p. 188).

7. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “moiety” as “a half of something” (such as an estate).

8. Dated 10 May 1719, recorded 13 May 1719, York Co. Va. Records, Book 15, p. 429. Inventory produced & admitted to record 17 August 1719. York Co. Va. Records, Book 15, p. 471.

9. York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills, 1718-20, p. 479.

10. 18 May 1741. Rebecca Ballard, widow of Matthew Ballard, dec’d., renounced her right to the administration of the said dec’d estate. Philip Lightfoot is appointed administrator. York Co. Va. Records, Book 18, p. 8.

11. York Co. Va. Wills & Inventories, 1718-1720, p. 568.

12. York Co. Va. Wills & Inventories, 1737-40, p. 463.

13. York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1729-40, p. 528.

14. York Co. Va. Wills & Inventories, 1737-40, p. 590.

15. York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1729-40, p. 615.

16. York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1729-40, p. 616.

17. York Co. Va. Wills & Inventories, 1740-43, p. 26.

18. York Co. Va. Wills & Inventories, 1740-43, p. 219.

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