Robert Ballard, the son of John Ballard of Yorktown, Virginia (1700-1745), was born 8 August 1733. The John Ballard Family Bible recites that on “Wednesday, the 8th day of August 1733 at eleven a clock at night, my wife was delivered of a boy baptized 21st, Ism Moody & John Gibbons Godfathers & Mary Hanes Godmother – Baptised by the Rev. Rup. Hewit Minister of Warwick, named him Robert.”1
Robert was John Ballard’s last surviving male heir, having inherited by virtue of the law of primogeniture all of the land that had been devised to his elder brothers, and disposing of it in due course. On 28 May 1761 “Robert Ballard of the Town and County of York merchant and Anne his wife, for £500, sold to John Thompson of same place merchant, a ½ acre lot of ground where the said Robert Ballard lived in the Town of York No. 542 on the plan of the town which was granted to John Ballard, father of the said Robert by patent, dated 6 May 1727, also two lotts or 1 acre of ground in the said town adjacent to two lots of the same town formerly belonging to Capt Wm Rodgers and in the possession of James Pride esqr which were denoted in the plan or survey of said town land with Nos. 51 & 55 and purchased by the said John Ballard, father of the said Robert, of Gwyn Read and Dorothy his wife on 16 January 1737 … proved 20 July 1761.3
He had removed to Princess Anne County, where on 25 May 1762, “Robert Ballard of Princess Anne Co. gent and Anne his wife, for £200, sold to John Norton of the Town and Co. of York merchant, a 130 acre tract of land in Yorkhampton Parish formerly belonging to John Ballard, father of the said Robert, adjacent Edward Baptist, Edward Potter dec’d, William Young, William Lightfoot, Griffin Stith & the said John Norton … proved 21 June 1762.”4
This would be the plantation devised to the eldest son Thomas, described in the will thusly: “also my Plantation near York Town called Rich Neck Joining to the Land of Edward Baptist.” The law of primogeniture would prescribe that the land descend to the surviving male heir, absent instructions in the will of the testator. We know from the John Ballard Family Bible that Thomas died at sea unmarried and without heirs in September 1747. The will specified that if John or Robert should die before reaching the age of 21, the land would go to his son William — and that did not happen, either. We know William removed to Norfolk c. 18 June 1770, which leads to the conclusion that Robert’s two elder brothers pre-deceased him, since the plantation became vested in Robert.
Records illustrating his activities in Princess Anne County are preserved among the loose papers of that county, and have been published by the The Virginia Antiquary, edited by John Harvie Creecy (1954).
Pursuant to an order of Princess Anne County Court bearing Date the 21th July 1762, We the Subscribers met and appraised the value of the following Slaves at the Death of Mrs. Frances Moseley who died in the Year 1758, viz Judah at sixty Pounds Max at sixty five Hannah at fifty five Peter fifty Pounds and China at forty five Pounds, and this we give as our Report Given under our Hands this 11th August 1762. John Whitehurst, Nathl McClenahan, Robert Ballard. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [ Box A 3]
29 Oct. 1764. John Bishop’s note to Robert Ballard for £4:13:6 was witnessed by John Lovett Junr. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [Box A 5, marked 1764]
1765-66. Account of Marshall Anderson to Ballard & Newton. £6:9:10 due for various supplies, including one ship axe. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [Box A 7, marked 1766]
7 Oct. 1766. Capias for Francis Beekley to answer Ballard & Newton of a plea of Trespass on the Case, damage £12. John Woodhouse, bail. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789[Box A 7, marked 1766]
16 Aug. 1767. Robert Ballard signed a bond to Thomas Philpot of the city of London. John Lovett Junr was witness. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [ Box A 16]
9 Sept. 1767. Capias for Joseph Calvert, Cornelius Calvert, and Saunders Calvert to answer Tully Robinson of a plea of debt for £400, damage £50. Executed on the defendants, & Robert Ballard & Fred: Boush bail, per Fred Boush, S. S., Sept. 1767. Dismissed Oct. 1768. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [Box A 10]
Plea of Trespass on the Case Damage Ten pounds and have then there this Writ. Witness Robert Ballard Clerk of our said Court, at the Court-House aforesaid, the Nineteenth Day of May 1768 in the Eighth Year of our Reign. Robt Ballard Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [Box A 10]
16 March 1769. Summons for Robert Ballard, Gent., to answer James Kempe, Gent., Frederick Boush, and Walter Lyon, in Chancery. Abates July Court 1770 by the defendant’s death. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [Box A 12]
26 Jan. 1771. Capias for Lemuel Newton, adm’r with the will annexed of Robert Ballard, Gent., deceased, to answer William Keeling, son of Adam, and Smith Shepherd, ex’ors of the last will of Sarah Weblin deceased of a plea of debt for £80, damage £20. Princess Anne Co. Va. Loose Papers, 1700-1789 [Box A 13]
In 1761-70 he was Clerk of Princess Anne County, and died before 8 November 1770, when the sale of his plantation by the administrator of his estate was advertised in The Virginia Gazette:
Pursuant to a decree of the worshipful Court of Princess Anne county, on Tuesday the 20th day of November next, will be exposed for sale, on the premises, One hundred and fifty-eight acres of choice land, lying and being within about a mile’s distance from the pleasure house, near the mouth of Lynhaven river, in the said county of Princess Anne, being very convenient for fishing and fowling; and on the said premises are a two story brick house, a kitchen with a brick chimney, a large barn and stable, and other convenient buildings, a good garden and extraordinary apple and peach orchards. The cleared part of the said land, which will be sufficient to employ four good hands, is suitable for all kind of grain, and the other is well timbered. The above tract of land is part of the estate of the late Robert Ballard, Gentleman, deceased, and will be sold on three months credit, the purchaser giving bond, with approved security to Lemuel Newton, Administrator.5
He married Anne Newton, the daughter of Nathaniel Newton and Elizabeth Sayer, who was the daughter of Charles Sayer, the former Clerk of Princess Anne county (1716-1740) (“Abstracts from Princess Anne Marriage Licenses (1765)”, William & Mary College Quarterly Historical Papers, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Oct. 1893), pp. 73-77, Note 1).
His will dated 11 September 1769, recorded 5 July 1770 appears in Princess Anne Co. Va. Deed Book 12, p. 56. We have not seen the will, but a published abstract states that it names his wife Ann and his four daughters Elizabeth, Ann, Catherine and Margarett. The executors were his wife Ann, brother-in-law Samuel Boush, Capt. Thomas Newton and his brother William Ballard. The witnesses were William Ballard, Thomas Abbott, Priscilla Consaulvo. Although his brother William was named as an Executor, he did not participate in the management of the estate, which suggests he may have died shortly after Robert Ballard wrote his will.
Records relating to his estate are as follows:
4 April 1771. Anne Ballard relict of Capt. Robert Ballard releases dower right for 168 acres for £47, 4 shillings, 5 pence to brother Lemuel Newton. Witnesses: Edward Cannon, Jacob Keeling, John Cuninghame. Recorded Princess Anne Co. Va. Deed Book 12, p. 151.
15 January 1771. Lemuel Newton, Admin. of Robert Ballard, to William Moseley, son of Francis, by a chancery decree between Robert Williamson, Charles Gasking, Exrs, & Elizabeth Biddle, Extrx of John Biddle, and Lemuel Newton, Admnr, Elizabeth, Catherine, Anne and Margaret Ballard — said Newton should sell a tract of 168 acres for £250. Witnesses: Edward Cannon, Jacob Keeling, James Lovitt, John Cuninghame. Recorded Princess Anne Co. Va. Deed Book 12, p. 152.
10 December 1772. Appraisal of estate of Robert Ballard by James Kempe, George Logan, Thomas Abbott. Recorded Princess Anne Co. Va. Deed Book 13, p. 119.
We find evidence of Anne having married David McClenahan in the following deed.
4 July 1771. David McClenahan & wife Anne, late widow of Robert Ballard, Dec’d, to William White for £44, 4 lots at Kempe’s Landing. Witnesses: John Hancock, Eldred Fisher, Jonathan Ellback, William Keeling, Sr. Recorded Princess Anne Co. Va. Deed Book 12, p. 191.
Their children were:
Elizabeth (Betsy), who married in 1775 Rev. Robert Andrews of York County. Robert Andrews married secondly Mary, daughter of Judge John Blair, who was born in 1758 and died without issue on 19 January 1820. The issue of Robert Andrews and Elizabeth Ballard were 1. Anne, who married William Randolph of Wilton; 2. Elizabeth, alive in 1833, unmarried; 3. Catherine, who married J. B. Wilkinson; 4. Robert, who died without issue; 5. John. The William & Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine (Vol. 5, No. 1 (July 1896) p. 148.
Catherine, who married in October 1784 (Bond 31 October 1784) Robert Boush, who died 15 October 1809; he was ensign and paymaster in Col. Dabney’s Virginia State Garrison Regiment. John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, 1607-1624/5 (Vol. II, Families G-P, 2004).
1. John Ballard Family Bible. See John Ballard of Yorktown, Virginia (1700-1745).
2. This lot 54 had been devised to Thomas Ballard, Robert’s eldest brother who died at sea in September 1747, as noted in the John Ballard Family Bible.
3. York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1755-63, p. 350.
4. York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1755-63, p. 447. Anne Ballard’s relinquishment of dower recorded 26 May 1762. York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1755-63, p. 449. Robert Ballard is mentioned as a former owner of a lot in Yorktown in one last transaction dated 10 May 1773, when “Thomas Lilly & Lucy his wife of York Town mariner for £85 sold to John Davis of sd town, York Co. all that lot or ½ acre of land the sd Thomas Lilly purchased of Robert Ballard of Princess Anne Co. being the lot devised the sd Robert Ballard by his father John Ballard decd.” York Co. Va. Deed Book, 1769-77, p. 308.
5. The Virginia Gazette, 8 November 1770, p. 3, col. 3.