William Ballard Sr of Hampton, Virginia (c.1721-1782).

Having lived in one of the maritime counties that were oriented toward the sea, William Ballard, the likely son of Francis Ballard Jr of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, is known to have been a pilot.  We believe this William Ballard was a son of Francis Ballard because the property devised to Francis’ son Servant descended to a son named James, then to James’ son Servant; and (2) this William Ballard was of age to appraise an estate, that is, older than age 17 in 1738).

William Ballard appraised the estate of Edward Roe, with Robert Brough and Angus McKay, recorded 20 July 1738, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills 1737-1749, p.55.  The will of Edward Roe mentions his mother, Ann Roe, whose own will names her daughter Mary Ballard.

On 7 October 1755 William Ballard is appointed appraiser of the estate of John Ryland, with Charles Pasteur, Willis Scott and George Johnson.  The Administratrix is Grissel Ryland, Security William Naylor and Philip Cowper.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-1760, p. 26.

The name “Grissel” is an important clue, for a Grissel is named as the daughter of Ann Roe, who left a will dated 31 October 1747 that also names Ann’s daughter Mary Ballard.

Will of Ann Roe (abstract).  To daughter Grisel; daughter Mary Ballard; daughter Ann Moore; daughter Sarah Cooper; daughter Elizabeth Merriday; daughter Cathrin Boutwell; daughter Margaret Merriday [likely Meredith]; daughter Ellenner Mitchell; daughter Luce Loyal.  Exs. Mr. John Moore and Abraham Cooper.  Recorded 8 June 1748.  Witnesses Robert Brough, John Bennett.  Abraham Cooper qualified security, Samuel Jones and Adam Boutwell.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1737-1749, p. 292.

But note in the Order Book 1747-1755, there is a suit in Chancery that includes Mary Ballard, Jno. Moore and Ann, his wife, Sarah Cooper, Eliza Meredith, Adam Boutwell and Catherine his wife, Margaret Meredith, Grissell Roe, William Loyal and Lucy his wife, complainants against Ann Roe and Eliza Roe, Respondents in Chancery.  “It is ordered & Desired that the Heirs at Law pay unto the complainants £5, 14, 8, Each as their proportionate part of the appraised value of the slaves of Edward Roe Senior deceased & that the costs of this Suit be equally born by all the compet & the Defts.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1747-1755, p. 172.  This entry tells us that Mary Ballard was a widow; had she been married, her husband would have been named in this suit.  Her husband probably died c. 1746, so therefore she was not the wife of this William Ballard, and probably the wife of his likely father, Francis Ballard of Warwick County.

The Order Books contain a few additional entries for William Ballard.  on 6 October 1762, Wm Ballard served as a Juryman.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1760, p. 108.  On 7 May 1767 Wm. Ballard was paid for 4 days attendance and Wm. Servant Ballard for 6 days attendance as witnesses for Ballard & als.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1760, p. 429.  Could it have been father and son?

The will of Ann Moore dated 27 December 1767 (Ann Roe’s daughter) was recorded 20 years later and also mentions sister Mary Ballard.

Will of Ann Moore (abstract).  To sister Lucy Loyall; nephew Lewis Meredith; niece Jenny Barron, reversion of bequest to her son Archibald Bordland; sister Mary Ballard; niece Sarah Webb; sister Sarah Cowper; sister Elizabeth Jeggitts; to Anne Armistead, the daughter of James Armistead the money he owes me.  Executors Lewis Meredith and Lucy Loyall.  Recorded 29 January 1768.  Witnesses James Cunningham, Mary Tarrant.  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1763-1771, p. 187.  Original Will.  Lewis Meredith qualified, security Roe Cowper.

William Ballard left a will dated 22 April 1775, which was recorded 28 February 1782 among the records of Elizabeth City County:

Will of William Ballard, Town of Heampton, County of Elizabeth City Pilot.  Just debts and Funeral expenses to be paid.

Son Francis Ballard, negro woman named Tilpha.

Son Edward Ballard, my boat & negro fellow named London. In case said Edward should die without heirs lawfully begotten said negro fellow named London unto my son Francis.

Son James Servant Ballard, house & land with yard & half the garden whereon I now live.

Son Edward Ballard, the houses and land adjoining near Wm. Armisteads lott together with the other half the Garden to be for the use of both Houses.

(Son) James Servant my negro girl named Jenny.

Son Francis Ballard in trust until my two grand Children Wm. Servant and Ann Ballard shall come of age, negro child named Pamela and when my said two grand children Wm. Servant and Ann Ballard shall come of age said Negro Pamela to them.  In case either of my two grand children should die before they come of ageI give and bequeath heror their part to my Son James Servant.

Son Francis shall have care of my said son James Servant until he comes of age.

My will is that my Beaufatt remain as a fixture to the house. Son Edward and Son James Servant a bed & furniture each, rest of personal Estate be sold and after paying my just debts residue equally divided between children Francis, Edward & James Servant.

Mary Ballard, daughter of John Ballard, £5.1

Son Francis & my friend Henry Ring Executors. Witnesses: Banister Minson, Moseley Armstead, Francis Riddlehurst, John Hunter, Miles King.

Codisal, 21 September 1781: Will to stand except that, half of negro girl named Pamela given to grandson William Ballard which said half I give to grand daughter Ann Ballard.  In case said grand daughter die before she come of age or marries Then said girl Pamela with her increas to son James Servant Ballard.  Son James to have silver watch.2

His son Francis declined administration of the will: “This is to certify I do decline administration on the estate of Wm. Ballard deceased.  Feb. 21, 1782.  Frans. Ballard” (Original Wills, Box 1).  His children were:

William Ballard, Jr, was also a pilot like his father.  On 11 January 1767, Jno. Speoning, Town of Hampton, County of Elizabeth City to Wm. Ballard Jr. of the same county, 60 pounds current, about 3/4 of an acre or lot of ground in the town of Hampton.  Bounded by the land of John Cook now possessed by one William Westwood, Charles Cooper, Wilson Miles Cary & al.  Recorded 7 January 1767.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1763-1771, p. 112.

27 May 1768.  Edward Cooper of Elizabeth City and Anne his wife to William Ballard, Junior of same county, for 100 pounds.  Land lying on the North Side of Mill Creek containing 47 acres and bounded as followeth, to wit, Beginning at Mill Creek and Running & etc. to George Walkers quarter thence to the lands of Edward Cooper and Philip Cooper etc.  Recorded 27 May 1768, Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1763-1771, p. 220.

William died of smallpox in August 1772, as reported in The Virginia Gazette of 27 August 1772, “William Ballard, Jr, Pilot in Hampton, died there of smallpox last Monday.”3  

The language of William Ballard Sr’s will suggests that the grandchildren in the care of his son Francis are not Francis’ children (especially considering Francis died without issue, as indicated by his will (below)). they were probably the children of William Ballard, Jr, and in which case, his issue were: 1. William Servant Ballard; and 2. Ann Ballard.

Francis, who was of age in 1758, when William and Francis Ballard appear on a Poll for the Election of Burgesses for Elizabeth City County, 11 July 1758, and Francis Ballard again (without William) in a poll of 23 August 1765 (Blanche Adams Chapman, Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth City County, Virginia 1688-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980) pp. 144-45.

On 1 January 1760, he appraised the estate of Morris Jones, with Francis Riddlehurst, John Riddlehurst, and Thomas Dixon.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-1760, p. 268.

Francis Ballard appraised the estate of William Baylis, a Mariner of the Town of Hampton, 2 January 1760, which appeared in Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1755-60, p. 270 (with Charles Pasteur, Francis Parker and Francis Riddlehurst).

He witnessed the will of Nathaniel Cunningham dated 27 April 1760, recorded 6 July 1762, with James Bullock, John Sheppard and Ann Cunningham.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Book 1758-1764, p. 342.

On 5 January 1761 he apparaised the estate of Monson Turner Proby, with Charles Pasteur and John Langley; Robert Armistead, Administrator.  Elizabeth City Co. Book 1758-1764, p. 287.

He is likely the Francis Ballard who appeared in 1782 on a list of tithables for Elizabeth City County with a household of 5 free males, 2 slaves; Edward Ballard and William Ballard (the latter “paid for by Charles Baylis”) appear in the same list (Chapman, p. 147).

Francis Ballard Pet. against William Henderson Deft. attachment.  Dismissed.  23 March 1786.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 264.

He was living 25 August 1786, when Francis Ballard and Jno Robinson were executors for James Manson deceased, Pets. against Joseph Needham Deft.  In debt upon bond &c.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 323.

Francis Ballard appears to have died without issue between 1802 and 1804 (assuming the grandchildren named in the will of William Ballard were the children of William Ballard, Jr), as evidenced by his will dated 25 November 1802.

Will of Francis Ballard, co. & Parish of Elizabeth City, Town of Hampton. My negroes Jim, Barber, Charlotte, Nell, Rebecca & Phillis (the last two children of Charlotte) after my death to be free, & I lend to them during their lives the use of my kitchen. To Jane Latimore, youngest daughter of James & Priscilla Lattimore, my house & lot in the town of Hampton, all personal estate except negroes to be sold to pay debts, balance equally divided between my two faithful servants Jim Barber & Charlotte.” Executor: friend Capt. James Latimore.4

James Servant, who died without issue before 25 April 1799, leaving a will dated 21 February 1788:

Will of James S. Ballard of Elizabeth City Co., town of Hampton, belonging at present to the schooner Dove. To brother Edward, lot in town of Hampton, he paying to eldest brother Francis Ballard 1/3 the value thereof. To my cousin (or niece) Sarah Ballard, daughter of brother Edward, a negro girl named Jenny. Executor: brother Edward Ballard. Witnesses: John Seymore, Wm. Dunn. Recorded 25 April 1799.5

Edward, who married Mary _____.6  Edward Ballard appears listed in The History of Virginia’s Navy of the Revolution, by Robert Armistead Stewart (Richmond: Mitchell & Hotchkiss, Printers, 1933) p. 143: “Edward Ballard, Pilot and Lieutenant.  Proved by testimony of James Barron.  July 27, 1832.  “He rendered important services during the whole war, as did also Edward Cooper, William Roe Cunningham, William Watkins and James Latimer, Pilots.  Mr. Ballard was promoted to a Lieutenancy for his patriotism, shortly before the close of the war.  The rank of a Pilot in those days corresponded to that of a Junior Lieutenant.”

In the Order Books appears 24 August 1787  “Wm. Armstead and Katherine Armstead Exors. &c. of Moss Amstead dec’d.  Pet. angst. Minion Proby and Thos. Minion Defts.  In Case.  Edward Ballard of this county comes into court and undertakes for the Defendants that in case they shall be cast in this suit They shall satisfy and pay the condemnation of the court or render their bodies to Prison in Execution of the same or that he the sd. Ballard will do it for them etc. etc. etc.”  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Order Book 1784-1788, p. 449.

On 1 May 1791 Edward Ballard with Thomas Jones, John Taner and Warren Hopkins witnessed the sale of personal property and slaves from Grace Brough, the mother of Job Colton’s wife Ann from Job Colton to William Brough. Recorded 22 September 1791, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 42.

He must have been a close associate of William Brough, for on 17 May 1791 he witnessed a conveyance from John Williams to William Brough of a slave named Lancaster on 23 February 1792, with J. Smith. Recorded 23 February 1792, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 63.

On 6 November 1797 he witnessed an indenture between Miles King, acting as executor for Arthur Anderson to David Muray for 75 acres between adjoining the lands of Andrew Bully and Miles King. Other witnesses were John Russell and William Kerby. Recorded 28 June 1798, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 403.

He was named in the will of John Williams, dated 13 August 1797, with John Williams’ wife, Nancy; his daughter, Mary Williams.  Witnesses were Richard H. Hurst, John Britain and Sarah Barron (he was executor with Nancy Williams).  Recorded 25 October 1798, Elizabeth City Co. Va. D.B. 34, p. 441.

On 29 March 1800, Edward Ballard and Mary his wife conveyed to Abraham Cooper, Town of Hampton, for 66 Pounds, 13s, 4d, 2/3 part of a lot belonging to the late James Ballard “left him by his father as will more fully appear by his will” & adjoining lots of late John Hunter and Edward Ballard.  Recorded 24 October 1800.  Elizabeth City Co. Va. Deeds & Wills, 1792-1808, p. 35.

He left a will dated 10 June 1802, recorded 26 February 1808, in which he devised to his wife Mary “all of my estate for life to descend to our [unnamed] issue.  If there is no issue, then property to descend to my granddaughter, Polly Mitchell Barron.”  Witnessed by G. Minson, John S. Westwood and Rebechah Baker [this Rebechah Baker was probably the niece of Mary Tarrant named in her will of 1790.  See James Ballard of Warwick County].  Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Va. Wills, 1800-1858, p. 378.  Issue: Sarah.


1. It would be very interesting to confirm the relationship of this Mary Ballard and her father, John Ballard to William Ballard. The degree of relationship is not stated in the will, but we believe they are cousins, as outlined in James Ballard of Warwick County, Virginia.

2. Will dated 22 April 1775, recorded 28 February 1782, Elizabeth City Co. Original Wills, Box 1.

3. “William Ballard, Jr, Pilot in Hampton, died there of smallpox last Monday.” Reported in The Virginia Gazette, 27 August 1772.

4. Recorded 26 April 1804, Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1796-1806, p. 320.

5. Recorded Elizabeth City Co. Original Wills, Box 1; Deed Book 34, p. 463.

6. 29 March 1800. Edward Ballard & Mary, his wife to Abraham Cooper of town of Hampton, £66.13.4, 2/3 part of a lot belonging to the late James Ballard, left him by his father as will more fully appear by his will & adjoining lots of late John Hunter & Edward Ballard. Recorded 24 October 1800, Elizabeth City Co. Deeds & Wills, 1792-1808, p. 35.


2 thoughts on “William Ballard Sr of Hampton, Virginia (c.1721-1782).

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