Very little is known of William Ballard, the youngest son of Thomas Ballard of James City county. We assume that he was born after 1668, given the bequest made to all of the children of Thomas Ballard except William by Robert Baldrey in his will dated 1 May 1668 and recorded 30 December 1676 in York county.1
He is probably the William Ballard who witnessed a deed on 11 October 1686 between family friend Henry Blagrave of New Kent county and John Gowry of Stafford Parish, Stafford county, for the right to 600 acres in Stafford granted by patent to Capt. David Mansell “my late grandfather,” being a patent dated 6 October 1654. The language of the acknowledgment indicates that it was executed in New Kent county.2 Please note that a person 14 years old or older could serve as a witness in Colonial Virginia.
He figured in the York records shortly after his father’s death, in a suit he brought against James Harrison, William Ballard being then described as “assignee of Benj: Goodrich, Attorney of Alice Ballard, Exorx Coll: Tho. Ballard, dec’ed”: this suit, begun at a court held 24 September 1691, was dismissed at a court held 24 November 1691, the defendant making oath the debt had been paid through Jerome Ham.3
Most significantly, two records place him as residing in James City County. A William Ballard appears in a Militia list for James City county dated 27 March 1702 preserved at the Public Record Office at London, England.4 And he is probably the William Ballard who in 1704 had 300 acres in James City York county, as shown in the Quit Rent Roll of that year.5
Since he appears to have resided in James City county, then sadly the bulk of his public life likely took place in what are now known as “burned” counties whose records have been destroyed, such as James City, among regrettably many others.
We note that his association with Benjamin Goodrich continues, for on 24 April 1708, William Ballard witnessed a deed recorded in Essex county between Benjamin Goodrich of James City county, Gent. to Wm. Aylett6 of St. John’s Parish, King William Co., Gent., for £10 Sterling, “all his interest in a tract granted to Jos. Goodrich & ‘one Price & Ball’ [probably “Jno Price & Batt”] by patent, in Essex Co.”7 William Aylett is known to have been a cousin by marriage, having married Sibella Caynehoe (1628-1674), the widow of Matthew Hubbard whose second husband was Jerome Ham.
There is also mention of a William Ballard in a deed recorded among the records of Charles City County, suggesting he had acquired land there as an investment sometime after 1667 (the date the property was acquired by Charles Roan, who took a patent for it that year8), and a William Ballard who is named in a deed that recites the chain of title. The transaction between Archibald Blair and Benjamin Willard is dated 31 December 1728 and recorded in Charles City county:
Deed dated 31 December 1728 from Archibald Blair to Benjamin Willard, for £130, 200 acres on Kittawan Creek in Weynoke Parish, bounded by land now or late of Edward Turner & William Arronger, being a moiety of 400 acres purchased by Thomas Gregory & William Ballard of Charles Roan, Gent., & divided by line running from mouth of Mapscoe Creek. Witnesses: Jno. Edloe, Richd. Grinsell. Recorded 1 January 1728.9
Since one had to be at least 21 years of age to purchase land, that transaction was probably after 1695, since no mention of an order to record the deed appears in the extant Order Books.
The reader should be well acquainted with the will of Elizabeth Ballard that appears among the records of Charles City county in 1726. Her associations (Henry Soane, the Duke family, etc.) indicate that she was a member of one of the more illustrious families of the county, and the uncanny similarity of the forenames of her children named in the will: Thomas, Francis, Rebecca, Anna, John, Elizabeth, William, Martha — suggests close kinship with Thomas Ballard of James City county and his son, Thomas of York county.
Will of Elizabeth Ballard of Westover Parish, Charles City County, dated 22 May 1726, recorded 2 November 1726. Charles City Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, 1725-1731, p. 131.
To daughter Martha Ballard, when of age or married, negro girl Ancy, now in the possession of my brother-in-law Henry Soane; and my daughter is to continue with said Henry and my sister Sarah Soane until 18.
If Martha dies, negro to be sold and money divided between my children: Thomas Ballard, Francis Ballard, Rebecca Ballard, Anna Talman, John Ballard, Elizabeth Firth and William Ballard.
To my son-in-law William Firth, one gray horse and to have the obligation to pay £5 I owe Benjamin Dormous on a judgment in James City Court obtained against me.
Executor: Brother-in-law Henry Soane. Witnesses: Henry Soane, Simon Stubblefield, Mich’a Sherman. Presented by Henry Soane, proved by other witnesses. Inventory, p. 152. Value £28.18.8 ½, by court order dated November 1726; appraised by John Lide, Wm. Parrish, Charles Christian & Jeffry Murrell, recorded 1 February 1726; presented by Capt. Henry Soane.
An interesting avenue to explore is this Elizabeth’s relationship with her executor, Captain Henry Soane, who is identified as her brother-in-law. One online genealogy identifies a Henry Soane, II who was born 1675 and died 1739 in Charles City county. His wife’s name is not known, and they had three children: Elizabeth (born 1704), Susanna and Henry. A secondary source we have not yet had an opportunity to verify (The Duke Family, by Evelyn Duke Brandenberger (self-published, 1979) claims Henry Soane had married Sarah Hubard/Hubbard, which would make our testator a member of the Hubbard family, likely close relations of the Katherine Hubbard that married Thomas Ballard, Jr. This assumption may be in error, however; on Henry Soane’s demise in 1750, administration of his estate was granted to Rebecca Hubbard Soane, with John Edloe as security. Rebecca Hubbard may have been a second wife. Charles City Co. Va. Order Book 1737-1751, p. 593.
A side note: A witnesses to the will (Michael Sherman) and one of the appraisers (John Lide) had married sisters — Michael Sherman was the husband of Susanna Duke, and John Lide was the husband of Sarah Duke. We know this from the will of Elizabeth Duke, dated 20 April 1729 and recorded the “1st Wednesday in December 1729.” Charles City Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, p. 263.
This compiler has searched the extant records of Charles City county (dating from 1655 to 1696) and found no mention of any Ballards prior to 1725, which we believe is because the family did not live there until a boundary adjustment between James City county and Charles City county when a part of James City was added to Charles City in 1721. William Waller Hening lists the following legislation in his Statutes at Large:10
An Act for enlarging Charles City County; and for consolidating those parts of the Parishes of Westover and Weynoake, on the North side James River, and that part of Wallingford Parish, on the Westside Chicohominy River.
An Act to divide those parts of the Parishes of Westover and Weynoake, which lie on the South side James River, from those parts of the said Parishes which lie on the North side the said River; and for uniting Westover and Weynoake Parishes; on the South side James River, to Martin Brandon Parish, in the County of Prince George; and for erecting a Chapel in Bristol Parish, in the said County.
Noted antiquary Lyon G. Tyler put it this way: “It took in the portion of Wallingford Parish west of the Chickahominy River (the Sandy Point region previously in James City County”). Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, Virginia Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992) p. 78 (a reprint of the Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Volume 9 (January, April and July 1916).
Wallingford Parish existed from 1643 to 1721. Acts in 1643 increased the area of Wallingford Parish to include all of James City County west of the Chickahominy, as well as considerable territory east of it. According to Charles Francis Cocke in Parish Lines: Diocese of Southern Virginia (Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1964, p. 61), David Jones’ Creek, now Kennon’s Creek in Charles City county, was the western boundary of James City county. With the Act of 1720, the following year the boundary between Charles City and James City counties became the Chickahominy river.
It is clear from the Quit Rent Roll of 1704 that other families associated with the Ballards in Charles City in the 1720s appear in that list with property in James City county, namely:
- Henry Soane, 750 acres
- Henry Duke, Jr. 1,000 acres
- Henry Duke, Esq. 2,986 acres
- Benja Goodrich, 1,650 acres
See Louis des Cognets, Jr, English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1958) pp. 172-77.
It appears that all of their property likely fell into Charles City County with the boundary adjustment with James City County in 1721.
Excursus: Capt. Henry Talman and Ann Ballard
In an earlier post we recounted a tradition that came down from a descendant of the Henry Talman named J. Staunton Moore, who writing in 1903 describes how his ancestor, Captain Henry Talman, came to Virginia in the 1720s and married Ann Ballard, the daughter of William Ballard of Ballardsville, a grandson of Thomas Ballard of James City county. His account strains credibility with the assertion that Ann’s father was a lieutenant in the American Revolution — if she married Henry Talman in the 1720s, then William would have been in about 113 years old in 1781.
Incidentally, The Virginia Gazette reports that Captain Henry Talman died at his house in New Kent County “a few days ago” in the edition published 7 December 1769, and not in London in 1775, as reported by Mr Moore and repeated by William Armstrong Crozier in his Virginia Heraldica (1908).
The birth of the children of Henry Talman and Ann Ballard is recorded in the register of Saint Peter’s Parish, New Kent:
- Martha dau of Henry & Ann Talman born 16th March 1733 – bapt 16th June
- Rebeckah dau of Henry & Ann Talman born 2 April, bapt 12th June 1737
- Henry son of Henry & Ann Talman born 26 Dec bapt 8th April 1739
But while family traditions may evolve over time, at their heart is a kernel of truth.
Where was Ballardsville?
Mr. Moore includes in his account a letter from an Isaac H. Christian, who writes of how William Ballard of Ballardsville fought in the American Revolution, and that his (unnamed) father owned the property after the death of Ballard. This statement is deceptive, implying that Mr. Christain’s father purchased it from William Ballard’s heirs.
An Internet search reveals that one online genealogy reports that Isaac H. Christian was born 25 May 1831 at Ballardsville. His parents were James Hendricks Christian (1794-1873) and Susan Brown Hill (she died 1857). The Christian’s land holdings in the vicinity of Blanks Crossroads are evident in this 1862 map we found in the collection of the Library of Congress. Note that the land is due north of Kennon’s Landing and what is now called Kennon’s Creek (on this map labeled Swanneck Creek), and was part of James City County up to 1720.
Who did James Hendricks Christian purchase Ballardsville from? Most likely it was from the heirs of the Thomas Ballard of Charles City county who died without issue in 1804. His will speaks rather wistfully of the graves of his ancestors on his land:
13 August 1804. Will of Thomas Ballard of Charles City County, Parish of Westover.
Just debts shall be paid. The family burying place now on my land shall remain solved and free for the internment of the family & their connections. That is to say a sufficiency ground for that purpose and for no further disposel. This I do for through the respect and duty I owe my ancestors and family and hope the same may be remembered by those who may ever consider it.
The will names brothers John Ballard, Francis D. Ballard, sisters Elizabeth Fontain relect of Moses Fontain, Sarah Fountain wife of Abraham Fontain and Lucy Eppes, wife of Peter Epppes. Executor: John Ballard, Wyatt Walker, John Firth. Witnesses: Wm. Graves, Ed. M. Williams, Furnea Southall. Recorded 20 September 1804.11
William Ballard and Elizabeth _________ had issue:
THOMAS, married Mary Dancy.
Francis, born c. 1705, died before 7 June 1727. He figures in the records of Charles City county on three occasions, one a lawsuit, the two others regarding the administration of his estate by his brother, Thomas:
19 July 1726. Sherriff makes return of execution taken out at suit of Francis Ballard against body of George Squires. Execution and contents received. Signed: Thomss Epes, Subsheriff. Charles City Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, 1725-31, p. 114.
7 June 1727. Inventory of Mr Francis Ballard, dec’d. Value £12.0.0, by Jno. Minge, Tho. Harwood, Jno. Major. Presented by Thomas Ballard, Admin., and recorded 7 June 1727. Charles City Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, 1725-31, p. 168.
3 April 1728. Accounts current of estate of Mr Francis Ballard. Debits: Thomas Perry, John Minge, Capt. William Brown, William Bounsieur, John Goodale, William Hopkins, Capt. Henry Soane. Presented by Thomas Ballard, Admin. Charles City Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, 1725-31, p. 198.
Rebecca, living in 1726. Possibly the Rebecca identified as the wife of William Sherman of New Kent County, who left a will dated 24 May 1796 and recorded 8 December 1796 among the records of Chancery Court of James City County. The will names his wife Rebecca, sons Ballard, William and Thomas; daughters Rebecca, Milly, Elizabeth Carter and Nancy Ammons; grandsons Abner and Wm. Clopton; son-in-law William Ammons. A Codicil dated 24 September 1796 added grandson Wm. Moss Sherman, “and the child that the widow of my son William now goes with.” Witnesses: C. Christian, A. Christian. The will of William’s son, Thomas Sherman of New Kent County appears in the same records and provides additional information and reinforces the connection to the Ballard family. Thomas’ will is dated 18 July 1801 and recorded 10 December 1801. It names nephew Wm. Moss Sherman; nephew Abner Clopton; sister Mildred Courtnay; nephew Thomas Ballard Sherman; nephew Ballard Ammons. Executors: nephew Wm. Sherman, brother Ballard Sherman and Francis Oley. Witnesses: Nathl. Cowles, C. C. C., James Oley, Antheline Gay, Wm. Crump.12
Anna, living in 1726. Perhaps married Henry Talman. We know that Captain Henry Talman of Felmingham, county Norfolk, England, was the son of William Talman, the Comptroller of Great Britain under William and Mary. Captain Henry Talman resided in Saint Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, and was captain and owner of the ship Vigo that ran goods between Bristol and Virginia. They had four children; the record of the birth of three of them exists in the Saint Peter’s Parish Register from New Kent County, Virginia: William (married Elizabeth Hewlett and left issue); Martha (born 16 March 1733); Rebecca (born 2 April 1737); Henry (born 26 December 1739; died young). According to several secondary sources, Captain Talman died in London in 1775, but The Virginia Gazette of 7 December 1769 (Purdie & Dixon, p. 3, Col. 1) reports that “Captain Henry Talman died a few days ago at his house in New Kent County.”
JOHN, married Faitha Edmunds.
Elizabeth, married William Firth.
WILLIAM, likely married Elizabeth Clopton.
Martha, a minor in 1726, was probably born c. 1711.
1. Recorded York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders Wills 1672-76.
2. Deed recorded 9 December 1686, Stafford Co. Deed Book D, Part 1, pp. 19-19a. Sarah, wife of Henry, relinquishes dower; Mrs Mary Mansell relinquishes right, and her signature is acknowledged by John Waugh, attorney for Henry Blagrave. This is most likely the same Henry Blagrave, II who was a devisee in the will of William’s nephew, Matthew Ballard. See notes on the Blagrave family appearing in Allied Families. Note also that among the Minutes of the Council and the General Court there appears an interesting order: “Mr Thomas Ballard, on the behalfe of Mr David Mansell moved this board that the word Thomas in a former order of this Court might be made John about land deserted by Jno. Suggett; it is ordered that Mansell’s . . . to Mr Ballard be recorded.” H.R. McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1924) (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1924) p. 225. This indicates that Thomas Ballard had acquired land from David Mansell.
3. James Branch Cabell, The Majors and Their Marriages (Richmond: W.C. Hill Printing Co., 1915) p. 101. “24 November 1691. Mr William Ballard, asignee of Benjamin Goodrich, attorney of Mrs Alice Ballard, exor. Of Coll. Thomas Ballard, dec’d., plaintiff vs. James Harrison, deft. Having brught an action of debt against James Harrison, the suit is dismissed with cost, the deft. having made oath that the debt was paid to Mr Jerom Ham by order of ye said Thomas Ballard.” York Co. Va. Deeds, Orders, Wills No. 9, Part 1, p. 35.
4. The list includes Benjamin Goodrich, Francis Dancy and Henry Soane, Jr,; the latter two are known to be Ballard relations. Public Record Office, File No. C.O.5/1312, in Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, Virginia’s Colonial Soldiers (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988) p. 216.
5. The Quit Rent Roll of 1704-1705 was ordered by Governor Francis Nicholson; a copy was sent to the Board of Trade and is preserved in the Public Record Office in London. It was published as an Appendix to The Planters of Colonial Virginia (1922) by Thomas J. Wertenbaker, and reprinted in his compilation of three earlier works, The Shaping of Colonial Virginia (New York: Russell & Russell, 1958) p. 211. The same Roll lists Thomas Ballard as owning 100 acres in James City county. It should be noted that the Quit Rent Roll of 1704 does not include the names of property owners residing in the Northern Neck, for they paid their Quit Rents to the Proprietor of the Northern Neck, not the Crown.
6. It should be noted that William Aylett was the third husband of Sibella, the widow of Matthew Hubbard of York county, making William Aylett and William Ballard cousins by marriage (William’s brother Thomas Jr having married Katherine Hubbard, the daughter of John Hubbard in 1684. The Jerome Ham referenced in Note 3 was Sibella’s second husband). See Cabell, pp. 68-70.
7. Deed dated 24 April 1708, recorded 28 April 1708, Essex Co. Va. Deeds & Wills No. 13, p. 197. “One Price & Ball” is probably an incorrect interpretation of difficult handwriting, and needs investigating. An earlier deed dated 8 December 1703 between “Benjamin Goodrich of James City county, Gent., to William Aylett, Gent., of King William county, for £22, 200 acres in Essex Co., part of a tract taken up by Joseph Goodrich, William Batt, and Jno. Price, adjoins Mr John Lightfoot’s land, and Mr Edward Chilton’s land – this 200 acres, commonly called Mt Maple and sold to the said Joseph Goodrich on February 2, 1691 by John Clark, then of Rappahannock county, and is now vested in Benjamin Goodrich by act of law, as heir of the said Joseph Goodrich, sometime since deceased.” Recorded 10 December 1703, Essex Co. Va. Records, 1703-1706, p. 132.
This last document requires some explanation. The founder of the Goodrich family, Colonel Thomas Goodrich, acquired land in Old Rappahannock county that later became part of Essex county when that county was created. In his will dated 15 March 1678/9, recorded 3 April 1679, he left large bequests of land to each of his children. To his eldest son Benjamin, he left “200 acres of land on the river side which I bought of Clement Thresh and one-half the difident of land I now live on with all the profits, commodities and emoluments thereto belonging” (this being about 3,000 acres). The other children received 400 to 1,000 acres of land, and the rest of his estate went to his wife, Anne. Sweeney’s Wills of Rappahannock County, pp. 76-77.
Benjamin Goodrich resided in James City county, where he was listed as a Justice there on 6 April 1685. He also served the James City county Militia, and was Sheriff on 3 March 1692, for on that date in the Calendar of State Papers appears a communication by the House of Burgesses to his Excellency, the Governor, “that they had been informed by Captain Benjamin Goodrich, Sheriff of James City county that he had been commanded to provide an officer to attend the House.”
The will of Benjamin Goodrich has been lost, but we know he had one because his wife, Alice, having married Edward Sorrell, appears in several documents as his Executrix, for on 27 April 1695 there was an acknowledgment in the General Court a deed for some land to John Griffin, which was also recorded in the Essex Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, 1702-04, Book 11, p. 2. We also know that at least one son survived him, for a Benjamin Goodrich, Jr appears in the Quit Rent Rolls of 1704 as possessing 1,650 acres in James City county, and whose death is noted in The Secret Diary of William Byrd as having occurred on 29 April 1710: “April 30, 1710 Colonel Duke told me that Ben Goodrich died at night and was well that morning 2 days since.”
Benjamin Goodrich was the heir-at-law of his brother, Joseph Goodrich. Another deed dated 1703 from Benjamin Goodrich to William Aylett of King and Queen county was for land that was part of a tract bequeathed by Col. Thomas Goodrich to his son, Joseph, who by his will bequeathed it to his son, Danby Goodrich. Danby Goodrich died in his minority and the land reverted to Benjamin Goodrich as Joseph’s heir. Source: an online posting by Charles Hughes Hamlin, The Goodrich Family of Virginia.
8. Charles Roan’s patent is dated 7 August 1667, for 401 acres upon the North side of Kittawan Creek in Charles City County. Patent Book No. 6, 1666-1678 (pt.1 & 2 p.1-692) p. 109.
9. Charles City Co. Va. Wills & Deeds, 1725-31, p. 220.
10. Hening’s Laws of Virginia, November 1720 – 7th George I. pp. 94-95.
11. Charles City Co. Va. Will Book 1787-1808, p. 605.
12. William Armstrong Crozier, Virginia Records, Vol. III: Williamsburg Wills (New York: The Genealogical Association, 1906) p. 52.