Benjamin Ballard of Caldwell Parish, Louisiana (c. 1787-1869).

Benjamin Ballard, the son of Walter Clopton Ballard of Halifax County, North Carolina (c. 1755-1801),  removed from Halifax, North Carolina to the Parish of St. Landry near Opelousas, Louisiana, as evidenced by the Inward Slave Manifests for the Port of New Orleans, 1818-1820, which notes that on 23 April 1819, “Benjamin Ballard, formerly of Halifax, North Carolina …” [written in right margin is the following:] “The owner of these slaves is moving to the parish of St. Landry near Opelousas where he has purchased land and intends settling and is not a dealer in human flesh.” (followed by a list of 30 slaves.)

Benjamin Ballard married 18 January 1813 Elizabeth Ann James Williams Thorn in Warren County, North Carolina.  Marriages of Bute and Warren Counties, North Carolina, 1764-1868, by Brent H. Holcomb (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991) p. 16.

Benjamin Ballard took several patents of land in Louisiana (though it is not clear as of this writing if all of these belonged to him): 79.84 acres on 16 November 1835, Opelousas Land Office, St. Landry Parish; 90.6 acres and 62.52 acres on 29 September 1846, Natchitoches Land Office, Natchitoches Parish; 3,843.14 acres on 30 October 1857, Monroe Land Office, Ouachita Parish; 771.49 acres on 2 June 1859, Opelousas Land Office, St. Landry Parish.  United States Bureau of Land Management, Louisiana Homestead and Cash Entry Patents, Pre-1908 (Ancestry database online).

A Benjamin Ballard found in the 1830 US Census for Lafourche, Louisiana records a household comprised of two males, age 15 to 19; four males, age 20 to 29; one female, age 30 to 39, and 81 slaves.  The head of this household would have been born c. 1801, though the enumerator may have made an error and checked the wrong column.  1830 US Federal Census, Lafourche, Louisiana, Series M19, Roll 43, Page 13.

We did not find him in the 1840 or 1860 US Federal Census.  However, the 1850 US Federal Census identifies a Benjamin Ballard born c. 1797 in North Carolina, a planter with an estate valued at $68,950.  The slave schedule shows he owned 107 slaves in 1850.  Immediately following his entry in the slave schedule is that of Benjamin T. Ballard, with six slaves. 1850 US Federal Census, Western District, Caldwell, Louisiana, Roll m432_230, Page 7A, Image 333.

His son Benjamin T. Ballard (age 36) was a merchant and planter residing in Louisburg, North Carolina in 1850, with his wife Martha (age 30), and sons Robrt (11), William (9), Junius (6) and Frank (1).

The 1836 deed transcribed below gives the names of Benjamin’s wife and children, who are easily linked to records in North Carolina.

Notarial Records, Pages 30-49. St. Landry Parish, Louisiana
Transcribed and Submitted by Mike Miller pp 44-46

Benjamin Ballard To Theodore Segond
Sale of Land
Recorded 7th September 1836

Be it known that on this day before me Theodore Seghers notary public duly commissioned and sworn for the city and parish of New Orleans, State of Louisiana, and in presence of the undersigned witnesses. Personally appeared Benjamin Ballard of the parish of Rapides in this State, planter, who declares that he does by these presents sell, bargain and Convey from this day and forever Unto Theodore Segond of this city merchants, here present and accepting for himself his heirs and assigns a tract of land situated in the parish of St. Landry Opelousas County in this State, lying on both sides of Bayou Crocodile, the upper bound[a]ry line crossing said Bayou nearly at its junction with Bayou Tore, Said tract according to the vendor’s title containing three thousand four hundred superficial arpens* equal to two thousand eight hundred & eighty seven acres forty one hundredths parts of an acres, less an Extent of Four hundred superficial arpens, to wit, five arpens by forty on each side of Bayou Crocodile included in said tract and belonging to said Theodore Segond in the right of Laurent Harty and Arthemise Harty wife of Marcelin Michel, w[h]ich had been recovered by them by Judgment from said Benjamin Ballard, So that by deducting the said four hundred arpents the tract now sold contains but three thousand arpens, Said tract is the same which the said Benjamin Ballard purchased from Christopher Adams by a public instrument of writing executed before George King parish Judge for the parish of St. Landry on the fourteenth day of November Eighteen hundred and eighteen, recorded in Book ‘E’ page 6 of the records of said parish, being the lower half of a larger tract of land of w[h]ich the claim had been confirmed to Christopher Adam and John Thompson by Commissioner’s Certificate B No. 35, as the whole appears from the plat of said tract certified by Gideon Fitz principal deputy surveyor at Opelousas on the twenty sixth December 1819, Which plat remains hereunto annexed for the intelligence of these presents after being signed by the parties.

The vendor declares that according to said plat, the said tract was owned by Christopher Adams contains only two thousand seven hundred and seven acres and ninety three hundre[d]th parts of an acres, equal to Three thousand one hundred and ninety nine arpens and eighty hundre[d]th parts of an arpent, or to forty arpens front on each side of Bayou Crocodile by forty arpens deep, less a fraction of twenty hundre[d]th parts of an arpent. Wherefore the vendor warrants only to the purchaser, who agrees thereto to the said superficies, to wit, three thousand one hundred & ninety nine arpens eighty hundredth part of an arpent, less the four hundred arpens already belonging to said Theodore Segond, or two thousand seven hundred ninety nine arpens eighty hundredth part of an arpent. But the vendor hereby transfers unto the said purchaser all his right and title in and to the over-plus of said land, of any there be, according to the deed of Sale by Christopher Adams to the present vendor.

This sale is made for and in consideration of the sum of Five thousand dollars, in payment whereof the purchaser has granted his two promissory notes to the order of said Benjamin Ballard, each for two thousand five hundred dollars dated this day, the one being payable on the first day of March Eighteen hundred and thirty seven, and the other on the first day of March Eighteen hundred and thirty eight, in the Bank of Louisiana in this City, said notes are delivered to the vendor who acknowledges receipt thereof, after they have been countersigned ne varietur by me the notary in order to indentify [sic] them herewith, and for the purpose of securing the payment of said notes at their maturity, special mortgage on said tract of land is hereby reserved by the vendor and granted by the purchaser.

Now therefore in Consideration of the premises, the said vendor transfers and makes over unto the purchaser, all his right & title in and to said tract of land. To have and To hold the same unto the purchaser, his heirs and assigns forever, and the vendor for himself and his heirs shall and will warrant and forever defend the said tract of land for the above specified quantity of two thousand seven hundred and ninety nine arpens and eighty hundredths parts of an arpent, unto the said purchaser, his heirs & assigns against the claims of all person r persons whomsoever by these presents. And he subrogates the said purchaser in full to all his rights and actions of warranty against the preceding vendor.

The said Benjamin Ballard declares that he has paid the full consideration for w[h]ich he had executed his notes to Christopher Adams for the price of said land, and that he has said notes in his possession, and he has exhibited them to the said purchaser, but he is not certain w[h]ether the mortgage granted for said notes has been cancelled. And he promises to have it cancelled and to procure within ninety days a certificate from the recorder of Mortgages of the parish of St. Landry showing that there is no mor[t]gage in said tract of land according to his records.

The said Benjamin Ballard states that the said tract of land was purchased by him during his marriage with Eliza James Williams Thorn his wife lately deceased and was consequently a community property between them. That his said wife has left but two children issue of her marriage named Benjamin Thorn Ballard of full age and William Henry Ballard underage. That the said Benjamin Thorn Ballard who was of full age at his mother’s death, has granted him full release and discharge from all his claims and pretension in the successions of his mother by an act before Felix Grima [sp?] notary public in this city, bearing date the twenty seventh day of March Eighteen hundred and thirty five, And that the share of the minor William H. Ballard in the Community property has been adjudicated to him said Benjamin Ballard at the price of the appraisement of the Inventory by decree of the Court of Probates in & for the parish of Rapides bearing date the Eig[h[th day of December Eighteen hundred and thirty five rendered upon the advice of a family meeting held before the parish Judge of said parish on the seventh December Eighteen hundred and thirty five, as the whole appears from the certified copy of said proceedings produced by the said Benjamin Ballard and whereas by r[e]ason of said adjudication, there exists a general mortgage on all said Benjamin Ballard’s property in favor of his said minor child for Eight thousand four hundred and sixty dollars and a half, being the amount of said minor’s interest in the Estate of his mother, as appears from the certificate of the parish Judge for the parish of Rapides.

The said Benjamin Ballard declares that his property in the parish of Rapides is fully sufficient to secure said minor’s claim, and he pledges himself to said Theodore Segond under all due responsibility, to have said minor’s rights secured by a special mortgage in the said parish within ninety days from this date, so as to liberate the tract now sold from the said general mortgage, and he promises to save the purchaser harmless therefrom. The parties to this hereby xonerate the undersigned notary from all liability concerning the want of a mortgage certificate from the parish of St. Landry and concerning the registration of this deed, they themselves undertaking to have it duly registered in the parish of St. Landry. Thus done and passed at New Orleans in my office on the Eighteenth day of March in the Year One thousand Eight hundred and thirty six, the sixtieth of the Independence of the United States of America, in presence of Victor Seghers and Lewis Quemper [sp?] both of this city witnesses. In faith whereof the said parties have hereunto set their hands with the witnesses and me the notary.

(signed) B. Ballard Th. Segond Victor Seghers Lewis Quemper Thre.
Seghers not[ary] pub[lic]. I certify the foregoing to be a true Copy from the
Original action record in my office. In faith whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal of office, this 23rd March 1836. Thr. Seghers Not[ary] Pub[lic]

*Arpen or Arpent – an old French unit of measure equal to approximately one acre, used in Quebec and Louisiana.

Benjamin Ballard appears to have owned several Louisiana plantations; record of the sale of Hopewell Plantation in Caldwell Parish among the Pugh (Thomas and Family) Papers preserved at the Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.  An inventory of the papers notes that “Other items of interest include Benjamin Ballard’s sale of Hopewell Plantation and its slaves in Caldwell Parish, La. (Feb. 11, 1857).”  Mary Witmell Pugh married Benjamin’s son Dr. William Ballard in 1856.  She was the daughter of Thomas Pugh (1796-1852) from Bertie County, North Carolina who moved to Louisiana in 1818, and married Eliza Catherine Foley (1806-1885).

Benjamin appears to have never remarried, and is the Dr. Benjamin Ballard interred at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana, which bears the inscription Dr. Benjamin Ballard a native of North Carolina, Died June 13, 1869, Aged 84 years. (, which gives a birthdate without citation of 8 July 1787).

Benjamin Ballard and Eliza James Williams Thorne had issue:

Benjamin Thorne, born c. 1814, died 1894.  Married 7 July 1835 Martha Harriett Williams in Franklin County, North Carolina, and had issue.

William Henry, born 24 May 1824, died 28 December 1892 (; interred with his parents at Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, La.).  A notice of his demise appeared in the The North Carolinian (published at Raleigh, North Carolina, Friday 6 January 1893, p. 3, col. 3) proving his connection to the state: “Died suddenly at New Orleans, La., Dr William Ballard, aged 68 years.  He was a brother of Benjamin Ballard, Esq., of Louisburg, and has a large circle of friends and relatives in North Carolina.”  Married 5 February 1856 Mary Witmell Pugh (14 May 1836-23 December 1874) at Madewell Plantation, Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana, and had issue (five daughters): (1) Jeanette, born 1858; (2) Sidney, born c. 1863; (3) Augusta, born c. 1868; (4) Mary Witmell, born c. 1872; (5) Lucia (Lucy), born c. 1873.  1880 US Federal Census.