Moorman of Isle of Wight and Campbell County.

Given that the Ballards in Lineage Group III early on named sons “Moorman,” we include here an excerpt of a description of the family that appeared in The William and Mary Quarterly, Second Series, Vol. 12, No. 3 (July 1932), pp. 177-180.   The excerpt will be limited to information on the earliest lines (the later lines, namely after c.1800, not being our concern).

See also Moorman Reports, a sub-page of Colonial Virginia Connections, available on Rootsweb.  Other families that should be studied with the Moormans are the Clarks, Johnsons and Candlers; they are noted in the article below and have informative reports on Colonial Virginia Connections.

We will attempt to determine if there was an early connection with the Ballard family not otherwise documented that would explain why the name appeared among the children of William Ballard of Charles and Bedford Counties (1715-1794) and Philip Ballard of Spotsylvania County (c.1706-1778).

The Moorman Family of Virginia

by Charles O. Paullin

This family originated in England, its name appearing there as early as the fourteenth century. The usual speling is Moorman, but somethimes Moreman, Moreman, or Mooreman; the meaning of the word is obvious, “man of the moor.”  The motto of the family found on its coat of arms is “Esse quam video” — To be, rather than to seem to be.  One branch of the family was living on the Isle Wight, Hampshire, England, at least as early as the sixteenth century.  In 1725 Thomas Moorman of that island, yeoman, won a suit over the tithes of Bonchurch, which he had refused to pay (J. L. Whitehead, The Undercliff of the Isle of Wight, pp. 32-39).

In 1670 Zachariah Moorman,1 a Quaker, emigrated from the Isle of Wight to Nansemond County, Virginia, where members of that peculiar sect early found a refuge. There came with him his three children, Charles,2 Thomas,2 and Sally Ann.2 In 1686 when Tomas’ name makes its appearance in Virginia records, he was living with his wife Elizabeth in New Kent County, probably at Green Springs, about thirty miles above Jamestown, where there was a Quaker settlement. In that year his daughter Mary3 and three years later his son Andrew3 were baptized in St. Peter’s Church, Episcopalian, New Kent County. In 1690 a third child, Charles3 was born at Green Springs.

In the first half of the eighteenth century a considerable number of Quakers purchased lands in what is now Louisa and Caroline counties and established meetings at Cedar Creek (not far from the Louisa boundary line) in Hanover County and at Golansville in Caroline County, sometimes called the Caroline Meeting. Among the most influential of these Quakers was Charles Moorman3 of Lousia County, who married Elizabeth Reynolds. She bore him five children, Thomas4 (1708-1766), Judith4 (Douglas), Ann4 (Martin), Achilles4 and Charles4. The family purchased considerable land in Albemarle County on and near Moormans River, a stream named for Thomas. About 1730 Thomas married Rachel Clark* (d. 1792), daughter of Christopher Clark, a prosperous tobacco planter and before he joined the Friends, a captain of the colonial army. About 1746 he moved to Caroline County and became a member of the Golansville Meeting, and shortly before he died to Bedford (later Campbell) County, becoming a member of the South River Meeting, near Lynch’s Ferry (later Lynchburg). In 1762 he purchased 200 acres in this region, on Tomahawk Creek.

Thomas and Rachel had thirteen children, four of whom married into the Johnson family. The Moormans and Johnsons must hold one of the records for intermarriage. Both families were exceedingly large and their young people were greatly restricted in choice of helpmeets by reason of the Quaker rule of disowning members who marry outside of the church. In 1772 Ann Moorman was disowned, in quaint Quaker phrase, “for marrying out from among us by a hireling priest” (paid preacher), and about the same time Zachariah5 (1732-1789), son of Thomas, suffered the same penalty for the same misdemeanor. Among other families with whom the Moormans intermarried where those of Clark, Lynch, Chiles, Butterworth, Ballard, and Douglas. Thomas’ daughter Rachel5 married Stephen Goggin, Jr., and their daughter Parmela,6 Samuel Clemens; Parmela’s son, John M. Clemens,7 was the father of Samuel L. Clemens8 (Mark Twain). Thomas’ granddaughter Rachel,6 daughter of his son Zachariah,5 married Benjamin Butterworth, whose son Benjamin,7 a Quaker lawyer of Cincinnati, Ohio, was a membr of Congress, 1879-1883, and 1885-1891, and commissioner of patents, 1896-1898. . . .

Micajah Moorman5 (1735-1806), a third child of Thomas, seems to have been the first Moorman to purchase land in what is now Campbell County. As early as 1757 he owned 644 acres, on both sides of the James, near the present city of Lynchburg. Later he purchased 970 acres on Ivy Creek nad a large tract on Molleys Creek. In 1782 Achiilles and Charles Moorman bought 3030 acres on Seneca River. The first meeting attended by the Moormans in Bedford (or Campbell) County was the South River Meeting, a few miles south of Lynch’s Ferry. Later some of them attended Seneca Meeting farther southward near Seneca River and Molleys Creek. In 1786 Micajah was one of the ten “gentlement, trustees’ who founded Lynchburg (12 Hening 398). In 1806 Governor William H. Cabell appointed Achilles Moorman tobacco inspector at Lynch’s tobacco warehouse, Lynchburg. In 1754 Micajah married Susannah Chiles (b. 1738) of Caroline County, by whom he had thirteen children, five marrying Johnsons. He also freed his slaves. . . .

In 1806 when Micajah Moorman made his will, he, his eldest son Thomas (1755-1845), and other members of his family were living on or near Molleys Creek near the central part of campbell County. He was interested in Ohio lands and had already purchased 300 acres in southwestern Ohio. It was about this time that his sons Thomas and John Hope made a trip to Ohio to see these and othr unoccupied lands with a view to settling there. They traveled on horseback, guided through the woods where there were no roads by a pocket compass. From Point Pleasant, W. Va., they “went up the Ohio River six miles to Cousin Parmela Clemens and restered there two nights and a day” (Tyler’s Quarterly, post, p. 87). Near Chilicothe they visited Gen. Nathaniel Massie, founder of that town, and a relative of the Johnsons, thence went on to the Little Miami River, and finally to Cincinnati.

In 1775 Thomas had married Apharacia Hope (1751-1851) of Caroline County and she had borne him eight children, six of whom married Johnsons. In 1807 Thomas with is wife and six of his chidren emigrated to Ohio. After spending several months near Leesburg, Highland County, they in the spring of 1809 settled near Jamestown, Greene County, where Thomas had purchased 1000 acres, lying in the Virginia Military Reserve, of Col. John Watts of Lynchburg. He acted until Watts’s death as his agent for selling lands. Thomas chose not the most fertile lands, but those most rolling whose hills and springs would serve to remind him of his former home in the Virginia piedmont. In 1812 the Moormans establshed Seneca Meeting, near Jamestown, doubtless named for their meeting in Campbell County. Aparacia, a tiny woman, looking all the smaller beside “Big Tommy,” her husband died by injury from a needle at the age of ninety-nine years and nine months. Many of her descendants are living in Greene County and in Iowa and other western states. . . .

The Virginia Moormans emigrated not only to Ohio, but to North Carolina (about 1750), South Carolina, Kentucky (Breckenridge and other counties), and other states. Many descendants of the family are now found in Missouri and Iowa. . . .

In this necessarily brief sketch which touches only the “high spots” one does not forget the useful lives of many inconspicuous Moormans, lived often under the privations and hardships of frontier conditions. The Moormans are a typical American family of the middle class, especially typical in their restless movement westward, lured on by the hope of bettering their fortunes. . . .


*Rachel (Clark) Moorman survived Thomas Moorman (1705-1767), and on 25 August 1768 married William Ballard of Caroline and Bedford Counties.  Some researchers claim William Ballard’s first wife was Mary Moorman, the daughter of Charles Moorman and Elizabeth Reynolds (the sister of the Thomas Moorman who married Rachel Clark), and not Mary Byrom; we are still researching the matter and have not reached a conclusion.


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