In the year 1933, William Henry Ballard (1862-1954) of Lexington, Kentucky wrote a very brief history of his family (the “Narrative”) that begins with the assertion that his earliest known ancestor is Bland Ballard of Kentucky, who fathered a son with his servant named Flora. The Narrative is undated, but a separate genealogical chart of the Ballard and allied Bartlett and Brady families identified as a “Family Tree” bearing the dates 1820-1933, describes Flora as “mixed.” We assume the chart and the Narrative were written at the same time. A photocopy was provided to the author c. 1980 by Edward Hunter Ballard (1899-1988).
Dowan Ballard, Sr. son of Bland Ballard (white) and his servant Flora was born in the year 1820 at Ghent Ky. At an early age he was sold to the Macklin family at Stamping Ground in Scott Co., Ky., in 1848. Later he was sold by the Macklins to Dr. Ben Duvall in Franklin Co., Ky., near the forks of Elkhorn Creek and remained a slave in this family until the Emancipation was proclaimed in 1863.
He was married 3 times during his life. The first wife died shortly after their marriage and no children were born to them on the Macklin farm. The second wife bore him two sons John William and Flournoy and she died from burns received when the cabin on the Duvall farm where they were living burned down. My mother Matilda Bartlett became his third and last wife whom he married in 1854. My mother lived on the Butler farm which adjoined the Duvall farm. After they became free both father and mother lived together on the Butler farm until 1869 when our family moved to Louisville, Ky., and remained in that city until the year 1886 when we moved to Jackson, Tenn., where father and mother are now buried.
Flournoy Ballard died in youth. John William Ballard ran away with the Union soldiers as a boy 15 yrs. of age and after the civil war he settled at Cadiz Ohio and having the trade of a plasterer he was successful as a contractor and when he died in 1918 he had reared and educated a family of 5 children all of whom are living in Cleveland Ohio and Oil City, Penn., and the oldest son Flournoy is still living in Cadiz, Ohio.
Flournoy is named for his uncle who died in slavery though a young man at the time. His other son John Will is now a practicing attorney in Cleveland Ohio. The girls are all married and like their brothers are rearing splendid families.
Dowan Ballard, according to family tradition, son of Bland Ballard (most likely Bland Williams Ballard (1759-1853)) and his mulatto servant Flora, was born between 1820 and 1827, but most likely c. 18251 (at Ghent, Kentucky, according to the Narrative), and died 21 July 1909 at Jackson, Tennessee.
This claim of parentage is known only from the Narrative, but is supported by DNA evidence, which places descendants of Dowan Ballard in Lineage Group I of the Ballard DNA Project. As additional men join the DNA project and their test results help refine the family trees of those in Lineage Group I, we may be able to more definitively identify Dowan’s father.
An examination of Federal census records for 1830 and 1840 yields interesting results. Presumably in 1830 Dowan and his mother Flora resided in the same household, when he would have been between the ages of 3 and 10. An examination of Kentucky Federal census records for 1830 reveals that in that year there were 24 slaveholding Ballard families, and of those, seven had a male slave younger than 10 years of age and a female slave of childbearing years. Compared with the 1840 census, where we would need to find a male slave between the ages of 13 and 17, and a female slave 10 years older than in 1830, the list narrows to four families, with three families appearing on both lists. Curiously, Bland Williams Ballard did not meet this criteria in 1830 but did so in 1840, which suggests the possibility that perhaps Bland was not the father and acquired Dowan (and Flora) at a later time, but is remembered as the father. Or the truth lies in the Narrative and Bland was the father, but Flora was owned by someone else — although this is contradicted by the Narrative, in which she is described as “his servant.”
The three families that do meet these criteria are those of Bland Williams Ballard’s brother James Ballard of Shelby County, Kentucky (1763-1849), his cousins Edward Ballard of Madison County, Kentucky (c. 1775-1854), and Nicholas Ballard of Madison County, Kentucky (c. 1795-c. 1850); the latter two were sons of John Ballard of Albemarle County, Virginia (c. 1765-1829), who was the son of Thomas Horace Ballard of Albemarle County, Virginia (c. 1732-1804), who was in turn the son of Thomas Ballard of Albemarle County, Virginia (c. 1717-1782). Thomas of Albemarle was the brother of Bland Ballard, Sr of Spotsylvania County, Virginia (c. 1713-1791), Bland Williams Ballard’s grandfather. We assume Dowan remained with one of these families until about 1847, when he was sold to John Macklin of Franklin County, Kentucky.
Dowan Ballard was sold to John Macklin at Stamping Ground, Franklin County, Kentucky circa 1847. John and his brother Alexander Macklin were prominent, wealthy farmers; John cultivated wheat and became a successful miller in the New Orleans trade, while Alexander was a wealthy hog farmer. The brothers were the sons of Hugh Macklin, who settled in Kentucky in 1798.
Dowan was later sold to Dr Benjamin P. Duvall, who resided near the Forks of Elkhorn in Franklin county, three-quarters of a mile east of Frankfort.2 The date of this sale is unknown, though it is likely circa 1853 since we have evidence from a Macklin family bible preserved in Winchester, Kentucky, that a slave named Dowen was born March 22, 1852 at the Macklin farm, and we know that Dowan’s son Flournoy died from typhoid in August 1852, according to the Franklin county records, which identify “Flourney” as a slave belonging to John Macklin.3
The names of Dowan’s first two wives were not known to his son William, but the birth of two of Dowan’s children was recorded in a Macklin family bible. He married first Matsy _____, who, according to William Henry Ballard, died shortly after their marriage at the Macklin farm; we deduce that Matsy was the mother of John William Ballard, given that census records show he was born in December 1847, and the Macklin family bible tells us that Flournoy, Matsy’s son, was born in 5 April 1849.
William Henry stated that Dowan’s second wife died in a fire at the Duvall farm, yet there is recorded in the Macklin family bible the birth of a possible son “Dowen,” son of Harriett, who was born 22 March 1852. The fact that the birth of a possible son “Dowen” was recorded in a Macklin family bible suggests that this recollection is in error, and that Matsy was the mother of John William and Fournoy, and Harriett was the second wife and had one child, Dowen, who did not survive, which may be why William Henry had no knowledge of him. Either wife could have died in the fire William Henry mentioned, but it is likely, given the overall veracity of his account, that Matsy may have met her end between 1849 and 1851, and Harriett in the above mentioned fire in 1852 or 1853. It is perhaps after this fire that Dowan was sold to Dr. Benjamin Duvall, and in 1854 met Matilda Bartlett at the farm of Dr. James Butler.
Dowan married third c. 1854 Matilda Bartlett of Franklin county, Kentucky, who was born in 1835 and lived at the Butler farm, which was adjacent to the Duvall’s; this was probably the residence of Dr James Butler, which has been identified on land ownership maps created c. 1880 in the collection of the Library of Congress. Following Emancipation Dowan Ballard and Matilda Bartlett lived at the Butler farm, then removed to Louisville, Kentucky in 1870. They relocated to Jackson, Tennessee in 1886, and remained there until their deaths.
The 1870 US Federal Census shows that on 17 June 1870 Dowan, Matilda and their sons William and Dowan Jr resided in the household of two doctors, C. T. Carpenter and William Clark in the 7th Ward of the city of Louisville, where their trade is identified as “house work.”4 The 1880 US Federal Census places them in Louisville, but this time Dowan is identified as head of the household, but without an occupation (“none”); Matilda’s is “house cleaner,” and the boys are “at school.” The household is comprised of D. Ballard, age 57; Matilda Ballard, age 45; Wm. Ballard, age 18; and Dowin Ballard, age 145 By 1885 they removed to Jackson, Tennessee, for on 21 January 1886 he purchased property from W. D. Robinson in Jackson, Tennessee, where they lived the remainder of his life.6
The 1900 US Federal Census reveals that Dowan and Matilda Ballard resided at 185 N. High Street in Jackson, Tennessee. Dowan’s date of birth is listed as October 1827; Matilda’s as October 1829; as previously noted, these dates are probably in error. Neither could read or write, but he owned his house free of a mortgage.7
Matilda Bartlett died 7 December 1907 and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Jackson, Tennessee, where her tombstone inscription reads Matilda Ballard, 1835-1907, Faithful Unto Death.8
In his will dated 28 December 1907 and recorded 10 August 1909, Dowan Ballard, Sr devised his property to his sons William H. Ballard and Dowan D. Ballard, naming his son Dowan D. Ballard as his administrator.9
To whom it may concern: This is my last will and testament, being of sound mind and in full possession of all my faculties, revoking all other wills.
(1) I want all of my just debts and funeral expenses paid after my death from estate.
(2) Whatever remains of my possessions both personal and real estate, I devise and bequeath to my sons William H. Ballard and Dowan D. Ballard in fee simple to be equally divided between them as seems best to them. Should neither of them be living at my death, their heirs shall inherit whatever part or parts of my estate is then remaining sharing equal parts.
(3) I appoint my son Dowan D. Ballard administrator without bond to wind up my affairs as herein expressed.
Witness my hand and seal this 28th day of Dec 1907.
Dowan (X) Ballard
The children of Dowan Ballard and his first wife Matsy _________ were:
JOHN WILLIAM, married Anna Maria Smith.
Flournoy, born 5 April 1849, died August 1852, of typhoid.10
The child of Dowan Ballard and his second wife Harriett _________ was:
Dowen, born 22 March 1852, and presumably died young; nothing more is known of him and his mother Harriett beyond a notation in a Macklin family bible.
The children of Dowan Ballard and Matilda Bartlett were:
Richard, possibly the Richard identified as a slave of J. R. Butler, born 1 February 1861; died young.11
WILLIAM HENRY, married Elizabeth (Bessie) Hudson Brady.
DOWAN DAVID, married Henriette E. Cottles.
1. William Henry Ballard’s Narrative gives Dowan’s date of birth as 1820; the 1870 US Federal Census gives his age as 45 (born c. 1825: David, age 45; Matilda, age 45; Dan, age 3; Wm, age 6) and the 1880 US Federal Census gives his age as 57, and therefore born c. 1823 (D. Ballard, age 57; Matilda, age 45; Wm, age 18; Dowin, age 14. 1880 US Federal Census, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, Page 551.3000, Enumeration District (E.D.) 132). The 1900 US Federal Census gives October 1827 as his date of birth. The Slave Schedules that accompanied the 1850 and 1860 Census provide a clue; both the 1850 and 1860 Schedules list a male Mulatto slave, age 25 in 1850 and age 35 in 1860 belonging to Benjamin P. Duvall; most likely this was Dowan (the four remaining slaves on the 1850 Schedule and the six remaining slaves in 1860 are identified as “Black”; Dowan is consistently identified as Mulatto all his life in these records). A review of the census schedules suggest that the Census enumerator was not generous in the use of this designation; on the page listing Dr Duvall’s slaves, in 1850 21 percent are identified as Mulatto, and in 1860, 13 percent.
2. The 1850 US Federal Census Slave Schedule listing the slaves belonging to John Macklin of Franklin county identify them all as “B” (Black); none are identified as Mulatto.
3. Franklin Co., Ky. Vital Records, Deaths, August 1852, identify a Flourney, age 4, black male laborer, resident of Franklin Co., slave of John Macklin. Cause of death: Typhoid flux.
4. The 1870 US Federal Census record erroneously identifies Dowan Sr as “David”, age 45, and Dowan Jr as “Dan”, age 3; Matilda is age 35, and Wm is age 6. 1870 US Federal Census, City of Louisville (Ward 7), Jefferson Co., Ky., Roll M653-377, p. 915, PN 177, 1285-1285. Dr William Clark was a cousin of General George Rogers Clark and after the war the owner of Mulberry Hill, the ancestral home of the General’s family. In 1921 the remaining land was purchased by R.C. Ballard Thruston, his brother S. Thruston Ballard, and the family of their deceased brother, Charles T. Ballard, and given to the City of Louisville as a memorial in commemoration of George Rogers Clark. R.C. Ballard Thruston was a cousin of Bland Williams Ballard, being a descendant of Bland’s brother James. Mulberry Hill: The Clark Family Home at Louisville, Kentucky (Pamphlet, prepared for the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation by Ernest M. Ellison (2004)).
5. 1880 US Federal Census, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, Page 551.3000, E.D. 132.
6. 21 January 1886. W. D. Robinson of the county of Madison and State of Tennessee, for and in consideration of the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Dollars … hereby transfer and convey unto Dowan Ballard of said county and State, the following described lot of ground, lying in the city of Jackson, Tennessee: Beginning at a stake at the S.W. corner of Reed St and N.W. corner of Flippin’s Lot, running East to Robinson’s Lot 182 ft; thence North to an Alley 106 ft; thence West to Read St 182 ft; thence South to the beginning 106, this lot is one of a number of Lots bought by me at a Chancery Court sale of Mary Read vs. Harvey Usher et al – Minute Book No. 4, Chancery Court page 497… Recorded 21 January 1886, Madison Co. Tenn. W.D. Book 43, p. 73.
7. 1900 US Federal Census, Jackson, 15th Dist., Madison Co., Tenn., taken 6 June 1900, Sheet No. 9.
8. Jonathan K. T. Smith, Tombstone Inscriptions from Black Cemeteries in Madison County, Tennessee (1995). Note that the date of birth recorded on the tombstone differs from that reported in the 1900 census, but matches the age recorded in the 1870 and 1880 US Federal Census. Dowan may be buried beside her; reportedly many tombstones in this cemetery have been lost. Mount Olivet Cemetery is located on East Forest Avenue between Highland Avenue and North Royal Street in Jackson, Tennessee.
9. Madison Co. Tenn. Will Book B (1894-1914) p. 353. The witnesses were J. H. Trimble and L. G. Murray. Also recorded Madison Co. Tenn. Minute Book 26, p. 475.
10. A Macklin family bible in the possession of a descendant in Winchester, Kentucky recites “Flurnoy Matsy’s child born April 5th, 1849.” The bible also records “Harriet’s child Down born March 22, 1852,” which suggests that Dowan may have had a child with another slave at the Macklin farm; family tradition fails to name a slave Harriet, but another union with an unnamed woman suggests it is Harriet who died in a fire. As previously noted, Dowan’s son Flournoy died from Typhoid in August 1852, according to the Franklin county records, which identify “Flourney” as a slave belonging to John Macklin.
11. Franklin Co., Ky. Vital Records, Births, 1861, records the birth on 1 February 1861 in Franklin County, of Richard, male, born on Benson [Creek], slave of J. R. Butler.