Elisha Lawrence Ballard is commonly identified as the son of Elisha Ballard of Nansemond County, Virginia. However, this is not possible, because Elisha Lawrence was devised considerable property by his maternal grandfather, John Lawrence of Isle of Wight County, Virginia in his will of 2 March 1757. This bequest included the “home plantation” and two parcels of land in Southampton County, Virginia. The John Lawrence will names his grandson Elisha Lawrence Ballard (“land in Southampton County”), his nephew John Lawrence, his brother’s son (“land in Southampton County”), his granddaughters Honour Ballard and Ann Ballard, and his daughter Ann Ballard. His son-in-law Elisha Ballard is named executor. Recorded 5 January 1758, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 6, p. 313.
On 4 June 1772, “Ordered that Elisha Lawrence Ballard be appointed a Lieutenant to the Company whereof Mills Lawrence is Captain of the Militia, and that James Bradshaw be appointed as Ensign to be said Company in the room of John Daughtery and Hardy Lawrence who has resigned.” John Bennett Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia, p. 184. There is a note in the Isle of Wight County records for a court held November 5, 1772: “Elisha Lawrence Ballard, a Lieut. in Captain Mill Lawrence’s Co. Jonas Bradshaw, Ensign to the same “in the room of John Daughtery, Lieut., & Hardy Lawrence, resigned.” “Notes from the Isle of Wight County Records,” by Mr. R.S. Thomas, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Vol. 11, No. 1 (1903)) p. 84. In 1781, he appears on a list of prisoners taken in arms on parole at Portsmouth, 12 April 1781. Name: Elisha Ballard, Date: 18 January 1781; County: Isle of Wight; Occupation: Planter; Age: 25 (and therefore born in 1756).
Like many men of his station, Elisha L. Ballard appraised estates and rendered other services to the court, to wit:
- Appraised estate of Thomas Langford, with Mills Lawrence, W. Mountford. Ordered 4 June 1778, recorded 7 March 1782, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 9, p. 108.
- Signed the estate account of Michael Brewer, with Mills Lawrence. Recorded 2 September 1784, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 9, p. 251.
- Signed the estate account of John Daughry, with Mills Lawernce and Solomon Edmonds. Recorded 7 April 1786, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 20
- Examined estate account of Henry Vaughan, with Mills Lawrence (on this occasion identified as “Elisha Ballard”). Recorded 7 September 1786, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 47.
- Signed the estate account of Richard Bradshaw, with Mills Lawrence. Recorded 1 February 1787, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 63.
- Audited the estate account of Peter Butler, with Mills Lawrence (signed Joseph Duck). Recorded 4 June 1789, Isle of Wight Va. Will Book 10, p. 140.
- On 27 August 1790 Elisah L. Ballard was named executor of the estate of Robert Westray, with his widow Polly Westray. Recorded 7 October 1790, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 187.
- Signed the estate account of Robert Westray, which was examined by Mills Eley, Robert Watkins, and Mills Lawrence. Recorded 7 January 1793, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 245.
- Examined the estate of William Fleming, with Joseph Duck. Recorded 5 October 1795, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 370.
- Signed the estate account of John Lawrence, with Mills Lawrence. The account was examined by James Wills, Mills Eley, Joseph Duck. Recorded 3 December 1798, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 11, p. 161 [Note: John Lawrence’s will was recorded in 1788; this estate account must have been recorded after Elisha Lawrence Ballard’s death].
On or about 20 November 1787 a cousin, John Lawrence died intestate, leaving “a considerable real and personal estate,” and a widow Mary and four children – Sarah, John, Peggy and William. Mary subsequently married John Holmes (and William died in 1788). They sued in Chancery to obtain an accounting of the administration of the estate from Elisha L. Ballard and Mills Lawrence, who had sued and obtained letters of administration for John Lawrence’s estate. John Lawrence was Elisha L. Ballard’s cousin, his mother being Ann Lawrence; this John is likely the son of the unnamed brother in the 1757 will of John Lawrence. See Isle of Wight Co. Va. Chancery Cause, John Holmes & Wife v. Admins. of John Lawrence, Index No. 1794-044. The will of John Lawrence dated November 1787 named his wife Mary, son William (“land in Southampton County”), daughter Salley (“one-half of the money due me from the estate of Benjamin Baker”); son John; daughter Peggy; brother Mills Lawrence. Executors: wife Mary, brother Mills Lawrence and Elisha Lawrence Ballard. No witnesses. Security: Joshua Council, Mills Eley. Recorded 3 January 1788, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 88.
Elisha Lawrence Ballard was named security for the 12 May 1788 will of Hardy Lawrence of Newport Parish. That will named his son Robert, wife Patsey, daughter Polly Pope, son Ishmael (“land in Southampton County”), daughter Permely Lawrence. Executors: his wife and son Robert. Witnesses: Mills Lawrence, George Lawrence, John Lawrence. Recorded 2 October 1788, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 116.
As Security he examined the estate account of Hardy Lawrence, which paid Patty, the widow; distributed legacies to Polly Roe, his daughter, paid Robert and Hardy Lawrence their legacies (presumably his sons) ,paid Mills Lawrence, guardian of Permelia and Ishmael, orphans. Examined by Elisha L. Ballard, Joseph Duck and Mills Lawrence. Signed: Robert Lawrence. Recorded 6 October 1794, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 10, p. 299.
Below is the transcription of selected records from a Chancery file among the records of Isle of Wight County and made available by the Chancery Records Project at the Library of Virginia.
Ballard v. Ballard, a suit brought by Robert, Elisha, Augustus and Ellen Ballard by John Eley, their next friend, against Joseph Ballard, represented by Mills Eley, his guardian, appointed by the Court.
The last will and testament of Elisha L. Ballard appears to have not survived, though it is referenced below and names his children, and his intentions summarized in the complaint — that is, a life estate in all the real and personal property conveyed to Sally unless she married, in which case she would receive only a life estate in her third of the estate, then on her death the real property divided among all of male heirs, and all of the personal property divided among all of the children (male and female). We have seen notes online ascribing many more children to him than are named here; those efforts are clearly in error. The will of his wife Sally Ballard is indexed in the Isle of Wight records; we have not yet seen it.
It appears the lawsuit was filed in the November Session, 1798 and continued into August 1800, when this decree was entered. Sally Ballard’s will was entered into probate 4 December 1798, so she likely died around October 1798. The plaintiffs were the infant children of Elisha and Sally; the defendant for purposes of the complaint was their elder brother, who was represented by his guardian, Mills Eley. Under common law, a person under the age of 21 was legally an infant, which means all of these children were born between 1777 and 1796.
It seems peculiar that the “infants” would bring suit against their eldest brother, but it was likely a legal expediency to claim their share of the estate and enable the eldest, Joseph, to obtain title to his property and get on with his life.
To the Justices of Isle of Wight County sitting in Chancery respectfully complaining show unto your worships your Orators and Oratrix Robert, Elisha, Augustus and Ellen Ballard by John Eley, their next friend.
That Elisha L. Ballard of the county aforesaid departed this world after having duly made and executed his last will and testament in writing dated the twenty-fifth day of January in the year of Christ one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six and recorded in the District Court holden in the town of Suffolk.
That he left Sally Ballard his widow and Robert, Elisha, Augustus and Ellen Ballard with a certain Joseph Ballard his children.
That in his lifetime and at the time of his decease he was legally seized and possessed of a considerable estate both real and personal.
That by his will aforesaid, he gave the use of his estate to Sally Ballard his wife so long as she lived single, and then bequeathed to her the loan only of one third in case of her marrying. He afterwards devised to his said wife the whole of his land should be equally divided among his sons which should be now living, and finally willed that all his personal property should be equally divided among his children generally.
That Sally Ballard the widow of the testator remained single and unmarried until her death, which lately took place [note: her will was probated 4 December 1798, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book Vol. 11, 1798-1804 (Reel 27), pp. 141-42; Inventory & Appraisal, p. 259], and that she enjoyed the total emoluments of her said husband’s estate during her short life agreeable to the tenor and meaning of his will.
And your orators further state that they and Joseph Ballard are the only persons entitled to the aforesaid estate, and that a distribution of the same among them cannot be legally and effectively accomplished without the interference of this court, according to the intention of the said Elisha L. Ballard dec’d on account of the infancy of the children.
In further consideration whereof, and for as much as your complainants are without remedy at law, they solicit the interposition of your worships.
To the end therefore they pray, that the said Joseph Ballard may be made defendant to this bill, and that he make true and proper answer to all and singular the allegations herein contained, and that as fully as if the same were here again represented and more especially that he discover whether Sally Ballard the widow of Elisha Ballard is not dead, and whether the complainants are not infants, and they lastly pray that your worships will decide that a distribution of the estate of the said testator be made among them and the aforesaid Joseph Ballard according to his will, and that a fit and qualified person may be appointed to fulfill the same, or make such other or further decree in the circumstances as shall be consistent with justice and equity.
May it please, etc. Richard W. Byrd.
The Answer of Joseph Ballard by Mills Eley, his guardian appointed by the court. To the bill of complaint exhibited against him in the Court of Isle of Wight County by Robert, Elisha, Augustus and Ellen Ballard through James Wills their next friend.
The respondent being convinced of the truth of all the allegations contained in the bill of the complainants, and being advised that a legal distribution cannot be effected on account of the infancy of the children, without an order of this court is perfectly willing to submit to the same. And he hopes that your worships will not only decree such a division as is asked for in their bill, but also nominate a guardian so appointed to the same on behalf of the infant complainants. And he finally prays the case dismissed with his costs in his behalf necessarily suspended. [January 1800].
In pursuant to the above decree hereunto annexed we the commissioners named in said decree have made a division of the lands and tenements of Elisha L. Ballard, dec’d, between his four sons, to wit, Joseph W. Ballard, Elisha L. Ballard, Robert M. Ballard & Henry Augustus Ballard & also made partition of the slaves of said dec’d between the said four sons and a daughter by the name of Ellen Ballard agreeable to the bill and last will & testament of said dec’d as will appear hereafter stated, viz:
The manor plantation on Blackwater valued at £351.15
The land in Currywaugh £453.0.0
The land in Nan. Co. [Nansemond County] £236.10.5
This is followed by a list of the names of slaves and their division among the children along with the land, with distribution as follows:
- Elisha Ballard, the half of the Currywaugh land known by the name of Bromfield
- Henry A. Ballard, the other half of the Currywaugh land known by the name of Charles
- Joseph W. Ballard, the manor plantation
- Robert M. Ballard, the land in Nansemond County.
Written on the obverse: August 1799.
We learn from a subsequent proceeding in Chancery that Sally was the daughter of Joseph Wood, formerly of North Carolina who devised six slaves to his daughter for life, and after her decease to these children of Elisha and Sally: Nancy, Joseph, Ellen, Elisha, Robert and Sally. A complaint in the file states that Nancy and Sally died infants and without a will before the birth of Henry Augustus Ballard. Isle of Wight Co. Va. Chancery Causes, Index No. 1800-010.
Sally Wood Ballard left a will dated 9 June 1798, recorded 4 December 1798, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 11, p. 141.
I give £44 which is in my son Joseph W. Ballard’s to be equally divided between my five children Joseph, Ellen, Elisha L., Robert M., Henry Augustus Ballard.
To daughter Ellen Ballard one half Dozen Teaspoons, two Gobletts, one Woolen Wheel, one linnen wheel, and four earthen dishes.
To son Elisha L. Ballard, one gray mare with foal one pair of gold sleave Buttons.
To son Robert M. Ballard one colt known by the name of Pacolet, one pair of double Rose Blankets.
To son Henry Augustus Ballard one tract of Land which I Purchased of Gervius heirs containing about 100 acres, one bedstead & cord.
Stock of hogs and present crop of whatsoever nature of kind to be equally divided between my five children as before mentioned.
Remainder of my estate to be equally Divided between my said five children.
Daughter Ellen to have care of my son Henry Augustus in raising and schooling until he arrive to the age that the law directs.
Friend Miles Eley Executor. Witnesses: Anne English, Jesse Hampton. Security, John Eley.
Estate appraised by Mills Darden, John Eley, Robert Watkins. Ordered 8 December 1890, recorded 7 July 1800, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 11, p. 259.
Elisha Lawrence Ballard and Sally Wood had issue:
Nancy, who died young, without issue.
Sally, who died young, without issue.
Joseph W., who provided security to the estate of John Darden, whose will dated 30 December 1799 provided for his wife Elizabeth, sons Mills and Ziza, daughters Chasey and Sally. Recorded 7 April 1800, Isle of Wight Co. Va. Will Book 11, p. 241. [left issue].
Elisha L. [left issue].
Robert M. [left issue].
Henry Augustus. [Left issue]. According to The Ballard Family of Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties, Virginia, by Stephen Carr Thompson, Jr (privately printed, 2016),
The home place was called the Carrowaugh Swamp Farm and was inherited [from Henry Augustus] by son Augustus W. Ballard. Upon Augustus’ death he left the house to his wife Evalina and after her death was inherited by their nephews and niece. The nephews and niece sold all their interests in the house to their sibling Johm M. Ballard and it is recorded in Deed Book 46, page 49 in Isle of Wight County. John M. Ballard inherited the Carrowaugh Swamp Farm minus the home place when his uncle Augustus W. Ballard died. Deed Book records show the farm around 832 acres of which 732 went to John M. Ballard, and 100 acres stayed with the “Home Place” that Augustus left to his wife Evalina. The farm is currently owned by John M. Ballard’s grandson [living]. The old home place was torn down sometime in the 1880s or 1890s and its beams were used to make a barn. A new house was erected that stood until the early 2000s when a storm destroyed the home. [The owner] states that in a stand of cedar trees behind the area of the old home place stood a cemetery with no markers. Different stories state that this could be the old Ballard cemetery, or an old slave cemetery. Henry Augustus Ballard’s will lists over 40 slaves, and typically a slave cemetery would not be placed that close to a home place.
A Sherrod Family Bible Record, 1790-1894 (photostat) in the collection of the Library of Virginia (Call No. 24767) lists information for a Mary Ann Ballard, daughter of Elisha, who married John Sherrod, the son of Lewis Sherrod and Sarah __________. Below are relevant entries for Ballard relations. A copy of the same information is among the records of the State Library of North Carolina, which states that the Sherrod family resided in Martin County, North Carolina. Mary Ann Ballard is likely the daughter of the Elisha L. Ballard listed above, the son of Elisha L. Ballard and Sally Wood.
John Sherrod, son of Lewis and Sarah his wife was born 18th Octr. 1790.
Mary Ann Ballard, daughter of Elisha and Elizabeth his wife, born 25th Octr. 1792.
Noah Sherrod, son of Lewis and Sarah his wife was born 9th Sept 1795.
Tempay Sherrod, daughter of Lewis and Sarah his wife was born 16th November 1798.
Loretta Ann Sherrod, daughter of John and Mary Ann his wife was born 15th February 1823.
Henry Lewis Sherrod, son of John and Mary Ann his wife was born [illegible] December 1824.
Mary Ann Sherrod wife of John Sherrod departed this life January 26th 1827.
Loretta Ann Sherrod departed this life October 11th 1838.
John Sherrod Sr. departed this life April 12th 1841.
Mary Frances Sherrod wife of Henry L. Sherrod departed this life July 19th 1832.
Loretta Sherrod daughter of Henry L. and Mary F. departed this life July 31st 1832.
Temperance Sherrod departed this life March 5th 1869.
John Mary Sherrod son of John and Mary Ann Sherrod was born January 21st 1827.
Elizabeth Savage daughter of Warrn & Frances Savage was born June 28th 1812.
Noah Calvin Sherrod son of John & Elizabeth Sherrod was born October 1st. 1830.
Robert Wilson Sherrod son of John & Elizabeth Sherrod was born 21st October 1832.
Mary Francis Lousia Sherrod daughter of Jno. & Elizabeth Sherrod was born March 2nd 1837.
Loretta Sherrod daughter of Henry L. and Mary Frances Sherrod was born November 18th 1851.
Died on the 1st day of March 1834 Noah Calvin Sherrod son of John & Elizabeth his wife.
Died on the 7th April 1874 Susan M. Sherrod the wife of Henry L. Sherrod.
Jesse Walter son of H.L. & S.M. Sherrod departed this life April 28th 1874.
[followed by two illegible entries]
John Sherrod and Mary Ann Ballard, 8th February 1822.
John Sherrod and Elizabeth Savage was married 17th December 1829.
Henry Louis Sherrod and Mary Frances Bass was married 20th February 1851.
Henry L. Sherrod and Susan M. Bass was was married the 9th June 1858 [date illegible]
Henry L. Sherrod and Lucy A. Whitehurst was married the 20 December 1882.
Susan Elizabeth Sherrod daughter of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born Sept. 6th 1870 Tuesday.
William Ballard Sherrod son of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born March 9th 1872 Saturday.
Jesse Walter Sherrod son of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born March 6th 1874 Friday.
[remainder of page illegible]
pp. 6 [a list of names and year born; very difficult to read]
Rebecca Frances Sherrod daughter of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born July 25th 1859 Monday.
John Turner Sherrod son of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born January 22th 1861.
Charles Henry Sherrod son of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born May 10th 1862 Saturday.
Mary Temperance Sherrod daughter of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born August 18th 1863 Tuesday.
Anna Castine Cherrod daughter of Henry L. & Susan M. Sherrod was born December 28th 1864 Wednesday.
Benjamin Bisco Sherrod son of H. L. [remainder illegible] Thursday.