The date on which John Ballard, son of John Ballard of Nansemond County, Virginia, was born must have been before 1673, the date of his father’s land patent in which he is named as a headlight. He died after 18 July 1736, the date of his last will and testament which was recorded in Chowan County, North Carolina on 26 November 1736 in Grant Book 4, Will No. 59. In his will he names one daughter, Ann, and a daughter-in-law, Sarah, a son having pre-deceased him; the son’s name is not given.
He married Mary _____________, who survived him.
The Virginia Quit Rent Roll of 1704 reports that a John Ballard possessed 400 acres in Nansemond, while a Joseph Ballard owned 200 acres. These two are likely the sons of the John Ballard of Nansemond, though we are unable to explain the difference in acreage with the elder John’s 300 acre patent. From this information we infer that the elder John died before 1704.
John Ballard is mentioned in a patent taken 20 July 1733 by John Porter, Junr. for 1 pound to secure 185 acres in the Upper Parish of Nansemond County, in John Ballard’s line near the head of the Graves Swamp, adjacent Robert Yeats & John Winbourne.1
John Ballard left a will in Chowan Precinct dated 18 July 1736.2 Presumably he and his Virginia land patent came to be in Chowan with the 1728 boundary adjustment between Virginia and North Carolina. This requires further study.
In the name of God, Amen. I, John Ballard of the Chowan Precinct, being very sick and weak of body, but of sound mind and memory and understanding thanks be to God for it, do make, constitute, and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following.
Item: My will and desire is that my wife Mary Ballard shall have free and quite [title?] to … of (?) the land and plantation I now live on and all the stock during her life only what I shall give to my daughter-in-law Sarah.
Item: After my wife Mary Ballard dies, I give my land and plantation I now live on to my only daughter Ann Ballard and to the heirs of her body, lawfully begotten or to be gotten with the stock that is not upon the plantation before what I shall give to my daughter-in-law Sarah.
Item: I give unto my daughter-in-law Sarah one cow and calf and one heifer and one sow and pigs with one small iron pot and what ever else shall be disposed of as … or other wise I bequeath unto my wife Mary Ballard.
I ordain and desire John Low (?) and John Jones (Jan?) to be my executors of this my first and last will and testament given under my hand and seal with 18th day of July in the year of our Lord, 1736.
— John Ballard (Mark)
Signed, Sealed and Declared in the presence of Beny Talbot William Fallone (?). Probate: Beny Talbot formally came before me and made oath that he saw John Ballard sign seal and publish the within as his last will and testament and that at the same time he was of sound and disposing mind and memory. W. Smith
The will names a daughter-in-law Sarah. The designation of an “in-law” was looser in Colonial times, so please note that Sarah could have been either (1) the wife of a son who predeceased the father; or (2) the daughter of his wife from a prior marriage.
[possibly] Ralph, who may have married Sarah ___________________. Some researchers assert that a Ralph Ballard is the son of John Ballard, Jr of Nansemond County. It is difficult to place him in a narrative because we know him from a single record, for on 6 April 1722 in North Carolina, Ralph Ballard patented 528 acres on the east side of Chowan River ‘twixt the river and Hell’s Pocoson joining Jonathon Robenson (Robinson).3 He could very well be a son of John, Sr., and if so, he was born after 1673. If, on the other hand, he was John, Jr’s son, he died before 1736, which is the year John Jr. wrote his will. In any event, it appears that he died without issue.
Some researchers have assumed, based on proximity to other Lineage Group II Ballards (and because of the need to fill a gap) that Ralph was the father of Abraham Ballard of Perquimans County, North Carolina. Perquimans County Tax Records show that by 1745 Abraham Ballard took possession of land once owned by Elisha Ballard of Nansemond County, Virginia (later Perquimans, then Gates County, North Carolina), whose Virginia patent was found to be in North Carolina after the survey of the boundary line in 1728 and re-patented by him in North Carolina in 1743. This is strong evidence that Abraham was Elisha’s eldest son, and not the son of Ralph Ballard.
1. Patent Book No. 15, p. 12. C&P, Vol. IV, p. 12.
2. Will transcript obtained from online record in Ballard-L Archives. An abstract published in the North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register states that John Ballard’s will is dated 12 July 1736 and was probated 26 November 1736. North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. I, No. 1 (January 1900) p. 29.
3. North Carolina Land Grant Book III, p. 98. North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 1900) p. 11.