Poor Warwick. The original shire of Warwick River County was created in 1634, and the name shortened to Warwick in 1643. The county records were destroyed several times, but the most were lost as a consequence of the War Between the States. The clerk’s office burned in 1864, and additional records burned in Richmond in 1865 where they had been moved for safekeeping.
Fortunately the Library of Virginia has been cataloging and publishing online records from “lost counties.” Warwick was just added this year. This post from “Out of the Box” describes the effort.
Over the years, portions of records pilfered from the courthouse during the War have found their way home when found in the collection of other repositories or among the papers of soldiers who served the Union during the War. This deed is one such record, which helps tell the story of Servant Ballard, a son of Francis Ballard of Elizabeth City County and grandson of Thomas Ballard of James City County.
Having settled in Elizabeth City and Warwick and thus oriented toward the Atlantic Ocean, this particular branch of the family appears to have produced a seafaring people not concerned with the accumulation of land. This deed conveys the 100 acres of land devised to Servant by his father, Francis, on Francis’ death in 1719/20.
There are two ways to interpret this document: (1.) Servant Ballard is conveying the property that was devised to him by his father’s will of 1718/19; or (2.) Given the time that has elapsed (73 years), this Servant Ballard may be the grandson of Francis, not the son; however we have not found evidence that Servant had married or produced children. The fact that no wife joined in the transaction to convey a dower interest shows that if he had a wife, she pre-deceased him; and the fact that this legacy is being sold rather than devised to children suggests that Servant was childless, assuming this is the Servant Ballard born c. 1702. Given the tendency of members of the family to live to advanced age, we are inclined to believe that this was the devisee of Francis Ballard.
It is also interesting to note that Servant is identified as “of Elizabeth City County,” not Warwick, so clearly he lived in that county on not on this parcel of land.
This indenture made and executed this 29 day of February anno domini one thousand seven hundred and ninety two between Servant Ballard of Elizabeth City County in the State of Virginia of the one part, and Isaac Avery of the County of Warwick of the other part …
That the said Servant Ballard for and in consideration of one hundred pounds current money of Virginia, in hand paid by the said Isaac Avery to the said Ballard, the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge hath given, granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, confirmed and doth by these present give, grant, bargain and sell, convey and confirm unto the said Isaac Avery and his heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land in the said County of Warwick containing one hundred acres, bounded northwesterly on the lands of the said Isaac Avery, Southwesterly on the lands of Miles Carey, and Westwardly on James River.
To have and to hold (etc.) …
Signed and sealed in the presence of:
Samuel Thomas, Snr., Samuel Dubroe (sp?), Saml. Selden, Nancy, Dalley, John Flax (his mark); Jacob _________ (his mark)
Proved at Warwick Court July 12, 1792 by oaths of Samuel Thomas and John Flax; at a Court held Sept. 13, 1792 the same were further proved by oath of Samuel Dubroe (sp?) and ordered to be recorded. Signed: Miles Carey, Cl. Cur.
While seemingly a dead end, at least this helps fill a gap in the story of this branch of the Ballard family.