Bland Ballard first appears in the land records on 27 January 1734 with his patent of 230 acres in Spotsylvania county, in the forks of the Rappahannock River.1 We know Bland Ballard was living in Spotsylvania county, Virginia as early as 7 November 1738, when he is ordered paid for guarding prisoners at the Spotsylvania Court House.2 In 1739, his name appears in a list of tithables in the precincts of James Pickett, Constable, showing “Blan Ballard’s Quarter.”
A court order of 6 November 1739 states, that “On the motion of Thomas Hill, Gent., that Mr. Humphry Bell’s Quarter tithables where Blan Ballard is overseer, do work on the road under the overseer of & from Nassaponax Bridge to Hill’s Quarter and on the road from the Fall Hill to Edward Herndon’s ordinary and that the said tithable’s be freed from serving on all other roads.”3 A “Quarter” is understood to be a plantation where the owner was not in residence, and the fact that he was overseer at a plantation owned by Humphrey Bell suggests that was an absentee owner himself, employed as an overseer by Thomas Hill on behalf of Humphrey Bell, who is known to have been an absentee owner of plantations in Virginia and was a merchant active in the London trade.4
On 7 October 1740, the Court ordered that Bland Ballard and Joseph Stuart be paid 30 pounds tobo.5 On 7 December 1742 he was again ordered to serve as overseer of roads “from Colo. Spotswood’s waggon road by Mr. Herndon’s to the Fall Run in the room of Joseph Stewart.6
On 2 June 1747, for he was named as bondsman for Timothy Sisk, Administrator of William Whitehouse.7 On 2 August 1758, he was again named a bondsman for James Sparks, Administrator of the estate of James Sparks, dec’d, with William Lewis.8 On the occasion of his daughter Ann’s marriage to William Haydon, on 1 October 1764 he presented the couple with a slave, as did William Haydon’s father, Thomas Haydon.9 He generously provided for his son Benjamin with the purchase of 143 acres in St. George Parish, Spotsylvania county on 5 October 1769 from Wm. Fitzhugh and Ann, his wife of Stafford county, for £65; he then conveyed this property to his son Benjamin on 4 June 1770.10
Bland may have married Mary Dearing, the daughter of Robert Dearing of Orange County, who was named in his will of 18 October 1753, 11 (although she may have been married to the Thomas Ballard who witnessed a deed in Orange county in 1746, who appeared in a land tax list in 1746, and who conveyed land in Orange county to a William Ballard in 1758).12 A Mary Ballard witnessed a deed on 6 September 1763 with Thomas Haydon and Sarah Haydon, which lends support to the assumption that she was the wife of Bland Ballard, given that their daughter married the son of Thomas and Sarah Haydon.13 Also, Robert Beverley’s will of 173314 recorded in Spotsylvania county, Virginia, names his cousin, William Beverley of Blandfield, and two overseers, Anthony Head15 and Robert Dearing (Mary’s father, who is believed to have married Elizabeth Beverley), who each are devised 200 acres of land.; this connection is of some consequence because of Blandfield having a possible connection to a William Ballard, who may have been related to Bland’s father.
The will of Bland Ballard, dated 28 February 1791 was recorded in Spotsylvania county, Virginia on 3 January 1792.16
In the name of God – Amen: I, Bland Ballard, of the County of Spotsylvania, being very sick and weak but of perfect sound mind and memory, thanks be to Almighty God for the same, do make and ordain this – my last will and testament – in manner and form viz:–
Item—My will and desires is that all my just debts and funeral expenses shall be fully paid and satisfied.
Item—I give and bequeath to my son, Thomas Ballard, one negro wench named Sall and her future increase to him and his heirs forever.
Item – I give and bequeath to my son, Benjamin Ballard, one negro wench named Grace, and her future increase, to him and his heirs forever.
Item—I give and bequeath to my daughter, Ann Haydon, one negro girl named Frank, and her future increase, to her and her heirs forever.
Item – I give and bequeath to Betsy Tenant one bed, one sheet, one bolster, one pillow, two blankets and one counterpain to her and her heirs forever.
Item – One negro child named Keziah and all the rest of my estate of whatsoever kind it may consist of, after my decease, as stocks of any kind, household furniture, etc. divided amongst my children, that is to say – Thomas, John, Benjamin and Ann, and I do hereby appoint my sons John Ballard and Benjamin Ballard my joint executors of this – my last will and testament, hereby revoking and disannulling all former and other wills by me made.
In witness Hereof – I have hereunto set my hand and seal – this 28th day of February – One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-one.
Bland X Ballard
Signed, sealed and acknowledged in the presence of G. Bell, William Ballard, Seuner Tennant.
Bland Ballard did not mention or provide for his son Bland for obvious reasons, for the younger Bland had died in Kentucky three years prior to the making of his father’s will in 1791. The younger Bland had left Virginia twelve years before his father’s will was written. The existence of a son named Bland is proven by several documents, such as a deed dated 1 October 1764 in which Bland Ballard signed his name “Bland Ballard, Senior.”17
Bland Ballard first appeared in the land records with the patent of land in Spotsylvania county in 1734; as already noted, changes in county boundaries placed the land in Orange and then Culpeper counties. He finally sold it on 18 March 1786, when he recorded the conveyance from Bland Ballard of Spotsylvania county to Daniel Gerrald of Culpeper county, for “three hundred and twenty pounds Virginia currency.”18 By 1793, the land is found to be “lying in Madison County on south side road leading from Cave’s ford on the Rappidan River up to Mountains” when Daniel Jarrell and Mary, his wife conveyed the same to Benjamin Johnson of Orange county.19
The children of Bland Ballard and Mary Deering were:
BENJAMIN, married Hannah Jones.
THOMAS, married Alice Nugent.
JOHN, married Mary Ann Proctor.
BLAND, married Elizabeth Williams.
Ann, born about 1740, died after 1782 in Gallatin county, Kentucky.20 She married about 1 October 1764 William Haydon of Spotsylvania county, Virginia.21 William Haydon was born about 1740 in King George county, and died 27 January 1820 in Carrolton, Gallatin county, Kentucky.22 They had several children: 1. Benjamin, 2. William, 3. James, 4. Mary, 5. Sarah, 6. Elizabeth, 7. Bland Ballard, and 8. John W.23 This Haydon family removed at Harrodsburg, Kentucky in 1779. Her son Benjamin Haydon was a distinguished Revolutionary soldier and also fought in the War of 1812, who married Hannah McPike and had fourteen children. In 1828 he was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from Owen county.24 For an exhaustive study of the Haydon family, see Robert Haydon’s William Haydon, Kentucky Adventurer 1740-1819 (Little Rock, Ark., 2000) (privately published).
1. 27 January 1734. Patent Book 15, p. 423. It was referred to in a number of neighboring patents, but because of boundary changes the land fell subsequently into Orange, Culpeper, and finally Madison Co.; see, for example, Patent of Benjamin Cave, 7 July 1735 for 200 acres in Fork of the Rapipidanne R., in Orange Co. Bounded by Bland Ballard, John Wisdom, Charles Blunt & Darby Queen. Patent Book 16, pp. 16-17. See also Patent of Thomas Watts & John Zachory, 7 July 1735 for 333 acres in the fork of the Rappidanne River in Orange Co., bounded by c. of Dickson & James Barber, another p. of sd. Barber & Blan Ballard.”
2. “Bland Ballard, Charles Dayton, Wm. Morris, John Jones & Benja: Borden p. the same [32 nights as by list allowed each for guarding prisoners] 200 pounds.” Spotsylvania Co., Va. Order Book 1738-40, p. 26.
3. Spotsylvania Co., Va. Order Book 1738-40, p. 61.
4. Humphrey Bell’s American agent was his nephew, Humphrey Hill of Hillsborough, King & Queen county. Bell had rescued Hill from an English orphanage called Christ Hospital School (Bluecoat), London, where his father, Thomas Hill, had abandoned him in 1716 after the death of the boy’s mother, Edith Bell, Bell’s sister. Bell obtained his discharge on 20 January 1720, raised the boy and commissioned him to manage his Virginia investments. Bland Ballard was overseer of land for both investors, and was likely furnished a residence near Fredericksburg on one of the plantations. Haydon, pp. 10-11; footnote 11, p. 313. Representative transactions follow:
Ambrose Madison & Frances, his wife of Drysdale Parish, King & Queen Co., to Humphrey Bell of London, Merchant, for £170 (paid by Humphrey Hill, agent of said Bell). 863 acres of land in St. Geo. Parish, Spotsylvania Co., part of a patent granted Majr. Augt. Smith 1 August 1719. Wit: John Waller, Z. Lewis, Robert Green. Dated & recorded 7 November 1727. Spotsylvania Co. Va. Deed Book A, 1722-29 (William Armstrong Crozier, Spotsylvania County, 1721-1800 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978), p. 100).
Thomas Hill of St. Geo. Parish, Spotsylvania Co., Merchant, mortgage to Humphrey Bell of London, Merchant, £382.16.2. Wit: Wm. Cowne, John Blake, Benja. Hubbard. Dated 6 February 1740, recorded 7 April 1741; and Thomas Hill of St. Geo. Parish, Spotsylvania Co., Merchant, mortgage to Humphrey Bell of London, Merchant, £250. Mortgage of lands & plantations in Orange Co. Wit: Wm. Cowne, John Blake, Benja. Hubbard. Dated 6 February 1740, recorded 7 April 1741. Spotsylvania Co. Va. Deed Book C, 1734-42 (Crozier p. 154).
Humphrey Hill of King & Queen, Gent., & Frances, his wife, to Humphrey Bell of London, Merchant, £8.5. 2 lots in town of Fredericksburg, purchased by said Hill of feoffees of the town as by deeds 3 December 1728. Wit: Ambrose Camp, John Hill, Robt. Baylor, John Smith. Dated 30 May 1757, recorded 7 June 1757. Spotsylvania Co. Va. Deed Book E, 1751-61 (Crozier p. 204).
George Nelson, Esq., Alderman of London, in Gt. Britain & Mary, his wife; Latham Arnold & John Maynard of London, Merchants; to Thomas Coleman of Spotsylvania Co., Va. Whereas, Humphrey Bell, late of Clapham, in Surry Co., and of Old Swan Lane, in the City of London, Merchant, by his last will & testament dated 12 February 1757, recorded in Prerogative Court of Archbishop of Canterbury, & thereby did leave his property in Virginia to sd. Nelson, Arnold & Maynard, in trust for purposes stated in the will; & whereas by deeds dated 19 April 1757 recorded in King William Co. the said Bell did convey to sd. Arnold & Maynard his lands & plantations in King Wm, King & Queen, Caroline & Spots Cos in trust to sell & convey land said Bell died seized of (a tract of 1,395 ac. in Spots) which Humphrey Hill, Gent. (As agent) did sell to the sd. Thomas Coleman for £299 curr.; said Nelson, Arnold & Maynard by this deed convey the estate to Coleman. [no witnesses]. [similar transactions following: to Daniel Trigg, 500 acres, £80; to Robert Coleman, 2,680 acres, “Iron pan” for £500; to Thomas McNeil, 141 acres, £42. Dated & recorded: 1 October 1759. Spotsylvania Co. Va. Deed Book E, 1751-61 (Crozier, pp. 211-12).
Humphrey Hill of King & Queen Co., Gent., for himself, George Nelson, Esq., Latham Arnold & Jno. Maynard, Executors of last will & testament of Humphrey Bell, late of London, Merchant, dec’d, to Alexander Wright of Fredericksburg, Merchant, for £300. Lots 23 & 24 in Fredericksburg. Dated 4 June 1760, recorded 4 August 1760. Spotsylvania Co. Va. Deed Book E, 1751-61 (Crozier, p. 216).
5. Spotsylvania Co., Va. Order Book 1740-42, pp. 9, 104.
6. Ibid, p. 190.
7. Spotsylvania Co., Va. Will Book A (Crozier, p. 57).
8. Spotsylvania Co., Va. Will Book B (Crozier, p. 60).
9. Deed of Gift dated 1 October 1764 from “Bland Ballard, Senior of Spotsylvania Co. To his daughter Ann Ballard, now called Ann Haydon, a negro.” Witnessed by G. Bell and Thos. Reeves, recorded 1 October 1764, Spotsylvania Co., Va. Deed Book F (Crozier, p. 231). See also Deed of Gift dated 12 September 1764 from Thomas Haydon of Spotsylvania Co. To his son William Haydon & his wife, Ann Haydon, a negro. Witnessed by Guy Bell, Wm. Nelson, recorded 1 October 1764 (Crozier, p. 231).
10. Deed from Wm. Fitzhugh & Ann, his wife, of Stafford Co. To Bland Ballard of Spotsylvania Co., for £65, 143 acres in St. George Parish, Spotsylvania Co., witnessed by Chs. Carter, Ben. Gwinn, James Benson, B. Johnston, Phillip Somerby, Jno. Brock, Jos. Brock. Recorded 4 June 1770, Spotsylvania Co., Va. Deed Book G. Deed from Bland Ballard of Spotsylvania Co. To his son, Benjamin Ballard, of Spotsylvania Co., 143 acres in St. George Parish, Spotsylvania Co. No witnesses. Recorded 4 June 1770, Spotsylvania Co., Va. Deed Book G (Crozier, p. 273).
11. Will of Robert Dearing of St. Thomas Parish, Orange Co.
In the Name of God, Amen the last Will and Testament of Robert Dearing of Saint Thomas in the county of Orange being in perfect mind and Memory I resign my Soul to its creator in humble hopes of its future happenings as in the disposed of a being infinitely good as to my body I desire it may be buried in a Christian like manner and as for my worldly Estate- which it has pleased the Almighty God to bless me with my will is that it should be disposed of in the following manner.
I give to my son Edward Dearing all that part of my tract of land that lies on the West side of the little run to him & his heirs forever and Remainder of my Tract I give to my son Robert Deering forever and the heirs of his Body lawfully begot
I leave all my personal- Estate to my beloved wife Elizabeth Deering during her life or Widowhood & then to be equally divided between Edward Deering & Robert Dearing & Dorathear Hubbard & Elizabeth Head and Ann Harrell & Mary Ballard & if either of them- should die their part shall return & be equally Divided among the rest and I Constitute my beloved wife and my son Robert Deering Executors of this my last Will & Testament and all other to be void & of none — as Witness of my hand and seal this 18th day of October in the year of our Lord God 1753. Robert Dearing. Witnesses: William Gresham, James Fithgerrell, Elizabeth Gresham.
At the court held for Orange County on Thursday the 27 th of July 1758 This last Will & Testament of Robert Deering desc. was presented into court by Eliz. Deering & Robert Deering the Executors.
Recorded Orange Co. Va. Will Book 2, pp. 272-73. Robert Dearing is likely the husband of Elizabeth Beverley, and was devised land by Robert Beverley in his will of 1733 (see Note 14 below).
12. Deed dated 15 February 1758 from Thomas Ballard of Orange Co. & William Ballard of same, for £20; 200 acres near head of the Blue Run … bounded land formerly belonging to John Bryson. Witnessed by Frs. Jones, Barnett Franklyn, Jas. Griffith. Recorded 23 February 1758, Orange Co. Va. Deed Book 12, pp. 432-36. This could also have been Bland’s son, Thomas, but the precise identity of William is unknown.
13. 6 September 1763. Deed from Benjamin Leavell of Spotsylvania Co. & Mildred, his wife, to James Redd of same for £20, 100 acres in Spotsylvania Co., ½ or mostly of tract purchased by Edwd. Leavell from Thomas Benson. Witnesses: John Bulock, Thos. Haydon, Mary Ballard, Sarah Haydon. Spotsylvania Co. Va. D.B. F (Crozier, p. 234). Mildred Leavell was the daughter of Thomas Haydon, as was Sarah Haydon, the other witness in the deed. On 22 September 1764, Thomas Haydon gave his daughter Mildred and son-in-law Benjamin Leavell a negro girl named Easter. Cited by Margaret A. Karsner Murphy, The Saga of the Haydon Family and Allied Lines (1984) typescript; copy in the possession of the author).
14. Will of Robert Beverley, St. George’s Parish, dated 12 May 1733, probated 5 June 1733 (abstract). Mentions late father, Mr Harry Beverley; nephew Beverley Stanard 6,000 acres of land, part of the tract at the mountains in Spotsylvania Co. called Octonia Land; brother-in-law Benjamin Winslow, 300 acres of the same tract; to Anthony Head, 200 acres of the same tract to include the plantation the said Head now lives on; to Robert Dearing 200 acres of the Octonia Tranct; my only son Harry Beverley, not to be sent to England, but put to school at ye college at the age of ten years. William Beverley to be his guardian; my three unmarried sisters, Mary, Catherine and Agatha, to live in my house at Neroland as previously; wife Ann Beverley; my five sisters; my sister Stanard’s two daughters. Witness: Elias Watt, Jerome Armon, Larkin Chew, W. Beverley. Executor: my wife; cousin William Beverley aand my brother Benjamin Winslow, in case of my wife’s marriage. Spotsylvania Co. Va. Will Book A, p. 188 (Crozier, pp. 3-4).
15. Anthony Head may have been related in the same degree as Robert Dearing from Robert Beverley. See notes on the Head Family of Orange County appearing in Allied Families.
16. Spotsylvania Co., Va. Will Book E, p. 1130 (Crozier, p. 47).
17. Crozier, p. 231.
18. 18 March 1786. This Indenture between Bland Ballard of Spotsylvania County of one part & Daniel Gerrald of Culpeper County of the other part. Witnesseth that Bland Ballard in consideration of the sum of three hundred and twenty pounds Virginia currency to him in hand paid by Daniel Gerrald, by these presents do bargain sell & confirm unto Daniel Gerrald his heirs a certain tract of land situate in County of Culpeper containing two hundred and thirty acres lying in the Fork of the Rappidan River in the County of Culpeper …and all houses orchards profits and appurtenances to the same belonging; and all right title claim and demand Bland Ballard ever had to the tract of land …Witnesses: John Davis, Alexander Jarrall, Daniel Jarrell, Benja: Ballard. Indenture partly proved by Oaths of Alexander Jarrell and Daniel Jarrell. At a court held the 16th day of November 1793, the Indenture was fully proved by the Oath of John Davis and ordered recorded. Culpeper Co. Va. Deed Book S (1792-94), pp. 448-450.
19. Interestingly, the deed recites that Jarrell purchased the land “from Bland & William Ballard and contains 245 acres .. bounded by Ambrose Barbour, Thomas Watts & Benjamin Cave…” Indenture dated 3 September 1793, recorded 26 September 1793, Madison Co. Va. Deed Book 1 (1793-96), pp. 17-18.
20. Lynne D. Miller, Bland Ballard Family (privately published, May 2008) p. 7 (hereinafter Miller, BB).
21. Crozier, p. 47.
22. Miller, BB, p. 7.
23. Murphy, supra.
24. Margaret Morris Bridwell, “Notes on One of the Early Ballard Families of Kentucky, Including the Ballard Massacre,” Filson Club History Quarterly, Vol. XIII (1939) pp. 1-20 (reprinted in Genealogies of Kentucky Families from the Filson Club History Quarterly (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981) p. 51 (hereinafter Kentucky Genealogies), citing The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 16, No. 48, September 1918, pp. 72-75.