Bland Williams Ballard of Shelby County, Kentucky (1759-1853).

Captain Bland Williams Ballard’s celebrated life has been the subject of a number of biographical sketches.  This excerpt from Lewis Collins’ History of Kentucky (Covington: Collins & Co., 1882) is the best summary of his life and times (with the exception of an incorrect date of birth),1 and appears to rely upon original interviews conducted with Bland Williams Ballard and his contemporaries by Lyman Copeland Draper.2

Capt. Bland W. Ballard was born near Fredericksburg, Va., Oct. 16, 1761,3  and died in Shelby co., Ky., Sept. 5, 1853 – aged 92 years.  His remains are interred in the State Cemetery at Frankfort.

He came to Kentucky in 1779, when 18 years old; joined the militia; served in Col. Bowman’s expedition, May, 1779; in Gen. Clark’s expedition against the Piqua towns, July, 1780, where he was dangerously wounded in the hip, and suffered from it until his death; in Gen. Clark’s expedition, Nov., 1782, against the same towns; in 1786, was a spy for Gen. Clark in the Wabash expedition, rendered abortive by mutiny of the soldiers; in 1791, was a guide under Gens. Scott and Wilkinson; and Aug. 20, 1794, was with Gen. Wayne at the battle of the “Fallen Timbers.”4

When not engaged in regular campaign, he served as hunter and spy for General Clark, who was stationed at Louisville, and in this service he continued for two years and a half.  During this time he had several encounters with the Indians.  One of these occurred just below Louisville.  He had been sent in his character of spy to explore the Ohio from the mouth of Salt river to the falls, and from thence up to what is now the town of Westport.  On his way down the river, when six or eight miles below the falls, he heard, early one morning, a noise on the Indiana shore.  He immediately concealed himself in the bushes, and when the fog had scattered sufficiently to permit him to see, he discovered a canoe filled with three Indians, approaching the Kentucky shore.  When they had approached within range, he fired and killed one.  The others jumped overboard, and endeavored to get their canoe into deep water, but before they succeeded, he killed a second, and finally the third.  Upon reporting his morning’s work to General Clark, a detachment was sent down, who found the three dead Indians and buried them.  For this service General Clark gave him a linen shirt, and some other small presents.  This shirt, however, was the only one he had for several years, except those made of leather; of this shirt the pioneer hero was doubtless justly proud.

While on scout to the Saline Licks, on one occasion, Ballard, with one companion, came suddenly upon a large body of Indians, just as they were in the act of encamping.  They immediately charged, firing their guns and raising the yell.  This induced the Indians, as they had anticipated, to disperse for the moment, until the strength of the assailing party could be ascertained.  During this period of alarm, Ballard and his companion mounted two of the best horses they could find, and retreated for two days and nights, until they reached the Ohio, which they crossed upon a raft, making their horses swim.  As they ascended the Kentucky bank, the Indians reached the opposite shore.

At the time of the defeat on Long Run, he was living at Linn’s station on Beargrass, and came up to assist some families in moving from Squire Boon’s station near the present town of Shelbyville.  The people of this station had become alarmed on account of the numerous Indian signs in the country, and had determined to move to the stronger stations on the Beargrass.  They proceeded safely until they arrived near Long Run, when they were attacked front and rear by the Indians, who fired their rifles and then rushed on them with their tomahawks.  Some few of the men ran at the first fire, of the others, some succeeded in saving part of their families, or died with them after a brave resistance.  The subject of this sketch, after assisting several of the women on horseback who had been thrown at the first onset, during which he had one or two single handed combats with the Indians, and seeing the party about to be defeated, he succeeded in getting outside of the Indian line, when he used his rifle with some effect, until he saw they were totally defeated.  He then started for the station, pursued by the Indians, and on stopping at Floyd’s Fork, in the bushes, on the bank, he saw an Indian on horseback pursuing the fugitives ride into the creek, and as he ascended the bank near to where Ballard stood, he shot the Indian, caught the horse and made good his escape to the station.  Many were killed, the number not recollected, some taken prisoners, and some escaped to the station.  They afterwards learned from the prisoners taken on this occasion, that the Indians who attacked them were marching to attack the station the whites had deserted, but learning from their spies that they were moving, the Indians turned from the head of Bullskin and marched in the direction of Long Run.  The news of this defeat induced Colonel Floyd to raise a party of thirty-seven men, with the intention of chastising the Indians.  Floyd commanded one division and Captain Holden the other, Ballard being with the latter.  They proceeded with great caution, but did not discover the Indians until they received their fire, which killed or mortally wounded sixteen of their men.  Notwithstanding the loss, the party under Floyd maintained their ground, and fought bravely until overpowered by three times their number, who appealed to the tomahawk.  The retreat, however, was completed without much further loss.  This occasion has been rendered memorable by the magnanimous gallantry of young Wells (afterwards the Colonel Wells of Tippecanoe) who saved the life of Floyd, his personal enemy, by the timely offer of his horse at a moment when the Indians were near to Floyd, who was retreating on foot and nearly exhausted.

In 1788, the Indians attacked the little Fort on Tick creek (a few miles east of Shelbyville), where his father resided.  It happened that this father had removed a short distance out of the fort, for the purpose of being convenient to the sugar camp.  The first intimation that they had of the Indians, was early in the morning, when his brother Benjamin went out to get wood to make a fire.  They shot him and then assailed the house.  The inmates barred the door and prepared for defense.  His father was the only man in the house, and no man in the fort, except the subject of this sketch and one old man.  As soon as he heard the guns he repaired to within shooting distance of his father’s house, but dared not venture nearer.  Here he commenced using his rifle with good effect.  In the meantime the Indians broke open the house and killed the father, not before, however, he had killed one or two of their number.  The Indians, also, killed one full sister, one half sister, his step-mother, and tomahawked the youngest sister, a child, who recovered.  When the Indians broke into the house, his step-mother endeavored to effect her escape by the back door, but an Indian pursued her and as he raised his tomahawk to strike her, the subject of this sketch fired at the Indian, not, however, in time to prevent the fatal blow, and they both fell and expired together.  The Indians were supposed to number about fifteen, and before they completed their work of death, they sustained a loss of six or seven.

During the period he was a spy for General Clark, he was taken prisoner by five Indians on the other side of the Ohio, a few miles above Louisville, and conducted to an encampment twenty-five miles from the river.  The Indians treated him comparatively well, for though they kept him with a guard they did not tie him.  On the next day after his arrival at the encampment, the Indians were engaged in horse racing.  In the evening two very old warriors were to have a race, which attracted the attention of all the Indians, and his guard left him a few steps to see how the race would terminate.  Near him stood a fine black horse, which the Indians had stolen recently from Beargrass, and while the attention of the Indians was attracted in a different direction, Ballard mounted this horse and had a race indeed.  They pursued him nearly to the river, but he escaped, though the horse died soon after he reached the station.  This was the only instance, with the exception of that at the river Raisin, that he was a prisoner.  He was in a skirmish with the Indians near the Saline Licks, Colonel Hardin being the commander; the Colonel Hardin who fought gallantly under Morgan at the capture of Burgoyne, and who fell a sacrifice to Indian perfidy in the northwest; the father of General M. D. Hardin, and grand-father of Col. J.J. Hardin of Illinois, whose heroic death at Buena Vista was worthy of his unsullied life.

In after life Major Ballard repeatedly represented the people of Shelby county in the legislature,5 and commanded a company in Colonel [John] Allen’s regiment under General Harrison in the campaign of 1812-13.6  He led the advance of the detachment, which fought the first battle of the river Raisin – was wounded slightly on that day, and severely by a spent ball on the 22nd January.  This wound, also, continued to annoy his old age.  On this disastrous occasion he was taken prisoner, and suffered severely by the march through snow and ice, from Malden to Fort George.

As an evidence of the difficulties which surrounded the early pioneer in this country, it may be proper to notice an occasion in which Major Ballard was disturbed by the Indians at the spot where he then resided.  They stole his only horse by night.  He heard them when they took the horse from the door to which he was tied.  His energy and sagacity was such, that he got in advance of the Indians before they reached the Ohio, waylaid them, three in number, shot the one riding his horse, and succeeded not only in escaping, but in catching the horse and riding back in safety.

The preceding account describes many of Bland Williams Ballard’s many exploits and demonstrates his courage.   Dr Lyman C. Draper describes him thus: “Ballard says he has killed 30 to 40. Inds—was seven years rep[resentative] of Shelby county, soon after Wayne’s Campaign, commencing in ’95 or ’96.  Ballard [was] six feet, strong, raw boney man weighing upwards of 200; passionate and quick, and even over frank, but would speak what he thought regardless of consequences.”7

We know that early in 1779 Ballard and his father went to Boonesborough, Ky.,8 where one or both of them took part in Col. Bowman’s unsuccessful campaign against the Indians at Chillicothe.9  They returned to Virginia in the fall, but in the following spring young Ballard was again in Kentucky, and it is probable that his father and the rest of the family arrived at the same time.10

The son’s early life was one of toil and hardship and an eager quest for danger.  At the time, says his Eulogist, Col. Humphrey Marshall, when most Kentuckians were primarily concerned in getting land, young Ballard devoted himself to the cause of protecting the settlements from Indians.11

In 1781, he was with Gen. George Rogers Clark in the indecisive attack on the Pickaway towns in Ohio, where he was wounded.  In the same year, in the disastrous battle on Long Run (in the present county of Jefferson), Kentucky, he escaped by killing an Indian and escaping on his victim’s horse.12  On the following day he was one of a party that renewed the fight and was again a survivor of a defeat.13

In 1782 he was once more with Clark in an attack on the Pickaway towns, which this time was successful.  It was probably in the following winter that he married Elizabeth Williamson, a woman of great courage and the survivor of an Indian massacre at Lynn Station in September 1781, in which her father and one of her brothers was killed.  In 1786 he served as a spy with Clark in the expedition against the Indians on the Wabash.14

The Ballards with others settled near the present Shelbyville in 1787, and here on 31 March of the following year they were attacked by Indians.  The father, stepmother and several children were killed, but Ballard by a heroic defense, in which he was aided by his wife, succeeded in withdrawing the survivors.  In a letter to Dr Lyman C. Draper, Judge Bland Ballard stated that “Maj. Ballard when asked how many Indians he has killed in one day, has often replied, “I killed six one morning before breakfast, & not a very good morning for the business.”15  Most likely he was referring to the Ballard Massacre.16  The next five years appear to have been uneventful, but on 5 April 1791 he was recommended to the Governor as Captain of the County Militia.17  In 1793 he joined Gen. Anthony Wayne, taking part in the campaign which virtually ended with the victory at Fallen Timbers, 20 August 1794.18

In the year 1795 Bland W. Ballard appears in the Shelby county Tax Lists with the following property:19

Name                   Horses        Cattle        County/Water Course/Acres of Land

Ballard, Bland W.          3                      20               Shelby/Bullskin/100

Ballard, Bland W.                                                     Jefferson/Pond Creek/600

Ballard, Bland W.                                                      Jefferson/Pond Creek/325

Ballard, Bland W.                                                       Jefferson/Harrods Creek/ 325

As already noted, he served five terms in the Kentucky legislature from 1795 to 1811.20  He fought at Tippecanoe, and in the following year, on the declaration of war against England, he organized and was made captain of a company in Col. John Allen’s regiment,21 subsequently attaining the rank of major.  In the defeat at Raisin River (22 January 1813) he was twice wounded and made a prisoner, but escaped the Indian massacre that followed.22

On his release after the War of 1812, Bland Williams Ballard returned to his farm.  His first wife, Elizabeth Williamson, died 12 January 1827.  He then married Dianah Matthews on 10 September 1833,23 who died 17 August 1835; on 28 October 1841, he married Mrs Elizabeth Weaver Garrett, who survived him.24  He died at his home on 5 September 1853, leaving many descendants in Shelby and Henry counties.  His will is recorded among the records of Shelby county.25

I, Bland W. Ballard, of the County of Shelby and State of Kentucky, being of sound and disposing mind do make this my last will and testament.

I do will and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Ballard fifty acres of land off the homestead farm, one negro man named George now in my possession (while he remains my property) and also one hundred dollars in cash during her natural life.

I will and bequeath to my daughter Patsy Rounder fifty acres of land off the homestead tract.

I will and bequeath grandson Absalom T. Matthews one hundred and sixty-two and a half acres of land more or less lying in the County of Jefferson and State aforesaid adjoining the land of Tyler Swindler; also one negro man named Tom (while he remains my property).

I will and bequeath to my granddaughter Amanda Malvina Matthews fifty acres of land off of the homestead tract, and also two hundred dollars in cash, and also one half of a negro man named Dick (while he remains my property), and also one sorrel filly, one feather bed well furnished.

I will and bequeath to my granddaughter Elizabeth Matthews fifty acres of land off of the homestead tract, and also two hundred dollars in cash, also the other half of the above named negro man named Dick (while he remains my property), also one roan filly, also one featherbed well furnished.

I have given to my son James Ballard and my daughter Polly Hough and my daughter Dolly Stone and my daughter Sally Smith and their heirs all that I intend to give them.

I have a tract of land lying in Oldham County, state aforesaid, containing about fourteen acres adjoining the land of John Ballard of said county which I direct to be sold by my executor and the proceeds to be equally divided between the four above named heirs, to wit, Patsy Rounder, A. T. Matthews, A. M. Matthews and Elizabeth Matthews.

I also give to my wife Elizabeth Ballard an equal part with the above named, to wit, Patsy Rounder, A. T. Matthews, A. M. Matthews and Elizabeth Matthews of the proceeds of the sale of the above named tract of fourteen acres of land, and also of the personal estate not herein specified.

I appoint Benjamin Rounder and Absalom T. Matthews my executors to this will.  Bland W. Ballard (his X mark).  Testators: Gordon Logan, B. H. Logan.

A man of action, he possessed to an exceptional degree the qualities needful on the frontier – alertness, courage, fortitude, and patient endurance.  The regard in which he and his first wife were held by their fellow citizens is attested by the act of the Kentucky legislature in the winter of 1853-54 in providing for the re-interment of their remains at the State Cemetery at Frankfort.  On 8 November 1854, the bodies were re-buried with imposing ceremonies, and a Eulogy for the occasion was delivered by Colonel Humphrey Marshall.26

The original burial place was at a farm owned in 1979 by Nash Neal, about 29 miles west of Shelbyville, Kentucky.  The exact site of the graves has been lost.  Two grave markers were taken for safe keeping by Robert Matthews, Sr, a descendant, and that year the stones were in the possession of his son, William Matthews.  They read: “Elizabeth Ballard, Consort of Bland W. Ballard, who died January the 12th, 1827.”  Dianah Ballard, Consort of Bland W. Ballard, who died August the 17th, 1835.”27

The children of Bland Williams Ballard and Elizabeth Williamson were:

JAMES, born 30 March 1783 in Shelby county, Kentucky, died 1841 in Oldham county, Kentucky.  Married 19 November 1812 Elizabeth “Betsy” Schackelford, born 11 September 1785 in Georgia, died 1 March 1853 in Oldham county, Kentucky, the daughter of John Shackelford and Ann White.28

Mary (also known as Polly), born about 1787 in Shelby county, Kentucky, died in Pike county, Missouri; married 25 December 1810 Luke Hough (sometimes spelled Haff), who was born about 1785 and died between 1850 and 1860.  They had eight children.29

Dorothy, married 11 December 1827 Stephen Stone.30

Susan, born between 1795 & 1805 in Shelby county, Kentucky, died about 1862 in Oldham county, Kentucky; married 20 June 1822 Jonathan Matthews, the son of Bradley Matthews.31   Jonathan Matthews was the brother of Dianah Matthews, Bland Williams Ballard’s second wife.  Jonathan Matthews died after a lengthy illness in August 1829, leaving three children; Susan died in 1835, and their three children lived with their grandfather, Bland W. Ballard.  On his death in 1853, Bland W. Ballard left the majority of his property to these grandchildren: 1. Absalom T. Matthews, 2. Amanda Malvina Matthews, and 3. Elizabeth Ann Matthews.32  The Matthews Family Bible notes “Elizabeth Ann Matthews died at the Parsonage near Scott’s Station of malaria fever on the 2nd of October 1879.  Age fifty-two years.”  Amanda Malvina Matthews “died December 3, 1912 at the home of her niece, Mrs T. H. Thurman, on West Main Street.  She lacked only a few weeks of being ninety years old.  She was a life-long member of the Baptist Church.”33  Absalom T. Matthews resided in the log house built by his grandfather, with some additions and weatherboarding, and lived there until he died 30 June 1894.  The house stood until 1912, when a subsequent owner, Mr Allie Pearce acquired the property, tore down the old building and built a new house that year.  Absalom Matthews married 29 September 1857 Ann Elizabeth Rounder (who died 13 April 1900), the daughter of Benjamin Rounder.  They had seven children, three of whom survived to adulthood: 1. Josephine Ballard (10 November 1858-16 November 1934), who married 23 January 1908 Thomas Havelock Thurman.  2. Mary Susan (6 August 1860-19 February 1881).  3. Belle (Isabella) (1 October 1862-20 February 1880).  4. Benjamin Franklin (25 February 1865-30 December 1951), married 30 May 1895 Margaret May Killgore.  5. John (19 February 1868-25 February 1868).  6. Charles Gatewood (31 May 1869-10 October 1895).  7. Annette (12 June 1873-5 December 1873).  In his will34 he names his wife, Anne Elizabeth Matthews, his son Charles Gatewood, a daughter, Josephine Ballard, and a son Benjamin Franklin.35

Sarah (“Sally”), born 1 August 1788, died 1835 in Jefferson county, Kentucky; married 15 June 1809 Adam Smith, the son of John Smith and Leany Mooney.  They had eight children.36

Martha (“Patsy”), born between 1795 & 1805, died about 1862 in Oldham county, Kentucky; married 24 June 1828 (1) William Shakelford, who was born abut 1795, died 1847; she married 1 December 1849 (2) Benjamin Rounder, who was born about 1795 and died 1875.  They had one child, Dorothy (born 1838, died after 1880).37

Nancy, married 28 April 1813 John C. Patterson.38

If we are confident that Dowan Ballard, Sr knew the name of his own father upon his sale to John Macklin c. 1848 when he was between 23 and 28 years of age, it is possible that Bland Williams Ballard is his father.  A a review of Federal and state census and tax records show that there was no other head of household bearing that name residing in Kentucky from 1810 to 1850.  Federal and state records show that Bland Williams Ballard owned slaves at least from 1810 until his death in 1853.  It should be noted, however, that the 1830 census does not include a male who would have been Dowan’s age, and Bland’s brother James Ballard of Shelby County did have a male slave of the appropriate age and a female slave of childbearing years.  Nevertheless, the family tradition of a union between Bland Williams Ballard and a servant called Flora remains unproven.

The child of Bland Williams Ballard and his mulatto servant39 Flora was:

DOWAN, married Matilda Bartlett.


Endnotes

1. Entries in a number of biographical dictionaries provide differing interpretations of his life; see, for example, Allen Johnson, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964) Vol. I, p. 554; Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume 1607-1896 (Chicago: A.N. Marquis Company, 1967) p. 106; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1967) Vol. V, pp.124-25.

2. The Lyman Copeland Draper Manuscript Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society in the University of Wisconsin at Madison contains works, notes, diaries and papers regarding explorations and military campaigns concerning the early history of much of the Trans-Allegheny West, which included the western Carolinas and Virginia, some portions of Georgia and Alabama, the entire Ohio River valley, and parts of the Mississippi River valley.  Most of the approximately 500 volumes of material cover the time period between the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 (ca. 1755-1815).

3. Bland Williams Ballard’s birth year here is incorrect; the correct date is 16 October 1759, as authenticated by a manuscript in the Draper Manuscript Collection (8 J, 150), and corroborated by the 1840 US Federal Census, which identified Revolutionary War pensioners and lists his age as 81 years.  1840 US Federal Census, Shelby, Kentucky, p. 151.

4. The importance of Clark’s military service to the cause of the American Revolution is described by Margery Heberling Harding, George Rogers Clark and His Men: Military Records, 1778-1784 (Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1981) (introduction by Lowell H. Harrison).

5. From 1795 until 1811, he represented Shelby county five terms in the Kentucky legislature. Johnson, p. 554.

6. His service is noted in Minnie S. Wilder’s Kentucky Soldiers of the War of 1812 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969), pp. 28-9, where the Roll of Captain Bland W. Ballard’s Company First Rifle Regiment, Kentucky Militia shows his enlistment on 15 August 1812.

7. Draper Mss., 8J, 150-181, cited in Kentucky Genealogies, p. 56.

8. Revolutionary War Pension Application, 13 October 1834. Shelby County, Ky. Bland W. Ballard of said county, age 75, declares he enlisted in the Spring of 1779 in Spotsylvania Co., Va., for three years in Capt. Benjamin Robert’s company in Slaughter’s corps. He came to Kentucky in the Spring of 1779 and assisted in building the fort at Lexington and Bryant’s Station. In the Spring of 1780 Capt. Roberts came on himself with the remainder of his company to the Falls of the Ohio where he joined the company and helped build the fort on Bar Grass. He served at the Falls until Christmas 1781 when he was discharged by Gen. Clark who retained him in service as a hunter and spy for many years. He will not enumerate the number of skirmishes and the number of savages that fell by his hands, but he was in service from 1781 nearly all the time until 1794 when he was a captain under Gen. Wayne and at the battle of River Raisins in the late war he was a captain in command and desperately wounded and taken prisoner. John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary War Pension Applications, Vol. Four (Washington, DC 1960) p. 40.

9. John T. Ballard, Bland W. Ballard’s grandson (son of James), informed Ed. D. Shinnick in an article dated 6 July 1917 that Bland Ballard had come alone to Kentucky in 1778-1779 on a hunting expedition and stayed nearly two years. He had come through or about Pound Gap, and returned through Cumberland Gap, and met Daniel Boone, talking for half a day. Ed D. Shinnick, Some Old Time History of Shelbyville and Shelby County (Shelbyville: Shelby County Historical Society, 1984) p. 107.

10. John T. Ballard reports that after Bland returned home to Virginia he married, and he and his wife with her father and family with James Ballard, Bland’s brother, started for Kentucky by way of Pittsburgh, thence down the Ohio river to Limestone (now Maysville), then through the wilderness to Tick creek, in what is now Shelby county where they built a house and a log fort c. 1781, later the site of the Ballard massacre of 1788. Shinnick, p. 107.

11. Johnson, p. 554.

12. Bland reportedly called Indians “Red Devils.” John T. Ballard reports that “He has told me often of his encounters with the “Red Devils,” as he called them, until my hair would stand on end. He has told me he would follow two, three, or as many a six, “Red Devils” for several days at a time, watching his chance to clandestinely catch and dispatch them whilst asleep around their own fire. He often would assail in the open when two of them were together, and said, “Oh, what fun I would have for a few minutes.” Often times chasing them from tree to tree, but he used all the cunning and ingenuity God had endowed him with – and on this first trip, for nearly two years, he was never sick a day or minute, and never had an ache or pain.” Shinnick, p. 107.

13. Johnson, p. 554.

14. Johnson, p. 554.

15. Draper Mss. 8J 183-4.

16. For Bland W. Ballard’s account of the Massacre, please see Part IV, Chapter Five infra, pp. 126-27.

17. Jefferson Co. Court Minute Book 3, p. 33; Cook I, p. 387.

18. Bland Williams Ballard’s Revolutionary War exploits are also chronicled in his Revolutionary War Pension Application. See John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, Vol. Four (Washington, DC, 1960) pp. 39-41. An excellent summary of the frontier skirmishes, including Militia lists and other data appears in Murtie June Clark, American Militia in the Frontier Wars, 1790-1796 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990).

19. Early Kentucky Tax Records, p. 92.

20. See, for example, election returns reported in The Kentucky Gazette: Bland W. Ballard elected Representative of Shelby Co. with John Allen. The Kentucky Gazette, Vol. XIII, No. 712, 15 May 1800; (cited in Karen Mauer Green, The Kentucky Gazette, 1787-1800 (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1983, p. 259); Bland W. Ballard & James Wardow elected Representatives of Shelby Co. The Kentucky Gazette, Vol. XVI, No. 882, 9 August 1803 (Green, The Kentucky Gazette, 1801-1820 (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1983, p. 32); Bland W. Ballard & M. Flournoy elected Representatives of Shelby Co., The Kentucky Gazette, Vol. XVIII, No. 987, 13 August 1805 (Green, 1801-1820, p. 65).

21. From the Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications: 21 April 1820. Shelby Co., Ky. Bland W. Ballard made oath that he was a captain in the 1st Regiment of Riflemen or Kentucky Militia commanded by Col. John Allen. He was wounded in the left thigh by a ball from the enemy on 22 January 1813 in Michigan Territory at the battle of the River Raisin. John Frederick Dorman, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, Vol. Four (Washington, DC, 1960) p. 40.

22. Johnson, p. 554.

23. Marriage bond recorded in Jefferson County Marriage Bonds: Major Bland W. Ballard, bondsman Absalom W. Waller. Diana Matthews, lawful age; father, A.T. Matthews, consent in writing; Robert Gailbreath 9-9-1833 states daughter is of lawful age and she consents. Witness: John Martin. Jefferson County Virginia-Kentucky Early Marriages, June 1826-June 1837, p. 89. Note that Dianah’s father is Bradley Matthews; A.T. Matthews is her brother, and listed here as her father in error. Betty Buntin Matthews, A Brief History of the Bradley Matthews Family from Spotsylvania County, Virginia ca. 1780s, Shelby County, Kentucky 1817 to 1900s (1985) (typescript, privately published; copy in possession of the author).

24. Eula Richardson Hasskarl, Shelby County, Kentucky Marriages, Vol. II (1985), p. 37.

25. Will of Bland Williams Ballard, recorded September Term 1853, Shelby Co. Will Book 22, p. 160.

26. Col. Humphrey Marshall, Obituary Addresses Delivered Upon the Occasion of the Re-Interment of the Remains of Gen. Chas. Scott, Maj. Wm. T. Barry, and Capt. Bland Ballard and Wife, In the Cemetery, at Frankfort, November 8, 1854 (Frankfort, Kentucky: A.G. Hodges, State Printer, 1855).

27. Cemeteries in Shelby County Kentucky (Shelby County Historical Society, Inc., 1979), p 292.

28. The will of John Shakelford, dated 10 June 1819: To my daughter Milly Shackelford I give three Negroes James and his children Lucy & Richmond; and to the heirs of my daughter Betsy Ballard, two negroes: Sarah & Squire. To Polly Ann Hewlett I give three negroes: Caroline, Phoebe & Laco. My son William Shackelford, my negro boy, Nat. My son Sterling Shackelford, my negro boy, Barber. After the death of my wife Anne Shackelford, all my personal property & my two negroes Cupid & Dilce to be sold. Miller, BB, p. 33; Hasskarl, p. 52.

29. Eula Richardson Hasskarl, Shelby County, Kentucky Marriages (1983) p. 43; Miller, BB, p. 33-34.

30. Shelby Co. Ky. Marriages, 1792-1833 (cited in Hasskarl, p. 128).

31. Hasskarl (1983), p. 106.

32. Betty Buntin Matthews, A Brief History of the Bradley Matthews Family from Spotsylvania County, Virginia ca. 1780s, Shelby County, Kentucky 1817 to 1900s (1985) typescript, privately published; copy in possession of the author). Matthews notes that the two girls never married.

33. Matthews, supra.

34. Shelby Co. Ky. Will Book 43, p. 618.

35. Matthews, supra.

36. Hasskarl (1983), p. 41; Miller, BB, p. 34.

37. Miller, BB, pp. 34-35.

38. Hasskarl (1983), p. 58.

39. A genealogical chart dated 1933 identifies Flora as “mixed;” her race is not addressed in the Genealogical Narrative of William Henry Ballard (1862-1954).  Copy in the possession of the author.

***

Revolutionary War Pension Application of Bland W. Ballard, No. W20655

Kentucky
Shelby County Sct

I Certify that Blan W. Ballard came before me and made oath that he was a Captain in the 1 .st Regiment of Riflemen or Kentucky Militia Commanded by Colo John Allen in the Service of the United States and that he Capt Ballard while in actual service and in the line of his duty he was wounded in the left thigh by a ball from the Enemy on the 22 day of January 1813 in the Michigan Territory at the battle and of the river raison [Battle of Frenchtown, often called the River Raisin Massacre] against the British and Indians and that he was paid his monthly pay up to the 10th day of March 1813 for said campaign —

Given under my hand & seal as Justice of the peace in & for Shelby county at Shelbyville this 21st day of April 1820 Jos Simrall

[21 Apr 1820] We the subscribers Physicians and surgions of the Town of Shelbyville & state of Kentucky, do certify that we have carefully examined the wounds of Bland W. Ballard of the 1 . Regiment of st Riflemen of Kentucky Militia commanded by Col. Jno. Allen.  The Ball entered about midway of the thigh and passed through to the skin on the opposite side where it was cut out (as he says) we have seen the scar on the oppisite side, the Ball seems to have wounded the sartorious muscle & the fascia lata taking in its passage a small portion of the thigh Bone from the inner and under side, & passing obliquely upwards to have been taken out near the tendinous portion of the Gluteus maximus – we conceive it to have passed between the femoral artery and the thigh Bone, in manner stated above – said wound has continued running matter occasionally ever since, but at some times appears as if healed up – s’d Ballard is about sixty years of age and has been a very hard labouring man & at this time is obliged to support a large family by his labour. – from the injury which he has sustained from the above described wound, together with four others which he says he rec’d. on the same occasion (for we have only seen the scars) we would suppose the degree of debility under which he now labours would amount to one half. Geo. W. Nuckols James Moore J. W. Knight

State of Kentucky }
Jessamine County } Sct

William Lewis appeared before me a Justice of the Peace for said County and made Oath that he was a Lieutenant Colonel of the fifth Regiment of Kentucky Militia in the Service of the united in the year 1813 and that his Regiment and the first Rifle Reg’t. command by Col. John Allen was in the same Brigade and that he was personally acquainted with the above named Capt. Bland W. Ballard of said Rifle Regiment and that he Capt. B W. Ballard was in the Battle of the River Raisin as stated in Ballards affidavit above – and that he knows that said Ballard was in the line of his duty and in actual service when he rec’d a wound in the Thigh (though he did not see him receive the wound) – he knows the wound was received in the above battle in the line of his duty — [signed] William Lewis

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 3 day of July 1820. John Downing J.Pd

State of Kentucky }
Shelby County }

On this 13th day of October 1834 came in open Court before the Justices now sitting Bland W Ballard aged seventy five, a citizen of Shelby county Kentucky for the last forty years, who upon his oath made the following declaration in order to obtain the benefits of the act of Congress passed June the 7th 1832 That in the spring of 1779 he was a citizen of Spottsylvania [sic: Spotsylvania] County Virginia, and there at the time aforesaid enlisted as a regular in the army of the revolution for three years in Captain Benjamin Roberts [pension application S31343] Company which belonged to Slaughters [Maj. George Slaughter’s] corps, that in the Spring 1779 he together with a number of Capt Roberts Company came to Ky and assisted in building the fort at Lexington & Bryants Station, that in the spring 1780 Captain Roberts came on himself with the remainder of his company to the falls of Ohio [at present Louisville], where this affiant joined said Company, and hope build the fort on Bar Grass [sic: Beargrass Creek], this affiant continued to serve at the falls in said company untill Christmas 1781 when this affiant was discharged by Gen’l Clarke [sic: George Rogers Clark] from the aforesaid enlistment which discharge he has lost, that after the aforesaid discharge Genl Geo R Clarke retained him in service as a hunter & spy for many years, that he will not ennumerate the number of skirmishes & the number of savages that fell by this affiants hand but that he was in service from 1781 nearly all the time untill 1794 when he was a capt under Genl [Anthony] Wayne, & at the Battle of the River Raisins in the late war he was a Captain in command, and desperately wounded and taken prisoner, for the wounds received in the late war he is now on the Pension roll, number of the certificate 785.

He hereby relinquishes all claim to a pension but the present, except a pension he is now receiving as an invalid for wounds received in the late war for which he has a certificate number 785, and he hereby declares he is name is not on the pension roll of any agency but the present, as aforesaid, sworn to & subscribed this 13 day of October 1834 [signed] Bland W Ballad

State of Kentucky }
Shelby county sct }

The following is the affidavit of Capt. Benjamin Roberts of said county taken at the house of Asa S Perry in said county on the 28 day of February 1835 this affiant being of lawful age and first duly sworn saith that he is now in his eighty fifty year that in the fall of 1779 this affiant enlisted Bland W. Ballard now of Shelby county in his company for the time of two years as a private that he enlisted said Ballard in Culpepper [sic: Culpeper] county Virginia that said Ballard came with Maj’r Geo. Slaughters Corps to the Falls of Ohio the spring following and landed at said falls the 4 day of June 1780 that said Ballard faithfully served his full time and was honourably discharged in the month of December 1781 this affiant states that his company was attached to Majr Geo. Slaughters Corps which was a part of Col. Crocketts [Joseph Crockett’s] Regiment of the Virginia line all under the command of Gen. Geol. Rodgers Clark. And further he saith not [signed] Ben. Roberts

State of Kentucky }
County of Shelby }

Application of Elizabeth Ballard, aged seventy years last March, and a resident of the county of Shelby and State of Kentucky for arrearages of Pension, as the widow of the late Captain Bland W. Ballard deceased. – Be it known that before Hamilton Frazier a Justice of the Peace, within and for the county of Shelby and State of Kentucky, personally appeared Elizabeth Ballard, who is well known to me to be the identical person she describes herself to be, in and by this affidavit, and made oath in due form of law, that she is the widow of Captain Bland W. Ballard, who was a Captain from the County of Shelby and State of Kentucky, in Colonel John Allens First Rifle Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers, in the war with Great Britain of 1812. That the said Captain Bland W. Ballard was the identical person, who was a United States Invilid Pensioner, but is now dead – to whom a Pension Certificate was issued for wounds received and disability incurred while in the Service of the United States, and in the line of his duty, as an officer and soldier, in the battle with the British and Indians, at the River Raisin, on the North Western frontier, on the 22nd of January 1813. That the Copy of the Original Certificate of Pension issued to Captain BlandW. Ballard can not be given herein, nor the original certificate of Pension can not be sent up to the Department with these papers, because the original certificate of Pension issued to Captain Bland W. Ballard by the Department at Washington City, was in the fall of the year 1853 after the death of the said Captain Bland W. Ballard sent on to said Department, and no authentic copy thereof was retained within the knowledge of this affiant and if any copy of said certificate was retained the same has been lost or mislaid. That the deceased Pensioner died in the County of Shelby and State of Kentucky on the fifth day of September in the year 1853, and resided in the county of Shelby and State of Kentucky for the space of sixty one years and upwards before his death. That the said Bland W. Ballard and Elizabeth Ballard, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Weaver, were married in the County of Shelby and State of Kentucky on the 28th day of October 1841, and that she is now his widow, and still living in the county of Shelby and State of Kentucky, at the date of this application, aged seventy years last March.

In testimony whereof the said Elizabeth Ballard has hereunto subscribed her name, and affixed her seal this the 22nd day of October 1858. [signed] Elizabeth Ballard
[Certified by John T. Ballard, Clerk of the Shelby County Court.]

NOTE: On a pension application dated 13 Oct 1854 the age of Elizabeth Ballard of Louisville is given as 65. On an application for bounty land dated 20 Apr 1855 her age is given as 70 and her name at the time of her marriage to Ballard as Elizabeth Garrett. Copies of the marriage bond and license dated 26 Oct 1841 spell her name as Elizabeth Garnett. Her declarations were supported by Andrew J. Ballard and Bland Ballard, nephews of Bland W. Ballard

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13 thoughts on “Bland Williams Ballard of Shelby County, Kentucky (1759-1853).

  1. I am such a huge fan of your work. Thank you for your amazing research and for compiling such an fantastic site to share it all. Just found Bland Williams Ballard’s gravesite at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Ballard&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSst=19&GScnty=1025&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=7226143&df=all&

    It shows his birthdate in 1761 instead of 1759, just in case you would like to update that little detail.

    I am a descendant of Margaret Ballard (1763-1830) and Jesse Waite (1771-1799) and I knew nothing of the Ballards until I stumbled on your website. What a wealth of detailed info!

    Thank you so very much for all your hard work!
    Heather Walker

    • I’m glad you enjoy it and find it useful. I suppose that tombstone is the source of the error. One would think or assume that his contemporaries would know the correct birthdate, but that 1759 date came from an interview of Bland Williams Ballard that was conducted by Lyman Copeland Draper. Mr Draper was compiling first person accounts for a history of the settlement of the Ohio River Valley, which he never published, but his voluminous notes were preserved. The loss of those manuscripts to the Wisconsin Historical Society was a catalyst for the formation of The Filson Club, which for a long time was led by Bland’s cousin, Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston (son if his nephew, Andrew Jackson Ballard).

  2. Stephen,
    Sorry about the above. I looked more closely at the grave markers (they don’t agree) and the detailed account of his burial and re-interment you wrote, and on reflection, I agree with the date you chose.
    The Novice Family Historian,
    Heather Walker

  3. I believe we talked on the phone several years ago. Looks like you have done excellent work. I would be glad to do DNA work as if what your family tradition is true we should be cousins.

    • Is that you, Beau? I’ve often thought of reaching out again to check in. That was in the days before the Internet, though as you no doubt know the searching can be challenging in different ways.

      In your case we’d be looking at mitochondrial DNA (I think), and I’m not sure how what could be proven or disproved by a test. But if you’re willing I’d certainly welcome it.

    • Beau, I checked in with the manager of the Ballard DNA project, and here’s what he had to say:

      “Yes, you both would need to take an autosomal test which is available from three labs at $99 each. This test is good for up to 5 and in some cases 9 generations. Since the labs don’t share results, I have tested at all three. For my lines, Ancestry had the most matches, followed by FTDNA and 23andMe. If you have an Ancestry subscription, I would recommend them, if not go with FTDNA. Same test just a different lab, different database and software tools.”

      I’d like to go with FamilyTree DNA — their test is called “Family Finder,” and costs $99.00. I’m going to go ahead and order one. Here is the link: https://www.familytreedna.com/family-finder-compare.aspx

      • that’s pretty cool… I will look into the testing.. My 85 year old father has some of Bland Ballard’s overly frankness in him and is quite a lightning rod these days in the paper. He was named citizen of the year on the top half of the front page and on the bottom was the center of a protest about him being named to a local commission based on some of his recent editorials. He still goes to work every day.. One of the protesters was a Ballard cousin… lol.

  4. Stephen, thank you for your work (a lot and I appreciate it!). I am a descendent of Bland and am still working through all the threads. Ironically enough, I was born and raised in the Far West and “returned” to NE Ohio (wife’s family) only to find a good Ballard representation in the Ohio Valley. That’s when I started looking more. Regards, Jack Ballard, Jr.

  5. Thanks for this. Bland Ballard Sr. was my 5th great grandfather. His daughter, Nancy Ann Ballard, my 4th great grandmother, who Wm. Haydon, Kentucky explorer. Maj. Bland Ballard was her nephew or my 1st cousin 5x removed. Although not a descendant of Maj. Bland Ballard, I find all these families who were so closing intertwined very interesting.

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