James Ballard of Oldham County, Kentucky (1783-1841).

[the following and the descent that follows relies on several secondary sources and requires additional documentation; for now, treat it and the information contained herein as a placeholder].

James Ballard, the son of Bland Williams Ballard of Shelby County, Kentucky, was born 30 March 1783 (some sources give 1785) and died between 26 November 1841, the date of his last will and testament, and 20 December 1841, the date his will was presented in Oldham County Court.  He represented Shelby county in the Kentucky Legislature in 1813 and 1814.

He married 19 November 1812 Elizabeth “Betsy” Shackelford, the daughter of John Shackelford and Anne White.   She was born 11 September 1785 in Georgia, and died 1 March 1853 in Oldham county, Kentucky.1 Two slaves named in the last will and testament of James Ballard, Squire and Sarah, apparently were devised to Elizabeth by her father.

[One online source states that John Shackelford, progenitor of the branch of the family in western Kentucky, resided in Culpepper County, Virginia in the early 1760’s. John was a member of Peter Hogg’s Rangers in the war against the Indians in 1755 and is mentioned as sheriff at one time in Pittsylvannia County. He married Mary Ann White, daughter of Jeremiah. Jeremiah left a will in Albemarle County, Virginia, dated in 1777, in which he named, among several others, a daughter; Anne Shackelford. It will be noted that they named a son Jeremiah.]

The Last Will and Testament of James Ballard of Oldham County, Kentucky.

I James Ballard of Oldham county being sick of body but of disposing mind do make this my last will and testament in manner following.

1st I desire that enough of my perishable property shall be sold to pay my burial expenses.

2nd I give to my beloved wife Elizabeth Ballard during her natural life my farm together with George Ann my negro girl and my negro boy Sam and at her death the said negro boy Sam I gave to my son Blan L. Ballard together with one half of my farm and the other half I give to my son James Thomas Ballard together with GeorgeAnn and her increase forever.

My negro man Squire and my negro woman Sarah must be hired our during the life time of my wife Elizabeth to pay my physicians for services rendered to me in my illness the balance to be used in the schooling of my son James Thomas Ballard & the support of my wife Elizabeth during her natural life.

I give to my daughter Elizabeth Williamson my negro boy Augustus during her natural life and at her death to go to the heirs of her body forever.

My negro boy Benjamin I give to my son Benjamin Ballard forever at the death of my wife my desire is that Squire Sarah and her future increase shall be sold & equally divided among all my children as soon as the business of John Shackleford shall be settled whatever may be derived therefrom I request it be equally divided among my above named children.

Lastly, I do hereby appoint my wife Elizabeth my sole Executrix.

N.B. I give to my son Benjamin Ballard my palomino filly.  Witness my hand and seal this 26th day of November 1841.  James Ballard

Witnesses: James Mount, John Ballard.

Kentucky S.S. At a county court held for the county of Oldham on the 20th day of December 1841 a paper purporting to be the last will and testament of James Ballard dec’d was produced in court and proved to be such by the oaths of James Mount and John Ballard subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded which is done accordingly.  Att Wm. D. Michell, Clk. by E. F. Waide

Their children were:

John, born c. 1813 in Shelby County, Kentucky, died c. 1814 in Shelby County, Kentucky.

Mary, born c. 1815 in Oldham County, Kentucky, died before 1892; married 1840 George W. Button.  Presumably died before 1841, since she is not named in James’ will.

Elizabeth Ann, born c. 1813, married 28 September 1837 Bland H. Williamson in Oldham County, Kentucky, the son of John Williamson and Charity Whitaker.  He was born in 1809 in Kentucky and died after 1860 in Hardin County, Kentucky.  They left issue.

BENJAMIN HAYDEN, born 23 January 1817, died 22 January 1896 in Clark county, Missouri; he married 27 November 1839 Emaline Baskett, daughter of Job & Sarah Baskett3

BLAND WILLIAM, born 23 July 1824 in Oldham County, Kentucky, who died 18 March 1904 in Aquilla, Hill county, Texas, and married 15 July 1845  Parthena Cull, the daughter of Nathaniel Cull and Rebecca Rawlings.  She was born 27 July 1826 in Henry County, Kentucky, and died 13 March 1888 in Aquilla, Hill County, Texas.  They are buried at Aquilla Methodist Church Cemetery, Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas.

Dorothy, born c. 1826, Oldham County, Kentucky, died c. 1838, Oldham County, Kentucky, without issue.

JAMES THOMAS, born 30 September 1830 in Oldham county, Kentucky, died 18 September 1868.  James Thomas Ballard removed to Missouri, married 28 February 1854 Lotsey Cross.


1. The Last Will and Testament of John Shackelford.  Knowing the uncertainty of death, I, the said John Shackelford, being weak in body but of sound understanding, do proclaim the following to be my last will and testament.  First: All my just debts to be paid.  To my wife Anne Shackelford, I leave all of my estate, both personal and real; and after her death the estate to be divided.  To my daughter–Milly Shackelford, I give three negroes, James and his children, Lucy and Richmond; provided that is she dies without issue that her share shall go to her sisters, equally.  And to the heirs of my daughter–Betsey Ballard, two negroes, Sarah and Squire.  To my daughter–Polly Ann Hewlett, I give three negroes, Caroline, Phoebe and Laco. But in case Polly Ann dies without issue, her part to go to her two sisters.  To my son–Jerimiah Shackelford, I leave my plantation containing 175 acres of land.  I have given my sons–John, William and Sterling Shackelford, and to my daughter–Nancy R. Gregory, 50 acres of land each.  I give to my son, William, my negro boy, Nat. And to my son, Mordacai, I will $550.00 (five hundred and fifty dollars) which is to be raised by sale of property.  To my son–Sterling Shackelford, I give my negro boy, Barber.  To the heirs of my deceased son–John Shackelford, I will $400.00 (four hundred dollars) to be equally divieded between them and the children of my deceased daughter, Nancy R. Gregory.  After the death of my wife–Anne Shackelford, all of my personal property, and my two negroes, Cupid and Dilco, to be sold, and if the sales of the property hereby directed to be sold should bring more money than is devised by this will, the overplus to be divided into two equal parts, one for Betsey Ballard and one for Milly Shackelford.  I appoint my wife Anne Shackelford, and my son, William Shackelford, and William Hewlett to be my executors.  Witness: Samuel W. White, William Johnson.  Will dated June 10, 1819. Recorded Shelby County Ky. Will Book 5, pp. 434-35.  Eula Richardson Hasskarl, Shelby County, Kentucky Marriages, Vol. I, p. 52.

Estate appraised Jan 1820, and probated October, County Court, Shelby, Kentucky, 1822.

2. Oldham County Ky. Will Book 2, p. 319.

3. Eula Richardson Hasskarl, Shelby County, Kentucky Marriages, Vol. II (1985), p. 26.


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