John Ballard of Kershaw District, South Carolina (1765-1838).

This section remains sketchy while we sort out the details (October 2016).

John Ballard, son of John Ballard of Albemarle County, Virginia (c.1719-1780), was born 11 March 1765, Albemarle County, Virginia, and died before 12 January 1839, when his will was proven in Union county, South Carolina.1

He married Nancy Graham, the daughter of Francis Graham and Mary _____.2  His is likely the John Ballard who on 12 October 1782 purchased from Wm. Jarman & Sarah, his wife for £50, 200 acres on Rock Creek in Albemarle County, bounded by lines of Wm. Keaton, dec’d; Wm. Keaton, Wm. Thompson, and perhaps it was he who purchased 150 acres in Albemarle county from William Keaton on 26 December 1785.3   If so, he relocated to Kershaw District, South Carolina where he and a number of other persons purchased land there in 1799.4

Will of John Ballard, dated 21 August 1838, proved 12 January 1839.  Recorded Union County, South Carolina Will Book B (1815-1841), p. 255.

In the name of God, amen, I John Ballard, of the State of South Carolina and the District of Kershaw, being of sound mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament.

It is my wish and desire that all my just debts be paid. That my executors sell all my Estate of what nature soever, collect my debt, divide and settle the same as herein directed.

I give to my sons, Thomas C., James, John, Chapman L., Wm. [William] Jackson, and my daughters Elizabeth, Susan and Mary each one tenth of my Estate after my debts are paid.

I give the children of my daughter Terza one tenth of my Estate after my debts are paid.

And I also give my daughter Mahala one tenth of my Estate after my debts are paid which I wish my executors will settle upon her in such a manner as to prevent her husband, Douglas Graham, from spending.

And lastly, I do appoint my trusty friends William Russell, William Fletcher, Jesse Kilgore and James Dunlap my executors to this my last will and testament on this the twenty-first of August, one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight. Read and signed and sealed in the presence of us: John P. Sarter, William Kelly, and Thomas Bowker. [Signed] John Ballard.

Proved and ordered to be recorded Jany 12, 1839 — at the same time qualified J.J. Dunlap of Kershaw District Executor of the same.  J.J. Pratt.

Terza presumably pre-deceased him, and Mahala may have been the only daughter married at the time of the writing of the will.  The will is recorded in Union County, South Carolina.  Much more research is needed.  Nevertheless, his children were:

Thomas C., perhaps the Thomas C. Ballard (age 61, born c. 1799) appearing in the 1860 US Federal Census in the household of Osmund J. Dye (age 46), with Francis (24), Jane (14), Mary (10), Julia (8) and Thomas Dye (4).  Identified as Overseer.  1860 US Federal Census (database online).

James, likely the James Ballard, born c. 1804, enumerated in the 1850 US Federal Census with his wife Mary, also born c. 1804, in Clarke, Mississippi, both having been born in South Carolina.

John, most likely the John J. Ballard (born c. 1807) appearing in the 1850 US Federal Census in Leake, Mississippi with wife Mariah (born c. 1808 in Georgia), and issue:  Jackson, born c. 1834, South Carolina), Thomas (born c. 1836, Alabama), George (born c. 1838, Alabama), Willie (born c. 1842, Mississippi), Lory (born c. 1843, Mississippi).  The 1850 Census lists two people out of birth order, suggesting that they may not be children of John and Mariah.  After Lory appears Caroline (born c. 1838, Mississippi), and Nancy A. (born c. 1828, Georgia).  “Lory” may be the Lafayett Ballard appearing in the household in the 1860 US Federal Census, which records that he was bvorn c. 1846 in Mississippi.  The other children in the household are the Thomas and George recorded in 1850, with the addition of other names, which may the be relations through children no longer living: Sarah Johnson, age 20, born in Missouri; George John, age 4, born in Missouri; and Joseph Commander, age 30, born in Mississippi, and his likely children Elizabeth, age 6, Joh, age 4, and James, age 3.  John and Mariah (Maria) are enumerated in the 1870 US Federal Census with three younger children (likely grandchildren): Elizabeth, age 15. John, age 13 and James, age 12, all born in Mississippi.

Chapman L., born c. 1815, removed to Pickens, Alabama before 1840 with his wife, Mary C. Ballard (born c. 1825 in South Carolina), and had issue (all born in Alabama): William T. (born c. 1840), John (born c. 1842), James (born c. 1845), Mary F. (born c. 1847), Henry L. (born c. 1850), Christopher (born c. 1852).  1850 and 1860 US Federal Census (database online).

William Jackson




Terza, who predeceased her father, leaving issue (two children) unnamed in the will.

Mahala, who married Douglas Graham.


1. Recorded Union County, S.C. Will Book B, p. 255, Box 24, p. 14.

2. Lynn D. Miller, The Descendants of Thomas Ballard and Anne Thomas (Privately Published, 2008), pp. 83-84.

3. Deed dated 12 October 1782, Wm. Jarman & Sarah, his wife to John Ballard, for £50, 200 acres on Rock Creek, Albemarle Co., bounded by lines of Wm. Keaton, dec’d; Wm. Keaton, Wm. Thompson. No witnesses. Recorded 12 December 1782, Albemarle Co. Va. Deed Book 8, p. 30; Deed dated 26 December 1785.  Witnesses: John Wells, Frost Snow, James Keaton, Thomas Ballard.  Albemarle Co. Va. Deed Book 9, p. 197.

4. 1 July 1799, Deed from James Trantham to George Graham, $110, 240 acres, Beaver Creek, granted to Joseph McAdams by Excellency Edward Rutledge … John McLure, John Ballard, Andrew Graham, James Shropshire, William Beachs. Wit: John Fletcher, George Martin Trantham. Kershaw District S.C. Deed Book F, pp. 23-24. Also 23 April 1803, John Ballard, wife Nancy to Andrew Graham and James Trantham, £125, part of a parcel of land granted to James Miller by Lord Charles G. Montague on the 19th day of November 1772, late the property of Frances Graham, situated on the main branch of Beaver Creek. Kershaw District S.C. Deed Book D, p. 145.


4 thoughts on “John Ballard of Kershaw District, South Carolina (1765-1838).

  1. We might assume:

    1. Nancy Graham Ballard has already passed away. She is not mentioned anywhere in the Will.

    2. Terza ‘Ballard’ (UNKNOWN Married Name) is grown but has passed away prior to August 21, 1838, as the Will demands that the “CHILDREN of my daughter Terza” be granted 1/10 of Ballard’s Estate.

    3. Mahala’s husband, Douglas Graham, has some serious problems with handling or spending money, as John Ballard clearly wants the inheritance to be set up as air-tightly as possible to keep him from getting his hands on it. Do we know if this Graham is related to his wife (Nancy Graham Ballard)?

    4. Not sure if this was common practice of the day, but note that John Ballard has appointed four “trusty friends” strictly as third-party executors, and not his eldest son(s).

    5. Given the unique names of the two final daughters, no mention of a wife/girlfriend/mistress as having any rights to his property, and given the location, size of plantation, and time in history, could we go out on a limb to imagine that these two daughters might be from relationship(s) with slave(s)? While not politically correct today to mention, I think that we have to be open to the idea that these covert practices did happen during this period in history, as since determined with Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. If so, John Ballard could have made a legal provision to be sure that the women were cared for as equally as his sons, thus giving us some insight to the nature of his character. It’s just a thought for now — for as you mention, much more research is definitely needed, but fascinating all the same. 🙂


    • I have not tried to analyze that will or take it down any further. Glancing at the familysearch wiki for Union County, which was formed from District 96, it appears there were a distressing number of fires that claimed a number of records. I’m only now getting familiar with North Carolina records and their history; I’m not yet ready to tackle South Carolina.

      Regarding the will – 1. I agree; I have no other information handy. I’ll have to check Lynn Miller’s notes. She posted a tree to the Ballard-L list many years ago: 2. Terza, I agree, likely pre-deceased her father. 3. Douglas Graham – I don’t have any other information on the Graham family. 4. Executors – it could be that none of the sons had attained legal age (21 years).
      5. Unique names – I had not thought them odd; I had assumed “Terza” was a variation of “Theresa,” but Google revealed an interesting alternative: in Italian, Terza means “born third.” Can’t imagine Italians running around South Carolina in 1838, but still … And looking up “Mahala” on Google, several pages state that it is a Native American word meaning “woman.” A search for “Mahala Family South Carolina” pulled up a fair number of individuals born in the early 19th century with the name. I don’t believe these were slave names. I think they were singled out because of their unique circumstances. An interesting thought, though.

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