Thursday, March 1, 2012

Emily Ann Heslopp Ballard & America Parrish Chase

In this post I look at the linkage between a woman born into slave-owning family in Virginia and the life of a woman freed by emancipation but still living as a servant in the post-slavery South.

Emily Ann Heslopp Ballard
My connection to the Ballard family of Virginia comes from my 4th-great-grandmother, Emily Ann Heslopp Ballard. Emily was the daughter of Benjamin Ballard and Ann Graham Heslopp, and she was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia on 2 August 1802. Both the Ballard and Heslopp [often spelled Heslop, Haslop, Hayslop] were long-time Virginia plantation owners, and owned slaves.

Stephen Ballard's excellent Ballard of Virginia and Kentucky site has a great deal of research on Benjamin Ballard's line of family, tracing it back to Thomas Ballard (born approximately 1630, died 1690).

Benjamin Ballard was born on 25 November 1768 in Spotsylvania County. His wife Ann Graham Heslopp was also born in 1768. Benjamin and Ann were married in 1798 and had at least the following children:
1. Guilford Dudley Ballard - born 1798
2. James Ballard - he founded James Ballard and Company
3. Rice Carter Ballard - born 7 June 1800, died in 1860. Rice Carter Ballard was a slave trader and plantation owner in Mississippi and Kentucky. He worked with the Franklin and Armfield slave trading company in Alexandria, Virginia in the 1820s and 1830s.
4. Emily Ann Heslopp Ballard 

Emily married William Freeman Read around 13 or 20 September 1820, just after her 18th birthday. The Read Bible states that Emily and William were married on 13 September 1820, while the copy of marriage records from Culpeper County state that the couple were married on 20 September 1820.

I have wondered if the papers of Rice Carter Ballard at the University of North Carolina mention his sister Emily or his parents. This is research that I need to park for now (and I'd be interested if other Ballard researchers have looked at these papers or have found letters mentioning Rice's sister or parents). I have also wondered if Emily visited her brother in Alexandria, Virginia. I have on my reading list the Hidden History of Alexandria, D.C., by Michael Lee Pope, as this covers the era in which Rice Ballard was in Alexandria and Emily may have visited.

The migration of the Read family from Culpeper to Barren County, Kentucky in 1847 was previously described at My earlier post also covers the children of William and Emily.

In the 1850 US Census, she appears as Emily H. Read. In the 1860 US Census, she's listed as Emily A. H. Read.

In the 1870 Census, Emily was head-of-household in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky. The value of her estate was $2,000, quite a sum at that time.
Her son, James William Read, age 28, is living with her at the time. The value of his personal estate was $2,500. What's also interesting to see is Emily had a "domestic servant" named America Parrish also living with her and James in the household. America is black and 22 years old.

In the 1880 US Census, Emily is living with her son, Isaac Franklin Read, in Glasgow Junction, Barren County, Kentucky. Also in the household were 50 year old servant, Lucy James (or Jones) and 18 year old servant James Syms [Sims].

Emily died on 19 December 1884 in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky. She was 83 years old.

America Parrish Chase
This post started out solely on Emily Ann Heslopp Ballard Read. When I saw the name America Parrish in her household in the 1870 Census, I wanted to know more. Given the history of Emily's brother, Rice Carter Ballard, I wonder if America came to the Read household through Rice Ballard. I have not confirmed how she came into the household.

On 3 December 1870, America Parrish married Thomas Chase, a black man born in Kentucky about 1826 [Source: Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979 database on]. In the 1880 US Census, the couple appear as servants in the household of Burr [Burwell] and [Elizabeth] Lizzie Sims. Burwell was the brother of Ann Chism Sims, wife of James William Read.

In the 1900 US Census, America and her husband Thomas Chase were living and working in the household of Burwell and Elizabeth Sims in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky. Thomas is listed as as a servant who "helps cook" while America is shown as responsible for house work. Her occupation is listed as "house server" and not as servant. I find this description interesting.

The 1900 Census record also shows that America and Thomas had 1 child, and that the child was still living in 1900. I was not able to see the name of America and Thomas' child, but perhaps descendants of America may see this research and it will be useful to them.

By 1910, America Chase was widowed, and working as a washer woman.

I found a record in the Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953 on Ancestry. It shows that America Chase died on 16 November 1922 in Barren County, Kentucky. Her father was listed as Ezer Parrish.

I realize I am just scratching the surface on her story, so hopefully this is helpful to others who may be researching America Parrish Chase.

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