Sunday, March 1, 2015

Will of Bland Ballard

224 years ago, my 7th-great-grandfather Bland Ballard signed his last will and testament in Spotsylvania County. Bland was the father of Benjamin Ballard, and Benjamin was named as an executor of the will. The image below was taken using Evernote Scannable from a photocopy made at the Spotsylvania County Court in December 2014.

The Ballards were a prominent Spotsylvania County family. As with the transcription from John Booher's estate, slavery was a common occurence with the Ballards and this is reflected in his will and estate.


In the name of God amen, I Bland Ballard of the County of Spotsylvania being very sick & weak, but of perfect sound mind & 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 desire is that all my just debts & funeral expenses shall be fully paid & satisfied.

Item - I give and bequeath unto my son Thomas Ballard, one negro wench named Sall, & her future increase to him & his heirs forever.

Item - I give and bequeath unto my son John Ballard, one negroe wench named Gin, with her future increase, to him & his heirs forever.

Item - I give and bequeath unto my son Benjamin Ballard, one negroe wench named Grace, with her future increase to him & his heirs forever.

Item - I give & bequeath unto my daugther Ann Haydon, one negro girl named Frank with her future increase to her & her heirs forever.

Item - I give and bequeath unto Betsy Tenant, one bed, one sheet, one poster, one pillow, two blankets & one counterpain to her & her heirs forever.

Item - One negroe child named Keziah & all the rest of my estate of what so ever kind it may consist of after my decease, as stocks of any kind household furniture, my will & desire is, that the said child Keziah shall be sold, & the money thence arising to be equally divided amongst my children, that is to say Thomas, John, Benjamin and Ann.

And I do hereby appoint & ordain my sons John Ballard & Benjamin Ballard, my joint executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking & disannulling all former & other wills by me made. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 28th day of February one thousand seven hundred & ninety one.

Signed, sealed & acknowledged in presence of

G. Bell
William Ballard
Suener Tennant

Bland Ballard {seal}

On 3 January 1792, Benjamin Ballard, Edward Herndon and Reuben Hudson paid a bond of $1000 to the Justices of Spotsylvania County Court (Thomas Towles, Robert Hart, Thomas Strachan and Stockley Towles). Benjamin then committed to make an inventory of his father Bland Ballard's estate This document was signed by Benjamin, Edward Herndon and Reuben Hudson, in the presence of Beverley Chew. John Ballard made the same statement, signed by Reuben Hudson and Maxfield Whiting.

The next document contained an inventory of the estate.

"In obedience to an order of Spotsylvania Court made the 3rd day of January 1792 to us directed we the subscribers being first sworn have appraised the estate of Bland Ballard decd which was shewed to us by the executors, and are as followeth --

Two hundred & fourteen pounds 1.7 1/2
Sall (Pounds 50)
Grace (55)
Jenny (55)
Frank (15)
Keziah (10)
1 mare (5)
1 colt (2)
1 brown cow (3)
1 red bell cow (2.10)
1 yellow cow (2.10)
2 yearlings (1.10)
1 sow & 6 shoats (1.10)
1 bed bedstead and furniture (4)
1 ditto, ditto & ditto (4)
1 desk (15)
1 oval table (10)
1 safe (6)
1 large chest (8)
1 Linen wheel (15)
4 chairs 3 basons (11.6)
Carried Over 209.18
1 dish & 6 plates (10)
3 knives and 4 forks (1.6)
1 spice morter 8 pr stillards (18)
1 candle stick (7 1/2)
1 Looking glass (1.1 1/2)
2 stone pots (6) 1 tea kettle (6)
2 bells (5) 2 pr cards (4.6)
1 ox chain (6) 1 gallon jugg (1.3)
1 mustard pot, salt seller & 3 spoons (1)
1 pair tongs (2) plough hoe (1.6)
3 broad hoes, grubing hoe (2.3)
1 narrow ax 1 iron wedge (3.9)
1 plow 1 rawhide (7)
1 mans saddle & bridle (10)
1 meat tubb 1 hand saw & auger (1.3)
1 pair pot hooks and iron rack (1)
Total amount $214 1.7 1/2

A true copy from the original. Witness our hand, signed by order

Joseph Brock Clrk
Frances Simpson
Edward Herndon

Some of these items may have ended up in the inventory of Benjamin Ballard twenty-two years later in 1814. For more on Bland Ballard, read Stephen Ballard's blog entry here.

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