Sunday, March 29, 2015

First Passports

I received my first passport in 1985, when my family moved to Germany. We lived there for most of that year. Our passports enabled us to visit Bavarian castles, Swiss lakes, Austrian villages and many other places. It was a great learning experience and planted the seeds of future travel for myself and my sister.

This week we got our kids their first passports. Right now they do not understand the convenience of getting a passport issued same-day at the State Department, but the world is now open to them.

It has been a long cold winter in the DC area. Although the calendar says it is Spring, yesterday we had windchills in the 20s. I'm excited to leave the cold behind for a few days and build some family memories along the way.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Doors in Recoleta

Photo by Patrick Jones. Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 3 Feb 2014.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Recoleta, 3 Feb 2014.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Married on a Tuesday

While I was in Egypt, the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office sent me a copy of the marriage record for my great-grandfather, Harry Edward O'Brien, with his first wife Marguerite Theresa Barba. The document shows they were married by Rev. A. G. Bakewell. In the 1906 City Directory, Rev. A. Gordon Bakewell was the minister at the Trinity Episcopal Chapel located on S. Rampart Street.

The license was issued on 7 July 1906 in the presence of E. J. Barber and Leo P. Newman, two neighbors who were living on Carondelet Street near Harry and Marguerite in 1906. Leo Newman was the Chief Accountant of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Department. I wonder if Harry worked for Newman during his time at Soule Business College or shortly afterward.

Rev. Bakewell showed up in the Times Picayune archives from 9 January 1891, delivering the benediction to dedicate the Louisiana Historical Association's new building.
Source:, Times Picayune. has a gap in their available editions for the Times Picayune, so I am not able to see articles from 1906-1911. Fortunately, these issues are available through the Tulane University Library. The records room is open Monday through Friday, so my next step is to check with the Library to see if they are able to find Harry and Marguerite in the newspaper during those years.

Along the Nile

This week I was briefly in Cairo, Egypt for meetings. For a change, during this visit I stayed in the Maadi neighborhood, down the street from the Supreme Court and along the Nile Corniche. I now have a better appreciation of the city after this third trip.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Nile River, 18 Mar 2015.
Cairo has some of the world's worst traffic. Calm nerves are required at the wheel, along with amazing patience to navigate the jams on overcrowded highways. This was the first time I had a chance to watch life along the Nile. I can see why people converged on this spot some 5000 years ago. The photo above captures the river just after sunrise, before fishing and tour boats ventured out onto the water.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Illinois and Michigan Canal

At some point after my 3rd-great-grandfather John O'Brien retired from the sea, he made his way to Illinois. It looks like John may have become involved with the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which opened in 1848. The canal path runs through La Salle County, Illinois, where John O'Brien obtained some land deeds in 1851 and 1853.
Source: Wikipedia, Illinois & Michigan Canal
The canal connects commerce from the East Coast via the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Preserved sections of the canal are still located in La Salle County.

On 24 October 1851, John O'Brien and John Nolan received lots numbered 4 and 5 in block 93, town of La Salle (John O'Brien was deeded lot 5) from the trustees of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. They paid $150.

Two years later, on 26 October 1853, John O'Brien bought 40 acres in Section 27, Township 36 North range 2 East from land speculator Elias B. Stiles and Sybil C. Stiles. John paid $50 for the tract.

I do not currently have much more on John O'Brien's time in La Salle County. I was hoping there would be other land records from before he moved the family to Shelby County.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Marguerite's Sister

Thursday's post covered the connection between my great-grandfather Harry O'Brien and Marguerite Barba at 708 Carondelet Street in New Orleans. Marguerite's older sister, Leonora, was living in the house in 1906 when Harry and Marguerite were married. I ran a search on Leonora, hoping to find further information on Marguerite by tracing her sister. The results were pretty amusing, as Leonora appeared in the New York tabloid Evening World in January 1903.

Leonora and Frank Fuller appear in the New York Marriage Index from 29 November 1902. She was 23, and had arrived in New York earlier in 1902 from New Orleans. She was working at the Rossmore Hotel, located on Broadway between 41st and 42nd Streets. Maybe she went to New York to make it as an actress. The husband, Frank Fuller, appears to be a playboy heir, frequently in trouble with the law.

Another article ran in the New York Evening World two days later.

Leonora returned to New Orleans sometime after this case. She was in the household in the 1910 US Census. It's not clear what happened afterward.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Surprise First Wife

Sometimes relationships don't work out. This was the case with my great-grandfather, but it was still a surprise to see this unfold in the records. Last week while digging through New Orleans City Directories, I located Harry O'Brien living at 708 Carondelet Street. He appears at this location in the 1907 and 1908 pages, but I have not yet found a City Directory for 1909. After seeing the address, my first instinct was to look for the house on Google Maps. As one can see in the image below from Google Street View, the house is a classic example of a wrought-iron front historic New Orleans building. This is exactly the type of house I had pictured my musician great-grandfather living in.

Once I found the house, I ran another search in the City Directories with just the address. This pulled up a large number of names over the years, revealing the address was for a boarding house. I then narrowed down the year to 1907. Other residents in that year included Clyde Bryant (waiter), Alfred Munsch (foreman), Benjamin Richard, and William Smith (bartender). The 1908 record included Henry Barba (bartender), Mrs. Marguerite Barba, and George Wilkins (collector). I looked at 1906, and the house showed Mrs. M. Barba, "furnished rooms", Henry Barba, clerk, and Mrs. "F." Fuller.

I wondered what the connection might be between Marguerite Barba and my great-grandfather. The next record was a big surprise. In the New Orleans Marriage Records Index, 1831-1920, was a marriage from 10 July 1906 between Harry Edward O'Brien and Marguerite Theresa Barba. I have ordered a copy of the marriage record from the Louisiana State Archives, but additional finds convinced me this was my great-grandfather and an unknown-to-me first marriage.

It turns out that Marguerite's mother, Margaret Barba, ran the home as a boarding house, renting furnished rooms to a diverse clientele. The 1910 US Census confirms the connection between Margaret Barba and the others living at 708 Carondelet. Margaret is listed as head-of-household (widowed), with daughter Leonor Fuller (divorced), son Henry Barba (married 2 years), daughter Marguerite O'Brien (married 4 years, 0 children), with the others listed as roomers. I think Mrs. "F. Fuller" in the 1906 City Directory was Marguerite's sister, Leonora.

If Marguerite O'Brien was in New Orleans in 1910, where was Harry? He shows up in two different places. In the 1910 US Census, Harry is listed as a musician in the household of his parents back in Rose Township, Shelbyville, Illinois (as of 15 April 1910).

Harry also appears in the US City Directory for Indianapolis, Indiana, working as a musician and living at 410 N. Alabama (corner of Massachusetts and Alabama in Downtown Indy, very close to the Murat Theater). Clearly Henry and Marguerite were separated by 1910. It is interesting to see Harry listed as single in the 1910 Census entry but Marguerite was still listed as married.

With this information I turned to to see what the papers in New Orleans and Illinois might have on them. This took quite a bit of digging, but I found two articles in the Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois), which provided some further information on what might have happened.
Decatur Review, 29 Nov 1911
Decatur Review, 30 Nov 1911
Sometime between 1909-1910, Harry and Marguerite moved from New Orleans to Harry's hometown of Shelbyville, Illinois. The top clipping says Marguerite "deserted him at their home in this city." I am currently checking with the Shelby County Court to get a copy of the divorce case file.

Harry and Marguerite were married when they were 21. In the 1910 US Census, Marguerite is listed as an actress, working in Vaudeville shows. I suspect Harry returned to Shelbyville in March 1909 after the death of his younger brother Guy O'Brien. Perhaps Marguerite and small-town life in Illinois were not a match.

Two months after the divorce, on 18 February 1912, Harry married my great-grandmother, Blanche Lamon, in Indianapolis. I've previously covered where Blanche was living at the time. Maybe Harry met her in Evansville, while playing music in one of the clubs or on a riverboat there. In any case, it is a quick turn around, and I wonder when and how they met.

There's a bit more to the story on Marguerite and her siblings. I thought it was only fair to be thorough. My search through the newspapers uncovered a few amusing stories on Leonora, which I'll have in a subsequent post.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Carondelet Street, New Orleans

Source: NYPL Digital Collection
The postcard above is from 1907-1908. My great-grandfather Harry O'Brien was living on Carondelet Street in New Orleans during this time. The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans (1904) describes the area as the "Wall Street of New Orleans."

Harry had gone to New Orleans to attend Soule Business College. Unfortunately the records for Soule College were damaged in Hurricane Katrina, so it is not clear exactly when he graduated. I suspect it was around 1906, he would have been 21 then.

In the 1907 City Directory for New Orleans, Harry appears as a musician, living at 708 Carondelet Street. Harry was in the city during the birth of the jazz scene, likely playing clarinet in clubs.
New Orleans City Directory, 1907
The house on Carondelet was close to Lafayette Square, the second oldest park in New Orleans, and a short walk to the Mississippi River waterfront. When I first ran a search through the City Directory, it was not immediately clear how significant the find of Harry O'Brien living in this house would prove to be. There is quite a lot to this story. For now, the detail will have to wait a little bit longer.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Revisiting John O'Brien

As we are in the month of March I am looking again at the O'Brien family. Back in January 2012, in my second post on this blog, I wrote about my 3rd-great-grandfather, John O'Brien. The story goes that he left his home in Ireland at a very young age, becoming a sailor in the British Navy.
Painting of John O'Brien by K.D. Jones

John appeared in the Decatur Review newspaper on 25 September 1901 (which looks like a clipping from the neighboring Shelbyville Union newspaper).

The news that a man of his age was recovering from such an injury made the wire services. An article appeared in the Topeka, Kansas newspaper mentioning him:

Time catches up with everyone, so for John his time arrived a month later at the end of October 1901. The Decatur Review provided a notice of John's funeral on 1 November 1901, writing that he was a "British sailor in the days of the walls of oak" and was "one of the characters of the neighborhood."

While I have not been able to find a copy of the longer article referenced in the Decatur Review from 31 October 1901 (or any other area newspapers in Macon or Shelby Counties), I have found a few other articles mentioning John. News of his death appeared in the Chicago, Illinois Inter Ocean Newspaper on 2 November 1901. This article says that he served as "Nelson's powder monkey" in the Battle of Trafalgar. Given that he was about 10-11 years old during the battle, this may have been a more apt description of his role on a ship than simple sailor.

This story was picked up by the Associated Press, and appears in a similar form in newspapers across the country, such as the Parsons Daily Sun (Parsons, Kansas), Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin), Great Bend Weekly Tribune (Kansas), Saint Paul Globe (St Paul, Minnesota), Bismarck, North Dakota, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and New York. It is great to see headlines like "Hero of Trafalgar" and "Served Under Nelson" traveling far and wide.

On Tour

In the summer of 1917, Roy O'Brien, my great-grandfather's brother, joined Bohumir Kryl's band as a clarinetist. According to the news clip from the Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois newspaper), he earned $35 per week for playing in the summer season. The clip below was dated 2 June 1917.

I previously posted Roy's World War I draft card. This was signed on 5 June 1917. The book Shelby County in the World War (1919) also contained a picture of Roy from his service in the 327 F. A. Regimental Band.

The clip below is from the Adams County Free Press (Corning, Iowa), from the 1917 summer tour, advertising Bohumir Kryl's band as part of the Corning Chautauqua. Roy would have played all tour long around similar stops across the country.
Source:, Adams County, Iowa, 11 Jul 1917

Saturday, March 7, 2015

1907 Rex Parade

Source: NOPL Digital Collection, Mardi Gras Parade, 1907
While digging around in the city directories for New Orleans I've stumbled across some exciting and surprising finds. I am currently waiting on some records from the Louisiana State Archives and Orleans Parish Court, so the rest of the story will have to wait a bit. For now, I am posting some photos from the 1907 Rex Parade in New Orleans (via the New Orleans Public Library Digital Collection). It is quite likely that a certain family member would have seen this parade and participated in the festivities around New Orleans. The photos in this set are from the George Francois Mugnier Collection.
Source: NOPL Digital Collection, 1907 Rex Parade.

Source: NOPL Digital Collection, Rex Parade on Canal

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Place That Brought Them Together

It is interesting to see a visualization of the time and place that brought four families from different parts of the country together in one corner of farmland in Indiana. The 1878 Atlas of Montgomery County has an image of Franklin Township. On the border of the township, along the county line with neighboring Boone County is a plot of 79.5 acres owned by James Vail. Next to that plot is 80 acres owned by "J. Booher heirs". I believe this is land inherited by Selina Hampton, my 4th-great-grandmother. Directly to the south was a 116 acre plot owned by John Armstrong, another 4th-great-grandfather.
1878 Montgomery County Atlas, Franklin Twp.
The Vail and Armstrong families were from separate parts of Ohio, while the Hampton and Booher families had journeyed together in 1833 from Sullivan County, Tennessee. In the 1850 US Census, the families of James and Selina Vail and John Armstrong were clearly neighbors. This proximity set up another union, when my 3rd-great-grandmother Easter Vail married her slightly older neighbor, David Armstrong, son of John, in 1860.
1850 US Census, Franklin Twp, Montgomery County, Indiana
A small stream, Hazel Creek, can be seen on the map winding through the property of John Armstrong, north separating the lands of James Vail and the Boohers, continuing north to the land of Samuel Hampton, Selina's brother and son of my 5th-great-grandfather Michael Hampton, before emptying into Sugar Creek.

"The land is here quite even and level, well adapted to agricultural purposes to which it has long been put, and by reason of which its residents have become independent and prosperous, as a general rule...There is a natural water shed running through the township, dividing the waters of the Walnut fork from those of the Sugar Creek streams and running parallel with the latter. This rises in the eastern portion of the township to the north and crosses south of the middle of the western border to the junction of these waters north of the city of Crawfordsville. On either side of this ridge springs abound, whose waters on the north flow to Sugar Creek and those on the south side to Walnut fork."

"The banks of both Sugar Creek and Walnut fork present irregularities, from rugged to steep cliffs to gentle slopes. Under the surface is a sub soil of sand, gravel, shale, and clays, intermixed with every variety of fertilizing material. This found, in places to extend down as deep as one hundred feet and in several cases as deep as two hundred feet. This makes an inexhaustible warehouse of the most reliable soil. The general surface soil in this township is rich and produces its annual crops of grains and grasses common to this latitude...Among the pretty tributaries of Sugar Creek are Honey Creek, Middle Fork, Big Run, Hazel Creek, etc." From History of Franklin Township, Montgomery County, Indiana (1913), viewed 6 Mar 2015 at

Montgomery County Land

In January I wrote about the 1837 land patent of my 6th-great-grandfather Jacob Booher in Montgomery County, Indiana. According to a land deed from the Montgomery County Court, Jacob acquired 160 acres in the county from Jehu and Rachel Harland on 20 October 1834. Jacob paid $1000 cash for the southeast quarter of section 34 in township 20 north of range 3 west. Jehu had acquired the west 80 acres in January 1834, and the east half from a land grant issued to John Harlan in April 1825.

When Jacob Booher died without a will in 1845, his son Guardianas Booher went about settling the estate. Although his sister, Mary Mahala Booher Hampton (first wife of Michael Hampton) died in 1831, Guardianas distributed land to her children as heirs of Jacob Booher. A land deed was recorded in Montgomery County Court showing Guardianas' half-brother Jonathan Booher purchasing the interest from Samuel Hampton (son of Michael Hampton and Mary Mahala Booher) and his wife in 1852 for $33.33. The land was located on the west half of the south east quarter of section 12 township 19, neighboring the 80 acre plot of land purchased by Jacob Booher in 1837.

In 1847, Mary's daughter Margaret Jane Hampton sold her interest to Guardianas Booher.

The land can be seen on the 1878 Indexed County Land Ownership Map (via Ancestry) in the upper right corner of Franklin Township, Montgomery County.

Thanks again to the assistance of Paul Snyder, Wabash College '16, for going to the Montgomery County Court Recorder's Office to pull copies of these land deeds.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ballard-Montague Connection

I am continuing the review of the Library of Virginia's scanned Chancery cases from Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Earlier I found the will of Benjamin Ballard Sr in the case file Leavell v Ballard. Benjamin's sons James and William Ballard were named as executors of the estate. William died around 1821, leaving James as the sole executor.

James had married Isabella Montague, a daughter of Clement and Hannah Montague. Clement made a will in 1791, which can be found in the Library of Virginia Chancery file index number 1841-082. The children named in Clement's will included Thomas Montague, Clement Montague Jr, Elizabeth Carpenter, Isabelle Ballard and Sarah Whiting. The estate was to be divided equally among all the children (except Isabella was "not to have not part no part negroes except the part left to my wife for reason that the said James Ballard has a bill of sale for a negro wench named Mima."). Next Clement left the children of his daughter Susanna Duerson deceased, wife of Joseph Duerson, an equal part of the estate, exclusive of what he had already devised. This was conditioned on Joseph not claiming an interest in a bond he had of Clement's for 25 pounds. If you're a descendant of the Montague family, one can find the will in the case file here.

The disposition of Clement Montague's estate became entangled with the Ballard family in the case James Ballard and wife, etc v Henry Duerson etc (index number 1831-001). On Clement Montague's death, he had a reversionary interest in 190 acres of land in Spotsylvania County held by a Mrs Collins in dower. Collins had moved to Kentucky several years earlier and it was believed that she had died. Seven years had passed since she had been heard from, and Clement had not disposed of his interest in the land during his lifetime. His daughters Isabella Montague Ballard and Elizabeth Montague Carpenter claimed 1/8 interest each, and said they could not obtain this without the aid of the court.

The claim also notes that Clement Montague left two grandsons in the county, Henry Duerson and Montague Duerson, the latter of whom was dead, but he had an infant son William Duerson. The claim asked that a court appoint a guardian ad litem for the infant. Clement's five other children were believed to have moved to Kentucky. Some of these children were already dead - Ann Estes, Thomas and Clement Jr. The portions held by Ann, Thomas and Clement Jr, along with Sarah Whiting (by now married to Abner Wilson) had been sold or assigned to a Thomas Wigglesworth, representing 4/8 of the interest. Wigglesworth had sold his interest to Benjamin Ballard Jr (my 5th-great-grandfather). There is a document showing Benjamin Ballard paid $37.39 to the children of Thomas Montague for their interest (see below), executed on 3 November 1828.

Henry Duerson responded, representing himself and serving as guardian ad litem for infant William Duerson (his nephew). I don't read this as a contentious suit. Henry's response makes it clear he admitted the matter as set forth in the complaint and agreed to abide by any decree the court thought was just and equitable. He also asked if he could be dispensed from his costs in responding to the case. Wigglesworth and Ballard also did not contest the case, as they both stood to benefit from the court's resolution of the issue.

Charles L. Thomas appeared as an attorney for the children of Thomas and Charles Montague, and they also agreed that the land should be sold.

The court agreed and directed the land be sold and proceeds be divided into 8 parts: to James and Isabella Ballard, Elizabeth Montague Carpenter, to Henry Duerson for 1/16 interest and to Henry as guardian ad litem to William Duerson for another 1/16 interest, to Thomas Wigglesworth for 3/8 interest, and to Benjamin Ballard for 2/8 interest (from the purchase of interests from the children of Thomas and Charles Montague). The land went to public auction, and Benjamin Ballard bought the property for $427.50. Benjamin was able to get some money back since he had previously purchased the interest of Clement Montague's children (and had already paid for the interest of Thomas Montague).

In June 1828, James Ballard had appointed Charles L. Thomas as attorney to represent the interests of the children of Thomas and Clement Montague. At some point in 1830, news of the case reached the heirs of Clement Montague in Kentucky, and they joined the action against Benjamin Ballard for their interest. Specifically, Sally Montague (wife of Clement Montague Jr), who had married Hardin Davis in Barren County, Kentucky in 1817 after the death of her husband, claimed that Hannah Montague, wife of Clement Sr, was entitled to a distribution from the estate. Hannah had remarried and moved to Kentucky with other Montague children. Hardin and Sally Davis submitted their response on 16 October 1830.

The documents in the case are a little out of order, as next in the set is a power of attorney signed by Samuel Endicott, Elizabeth Endicott, Thomas Montague and Thomas Hart, appointing Thomas Ballard as attorney to represent them. These four descendants of Clement Montague were in Harrison County, Kentucky. Their document was signed on 27 August 1825. It looks like Thomas Ballard attorney was the son of James Ballard.

It isn't entirely clear how the case was finally resolved. For that I will have to see the Spotsylvania County Court records in person.

This case (and the earlier case containing the copy of Clement Montague's will) provides invaluable information on the composition of the related Ballard and Montague families in Virginia and Kentucky. It is great to see the signature of my 5th-great-grandfather and to see how he may have acquired the 190 acres in Spotsylvania County.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Digging through the chancery cases

In looking through the Ballard family in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, it has been very helpful to examine the Library of Virginia's Chancery case files. I've already found the will of Benjamin Ballard Sr in the case file Leavell v Ballard. I started by going to, selecting Spotsylvania as the county from the menu, and entering "Ballard" on the surname search. In the case Pritchett v Pritchett, index number 1812-001, there is a deposition from Benjamin Ballard (see image 23 of 47). I think this is from Benjamin Ballard Sr.
Source: Library of Virginia Chancery files, Spotsylvania, 1812-001, image 23
The deposition shows that Benjamin witnessed a deed by James Pritchett to Thomas Pritchett. It is not clear when the deposition was taken. The case was filed in 1785, and still going when Thomas Pritchett died in 1812.

Another case called Executors of Benjamin Ballard v Benjamin Stewart is in the files with an index number 1820-001. There are 11 pages, but mostly these are supoenas signed by Richard Lewis Stevenson. It is not clear how the case was resolved from the scanned documents.

The next case in the set was brought by William Carter, executor of William Ballard's estate (son of Benjamin Ballard Sr). The case was heard in Spotsylvania County Court on 7 January 1822, so William must have died in 1821 or earlier.

The following case is James Ballard and wife vs Henry Duerson. There are 29 scanned pages in this set. I will have a full post on the case, as this helps provide some clarity to the family of James' wife Isabella. The case also contains the signature of James' brother, my 5th-great-grandfather, Benjamin Ballard Jr.

It is slow going through these files, and I have primary duties. More posts to follow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Will of Benjamin Ballard Sr

At the end of February I posted an inventory of the estate of Benjamin Ballard, my 6th-great-grandfather. After checking the Library of Virginia's Chancery case files for Spotsylvania County, I found a scanned copy of Benjamin's will in a case filed by James Leavell and wife against James Ballard, executor of Benjamin's estate.

Source: Library of Virginia, Chancery records, Spotsylvania County, Case 1841-055.

Right away this document is visibly different from the transcription of the will in the Spotsylvania County Court Will Book. The words are the same, some are more legible in this copy than in the Will Book version, but this version takes two pages, where the Will Book version fills all of page 387 in Book H. The will names his children Charles (who was given 25 acres during Benjamin's life), George, Peggy, James and William. Benjamin Sr. named his second wife Elizabeth as executrix with sons James and William as Executors.

It is interesting to see several of Benjamin's known children not listed in the will, including my 5th-great-grandfather Benjamin Ballard Jr, but the Leavell case notes that the land in the estate was divided into 8 parts. The first document in the file describes the suit by the Leavells. Other heirs of Benjamin Sr are named here, including Benjamin Jr, James Ballard, Charles Lewis & wife (Mary Jane Ballard, daughter of Benjamin Sr), James, Lewis, Winslow Parker & Sally (Sarah Ballard) his wife, Betsy and Mary Ballard, daughters of William Ballard, and children of George Ballard (deceased), Beverley, Benjamin, Thomas, Lucy Ballard, and Mary Trigg Ballard (George's wife). It appears that Charles Ballard transferred his interest in the land to the Leavells. They asked for a survey of the 25 acres gifted to Charles and a survey of the remaining land of Benjamin Ballard.

The next document (page 3 in the scanned set), more clearly lists the persons in the action. James Leavell and Nancy, his wife, Jesse Wayt and Peggy (Ballard, daughter of Benjamin Sr), James B. Lewis and John Montague, children of Hannah Herring deceased (Hannah Ballard, daughter of Benjamin Sr), Charles Lewis and Mary his wife (Mary Jane Ballard), Benjamin Ballard (Jr), James, Lewis and Winslow Parker and Sally his wife (Ballard), Betsy and Mary, adult heirs of William Ballard (son of Benjamin Sr), Beverley, Thomas, Benjamin, Lucy and Mary, adult heirs of George Ballard deceased (son of Benjamin Sr). The eight heirs of Benjamin Ballard Sr are listed as Nancy, Peggy, Hannah, Mary, Benjamin, William, George and James. Benjamin Sr. left behind 304 acres, of which 25 of those acres had already been gifted to Charles Ballard. The Leavells were asking for a "fair division of the land" to the heirs.

James responded that Charles Ballard and Sally Estes (another daughter of Benjamin Sr) had been given promissory parts of property prior to the creation of Benjamin's will, and that those persons along with himself were entitled to the land. There is a handwritten note at the bottom of the page which appears to have been added later stating "see Plat Book 10 page 9 for plat". I'll have to check this next time I go to the Spotsylvania County Court.

It looks like the case was filed in 1827, dismissed in November 1841. From the file it is not clear how the case was resolved. I'll have to look at further documents in Spotsylvania County, including land records, in order to see if there was a resolution to the case. I am grateful that the case exists, as it preserves key information on the family and descendants of Benjamin Ballard.

There are more chancery cases involving the Ballard family in the Spotsylvania County records published by the Library of Virginia. I will have a few more posts from these cases, as they contain signatures of James Ballard and Benjamin Ballard Jr.