Deed from Servant Ballard to Isaac Avery, Warwick County, Virginia 1792

Deed from Servant Ballard

Poor Warwick.  The original shire of Warwick River County was created in 1634, and the name shortened to Warwick in 1643.  The county records were destroyed several times, but the most were lost as a consequence of the War Between the States.  The clerk’s office burned in 1864, and additional records burned in Richmond in 1865 where they had been moved for safekeeping.

Fortunately the Library of Virginia has been cataloging and publishing online records from “lost counties.”  Warwick was just added this year.  This post from “Out of the Box” describes the effort.

Over the years, portions of records pilfered from the courthouse during the War have found their way home when found in the collection of other repositories or among the papers of soldiers who served the Union during the War.  This deed is one such record, which helps tell the story of Servant Ballard, a son of Francis Ballard of Elizabeth City County and grandson of Thomas Ballard of James City County.

Having settled in Elizabeth City and Warwick and thus oriented toward the Atlantic Ocean, this particular branch of the family appears to have produced a seafaring people not concerned with the accumulation of land.  This deed conveys the 100 acres of land devised to Servant by his father, Francis, on Francis’ death in 1719/20.

There are two ways to interpret this document: (1.) Servant Ballard is conveying the property that was devised to him by his father’s will of 1718/19; or (2.) Given the time that has elapsed (73 years), this Servant Ballard may be the grandson of Francis, not the son; however we have not found evidence that Servant had married or produced children.  The fact that no wife joined in the transaction to convey a dower interest shows that if he had a wife, she pre-deceased him; and the fact that this legacy is being sold rather than devised to children suggests that Servant was childless, assuming this is the Servant Ballard born c. 1702.  Given the tendency of members of the family to live to advanced age, we are inclined to believe that this was the devisee of Francis Ballard.

It is also interesting to note that Servant is identified as “of Elizabeth City County,” not Warwick, so clearly he lived in that county on not on this parcel of land.

This indenture made and executed this 29 day of February anno domini one thousand seven hundred and ninety two between Servant Ballard of Elizabeth City County in the State of Virginia of the one part, and Isaac Avery of the County of Warwick of the other part …

That the said Servant Ballard for and in consideration of one hundred pounds current money of Virginia, in hand paid by the said Isaac Avery to the said Ballard, the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge hath given, granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, confirmed and doth by these present give, grant, bargain and sell, convey and confirm unto the said Isaac Avery and his heirs and assigns forever, a certain tract or parcel of land in the said County of Warwick containing one hundred acres, bounded northwesterly on the lands of the said Isaac Avery, Southwesterly on the lands of Miles Carey, and Westwardly on James River.

To have and to hold (etc.) …

Servant Ballard

Signed and sealed in the presence of:

Samuel Thomas, Snr., Samuel Dubroe (sp?), Saml. Selden, Nancy, Dalley, John Flax (his mark); Jacob _________ (his mark)

Proved at Warwick Court July 12, 1792 by oaths of Samuel Thomas and John Flax; at a Court held Sept. 13, 1792 the same were further proved by oath of Samuel Dubroe (sp?) and ordered to be recorded. Signed: Miles Carey, Cl. Cur.

While seemingly a dead end, at least this helps fill a gap in the story of this branch of the Ballard family.

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2 thoughts on “Deed from Servant Ballard to Isaac Avery, Warwick County, Virginia 1792

  1. This man is, according to my records, a great grandson of francis who died in 1718. His son, named Servant in his father’s will, evidently was named William Servant and an abstract of his will, as William Ballard, is found in the “Wills and Administrations of Elizabeth city county, Virginia” by Blanche Adams Chapman, from which I quote:

    “Of the town of Hampton. Pilot. Leg. -son Francis; son Edward; son James Servant Ballard. The house adjoining Mr William Armistead to my son Francis; reversion of the bequest to my 2 grandchildren, William Servant and Ann Ballard; to Mary the dtr of John Ballard. Exrs, son Francis and friend Henry King. D Apr 22, 1775. Wits: Edward Hurst, banister Minson, Moseley Armistead. Codicil: revocation of negro given to granddaughter Ann Ballard which I desire to go now to son James Servant. D sept 21, 1781. R February 28, 1782. Wits: Francis Riddlehurst, John Hunter, Miles King, Edward Ballard qualified, security, John Robinson.”

    The grandson William Servant Ballard that he names in his will, like his grandfather, sometimes went by William and sometimes as Servant. He, as the only son of his grandfather’s eldest son William (who predeceased his father, dying of smallpox August 1772 at age 23), evidently inherited the land and sold it as soon as he came of age in 1792.

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    1. Thank you for that.

      I am looking at my notes regarding the will of the Francis Ballard who died c. 1718/19. Francis’ will specifies that his 100 acres of land on James River are devised to his son Servant and the “male heirs of his body.” A separate 84 acres of land are devised to his son Francis, the remainder of a land patent, with the proviso that should either Servant or Francis die without issue, their respective bequests are to be divided among his daughters: Frances, Mary, Lucy and Anne. It would be interesting to know what became of Francis’ 84 acres; I have not tried to trace it, though I am making a note to give it a try. I have a transcript of the will here.

      Given that a reversionary interest would pass to the four daughters should Servant die without issue, then the logical conclusion (now that I look at this closer, thanks to your comment) is Servant may have had issue — otherwise, the land would not have been kept in a single parcel, at least if Francis’ will were honored — or all four daughters pre-deceased Servant, which is unlikely. Given that the will specifies that the land should go to the daughters should Servant die without issue, I doubt that the land would have passed to William Servant Ballard (who died in 1782) without them or their husbands making a stink about it. William Servant’s will makes no mention of this land, if it somehow passed to him (his will is transcribed here).

      Nevertheless, given the time that had passed since the death of Francis Ballard in 1718/19, it is possible that the sale was made by a son of Servant Ballard, son of Francis.

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