George Washington: A Biography - Vol. 1

By Douglas Southall Freeman | Go to book overview

APPENDIX I-5
THE AMERICAN ANCESTRY OF MARY BALL

WHEN WILLIAM BALL reached Virginia in 1657,1 he was different from most immigrants in that he was a mature man2 who then or thereafter "transported" at his own expense his wife, two children and a number of servants, free or indentured.3 It was not often that so large a household was brought over by a man past his youth. Equally unusual was it for so many to enter the Colony otherwise than at the cost of some resident planter or trader.

If family records are accurate, the immigrant was a son of William Ball of Lincoln's Inn, one of the four attorneys of the Office of Pleas and Exchequer. While still living in England, the younger William married Hannah Atherold,4 and by her he had at least four children, all of whom were born in the "home country." After he came to Virginia he established himself on a neck of land he called Millenbeck, at the mouth of Corotoman Creek, Lancaster County, and there he bettered his fortune as a planter and, still more, as a trader. When King Charles had gone back to England, Ball claimed the "headrights" of himself and household.5 Other lands he acquired, also,6 along with the honors and offices of a gentleman of the County. By 1677 he was Major of the county militia;7 twice at least he was Burgess;8 in the defence of Lancaster against the Indians and in the turmoil of Bacon's Rebellion, he was conspicuously useful.9 When he sat down in August, 1677, with John Washington and others to lay a levy on the Northern Neck for the expenses of suppressing the uprising, William Ball was in the company of his peers.10 He had risen as high and as fast as his neighbors had.

____________________
1
Hayden, 49, gave the date as 1651, but in the back cover of the Letter Book of Joseph Ball second was found "a history of the Ball family from a Downman MS." this may have been prepared by Joseph Ball, who interested himself in genealogy during his long residence in England. The date of the immigration of William Ball is given in this document as 1657. No reference to him is found in Virginia records prior to 1659 when he is listed among the Justices of Lancaster County ( 3 Lancaster Orders, 77).
10
See supra, p. 29; Westmoreland Deeds, 1665-77, p. 349.
2
Born, according to Hayden, in 1615 and consequently 36, if migrating in 1651, or 42 if migrating in 1657.
3
See the grant of "headright lands," Mch. 14, 1666/67; 3 Lancaster Orders.
4
Nothing is known of her except that she came to Virginia, headed the household of William Ball and died in 1694; but from the interest taken in her by her grandson Joseph Ball second, it is manifest that she was a person of honor in the traditions of the family. Joseph's interest was not diminished by the fact that he was uncertain of her name. See letters of Joseph Ball second to Joseph Chinn, July 17, 1745, May 23, 1747 ( Ball Letter Book).
5
Mch. 14, 1666/67; 3 Lancaster Orders, 366.
6
Cf. 5 L.O. Records, 270.
7
Cf. Journ. H.B., 1659-93, p. 49.
8
1668-76, 1676-77; ibid., unpaged list.
9
Ibid., 111; 2 H329.

-530-

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