Showing posts with label GENEALOGY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GENEALOGY. Show all posts

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Walk Down Memory Lane in BRISTOL (Genealogy Post)

Four of my Great Aunts who lived in Bristol,  VA (photo taken in the late 1940's or early 1950's);  From left to right:  Nannie Ballard, Eunice Ballard, Aileen Ballard,  Lura Ballard
On June 22, 2014,  on our way to West Virginia for our Anniversary Vacation,  we made a stop in BRISTOL (VA and TN) so that I could do some Genealogy Research on the family home of my Grandfather Ballard's family  (James Franklin Ballard) ---who was my Mom's father. Grandfather Ballard died in 1936.

When I was born,  none of my Grandparents on any side of the family were alive.  BUT--I do remember many in my Grandfather Ballard's  family,  all living in or near Bristol, Virginia.  Bristol was about 60 miles from my hometown ---and my parents and I would visit that family in Bristol quite often when I was a youngster.  The photo above is of 4 of my Great Aunts (my grandfather's sisters). 

The beautiful Ballard home in Bristol,  VA
These four sisters lived in a gorgeous old home in Bristol.  As a little girl,  I remember that home and thought of it as a mansion at the time.  Above is a photo of that old home taken many years ago.

The NOT SO BEAUTIFUL Bristol Home on June 22, 2014
WELL--to make a long story short(er),   we went back to Bristol on June 22, 2014 in order for me to see that beautiful home.... SHOCK!!!!!  The house has changed so much and looks horrible now (and obviously not well-taken-care-of)!  The 3rd floor is gone and so is the chimney.  The entire neighborhood is run down and I could have just cried...  Why did someone let this happen to such a beautiful old home???  I was terribly disappointed.

The old home of Bland Ballard and family
After getting a few pictures,  I walked down the street to what (in my memory) looked like the home of my Great Uncle Bland Ballard  (and wife Myrtle).  Bland was my Grandfather's brother.   Again,  I was disappointed since I do not remember this house looking at all like this... SO---in this case,  I'm not even sure I chose the right house...

Here are a few old photos (taken before I was born).
Some of the Ballard Family;  Bland and Myrtle Ballard were the 1st couple on the left. They are the ones who lived in the house in the photo above. My Grandfather Ballard is the 3rd person from the left. This photo was taken at Grandfather Ballard's home near Abingdon, VA. I think.

Here's a sweet picture of my mother and her Papa (as she called her father).  Mom was in her early 30's when this photo was taken.. (She was 42 when I was born.)

Here's another good picture of Mom and Dad (Simon and Edith Banks) and my brothers.  Raymond (who was 20 years older than I am) was in the middle and Jimmy (who was 12 years older than I am) was being held by Dad.  This photo was taken at the home of Mom's father (near Abingdon, VA) in about 1931.. (I was born in 1942, and am the only one left in that family.)

A sign across State Street in Bristol,  showing drivers which side belongs to the state of Virginia and which side belongs to Tennessee
OKAY ---moving on!!!!  Here are three other things I remember about Bristol.  First is State Street... Bristol is an interesting little city since part of it is in Virginia and part in Tennessee.  The main street of town divides the two states.. Each state has its own government... Bet they struggle at times deciding which responsibility belongs to which state.... Interesting,  I'll bet!!! Above is a big sign across State Street showing which side of the street is in Virginia and which one is in Tennessee.

STATE STREET in Bristol,  VA
Secondly,  I have HUGE memories of being on State Street when I was young.  The small town we lived in didn't have many large stores... SO---my parents and I would go to Bristol (when visiting the Ballard Family) and we would always shop.. The stores I remember are King's Department Store,  Woolworths (a Five and Dime store),  and Cole's  Rexall Drug Store --where we ate at their lunch counter... I thought I was in the BIG CITY when we were there.... I loved going to the stores on State Street... I have TREMENDOUS memories of those visits.

The side of the Bristol Union Railway Station
Thirdly,  I also have lots of happy memories at the Railroad Station in Bristol.  My Dad worked for the railroad --so  our family did lots of traveling by TRAIN (since he got free passes at times).  And---we always started our trips from this railroad station in Bristol.  I even took the train to and from my college in Tennessee--since most kids back then didn't own cars while in college.   Even though there are no longer any passenger trains here now,  I loved revisiting this station. It still smells like I remember way back when.  Do you have certain smells you remember? 

The sidewalk at the Bristol Union Railway Station
Many years ago,  this was a BUSY passenger railroad station.  Trains would pass through here going as far south as New Orleans or as far north as New York City--stopping at places along the way.  The railroad first came to Bristol in 1856.   This particular station was opened in 1902--and in 1980 was listed on the Virginia Landmark Register and the National Register of Historic Places.  I was thrilled to see this Railroad Station in SUCH great condition.  Bristol is trying to get Amtrak service --which would bring passenger service back to that area.. The last passenger trains in Bristol were in the late 1960's.

The Bristol, Virginia Union Railway Station
Here is a photo showing the entire station.  (You can see our Prius there in the picture.)  I was so glad that we saw this station but grieve the fact that we no longer have passenger trains (other than Amtrak)..  I miss them ---but I'm one who loves trains with all my heart...

Thanks to my Honey for letting us take this little side trip --as we were on our way to West Virginia.  I was disappointed when I saw the condition and change of the Ballard Home --but was thrilled to visit State Street and the Railroad Station... As you can imagine,  I talked to George for hours about my experiences in Bristol...  Such great memories!!!!

Since we are SO SO SO SO busy these days, and for other reasons,  I am changing to 2 blog posts a week for awhile,  Mondays and Thursdays.  I love blogging and always have something to blog about.  BUT--I feel badly when I cannot visit YOUR blogs as much as I wish I could...

Hope you have a good day/week --and I'll see you on Thursday.  And thanks to those of you who have stuck with me through all of this. I still love comments and they mean the WORLD to me!!!


Friday, October 4, 2013

A Genealogy Trip for Me

When I told you that I was taking time off from blogging to work on my Family History,  I didn't tell a fib.... I was able to do some research on my Ballard side of the family while I was in Williamsburg and Yorktown.  Granted,  we did many many other things on that trip --but I did enjoy my Genealogy visits!!!!

Today I'll share some of those visits with you... The photo above is a picture of Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, Virginia.   My 8Great Grandfather was Thomas Ballard (1630-1689).   Thomas Ballard was a man of wealth --and had been VERY active in that church during its beginnings.

Be sure to click on the photos for enlargements.   AND--if you missed my post on Wednesday telling about this wonderful trip,  click HERE.

Here is a photo  of the sign outside the church. There were historians available for us to talk to about the history of the church and area.  I had a wonderful conversation with a lady who knew quite a bit about the Ballard's.

One thing I learned is that some factions of the Ballard family pronounced the word,  Bal-LARD, with the emphasis on the LARD... I have always heard it said BAL-lard (with the emphasis on the BAL)....

I also found out that some old-time members of the Ballard family think that the Ballards came from France (French Huguenots).   Most of us think that the Ballards came from England.... Very interesting though---and so much more to study!

This inscription is on one of the pews in Bruton Parish Church.  As you can see,  Thomas Ballard was very involved with the church,  and was on the vestry from 1674-83.  (We had been to Williamsburg and to Bruton Parish in 2007--but at that time,  I didn't realize that I had a relative who had been so involved with that church.  This visit was so meaningful.)

Here's a happy woman ---at the pew which honors her 8Great Grandfather Ballard (on my mother's side of the family).  Besides being involved in the church,  Thomas Ballard was a very important man.  Some of the things I have learned about him are:
-He was called the 'founder' of the Virginia Ballards
-He was thought to have come from England, from a wealthy family
-He was known as the Honorable Thomas Ballard
-In 1650,  he married Anne Sara Thomas,  and they had 8 children
-He was a tobacco farmer and merchant and owned alot of land
-From 1652-1663,  he was the Clerk of Court of York County, VA
-In 1666,  he was Burgess of James City County
-In 1669,  he became Lt. Col of the Militia in James City County
-In 1680,  he became Col of the Militia
-From 1675-77,  he sat on the regional Royal Governor's Council
-He was re-elected to the House of Burgesses and became Speaker of the House from 1680-84.

Here  is another photo showing the pews in this church.  Each pew has its own door --and the doors can be closed.

Here is a photo of the church --looking toward the front and the altar.  The altar and communion rail are of black walnut.

The minister is WAY UP THERE.... These high pulpits were popular back then...  The church was renovated in 1939---which is when this pulpit was built.

George took this shot showing more of the church.  The special pews near the front were for very special people such as President Thomas Jefferson or President George Washington. 

This bronze lectern was given in 1907 by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt.  There is an American eagle on one side and the British lion on the other side.  The lectern was designed to hold the Bible given by King Edward VII.

Next,  we took a tour (with one of the church volunteers) of the cemetery surrounding the church.  It is written (in several accounts) that Thomas Ballard is buried at Bruton Parish --but I found out that his grave (along with many others during those early days) is unmarked.   SO---I was a little disappointed not to be able to see his grave/tombstone.

The cemetery is interesting to visit---but it is closed to the public (unless you get permission and have a church volunteer go with you--like we did). 

Next we went to Yorktown for some more Family History.  Thomas Ballard's grandson,  Capt. John Ballard, lived here.  And, as you can see from the photo above,  there is a street in Yorktown named Ballard Street.  It is one of the major roads in Yorktown, VA.

Captain John Ballard (1693-1745)  is my 6Great Grandfather.  He was a merchant in Yorktown and a captain in the militia.  He married Elizabeth (Bland/Wallace/Gibbons) and they had 7 children.   NOTE about Elizabeth's last name:  There are many different accounts --and nobody knows for sure which family she is from.  I'd like to think it's Bland --since there are so many Bland Ballards in our family. 

I was so happy to be here and experience this history.  The Ballard House was built between 1706 and 1709.

John and Elizabeth Ballard and their family lived on this property from 1727-1744, but the house remained in the Ballard family until 1761..   This is the Ballard House today.  They have preserved it --and it is in good shape.  The inside is very different today--but the outside is very similar.  In 1968,  the National Park Service acquired the property.

This is the sign outside of the Ballard House.  You will need to click on this in order to see it closer.  You can see what the kitchen probably looked like back in the 1700's. 

I bought 3 new books while on this trip.  One of them is about Colonial Yorktown (and shows photos and info about the Ballard House).  The other two are about Bruton Parish Episcopal Church.  It's great to read Thomas Ballard's name in the history of the church and the entire community.

For instance, in 1693 Thomas Ballard was responsible for providing the land for the formation of William and Mary College.  Then in 1997,  when the college was doing some utility work,  remains of a foundation were found.  Excavation was then done ---and remains of a home which may have belonged to Thomas Ballard were found.  I wanted to see that area while there,  but couldn't work it out this trip.  (It's an excuse to go back,  don't you think????? ha)

This is where it all started for me... These are my Grandparents on my mother's side of the family.  My grandmother was Ida Elizabeth Bruce (1874-1904) and my grandfather was  James Franklin BALLARD (1861-1936).

I am proud to be a BALLARD!!!

Hope you have a good weekend.  Hope we get some rain from that storm.. We NEED it here.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Woman's Story

As most of you know,  I love Genealogy.  I have been working on my family's history off and on for several years.  Most of this time has been spent putting names and dates on my software program ---trying to get accurate information on births, marriages, deaths,  etc.

On Saturday night,  July 16,   I pulled out a packet of my Family History notes.  I got to reading --and while reading,  I realized something.  I know names and dates of many of my family members that go back many years.  What I don't know --and what I want to know now are their stories,  how they lived,  what they did, etc..   While thinking about these Family Stories,  I realized that I don't really have too much on many of them.

I did find a story about my Great Grandmother,  MARTHA MATILDA CARR.  This is a typical story of what it was like in the mid-1800's  when the Civil War was going on in our country.  Times were rough --and for a young woman like Martha,  life was especially hard.

Martha was born  on November 7, 1849 in New Hope, in what is now West Virginia.  Her father was Robert Carr (1801-1874) and her mother was Sarah Sallie King (1808-1878).  There were FOURTEEN children in the family.  Martha was the 3rd from the youngest. 

I read that the family were loyal Confederates ---so when the boundaries were changed between Virginia and West Virginia,  the family moved to make sure that they were in Virginia.  In 1861,  Civil War broke out in our country.  Martha was only about 12 yrs old.

WELL---during those years,  many members of her family were killed or wounded either in that war or due to that war, so Martha saw her little world just fall apart.  (I cannot imagine going through this.)  All of the boys in the family (except one who was too young) went to war.  Here were some of the deaths or those wounded in her family:
  • -a sister, Nancy Mary, died at age 23
  • -Sarah,  an in-law, died in 1861, at about age 30
  • -Reverend William, an in-law, died in 1861,  at about age 32
  • -John, an in-law, died in 1863 of battle wounds (he was in the infantry), at about age 33
  • -Jane, his wife and a sister to Martha,  died on Oct. 1, 1864, at age 30
  • -Jess Green,  Martha's brother, died in 1863, of a fever following a battle wound, at age 28
  • -Joseph,  another brother of Martha, died in 1864, of battle wounds,  at age 18
Can you believe it:  FOUR men and THREE women in the same family died,  all between the ages of 18 to 33????    But---besides the dead,  three brothers came back from the war.  James Shannon and John were both severely wounded,  and Giles had a mutilated right hand.   While reading this information,  I just sat there with tears in my eyes ---thinking about that family and what they went through.

Martha Matilda got married in 1873 to Daniel Hoge Bruce.   They moved away to a remote and rugged area in VA, which was far from her home --so she didn't get to see her family very often. Daniel taught school --and life was hard for the family (there were 7 children) as they worked to raise family crops and apple trees,  plus canning and meat curing, etc.  It became too difficult, so the family had to give up the farm and move into town--where the children could continue their schooling. Most of the children eventually became school teachers.

Of the 7 children, one was my Grandmother Ida Elizabeth Bruce.  My grandmother (the eldest child of Martha and Daniel) died herself at the age of 30.   Then,  Martha's  husband,  Daniel,  developed a severe disease which they called Creeping Paralysis (probably Parkinson's Disease).  He became helpless himself and had to be fed and tended to like a baby.  Martha also suffered by losing her hearing totally --but she still managed to nurse her husband through all of those long, painful years --with great patience, cheerfulness and love.

I read that this lady was full of self-confidence and great composure which seemed to carry her through some very sad times.   Daniel died in 1915 at the age of 68.   Martha lived a few more years,  dying herself in 1918.

I only have 2 pictures of my Great Grandmother ---both showing a very sad woman.  As I write her story,   I yearn to know more about my family on a personal level.  That is why it is important to get these stories written down for future generations.  If nobody tells the stories,  they won't get told.

I cannot imagine living a life like my Great Grandmother lived.  From what I read,  Martha only lost her composure one time --and that was over something quite insignificant.  After Daniel died,  Martha was heard saying when she saw a new piece of furniture:  "I never had a new piece of furniture in my whole life".   Needless to say,  the family pulled their money together and bought her a beautiful new loveseat.   I guess  that that little statement popped out culminating all of the heartache she had endured her entire life... 

This is only one story --of one brave lady. I am proud to be her Great Granddaughter --and only hope that I show a tiny bit of her fortitude and self-assurance.

There are two pictures today.  The one above is of Martha Matilda Carr Bruce, my Great Grandmother. The one below shows the family of my Great Grandparents.  From left to right:  First row:  daughter Lula Margaret,  my Grandmother Ida Elizabeth,  my mother Edith Marguerite-in front of her mother,  Great Grandfather Daniel,  Great Grandmother Matilda;  2nd row: daughter Flora;  daughter Rosa;  Son Robert; daughter Alice;  and daughter, Hattie.

Have a great day---and remember to write down the stories of your loved ones... Their stories,  no matter how sad,  need to be told.  These stories also help us in today's world appreciate our lives much more.  They also should help us to quit complaining about what we don't have ---and be thankful for what we do.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another Branch of My Family: the HOGE Family

This Family History search just keeps GROWING.   Today,  I'll explore a little of another side of my family,  the HOGE side.  My 2Great Grandmother was Margaret Anderson Hoge  (1825-1870).  She was married to my 2Great Grandfather,  Joshua Henderson Bruce (1825-1904).  They lived in Virginia --and are both buried in the Bruce Cemetery in Bland County, Virginia.  They had 7 children.

I have done alot of research on the Bruce side--but am just now getting started on the HOGE side.  Margaret Anderson Hoge's parents (my 3 Great Grandparent Hoges) were Daniel Hoge (1785-1857) and Nancy Ann Stafford (1783-1853).  They also lived in Virginia,  and are buried at the Hoge Cemetery in Wise, VA.  Besides Margaret Anderson,  there were 7 other children in the family.  (Another note of interest:  One of Margaret Anderson Hoge's sisters married a Bruce relative of mine,  Harvey Chesney Bruce. Her name was Susan Hoge.  Confused yet???ha)

Daniel Hoge's parents  (my 4 Great Grandparent Hoges) were James Hoge (1742-1812) and Elizabeth Howe (1750-1809).  Here's a story about James. Besides James,  there were 10 other children in the family.   I read that James went in search of one of his brothers, John, and ended up near Pulaski, VA.  His new found friend in Pulaski was Major Joseph Howe, an English gentlemen.  James fell in love with Major Howe's daughter,  Elizabeth, married her in 1763 and made his home near the residence of his father-in-law.  This home is the old southwest Virginia homestead later owned by Lt. Gov. James Hoge Tyler,  a great grandson of James.   I have tried to find a picture of that old homestead --but so far, no luck. I may need to make a trip to Pulaski, VA.

NOTE:  Added photo in October, 2012...  A long-lost cousin read my blog and sent a picture of the old homestead in Pulaski, VA.   This beautiful home is named Belle Hampton.  Thanks, Michael Gillman, for sending me this photo.

NOW--I'm going to stray off-course a little for some more interesting information.  Daniel Hoge had a brother named GEN. JAMES HOGE (1783-1861).   James married Eleanor Haven Howe,  his cousin. James Hoge was a distinguished officer in the War of 1812,  and was a Presidential candidate FIVE times.

James and Eleanor had 5 children.  One of them was Eliza (1815-1846).  Eliza married George Tyler (1817-1889) and they had one son,  JAMES HOGE TYLER (1846-1925).   Eliza died right after James' birth,  so James was raised by his maternal grandparents,  Gen. James Hoge and Eleanor Howe.

About 1862,  at the age of 16,  James enlisted in the Army of the Confederate States of America and served as a private until the end of the Civil War --RATHER than accept a commission as an officer and be separated from his friends.

James Hoge Tyler married Sue Hammet in 1868.They had 8 children. James was a devout Presbyterian and very involved in the church.  He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Hampden-Sydney College, the Union Theological Seminary, and the Synodical Orphans Home at Lynchburg.

JAMES HOGE TYLER was the Lt. Gov. of VA from 1890 to 1894, and was the 43rd Governor of Virginia from 1898-1902.    I am truly honored to say that a member of my family was once the Governor of Virginia.   How 'bout that????

I know that these Family History blogs can be pretty boring to any of you who don't appreciate Genealogy...  BUT--you would be surprised how many times I find a long-lost cousin who has 'googled' one of these names on the internet --and my blog pops up. That's why it is important for me to do this.  I hope I hear from some of the HOGE family.


ALL PICTURES in this post came from the Internet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Ballard History

Please check back at this post (click HERE)  where I talked about my 8 Great Grandfather Thomas Ballard (1630-1689).  In that blog,  I mentioned that I had two more stories about Thomas Ballard to share.  I am finally getting back to these stories,  at least one of them..  The first story talks about his involvement with William and Mary College (in Williamsburg, VA).

The history of  The College of William and Mary can be traced back to a 1693 royal charter establishing  "a perpetual College of Divinity,  Philosophy,  Languages,  and the good arts and sciences"  in the British Colony of Virginia.  It was named for the reigning joint monarchs of Great Britain,  King William III and Queen Mary II.

William and Mary is the 2nd oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.  Do you know the oldest one???? It's Harvard.

Now--you might be wondering what this college had to do with my 8 Great Grandfather,  Thomas Ballard.  WELL----Thomas Ballard owned the land where William and Mary now stands.  AND---he sold part of this land to the college trustees.

Thomas Ballard was a wealthy man  (wish I had some of that wealth now!!! ha) and owned a large amount of land around the Middle Plantation area.   (Note:  Middle Plantation is now called Williamsburg.)  Thomas  Ballard purchased the land from the Honorable Thomas Ludwell,  Secretary of State from 1660-1678.   In 1693,  Ballard sold that land (330 acres) to the Trustees of the College.  Now--only about 30 acres remain as part of the college.  The remainder of the land was sold.

Since my 8 Great Grandfather died in 1689,  his son Thomas Ballard Jr. (1655-1711;  my 7 Great Grandfather Ballard) made that sale in 1693 for him.   When I visited Williamsburg,  we went into the Wren Building at William and Mary College. This building will opened for students in 1700.   It is nice to know that one of my ancestors had a part in establishing this beautiful college.

William and Mary educated future Presidents:  Thomas Jefferson,  James Monroe, and John Tyler.  The college also educated several Supreme Court Justices, as well as Henry Clay.

When the United States declared their independence in 1776,  the college of William and Mary severed formal ties to England.  However,  the college's connection to British history remains as a distinct point of pride.  Queen Elizabeth II has visited William and Mary twice.

The college closed for about 7 years after the Civil War, but reopened in 1888.   The college continued to grow,  even during the recession.  Today,  William and Mary has students from all 50 states and 43 foreign countries.  There are 5800 undergraduates and 1925 graduate students.   Twenty six percent are students of color.  Seventy nine percent of freshmen graduated in the top 10% of their class. The student/faculty ration is 12:1.

Several years ago (1997),  utility workers discovered the foundation walls of an upper-class home buried on the College of William and Mary campus,  while they were digging a ditch for water pipes.  After finding that,  archaeologists explored that foundation and collected artifacts to help them determine the foundation's age.  It is known that only the wealthy could afford brick foundations.

They determined that the structure was there between 1634 and 1699.  After much research,  the archaeologists said that the house may have belonged to the wealthy and prominent Thomas Ballard,  who sold the land to the college's founders.

How 'bout that?????   I am not sure what they have done with that foundation since 1997,  but the next time I go to Williamsburg,  I want to see if I can find it.  It would be so neat to see something which may have belonged to my ancestor that long ago.  Can you see how interesting and exciting this genealogy research is????  I love it!!!!

If you ever get to Williamsburg,  be sure and visit William and Mary College.  My 8 Great Grandfather had a part in establishing this college.  Neat, huh?


All pictures/illustrations came from the internet.

Also,  just wanted everyone to know that the storm missed us on Tuesday night/Wed. morning.  The only thing which woke us up about 4:30 a.m. was a HUGE (I mean HUGE) clap of thunder...  We had some lightning and thunder and a little rain.  BUT--the worst went south (and north) of us.  We got lucky AGAIN.  Thanks be to God.