Showing posts with label WILLIAMSBURG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WILLIAMSBURG. Show all posts

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, October 2, 2013

Awesome Trip to Virginia/Maryland/West Virginia/Tennessee

Williamsburg, Virginia 9/21/13
George and I put 1964 miles on our Prius (averaging about 55 mpg) from September 20-29, 2013.  We drove to Williamsburg, VA, visited around that area for 3 days/4 nights;  then drove to Fredericksburg and to the Great Falls of the Potomac before heading to Fallingwaters,  West VA  for 2 nights.  We then visited Cunningham Falls State Park and Antietam  (both in Maryland);  then,  we visited Harper's Ferry in West Virginia before entering Skyline Drive in Virginia. We spent the night of 9/26 at Skyland Resort on Skyline Drive. We left the next morning for the Peaks of Otter area (off of the Blue Ridge Parkway) --enjoying Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway along the way;  Spent two nights in that area --while enjoying more of the Blue Ridge Parkway,  Peaks of Otter, and Fallingwater Cascades (a hiking trail off of the parkway). Then on the 29th---we headed home!!!!! Whew!!!!!  Got all of that?????? We accomplished ALOT in those days!

Both George and I took over 1500 photos EACH---so you'll be seeing more specifics from our trip in the next few months.    Today,  I just picked out one photo from most of the areas we visited... Many of you are on Facebook and followed us along the way --since both George and I posted a photo each morning and each evening.

Be sure to enlarge the photos for bigger pictures.  The photo above is one of our favorite parts of our visits to Williamsburg, getting to hear and see the Fife and Drums.   I love hearing them as they march down the street.   I also got to do some Family History while here --but that will be another blog post!!

Lighthouse at Fort Monroe,  Virginia,  9/22/13
We visited Fort Monroe while there --and saw this gorgeous lighthouse.   This is the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse,  in operation since 1802. This is the oldest operating lighthouse on the entire Chesapeake Bay.

Schooner Alliance --Yorktown, Virginia,  9/22/13
This was the ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHT of our entire trip.  We took a romantic evening sunset cruise on the Schooner Alliance at Yorktown, Virginia.  I have never been on a sailboat (tall ship) before ---and loved it!!!  The wind was perfect for sailing ---and there was an awesome sunset...  WOW---what a treat!!!!  We loved it.

Berkeley Plantation on the James River on Scenic Highway 5 in Virginia,  9/23/13
We drove on Scenic Highway 5 along the James River and visited the Westover Church and the Berkeley Plantation.  Berkeley is the birthplace of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (Benjamin Harrison) and of a United States President, William Henry Harrison.  This was a magnificent plantation --and our tour guide was excellent.  The home was beautiful ---but the grounds were even more gorgeous... I took this photo on the grounds --facing the James River.

George at Lee's Hill in Fredericksburg, Virginia,  9/24/13
We visited the Historic Fredericksburg Battlefield on 9/24.  George has so much knowledge about the Civil War --so I was lucky to have a built-in-tour-guide.  George's hero is Robert E. Lee---so I took the picture above of George standing beside a photo of Robert E. Lee.  We were at Lee's Hill (called Telegraph Hill in 1862).  This was Lee's headquarters --where he and the other members of the Confederate high command watched the Battle of Fredericksburg unfold in 1862.

I decided that I would love to have that beautiful old home,  Chatham,  in Fredericksburg, Virginia,  9/24/13
Also,  while in Fredericksburg,  we visited Chatham. This gorgeous home was built by William Fitzhugh between 1768 and 1771.  This home was used as the Union headquarters during the war.  A hospital was also established at Chatham to treat casualties from battle.

Us at the Great Falls of the Potomac, Virginia,  9/24/13
Next,  we visited the Virginia side of the Great Falls of the Potomac.  We both have always heard about this fantastic place ---so you can imagine how much we enjoyed seeing it in person.  This is an area you have to see in person... This as another huge HIGHLIGHT for us this trip.

Our picnic area next to the lake at Cunningham Falls State Park, Maryland, 9/25/13
We visited Cunningham Falls State Park in Maryland---searching for a waterfall... WELL---Fall is not the best time to see water at waterfalls.  We did have a nice hike that day and the state park is gorgeous.  BUT--the waterfall was only a trickle!   However,  we enjoyed hiking in the park --and even enjoyed a picnic by the lake.  The Fall Colors there were fabulous!

Sweet little Fawn at Antietam, Maryland,  9/25/13
We then visited  Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland.    This was another huge HIGHLIGHT of our trip.  Antietam is a gorgeous area --but knowing what happened there in 1862 was sobering.   Antietam is known as the bloodiest one-day battle of the American Civil War.   Just walking in that area is a sad experience... Both George and I were full of emotions that day.

Today though,  life is good in that area ---so I'll feature this sweet little fawn who was paying no attention to me ---but enjoying some dinner.   It was ironic, in the place where 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing in 1862,  that on the day we were there,  it was a beautiful and sunny and filled with life, evidenced by this little fawn.

Jefferson Rock at Harpers Ferry,  West Virginia,  9/26/13
Next,  we visited Harpers Ferry in West Virginia.  There's alot of history about Harpers Ferry but most people know it  as the place where John Brown came believing that he could free the slaves.  He wanted to raid the armory, but got trapped in the Engine House (now known as John Brown's fort) ---but was captured when U.S. Marines stormed the building.  He was  brought to trial and then hanged in 1859.  Even though he didn't win his conquest,  he brought attention to the issue of slavery ---which  headed the country toward the civil war.

The picture above was taken on the top of a hill above Harpers Ferry at a big rock,  called Jefferson Rock.   Thomas Jefferson stood on that rock in October of 1783.  Harpers Ferry is where the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River converge.  Jefferson was impressed with this area and rock formations ---just like George and I were.

Us on Skyline Drive,  Virginia,  9/26/13
After leaving Harpers Ferry,  we drove on the entire Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park and then on the Blue Ridge Parkway ---all the way to Roanoke, Virginia,  over 3 days (9/26 - 9/28).   We love this long drive ---and managed to stop at most every overlook and take photos.

George at Rock Point Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia,  9/27/13
We love rock formations ---and VIEWS of the mountains and/or valleys below.  Isn't this a gorgeous area?

Fallingwater Cascades,  off of the Blue Ridge Parkway,  Virginia, 9/28/13
We took a nice hike to Fallingwater Cascades on 9/28.  There wasn't much water coming over the falls --but George managed to get a pretty good picture of one of several drops.

Us at the Peaks of Otter, Virginia, 9/28/13
This photo was taken on our visit to the Peaks of Otter,  along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Don't you love the red tree above our heads????  We saw more Fall colors on this trip than we thought we would, considering that it wasn't October yet!!!  We also saw lots and lots of gorgeous wildflowers,  but that will be another blog post!

Well---that's our trip --in a nutshell.  We had a great time ---and I'm sure I'll share many many more photos with you in the upcoming months.

Hope you had a great September... I cannot believe that it is OCTOBER already.  My mother's birthday was yesterday --and if she were still alive,  she would have been 113 years old.   My Dad's birthday is tomorrow ---and if he were still alive,  he would be 124 years old now...  Daddy died in 1969 and Mom died in 1991.  I miss them both so much!

I tried to read your blog posts --but ran out of time most days!  SO---if I missed something really important that you want me to see,  please tell me to check those posts... Thanks!!!

Have a great Wednesday!  Be sure to check out my Photo Blog today for another photo from this wonderful trip.  Click HERE.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Poor George!!!

On our Williamsburg trip in June of 2007, George found himself in a bit of a predicament. There was an old Guillotine ----and somehow George ended up in a precarious position... Poor Baby--- I think 'she' had him exactly where she wanted him. Ya think????? Is he going to cry???? Poor George--he's just SO abused!!!! Wonder how long 'she' made him stay there---and what promises did he have to make to her???????? Hmmmmmmmmm....

Seeing this old picture made me think about the Guillotine--and its history. How much do you know about them??? I'll admit that I didn't know much---so I did a little research that you might find interesting --or maybe not!!!

During the 1700's, executions in France were public events where entire towns gathered to watch. (Can you imagine?) A common execution method for a poor criminal was quartering, where the prisoner's limbs were tied to four oxen, then the animals were driven in four different directions ripping the person apart. (Yipes!) Upper-class criminals could buy their way into a less painful death by hanging or beheading. (It's hard to imagine something like beheading being more humane... Gads!)

Doctor Joseph Ignace Guillotin belonged to a small political reform movement that wanted to banish the death penalty completely. Guillotin argued for a painless and private capital punishment method equal for all the classes, as an interim step towards completely banning the death penalty. Beheading devices had already been used in Germany, Italy, Scotland and Persia for aristocratic criminals. However, never had such a device been adopted on a large institutional scale. The French named the guillotin after Doctor Guillotin. The extra 'e' at the end of the word was added by an unknown English poet who found guillotine easier to rhythm with.

More than 10,000 people lost their heads by guillotine during the French Revolution, including Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette, the former king and queen of France. Use of the guillotine continued in France in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the last execution by guillotine occurred in 1977. In September 1981, France outlawed capital punishment altogether, thus abandoning the guillotine forever. There is a museum dedicated to the guillotine in Liden, Sweden.

Here's some Guillotine Facts:
• Total weight of a guillotine is about 1278 lbs
• The guillotine metal blade weighs about 88.2 lbs
• The height of guillotine posts average about 14 feet
• The falling blade has a rate of speed of about 21 feet/second
• Just the actual beheading takes 2/100 of a second
• The time for the guillotine blade to fall down to where it stops takes 70th of a second
• On September 10, 1977, the last execution by guillotine took place in Marseilles, France, when the murderer Hamida Djandoubi was beheaded.

Now--aren't you just THRILLED that I gave you all of this interesting (???) information... Thank God that doesn't go on NOW.

Okay---back to my story!!!!! She didn't want her Sweetheart's head chopped off ----so she told him to SMILE for the camera and she'd talk nicely to the guards so that they would free him... For some reason, he obliged ---and gave her a huge smile... Isn't he a Cutie?????

Have a great Saturday ---and stay away from Guillotines.


P.S. LATER: George just 'stole my thunder' from this post today. He said that this was NOT a guillotine ---but was really a STOCK. I said, "Whatever!" He said that they didn't use a 'thing' like this to cut off someone's head. This was used to put people in it --so everyone could make fun of them, throw rotten vegetables at them, etc. Guess that wouldn't be quite as bad as getting your head cut off!!! Oh Well----I now know more about a Guillotine and a Stock... See what blogging does?????? ha