Col. Thomas Ballard, 19th Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses was born circa 1630 in England and died 1689 in Middle Plantation, James City County, Virginia, United States of America of unspecified causes. He married Anne Thomas (c1630-1678) 1650 in York County, Virginia, United States.

Thomas Ballard was probably born in England in approximately 1630. Despite extensive research over the past 30 years no evidence has yet been found to identify Ballard's parentage, birthplace or birth date. Previously published hypotheses concerning the ancestry of Ballard were analyzed and dis proven over a decade ago.

Ballard married Anne Thomas in 1650; they had eight children. From about July 1652–March 1663 he was clerk of York County, where he owned land. He also patented land in Gloucester County along the Mattaponi River and Propotank Creek. He actively bought and sold land throughout the colony for most of his adult life.

By 1666 Ballard had moved to James City County, which first elected him to the House of Burgesses that year. He became a close associate of Governor Sir William Berkeley, and was appointed to the Council in June 1670. He was active in the bar, and served as High Sheriff of James City County in 1674. He also became a customs collector. In 1675 he bought a 330-acre (1.3 km2) farm in Middle Plantation, the future site of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Ballard sold a tract of land in Henrico County to Nathaniel Bacon in 1675. The following year, as Bacon's public hostility to Berkeley's governorship grew, Ballard attempted to mediate the dispute. In June, he negotiated a brief reconciliation between the two, persuading Berkeley to award Bacon a commission to fight Indians. Bacon went into open rebellion in July, forcing Berkeley to flee to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. On July 30, Bacon declared Ballard a "wicked and pernitious counsellor.

Four days later, on August 3, Bacon held a meeting at Middle Plantation at which Ballard, among many others, signed an oath of loyalty to him. Ballard also signed papers urging Bacon to call an election and convene the General Assembly.

In September, Bacon used Anna Ballard and other councillors' wives as human shields in a clash with Berkeley's forces at Jamestown. After Bacon's death in October, the rebellion collapsed. Ballard served on a number of the ensuing courts-martial that condemned the surviving rebels.

In 1677 Berkeley was removed as governor. Lieutenant Governor Herbert Jeffreys removed Ballard from the Council and his customs post, citing his oath to Bacon as proof of his "mutinous Spirit".

Anna Ballard died in 1678. Thomas Ballard later married Alice Hilliard; they had two children.

In 1679, instructions from London confirmed that Ballard and Philip Ludwell, two members of the "Green Spring faction" of diehard Berkeley loyalists, were barred from the Council. Ballard was returned to the House of Burgesses from James City County, and the House chose him as Speaker for the session of 1680–82. After his service as Speaker, he remained in the House until 1686. He also commanded the county militia during this period.

Ballard was a vestryman of Bruton Parish in Middle Plantation when it built its first brick church in 1682–83. He spent his final years pursuing a lawsuit against Nathaniel Bacon's estate, trying to recover the balance due on the 1675 land sale.

Ballard died and was buried at Bruton Parish Church on March 24, 1689.

Ballard's oldest son and heir, Thomas Ballard, Jr., sold the Middle Plantation estate shortly after his father's death. Most of it went to form the campus of the College of William and Mary.


Offspring of Anne Thomas and Thomas Ballard (c1630-1689)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Ballard (c1652-c1692)
Thomas Ballard (1655-1711) 1655 Middle Plantation, York County, Virginia, United States of America 11 June 1711 Middle Plantation, York County, Virginia, United States of America Katharine Hubbard (c1660-c1705)

Lydia M Ballard (c1657-bef1695)
Martha Margaret Ballard (c1661-)
William Ballard (c1663-c1750)
Elizabeth Ballard (1665-1705)
Matthew Ballard (c1667-c1720)
Francis Ballard (c1675-1719)



Footnotes (including sources)

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