When working with the available land records for Orangeburgh District I like to find someone who received only one or, perhaps two land grants, and who seemed to live on that land for a long period of time. Many individuals got numerous grants that may have been located in different areas of the district. With so few surviving district land records it can be too easy to assume that everyone who obtained a land grant lived on that property. Just as some people do today, there were always those individuals who acquired land, never lived on it, and held it for various lengths of time before disposing of it.
This post focuses on an individual who had his first survey done in 1786 and remained in the area until after 1810. He was also one of the founding members of Willow Swamp Baptist Church in 1805. John Ballard obtained two adjoining tracts of land on Deadfall Branch, just east of Willow Swamp.
I noticed John Ballard’s name in the earliest Orangeburgh District censuses when I started doing this research many years ago. I though his property would be particularly useful to locate since he seemed to stay on it for almost thirty years. I recently discovered another reason to be even more interested in him. My autosomal DNA test results suggest that I might be one of his descendants.
The Ballard family, like many others from Orangeburgh District, moved west as new lands became available. This Orangeburgh District family was not the only Ballard family from South Carolina who did this. Those who can trace their Ballard line back only to South Carolina may not be certain of which Ballard family in South Carolina was theirs. I have documented what I believe to be the movement of the Ballard family of Orangeburgh District to Pike County, Mississippi by 1820 and on to Louisiana by 1840 in the Ballard Family of Orangeburgh District.
Now, let’s look at where John Ballard raised his family while living in Orangeburgh District. We can also use his property to establish some of the Willow Swamp neighborhood in the 1810 census.
If the plat names and neighbors names are replaced with numbers representing the probable order in which the households were visited for the 1810 census, we can see how the enumerator may have moved through the neighborhood. (The sequential numbers are those used in my book, Orangeburgh District, South Carolina Combined Census index and Neighborhood Listings, 1800*-1820.
If you are a descendant of this Ballard Family of Orangeburgh District and have had your autosomal DNA tested, please contact me! I run a DNA project that currently has eleven of us who share this possible connection with the Ballard family. If I don’t show up as a match on your test results one of my other ten cousins just might!
Getting Started with Household Locations in the 1800 and 1810 Census
Willow Swamp Baptist Church was established on August 10, 1805 by members who had been dismissed from Dean Swamp Baptist Church. The names of those 32 individuals were published in South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, volume XX, (Fall 1992), pages 183 and 184.
In order to learn more about where these families lived, I first created a spreadsheet showing the families who started Willow Swamp Baptist Church. Next, using my recently published book for the 1800 through 1820 censuses, I looked up all of those families who appeared in Orangeburgh District in 1800 and/or 1810 and added their household numbers to the spreadsheet. The results are shown here:
(Notes for above data: Willow Swamp Baptist Church was located near a crossing point on the South Edisto River. Many of the families without numbers in the list above lived in Barnwell District at these enumerations. Names in brackets did not appear on the church list but have been added as likely spouses of those who did. I would be glad to hear from anyone who can identify any of the unattached females on the list or suggest corrections to those I put with spouses.)
With this information it is easier to begin to identify where some of these folks lived at the time of these two early census counts. In 1800 those members whose households were enumerated appeared in the visitation sequence from 507 through 557. In 1810 the households appear in two separate sections of the count: 315 through 333 and 654 through 669. William Pauling, the 1810 enumerator, clearly used a different route through the area than did Gasper Trotti in 1800.
In the next few weeks I will post some articles about more specific locations of some of these households. In the meanwhile, if you cannot make it to Oktoberfest this weekend, consider ordering a copy of my newest book, Orangeburgh District, South Carolina Combined Census Index and Neighborhood Listings, 1800*–1820 from this website.