John Ballard, Willow Swamp Baptist Church and the 1810 Census
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!