Transcribed By Pamela Vick
October 29, 1953
* CAL’S COLUMN *
We are in receipt of the following letter from Walter W(ade) Smith, who has quite a lot of information on the Ballou family. We thank him for his letter and for the information therein contained. The letter follows:
P. O. Box 150
October 21, 1953
My Dear Editor:
Three copies of your paper, “Macon County Times,” were delivered to my P. O. Box this week. I have read them completely as they breathe a fine spirit of the middle South as I knew it half a century ago. I note particularly your data on the Ballou family, and your mention of my name as one of the sources of information on the Ballous. I was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, and grew up with the Ballou descendants of James Ballou and “Frankey” Jones. The “first day’s work” I ever did for hire, I did for John Bell Jones, a nephew of Frances Jones Ballou. Yes, I am on “This Side of the Flood,” in pretty good health, although retired some four years from the University where I taught for 21 years, closing my work there in June, 1949. I still do considerable “speaking,” serve a Methodist church at Garfield, Washington, some 25 miles northwest of Moscow, as supply pastor. We drive over there every Sunday morning and visit among the members one day a week. Do some extra speaking for the University of Idaho, upon call, usually in the more distant parts of the State. Write some, and still gather genealogical information on my Smiths, and their kin.
It was a great pleasure to read your paper, and particularly the Ballou notes. The Ballous have intermarried with the Smiths and their kin, several times and I have busied myself betimes in gathering data on the genealogy of the Ballous, although none too succcessfully. I do have some data gathered from the Virginia State and County Records, and from the Bibles and traditions of the older members of the family. I find, however, that tradition is a very unworthy source of genealogical data. It is a great source of direction, and points the way towards many items that can be proven; but one cannot rely upon tradition solely as a basis for family history. Sometimes it is off one, two or three generations in point of time, and sometimes quite unreliable in point of person or place. However, we seek it at every turn when valid data is not at hand; but must yield always to the public record, the Tombstone or Bible Family Record when obtainable. This, of course, you already know; but I want you to know that I also know that, too.
I have quite a large volume of notes on the Ballou Family, much of which still unsupported tradition, some verified by public records, some by Bible records; but with much yet to be desired to complete the lineage of the family from the immigrant Ballou ancestor. I shall be glad to share with you, all that I have of either, or all. My knowledge of the Ballous begins with visits with my father, Martin Beaty Smith, to the home of Rev. Allen Ballou, at Burnside, Kentucky, about 1885 to 1889, when he died; then for three more years until we left Pulaski County, Kentucky, with mother or alone, meeting and knowing these Ballous and Jones. Later in life I began gathering data on my Smiths, and their married kin, and came upon them again. They are an interesting family, of very ancient origin. I have had inquires and help from many who, like me, were seeking data on this family, and I am glad to find you interested to the point of publication and research on the matter.
The Ballou Family is of French Huguenot origin, and dates far back into French history. The first of whom I have any data was Antoine Boileau, b. 1381, d. 1459, treasurer of the Royal Property at Nismes and Beaucaire; his son, Guillaume (William) Boileau (Ballou), b. 1420, d. 1494 married Elienette Bourdin, daughter of Jean Bourdin; issue, Antoine, Guilliaume, Jean, Madeliene, Nicholas, Agnes, and Jeanne. One of this family named Charles Boileau, Sqr. d. Castleman, born 1626, Counsellor at Nismes, 1652; was imprisoned in 1685 at St. pierre Ancise, at Lyons till he died January 17, 1697, married November 18, 1664 to Dlle Francoise des Vignolles, daughter of Jacques des Vignolles, who escaped into Switzerland and died at Geneva January 14, 1700. They left 22 children, several of whom took service with the English Army, etc., Ref. Huguenot Pedigrees; Charles E. Hart, London, 1928. In O’Harts Irish Pedigrees, Vol. 2, p. 464, there is mention of Huguenot Boileaus in Ireland, one Charles Boileau, son of Jacques Boileau 5th, Baron and Counsellor of Nesmes, France, etc., served in the English Army, Capt. of Infantry, settled in Dublin, had sons, Simon, Solomon, etc.
Evidently some of these Boileaus (Ballous) came in to England even before the terrible days of 1685. It was the revocation of the Edict of Nantes that seems to have sent the Huguenot Boileaus (Ballous) out of France instead of the French Revolution of 1798, etc., as tradition seems to indicate.
March of 1941, a Mrs. George C. Lewis, (Marcia Moss Lewis), of 8 Summit Grove
Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, also a
Ballou researcher, sent me data on early Ballous in Virginia. She found, that the first Ballou come to Virginia, was “Lt. Col. William Ballou, who came to Virginia with the Kings Troops to protect the Colonists from the Indians, and remained. He married Dorothy Clarke, daughter of John Clarke. His will is on record in Henrico County, Virginia, Will Book II, p. 32 for April 5, 1678; sons mentioned, Leonard, William and Thomas.” Of this William Ballou, Jr. son of Col. William Ballou, she says, that his will, recorded in Henrico County, Virginia, Will Book, Vol. VI, p. 197, dated February 3, 1700, left ten children without naming them, evidently minors, etc., that his widow Dorothy Ballou, died soon after her husband, naming one son, Charles Ballou. That Charles Ballou died, will date January 17, 1726 and names wife, Tabitha; children, Charles Jr., Sarah, Michael, Phoebe and Mary. That Charles Ballou Jr. died Cumberland County, Virginia, 1767, will in Book II, P. 333; wife Temperance, and children William, Annie, Charles (3rd), Jesse, Thomas John and Mary Ballou.
From other sources I have the will of Thomas Ballou in Abermarle Co., Virginia, August 13, 1750; Wife, Jane, children, Thomas, Dorothy, Micha, and Jane Ballou. Same county, February 14, 1753, is will of Bennett Ballou; wife, Agnes, children, Leonard, Executor, brother John Ballou. Another will, Susanna Ballou, September 25, 1775; children, Robert, Ann, Charles, Thomas, Joseph, John Leonard, a grandchild, Leonard Patterson. Executor, Leonard Ballou, and witnesses, Joseph Ballou, Dianah Ballou and Robert Ballou, proven February 12, 1756.
Lt. Col. William Ballou, had grants of land in Henrico Co., Virginia, October 1, 1651, 406 acres on North side of Appomattox River near the falls. In this land grant he is called “Major William Ballow.” Again he has a grant with Jerome Hame, February 17, 1652 for 1050 acres, in which he is called “Lt. Col. Bellew,” Land Book III p. 185.
Now for what tradition has built up on the Ballou Family: “One Leonard Ballou, from Ireland, a French Huguenot, who married Esther Meredith, daughter of Rhys Meredith, of Wales, came to Virginia, and left a son, Rice (Rhys) Meredith Ballou, born in Virginia early in the 1700’s, married a cousin named Ballou, and left a son, Leonard Ballou, born in Virginia somewhere on the James River about 1742.”
This Leonard Ballou is the one who is reputed upon best authority to have driven a herd of beef cattle to Philadelphia, during the early days of the Revolutionary War and to have died there of smallpox. I suspect that the actual confusion began here. His family is given as different by different traditions. The first one to come to me from the Kentucky Ballous, was: Children, Leonard, James Owen, Meredith, Elizabeth, Margaret, Susannah, Tamzon, Esther, Catherine and William Ballou. Of these children, Leonard Ballou was supposed to be a Baptist minister, born about 1762, married Sallie Wingfield, and had William, Charles, Thomas H., Robert and Joseph Ballou. James Ballou, the 2nd child, married Frances Jones and settled in Pulaski County, Kentucky. I have a good list of his descendants and it was from his children that we got our traditions. Owen Meredith Ballou was a Baptist minister born in Virginia, September 29, 1766. This I have from R. L. Ballou, Lawyer, etc., of Creston, N.C., in 1941. He then had access to the Bible of his great-great-grandfather, Owen Meredith Ballou. This R. L. Ballou, of Creston, N.C., said that Owen Meredith Ballou, was the son of Leonard Ballou who went to Philadelphia with a herd of beef steers and died of smallpox. He also says that Susan Ballou, daughter of Leonard Ballou, born in 1757, married John Rutherford, of Kings Mountain Fame, etc. Further R. L. Ballou, of Creston, N.C., also said that the widow of Leonard Ballou and a son, James Ballou, removed to Tennessee.
It is possible that our Ballou Lineage could stem from Leonard Ballou, son of Lt. Col. William Ballou, of English Army, etc., died 1678; but that would leave only about two generations of the traditional line to be correct to cover 90 years, 1652? to 1742? Of course, we haven’t all the details even by tradition, so must search further.
I say again I was glad to get your papers, and to learn that some one was still searching for the origin of the Ballous in America. There are a great many Ballous scattered about throughout the whole United States, and many have lost completely all connection with the parent stem of the family. It is well that some one who knows first hand some of the vital facts keep matter alive until this be settled and written up for permanent record. I have read the “Ballou Family in America,” giving special attention to the family descended from Maturin Ballou of New England, and the fragments of the Ballou Family History from the Virginia Ballous up to about 1876. Some of this must have been misunderstood or reported badly; as it is not clear in many instances just who is the ancestor of what set of children.
I haven’t done much more than answer inquires on the Ballou Family since 1941, I, at that time, did about all I could to get a clear view of our Ballou cousins, as I am not a Ballou descendant, but have many Ballou cousins in Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana.
Father died in Pulaski County, Kentucky, August 9, 1889, and my mother, Melissa Annis Stephens Smith, removed in 1891 to Johnson County, Missouri. I went to High School at Holden, Missouri, married there in 1901, Margaret Eunice Winn, and had three sons. Mrs. Smith died after we came to Moscow, and I later married Elsie Riddle, from a Jefferson County, Tennessee family, which was intermarried with Tylers, Westers, Hauns and other East Tennessee families. Most of these families came from southern Virginia to East Tennessee, so the Stephens and Riddles have been neighbors for more than 150 years.
Another family that we knew to some extent, was that of Levi Jones, from Virginia, to Pulaski County, Kentucky, whose daughter, Frances (Franky) Jones, married Rev. James Ballou. We lived neighbors to Allen Jones, a son of this Levi Jones, and brother of Frances Jones Ballou.
I was educated (so to speak) at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and preached and taught for several years, was in Kansas City about 8 years, went to California in 1924 and came to Moscow to teach in the University of Idaho in 1927, and was retired for age (70), June, 1949 as Prof. Emeritus in College of Education. I have been interested in the history of the Smiths and their kin since I was a boy. Our Smiths are from Rowan County, N.C., as are most of our intermarried kin. Stephens, from Henry County, Virginia, Hughes (grandmother) probably from Rowan County, N.C., Massey, from Rowan County, N.C., Lee (great-grandmother) from Virginia, (Cobb Hall Lees).
I shall look forward to another issue of your paper, with more Ballou information. If I can help you will gladly share with you all that I have gathered on that or any other family. May I hear from you in person if I can be of help? With sincerest best wishes, I am.
WALTER W. SMITH.
We thank Prof. Smith for many items of information on the Ballou, Smith, Jones and other families. We shall be glad to have any information he may give us. Again we extend our sincere thanks.