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Full text of "Recollections of the Ball family of South Carolina and the Comingtee plantations"

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Recollections of the Ball Family 



OF 



South Carolina 
and 

The Comingtee Plantation 



BY 



Anne Simons Deas 



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PUBLIC L! 

653404 

ASTOrt. I 
TiLD 

R ' 3 L 



Copyright. 1909 
Alwyn Ball, Jr 



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COMINGTEE PLANTATION 



INDEX 



Page 

I. COMINGTEE 9 

II. THE COMINGS 24 

III. THE FIRST ELIAS BALL, 33 

IV. RED CAP'S DAUGHTERS 52 

V. THE SECOND ELIAS 66 

VI. THE TWO JOHN COMINGS 91 

VII. ELIAS OF WAMBAW 100 

VIII. ELIAS OF LIMERICK 113 

IX. JOHN BALL OF KENSINGTON 128 

X. JOHN BALL'S CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. 135 

XI. COMINGTEE FIFTY OR SIXTY YEARS AGO, . .150 

XII. PLANTATION INDUSTRIES AND OLD SERVANTS, 160 

XIII. APPENDIX 174 

XIV. FAMILY CHARTS 184 









AUTOGRAPHS. 



i&xa ficJt-, 



(Elias of Wambaw.) 



-4 

(Afterward Mrs. Bryan.) 




01*4 




(John Ball of Kensington.) 



m j^ -fyfry flJ/ 



(Second Elias.) (Catherine Chicken.) 



(Miss Nelly.) 





'/As*/\Z~ 



(Elias of Limerick.) 



oJ^cuae 63clW 




%^yo fio^l 



(Son of Second Elias.) 



(Mary Delamare.) 



tj&^vxs f&vsMT^ Spa^t& 



(John Coming Ball of Back River.) 



I 










ISAAC BALL 
1844 



FOREWORD. 



The following account of the Ball Family has 
been compiled from family records, letters, wills, 
and other old papers, supplemented by traditions, 
handed down from one generation to another. 
While I have not encumbered my narrative with 
references to the special sources from which each 
statement has been taken, I have been careful to 
give tradition no more credit than it deserves, and 
have endeavored, even at cost of repetition, to 
make it clear when a surmise or an inference is pure- 
ly personal. Any positive statement, therefore, 
may be relied on as having the support of authority. 

The dates of births, deaths, and marriages I owe 
to Mr. William J. Ball's admirable and carefully 
compiled family record; while to Mr. Isaac Ball 
I am indebted for the loan of old letters, for infor- 
mation as to the recent alterations to the house at 
Comingtee, and for many important suggestions. 
To Mrs. Maria Louisa Ball I am indebted for inter- 
esting family traditions and much valuable infor- 
mation; and to Miss Lydia Child Ball for impor- 
tant illustrations. 

Anne Simons Deas. 

Summebville, S. C, Sept. 29th, 1904. 



I. 

COMINGTEE. 

Cooper River, about thirty miles from its mouthy 
divides into two branches the Eastern and Western, 
which, with the main stem of the river, fairly well 
represent the letter "T." On the little peninsula 
thus formed, Capt. Coming settled. For a long 
time, the plantation was known as Coming's T, and 
is so marked on some old plats. Gradually, the s 
and the apostrophe being dropped, it became 
Coming T; and from that to the present spelling — 
Comingtee — the transition was easy. 

The original grant to Capt. Coming evidently did 
not cover the whole of what is now Comingtee 
plantation; for, in 1703 and 1704, Elias Ball pur- 
chased and added two adjoining tracts of 572 and 
115 acres, respectively, at one shilling per hundred 
acres. In 1735, he bought a third tract of 140 acres, 
described by his son, in 1752, as lying between the 
T of the river, lands of his own, a creek between 
Nicholas Harleston (then owner of Rice Hope) and 
the "Northwestern branch of Cooper River;" for 
tli is he paid more — three shillings sterling or four 
shillings, proclamation money, per hundred acres. 
The creek which bounded it on the east was prob- 

9 



ably dammed up later into a Reserve, and the rest 
of its course gradually lost; but the river front is 
there, and includes the only bit of river-bluff on 
the plantation, the rest of the strip along the river, 
being swamp or marsh. 

The plantation, from days beyond the memory of 
any now living, has been considered as in two 
parts — Comingtee and Stoke. I do not think that 
the name Stoke occurs on the plats; but it was a 
very real division, nevertheless. There were the 
Stoke barn, the Stoke negro-houses, the Stoke gang 
(who had a page of their own in the plantation 
Record-book), the Stoke well, etc. Comingtee had 
its own barn and corn-house, negro-houses, and 
gang. The dwelling-house was on Comingtee. 

Stoke comprises the part of the plantation on 
the Western Branch, especially the bluff where the 
brick mill and the wharf now are, and corresponds 
closely with that latest purchase in 1735. On an 
old English map of 1724, Stockentine Head — where 
the Balls lived — is spelled Stokcntin Head; and 
lower down the coast are Stoke Ford and Stoken- 
ham. So it seems but natural that Elias Ball 
should have given a name, recalling the memories 
of his early home, to the one bit of bluff on the 
water-front. 

Who established this settlement is not known; 
but it was there in 1805. In a record of the ages 
of negroes, belonging to the second Elias, we find 
that a boy, named "Stoak" was born in 1737. The 
name, however, as applied to a part of Comingtee, 
appears first in the will of Elias Ball of Limerick, 

10 



who leaves bis "plantations of Comingtee and 
Stoke" to his nephew, John Ball, Jr. As Elias 
built the brick pounding-mill, it is not improbable 
that it was he who made this settlement at Stoke ; 
but whether he originated the name, or only estab- 
lished the settlement on a spot, already so known, 
we cannot say. 

High up on the Comingtee side of the creek, be- 
tween Fishpond and that place, at a spot now on 
the edge of the large Reserve, or perhaps under its 
waters, a low bluff ran down to the stream. This 
was called "Hiddidoddy Landing," and is (I think) 
so marked on Purcell's plat. It was hardly more 
than half a mile from the house, and in a sheltered 
position. The creek was navigable for wood-boats 
as late as 1828 or 1830 — perhaps later; and must 
have been much deeper before it had been banked 
in at all, or its head-waters cut off into Reserves. 
Indeed, it had become so much shallower, even be- 
fore the present bank was made up, that it was no 
longer considered navigable. "Hiddidoddy" was 
an Indian word, signifying in the language of the 
tribes around Charleston something equivalent to 
"Very Good." 

That Capt. Coming built on or near the site 
of the present dwelling seems certain. It is not 
known whether he or Elias Ball built the present 
brick house, and there is no clue to the date. It 
is said to be one of the two oldest houses in the 
Parish ; the other being at Exeter, the Mottes' place, 
high up the Western Branch. Tradition makes the 
bricks to have been brought from England. The 

ii 



late Mr. William J. Ball, who knew more of the 
family history than any one else, thought that the 
brick house was built by Elias Ball, and that 
the Comings lived in a wooden cottage which stood 
on the neighboring slope, opposite the large syca- 
mores in the avenue. This house was standing 
after 1865 or 1866; it was evidently quite old; and 
in front of it were two beautiful live-oaks, which 
still mark the spot. For many years it was used as 
the overseer's house; but after the overseers lived 
at Stoke, it became "the Sick House," or planta- 
tion hospital. A short distance back, to the north- 
west, a small clump of trees, principally live-oak 
and cedar, marked a spot which rumor pointed out 
as the family cemetery. Some of the older negroes 
called it the "grave-yard''; and tradition or super- 
stition kept it intact, — a thickly overgrown spot in 
the midst of cultivated fields. No trace of graves 
is apparent ; but the tradition, and its proximity 
to the dwelling-house, are strong evidences 
of its having been a family burial-place. On 
most old plantations, the cemetery was within easy 
reach of the dwelling. In all probability, Capt. and 
Mrs. Coming, and the first Elias's younger children, 
were buried there. Its position, also, with regard 
to the wooden house, is in favor of the letter's hav- 
ing been the original dwelling. 

From an old memorandum-book, kept by the first 
and second Eliases, we gather that there was more 
than one house at Comingtee in their dav. In 1736 
there is an entry — "To half a day's work on the old 
house"; and the same carpenter was at work on 

12 




COMINGTEE PLANTATION 
Present House 



"the windows for the garret" from the 10th to the 
14th August. After 1731 the house evidently un- 
derwent repairs and alterations from time to time. 
The first Elias was struggling from October in that 
year to the next May, with a carpenter who was 
perpetually "staying away" or "doing no work." 
►Some of this work must have been on 
the house, as he broke two panes of sash-glass and 
the sash. In 1738 something was done to the gar- 
ret windows that took several days. In 1743 the 
house was shingled, and again in 1763; and, in 
1771, it was repaired at a cost of 400 pounds, by a 
carpenter who had also the assistance of four of 
the plantation carpenters. 

THE OLD REVOLUTIONARY HOMESTEAD AT 

COMINGTEE. 

In 1833 or 1834, John Ball, Jr., built out, at the 
back, an addition, as large as the original house. 

A fine live-oak stands in front of the door, so 
near that its branches sweep the piazza shed. A 
few yards beyond was the gate leading to a large 
garden, on the western slope of the knoll, to the 
right of which was an orchard of equal extent. 
The garden was laid out in the old-fashioned way, 
with a straight walk down the middle, between 
flower-beds bordered with jonquils. There were 
bunches of snow-drops, too, and delicious old-fash- 
ioned sweet-roses ; some large old crape-myrtle trees 
faced each other across the walk; and here and 
there were great rounded bushes of box. Outside 

13 



of the flower-beds were the vegetable beds; and, in 
a sunny spot among them, an old brass dial "marked 
the hours which were serene." On the line of the 
fence, dividing the garden from the orchard, was a 
huge pecan, rivalling the live-oak in size. There 
is a memorandum about the garden, too; in 1742 
the second Elias notes : "Finished the garden here 
at Comingtee." 

To the southwest of the house, across the corn 
field and between it and the large body of rice- 
land, is a patch of woods called the Tee Pasture, 
or, sometimes, "The Forbidden Woods." It re- 
ceived the latter name because, in former years, 
it was strictly forbidden to cut any wood of any 
kind there; consequently, the growth was dense, 
and owls might be heard hooting in its recesses 
long before sunset. The Tee Pasture seems of no 
special use except to shield the house from the high 
winds that sweep up the river; otherwise, it only 
obstructs an extensive view, of which a glimpse 
may be had through the vista cut in it. The cause 
of its preservation may be surmised from an old 
tradition. There is a part of the highland which 
used to be known among the negroes as "Missis' 
Groun' " ; and the story is this : Many years ago, 
the Ball of that time (his name has been forgotten) 
gave his wife permission to have some land cleared, 
during his absence in the city, by the plantation 
hands. On his return, he was so surprised and 
shocked at the progress made, that he issued orders 
that not another stick should be cut from any 
woods left standing. But he could not reclaim 

14 



"Missis' Ground," — and "Missis" doubtless en- 
joyed a goodly amount of pin-money from its 
produce. 

The negro cemetery — in plantation parlance, the 
"Buryin' Groun' " — is a grove of tall white-oaks 
and hickories, half-way between the house and the 
river, on the road to Stoke. 

The "Stoke barn" is still standing, opposite the 
old brick pounding-mill. The latter was built 
about 1784, and the wheel was worked by water, 
supplied from the "Mill-pond." But as the pond 
could take in a supply of water only on the flood- 
tide, and give it out on the ebb, the mill had to work 
according to the tides. This necessitated night 
labor; but there were relays of hands, for day and 
night. The mill "pounded on toll," and was in 
use as late as in the early fifties. 

There seems to have been always a boat belong- 
ing to the plantation, sometimes a sloop, some- 
times a schooner. Before the days of steamboats 
and railroads, this boat made frequent trips to the 
city, and the family often were passengers on her. 
At such times, the hold was arranged like a room, 
as a calm or a headwind sometimes made the pas- 
sage long. There used to be at Comingtee a low, 
brown wooden table, and a cup or two of blue 
china, which had belonged to the boat. 

A large steam threshing-mill was put up by Col. 
Keating S. Ball, about fifty years ago. 

The Comingtee barn and corn-house stood on 
each side of the road to Stoke, not very far from 
the end of the orchard. They have both now dis- 

15 



appeared — one since 1865, — the latter since 1870. 
There are two land approaches to Coiningtee, 
One, called "The Avenue/' leads from the public 
road that goes up the Western Branch, passes be- 
tween the Rice Hope fields, and approaches the 
house from the north. It was bordered for a part 
of the way on the western side, by some fine cedars ; 
and, on the eastern side, just before entering the 
yard, one finds still a row of fine old sycamores. 
The other approach, called the "So' Boy Avenue," 
leads from the public road that goes along the 
Eastern Branch, crosses the inner Reserve on a 
causeway and bridge, and enters the other avenue 
a little north of the sycamores. 

On the north side of the So' boy Avenue, and on 
the edge of the Reserve, is a picturesque little hill, 
called Indian Spring Hill. Wandering Indians, 
bringing baskets and pottery for sale, used to come 
and camp there for a few days at a time, even as 
late as sixty or seventy years ago. The spring on 
this hill was noted throughout the neighborhood 
for its pure water. The story goes that, when the 
Big Bank was first made up, the waters of the Re- 
serve stretched from the foot of the yard at Fish 
Pond to Indian Spring Hill, and that the Mrs. 
Harleston of that day used to send a negro boy in 
a canoe every morning, to bring drinking water 
from Indian Spring. 

There was a chain of reserves at Comingtee, 
stretching from the head-waters of the creek and 
along its banks, to the line of the present Bank. 

First, there was one far out, on the other side of 

16 



the public road beyond the So' boy avenue; it ad- 
joined the Rice Hope Reserves, and was generally 
called the Big Dam Reserve, from the huge bank 
on the side of the road. It has sometimes been 
called "Ball's Folly," — I suppose because no labor 
and expense could keep it from breaking in a 
freshet. Buried in the woods, but nearer the settle- 
ment, was "Daniel's Dam," a very pretty spot, 
with its calm water and moss-hung cypresses. This 
led into the Bridge Reserves, crossed by the So' boy 
avenue ; and these led through a short canal to the 
lovely little Reserve, called "Rainy Basin," which 
was separated from the creek only by a bank, and 
led through another little canal into "Cork Gate," 
the smallest and last of the chain. In the corner 
of this stands the big flood-gate — "Cork Gate" — 
that lets the water into the canal leading to the 
rice-fields. I am under the impression that it took 
its name from the carpenter who built it — Cork. 

And now we come to the Creek or Big Reserve, 
belonging jointly to Fishpond and Comingtee, — 
which has cost so much money, has been so much 
discussed, and quarrelled over; but of which so 
little is really known. 

There are no data by which to trace when or by 
whom the bank was originally built — most likely 
by the second Elias and his cousin, Edward Harles- 
ton, or John, son of the latter, who both lived at 
Fishpond in his day. It was evidently there at 
the time of the second Elias's death; and from ex- 
pressions in letters of John Coming Ball's son 
"Wambaw Elias," the Tory, to Elias Ball, son of 

17 



the second Elias, we suppose that it had been 
broken a year or two previously. From the same 
source we infer that the crop at Comingtee was 
lost in 1784 or 1785, and again in 1787 and 1788. 
In 1788 Elias of Comingtee seems to have made 
proposals to the two young owners of Fishpond, 
Edward and William Harleston, about making up 
the dam. The terms are not given, but Wanibaw 
Elias thought them "very fair." Pending his 
neighbors' decision, Elias Ball seems to have set 
to work to make independent dams of his own. 
These dams can refer only to the chain of Reserves 
at Comingtee. In August 1789 he writes: The 
Harlestons "came into my terms, by getting the 
Old Reservoir mended by the last of Jan. I set 
about it the first of Feb. and finished it about the 
15th of March." Evidently, one of the terms was, 
that the Harlestons should build up their side first* 
(It was from these two brothers having divided 
the tract into "Fishpond" and "The Hut," that the 
latter place laid claim to a share of the water, after 
the last mending of the dam.) 

We are dependent upon tradition for its further 
history. The story is, that, after the dam was 
mended, — how long after is not said, — there came 
a freshet, and the waste-way being inadequate, the 
water took its natural course over the slope of the 
Fishpond corn-fields, and washed all Mr. Harles- 
ton's corn out of the ground. In a passion, he 
summoned his plantation hands and cut the bank to 
relieve the pressure. Elias Ball was very angry at 

this; but he appointed a day for Mr. Harleston 

18 



and himself to meet there with their helpers, and 
repair the bank, each on his own side. Mr. Ball 
was there punctually; but the other did not come. 
Whereupon, after waiting a reasonable time, Mr. 
Ball swore that the bank should never be mended 
again. And it never was, until 1874. 

Proposals of rebuilding it were made to Col. K. 
S. Ball by the owners of Fishpond, which he 
steadily refused to entertain. When Messrs. Hey- 
ward and Porcher rented the place, they obtained 
his consent, and made an agreement with the 
owners of Fishpond — the heirs of Mr. W. Postell 
Ingraham — and the bank was rebuilt, the work 
beginning in December, 1874. But the waste-way 
was still insufficient for so large a body of water, 
and, in the great freshet of 1877, when the Rice 
Hope Reserve bank broke, letting out a tremendous 
rush of water through the inland Reserves, the 
pressure was too great and the new part of the 
bank gave way. It was promptly repaired, how- 
ever. 

Comingtee, though the oldest of the Ball planta- 
tions, was not continuously the residence of its 
owners. Capt. and Mrs. Coming lived, and prob- 
ably died, there. The first Elias lived there until 
1740, when he moved to Charlestown, leaving his 
son Elias at Comingtee. John Coming Ball built 
and settled at Hyde Park, — probably about this 
time, as he married in 1742; and Elias, still a 
bachelor, found it solitary at Comingtee, and soon 
built and settled at Kensington, next to Hyde Park, 
so as to be near his brother. Comingtee House re- 

19 



mained unoccupied, except for short periods dur- 
ing the busy season, until probably about 1784 or 
1785. I judge from certain expressions in the Tory 
Ball's letters — such as, "Elias of Comingtee" — 
that Elias, son of the second Elias, was living there 
before his father's death in 1786. Inheriting Lime- 
rick, at that time, he made that his abode, but re- 
tained sufficient affection for Comingtee to leave 
directions that he should be buried from that house. 
Accordingly, his remains were brought from Lime- 
rick to Comingtee; the coffin was placed in the pas- 
sage-way between the two doors, and the burial- 
service was read there. Comingtee now passed 
into the possession of his nephew, John Ball, Jr., 
who resided there until his death in 1834; and it 
continued to be the home of his widow until she 
died, in 1840. After that, it was the residence of 
their son, Keating S. Ball, until he departed, in 
1891. 

"Comingtee was an open house to all who came," 
says one who was often there, "and although its 
occupant for many years was an old bachelor, yet, 
in every sleeping-room, was to be found the old 
four-post double bed, and a trundle-bed or a crib, 
ready for any emergency. The warmth of one's 
welcome only reflected the sincerity and courtesy 
of the host, whom two generations regarded as an 
umpire in matters of honor and courtesy." 

The wooden addition, built by John Ball Jr., 
was, as I have said, about the size and style of the 
original house. I give the description of this, and 
of the subsequent alterations, in the words of the 

20 




THE OLD REVOLUTIONARY HOMESTEAD AT "COMING T" 



one best qualified to describe thein. The addition 
extended eastward. A covered passage on both 
stories connected it with the old house, but with 
no roof connection, as the new structure over- 
lapped the North gable of the brick building. From 
the date of this addition, and possibly sooner, there 
were piazzas on the West, South, and East of the 
old building, — the eastern one connecting with 
that of the annex. 

"But this was not so originally. The old brick 
house was built, as was then customary, without 
piazzas. This is evinced by the horizontal bands 
in relief on each side and gable of the building 
(known, I believe, in architecture as 'Lines of Re- 
pose') placed there for architectural effect, which 
lines were entirely hidden by the piazza-sheds. The 
old house contained originally only two rooms on 
each floor, with no passage-way between the two 
lower rooms. Into the larger of these the front 
door opened. The staircase also came down into 
this larger room. At a later day a paneled par- 
tition was erected, forming a passage-way, and cut- 
ting off the South room from the stairway. The 
rooms on both floors had the old-time wide fire- 
places with high mantels, and heavy cornices 
around the room. Wooden paneling cut off deep 
closets on each side of the chimney on both lower 
and upper stories, with narrow gable windows in 
them for light. When the piazzas were added, the 
lower rooms were so much darkened that it be- 
came necessary to remove the lower closets and 
enlarge the gable windows to double their original 

21 



size. About 1880, when the piazzas had prac- 
tically succumbed to the ravages of Time, the 
lessee (Mr. Porcher) renewed only the western one 
and removed those on the south and east. The 
house when built was not rough-cast, as it has been 
for possibly more than a hundred years, but was 
of plain brick-work finished with pointing mortar. 
Both structures had deep cellars with fire-places 
large enough to roast an ox; and no doubt many 
a turn-spit has sat (himself half-roasted) in their 
corners when a roast-pig or Christmas turkey was 
being prepared for the guests above. 

"The great storm of 1893 wrecked the plantation 
and drove away the Lessee; Time struck heavy 
blows on the old house at Comingtee ; — and it soon 
became uninhabitable. The attic story practically 
rotted away, and the piazza fell in. The wooden 
annex required costly repairs, and the large old 
shingled shed always threatened the whole build- 
ing with the destruction common to country houses. 
The property, which had come down to Anne S. 
Deas, the niece of K. S. Ball, passed by sale into 
the hands of Alwyn Ball Jr. of Rutherford, N. J., 
and thus returned to a party bearing the family 
name and continues in the family line. Imbued 
with a deep sentiment of reverence and respect for 
the sacred past with its dear memories and tradi- 
tions, he determined to restore the old homestead. 
Having no use for such ample quarters as were 
supplied by the two houses, and having no such 
strong attachment to the later annex as existed 
among those of previous generations, whose joys 

22 




ALWYN BALL, Jr. 
1859- 



and sorrows had been experienced within its walls, 
he decided to restore the brick building only, with 
a small annex in brick to add comfort and con- 
venience. In thus restoring the original home- 
stead, the old style has been preserved to the last 
degree. Even the mouldings and blocks of the 
heavy eave-cornices have been duplicated exactly, 
and the interior cornice-work conforms likewise to 
the original, which had disappeared except over the 
mantels. An elegant piazza in Colonial style, with 
the original stone steps, makes an attractive front. 
And so has been developed the stately mansion, re- 
fined in style, which adorns the spot where our 
forefathers lived. It is the earnest wish of the 
whole family that it should continue as the old 
Ball homestead, connected with the blood and 
name, for many generations yet to come." 

23 



II. 

THE COMINGS. 

The history of Comingtee is so interwoven with 
that of the Ball family that it seems almost im- 
possible to distinguish them. Any account of the 
one must necessarily include the other, and neither 
would be complete without mention of Capt. and 
Mrs. Coining. 

Comingtee, as we have seen, was settled by Capt. 
John Coming. He was a half-brother of William 
Ball, farmer, in the county of Devonshire, Eng- 
land; and was first mate of the Ship Carolina, 
Henry Brayne, Master, the largest of the three ves- 
sels which brought the first colonists to Carolina 
in 1669. He afterwards commanded a vessel in the 
Carolina trade, which he mentions in his first will 
— that of 1678 — as "Ye good ship Edistaw." Mrs. 
Coming mentions him in her will as "John Com- 
ing, Gent." 

The first settlement of the colonists was a few 
miles up the Ashley River, at a place now called 
Oldtown; but Capt. Coming and Lieut. Henry 
Hughes were wise enough to take out grants of 
land at Oyster Point, at the confluence of the two 
rivers. The colonists soon found that the location 

24 



on the banks of the Ashley was both inconvenient 
and unhealthy, so that Gov. Yeamans determined 
to remove the town to a new site at Oyster Point. 
An order was issued in 1672 for "the laying out of 
a town" on that spot; and Capt. Coming and Lieut. 
Hughes, before the Grand Council, offered to give 
up half their lands on Oyster Point for the town 
and Common of Pasture. It is said that on this 
occasion Capt. Coming was accompanied by his 
wife. 

Mrs. Coming's maiden name was Affra Harles- 
ton ; she was a sister of John Harleston of Mollins, 
Essex Co., England. From the little we know of 
her, we infer her to have been a woman of sincere 
piety and of considerable strength of mind. They 
had no children, and it is not impossible that she 
may have accompanied her husband on some, at 
least, of his voyages. In one letter, she writes of 
having been "delivered from many and great 
dangers; when I saw wonders in the deep." 

A brother of Mrs. Coming's — Charles Harles- 
ton — was in Carolina during the early years of the 
colony; but he went to Barbadoes, and after a 
while was heard of no more. The Harlestons were 
royalists, and after the execution of Charles I. 
some of them removed to Ireland, whence Mrs. 
Coming's nephew and niece came to Carolina. 

On one of Capt. Coming's voyages, his ship was 
wrecked "on Charles-Town bar," he and his crew 
saving themselves in the longboat. People took 
occasion to hint that the loss of the vessel was 
due to her commander's cowardice. This so roused 

25 



the Captain's wrath, that "to vindicate his char- 
acter" — as his great-grand-nephew tells us — "he 
raised and decked his longboat, and did actually 
make the voyage to England in her. When hailed 
in the river Thames, his answer could not be 
credited, so miraculous did the voyage seem." The 
same authority informs us that, after this, he 
settled in Carolina. 

It is likely that he had previously taken out 
grants of land on Cooper River; but the precise 
date is not known. Parchments, in existence, which 
were among the titles of Comingtee, may have been 
the original grants; but, having been buried for 
preservation in 1865, the writing has faded into 
illegibility. 

Life on a plantation in those days must have 
been of the most strenuous sort ; the whole country 
was a vast forest, infested by bears, wolves, and 
other wild animals, and inhabited by tribes of In- 
dians, not infrequently hostile to the new settlers. 
There were few or no roads, and the river was 
bordered, not as now, by productive fields, but by 
dense malarial swamps of cedar, cypress, and pal- 
metto, where the sunshine seldom penetrated, and 
the tides rose and fell unchecked. 

The Coming grant on Cooper River included 
what is now Fishpond — then a mere tract of wilder- 
ness. We are not told with what aid Capt. Coming 
cleared and settled his new domain; at first, prob- 
ably with white help of some kind; afterwards, as 
we learn from Mrs. Coming's will, he had African 

and Indian slaves. Settlers soon began to take up 

26 



and occupy lands at various points along the river ; 
but there was in all probability no settlement 
nearer than Luckins — now Rice Hope — and most 
of such settlements must have been much fur- 
ther off. 

So far as we know, Capt. Coming built inland, 
about half a mile from the river bluff, on, or more 
probably near, the spot now occupied by the dwell- 
ing-house. It was barely half a mile, also, from 
the dense swamps, then covering the Mill Pond and 
the Rice Hope fields ; and the probable clearing of 
land for crops in that direction, would have al- 
lowed free passage to the malaria-laden winds of 
summer. The danger of the climate not then being 
appreciated, the new-comers, everywhere, lived 
summer and winter on the edge of those deadly 
swamps — with what fatal consequences, family and 
Parish records testify. 

There is no record of the date of Capt. Coming's 
death; but from Mrs. Coming's two remaining let- 
ters, it is safe to place it in 1694. She says that 
his sufferings were great for the last two years, 
and she attributes his death to gout; but some 
symptoms which she describes — severe cold and 
shaking, followed by burning heat — indicate mala- 
rial fever, complicated with his other malady. 
There was evidently, in her mind, something 
strange about this illness, for she says of this "ex- 
treme burning," that she "never saw or heard of 
the like before." His sufferings were so intense 
that he prayed for death, — and when it came "he 
bade it welcome." 

27 



Mrs. Coining was evidently devotedly attached 
to him, and always mentions him in terms of affec- 
tion and admiration. She says: "His patience 
and courage were wonderful in all his tribulation 
and anguish and sickness and pains which he en- 
dured for the last two years together." But her 
most eloquent tribute, after all, was the way in 
which she carried out his wishes. 

As they had no children, Capt. Coming was de- 
sirous of dividing his property between his wife's 
relatives and his own. In his will, of 1678, he 
leaves all his property to his wife, and to any 
children they might have; but should she have 
none, then half the property was to go (after her 
death) to his half-nephew, William Ball, and the 
other half to his wife's brother, Charles Harleston, 
then in Carolina. But Charles, as we have seen, 
had gone away, and was not heard of again. Capt. 
Coming's next plan was to bring over William 
Ball and his wife's nephew, John Harleston, and 
leave them in charge of the property. As described 
by Mrs. Coming, his idea was that the young men 
should live in his house and have half the profits 
of the plantation; the other half to be sent to her 
in England. Whichever one came first, was to 
have possession of the plantation. Time passed on, 
however, and neither came; and, discouraged by 
the apparent indifference of his proposed heirs, 
Capt. Coming, in another will, left all his property 
absolutely to his wife. 

With rare strength of character, his widow set 
about carrying out her husband's known wishes. 

28 



Nothing would have been easier for her than to 
sell the property and return to England. Even had 
it brought less than its actual value, the proceeds 
would have amply supported her, in comfort, 
among her kinsfolk and in a civilized country. But 
she remained where she was and kept the property 
together, — saying quite simply, in a letter to her 
sister, Mrs. Ann Harleston, that she would be 
"loth to leave for their sakes, until one of them 



come." 



That her situation, besides the natural loneliness 
of widowhood, was far from easy or pleasant, and 
that she felt this keenly, may be inferred from her 
letters. In one to Mrs. Ann Harleston, written 
some months after Capt. Coming's death, she says: 
"I am as one that is forlorn; having no relations 
to comfort me, nor friends to assist me. * * * * 
By all that I can perceive at present, I appear as 
a sheep in the midst of wolves." Another letter, 
written four years afterwards — in March, 1698 — 
deserves, for its courage and hopefulness, to be 
quoted in full. It is addressed to Mrs. Elizabeth 
Harleston. 

"Dear Sister: 

I am sorry to be the messenger of so bad tidings 
as to desire you not to come to me till you can hear 
better times than is here now, for the whole country 
is full of trouble and sickness, 'tis the small-pox 
which has been mortal to all sorts of the in- 
habitants, and especially the Indians, 'tis said to 
have swept away a whole neighboring nation, all 

29 



to five or six which ran away and left their dead 
unburied lying upon the ground for the vultures to 
devour; besides the want of shipping this fall, win- 
ter, and the spring hitherto is the cause of another 
trouble, and has been followed by an earthquake 
and burning of the town, or one third part of it, 
which they say was of equal value with what re- 
mains, besides the great loss of cattle which I know 
by what has been found dead of mine, that I think 
is because of the hard winter that has been and 
being overstocked, what all these things put to- 
gether makes the place look with a terrible aspect, 
and none knows what will be the end of them. I 
have lived going on four years since the death of 
my husband (which I think in my heart was the 
best in the world) as a sheep among wolves, but I 
have resolved now by good help from God to fear 
none of these things, having been by Divine Provi- 
dence so miraculously preserved through so many 
troubles and dangers. Remember me in your re- 
tirements, with my love and service to all my 
cousins; and let not these things discourage you 
for I hope to be the messenger of better news to 
you the next writing, for things that are violent 
seldom last long, they will end one way or another 
as it's decreed above. 

Your Sister in trouble 

Affra Coming." 
Coming T. 

March 6: 97. (1698) 

88 

30 




ELIAS BALL 

Emigrant about 1693 

Born about 1675 Died about 1751 



(I have modernized the spelling, lest the quaint- 
ness of it should detract from a just appreciation 
of the sentiments. — A. S. D.) 

Here, too, her unselfishness appears. She de- 
nies herself the comfort of her sister's companion- 
ship, on account of the unsettled state of the 
country to which she had proposed to come. And, 
in all these four years, the nephews for whose sake 
she was sacrificing herself, were comfortably at 
home. 

Perhaps William's unwillingness "to come 
among the savages of America" may have been the 
cause of this unaccountable delay. Perhaps, too, 
this letter may have quickened their movements, 
for John Harleston and his sister Elizabeth, and 
very likely Elias Ball (who took his brother Wil- 
liam's place), came out within a year, — we hope 
before Mrs. Coming's death. Mrs. Page, writing 
to Elizabeth after her marriage to Elias Ball, tells 
her that her sister has had no letter from her since 
one dated June 1st, 1699; and, as news travelled 
but slowly in those days, the presumption is that 
the party reached Carolina either in the latter part 
of 1G98 or early in 1699. But it was too late for 
Mrs. Affra Coming to realize her dream of life in 
her old home. 

The precise date of her death is unknown, but 
in her will, dated Dec. 28th, 1698, she says that 
she is "sick in body." This in all probability marks 
her last illness. 

She left the property equally to John Harleston 
and Elias Ball; — the lands in joint tenancy, and 

31 



the slaves and personal property to be divided be- 
tween them. No mention is made of the where- 
abouts of either nephew. The executors were Dr. 
Charles Burnham and Mr. James Child, "both of 
Berkeley County." 

We may suppose that she was laid to rest be- 
side the husband whom she thought "ye best in ye 
world," and on the plantation to which she had 
clung so faithfully. 

In the summer of 1698, Mrs. Coming had ex- 
ecuted a deed giving seventeen acres of land to the 
"English church" in Charleston. This was shared 
by the original parishes of St. Philip's and St. 
Michael's, and some of it is still in their possession. 
The locality is marked by the names — Coming St., 
Glebe St., and St. Philip St. 

And so "Aunt Affra" passes beyond our ken. No 
mention is made of her in the family records ; and, 
though the name of John Coming has been per- 
petuated to the present generation among the Balls, 
no child of either Ball or Harleston has ever yet 
borne the name of Affra. 

Note.— The fact that Elias Ball, and not Wil- 
liam, is named as joint heir in Mrs. Coming's will, 
would seem to suggest that he was in the Province 

at that time. 

32 



III. 

THE FIRST ELIAS BALL. 

(RED CAP.) 

Elias Ball was hardly more than a youth when 
he took possession of his inheritance. He was the 
second son of William Ball, of the Parish of Stock- 
entine Head, Devonshire, England — situated on 
the Channel coast, between Exmouth Bay and Tor 
Bay, and near the mouth of the Ting River. John 
Ball, son of the second Elias, says, in his account 
of the family, that William Ball was a farmer, and 
that Elias was eighteen or twenty years of age 
when he came over to Carolina. 

The chronology of "Bed Cap's" life is vague, 
there being no record of his birth, death, or first 
marriage. This paper of his grandson's says that 
he was married at the age of twenty-two. We 
judge from Mrs. Coming's letter that he was not in 
this country in March, 1698; but it is probable that 
he came out either in that year or early in the next, 
for a letter of Mrs. Page's, bearing date April 4th, 
1701, conveys good wishes to Mrs. Elizabeth Ball 
on her marriage. John Ball says that his grand- 
father died at the age of 75 or 76, and that his 
father was then forty years old. But the second 

33 



Elias was born in December, 1709, and the first 
Elias Ball died between February, 1751, and March, 
1752 — so that this reckoning would make him but 
72 or 73. 

By the terms of Mrs. Coming's will the land was 
left to John Harleston and Elias Ball "in Joynt 
Tenancy," and the Negroes, Indian servants, cattle 
and personal property of all kinds (including 
debts) were to be equally divided between them. 
In course of time the land was divided also; and 
Elias Ball chose Coming T. — on which was the 
settlement — relinquishing to John Harleston all 
the land on Oyster Point, except one lot in the 
town. Fishpond, then an uncleared tract, also 
passed into the hands of the Harlestons. 

John Ball tells us, on his father's authority, that 
his grandfather "was a great sportsman in shoot- 
ing and fishing. Was bold and resolute, and had 
frequently commanded scouting parties after In- 
dians." 

Elias Ball married Elizabeth Harleston, niece 
of Mrs. Coming and sister of his fellow-heir, John 
Harleston, and settled at Comingtee; but whether 
he or Capt. Coming built the present house is not 
known. I incline to the opinion that it was built 
by Elias Ball. It is also probable that the part of 
the plantation known as Stoke received its name 
from him. (See Account of Comingtee.) 

He seems to have been strict and thrifty in busi- 
ness as well as "bold and resolute in action." Be- 
tween the years 1703 and 1718 he had taken up, at 

34 



almost nominal prices, nearly 3,000 acres of land 
that afterward passed into the possession of his 
son, Elias. When we remember that he portioned 
off four other children, we realize how great the 
extent of his landed property must have been. By 
1718 he had added nearly 700 acres to the Coming- 
tee tract and some years later 140 more. 

Elias and Elizabeth Ball had five children who 
lived beyond infancy, viz: Ann, Eleanor, Elias, 
Elizabeth, and John Coming. As John Ball tells 
us that there were many children by this marriage, 
yet gives the names of only four, we may conclude 
that the six years' gap get ween Ann and Eleanor 
was filled by other births. 

All that we know of Mrs. Elizabeth Ball is found 
in a few family letters and consists chiefly of inci- 
dental references. There is only one letter to her- 
self — a few graceful lines from her cousin, Mrs. 
Alice Page of Dublin — in which she wishes her joy 
of her marriage, and hopes that she "has disposed 
of herself to her satisfaction." In the letters of 
her sister and cousin, in which she is generally 
mentioned as "dear Betty" or "poor Betty," we 
catch glimpses of the bright young girl who came 
from Ireland to the wilderness in 1698. But in 
her brother's letter we get a hint of the ambitious 
mother arranging a match between her eldest 
daughter, a girl of fifteen, and a certain Capt. Daws 
of the Royal Navy — a man as rich in years as in 
worldly goods. 

Mrs. Ball died on the 31st August, 1720. John 

35 



Harleston, writing the February after to inform 
her sister in Dublin of her death, says she "was 
taken with a Malignant Fever, and was very deli- 
rious before she died." Doubtless it was what was 
afterwards called "country fever." 

Not quite eleven months after her death the 
widower married Mary Delamere, a girl about the 
age of his eldest daughter. We know little of her 
family and forbears, and there remain of her per- 
sonal belongings only two books — a prayer book of 
the Church of England and a collection of quaint 
old pamphlets, bound together in one volume. But 
thanks to the irate aunt of the first wife's children 
we have more side-lights on her than on "dear 
Betty;" and the sister and brother, in their slow 
and labored correspondence, are not sparing of 
criticism of either party in the marriage. 

Mrs. Ann Bulkeley, Elizabeth Ball's sister, 
writes to John Harleston in 1722 — two years after 
Mrs. Ball's death, and a year after the second mar- 
riage. She says : 

"I am very sorry to hear Brother Ball is such an 
unthinking man to forget so good a wife as I don't 
doubt she made him. I am very sorry dear Betty 
fell into his hands, since I see he had no greater 
value for her and her children than to marry one 
as young as his daughter. I am sure he is a man of 
no principles, neither honor nor gratitude, for my 
aunt might a chose whether she would a left him a 
groat. (Rather hard on our ancestor, this; but 
there is an illogical spite about it that takes off the 

36 



edge.) "His children and his wife's friends," she 
goes on to say, "is little obliged to him for his good 
management. If he had done his best for them chil- 
dren, I should a loved him as if he had been my 
own brother; if he had stayed unmarried, or mar- 
ried for their advantage, as a good father would a 
done, but just please himself without any regard 
to their welfare, I shall never have a favourable 
thought of him till you make me sensible that he 
has made a good settlement upon all his children." 
* * * She then goes on to inquire into the affairs 
of the married niece, from whom she had had two 
letters, and who spoke of going over to Ireland. 
Mrs. Bulkeley suggests that she should "bring a 
sister with her," adding, "if her father would give 
her fortune with her, else I would not have her 
take her off his hands to lessen his charge to enable 
him to make ye better provision for his new brood." 

Two years later John Harleston writes of this 
second marriage: 

"Mr. Ball's indiscret marriage will be the worse 
for my sister's children, I doubt. For his present 
wife is for encroaching all to herself, if she could. 
Sometimes when I have an opportunity I am for 
putting Mr. Ball in mind of his children, and some- 
times I have hopes and sometimes out of hopes. But 
he has done very well by Cousin Daws (Ann Ball). 
But the most is to be feared for the other children 
that are not disposed of. I shall always do my 
endeavor to serve the children whilst I think it is 
my duty, since they have no other friend but my- 
self in this Colony." 

37 



Seven years after Mrs. Bulkeley writes again : 

"You can't but think I must have a great desire 
to know how you and dear Betty's children does, 
who I do so much pity that wants their mother." 
Then, after saying that she would have been glad 
to have had one of the girls come and live with her 
for company, had she been living in her own house, 
she winds up a postscript thus : 

"Niece Daws never writes to me, though I have 
writ to her, nor none of them. I hope it is not from 
want of knowledge, since it is in your power to 
teach them, and your own children, I believe as 
well as any body you could get there. (She must 
have had a poor opinion of Colonial teaching, for 
John Harleston's spelling — as well as her own — 
is, in the original, unique.) I would be glad to 
know how many you have, and how dear Sister's 
are disposed of, and whether their father is kind 
to them." 

How little she realized that eleven years had 
passed since Betty's death, and that "the children" 
were grown up! Elias was about twenty-two; Eli- 
zabeth was twenty, and had been married at least 
twice; and even little John Coming, the youngest, 
had reached the age of seventeen. Eleanor had 
passed long before into the land where life is not 
reckoned by years. 

Thus far the "in-laws." And we must bear in 
mind that John Harleston was a man of strong 
prejudices and bitter tongue — as we may see in 
some of his letters on other subjects. 

38 



There are no means of knowing whether Elias 
Ball and his second wife were kind to the elder chil- 
dren or not; but at least they seem to have been 
sufficiently attached to the departed Eleanor to 
name their next daughter after her. Tradition says 
that he was a strict father; but strictness is by no 
means incompatible with justice or even kindness; 
and fortunately he is able to answer for himself, in 
some measure, through an account or memoran- 
dum book, long preserved at Comingtee. A glim- 
mer of light falls from these pages on the life and 
surroundings of those far-away times — with occa- 
sional brighter flashes from some of those quaint 
little memoranda which the Balls had a habit of 
making here, there and everywhere. The entries 
in the book begin a few weeks after "poor Betty's" 
death. 

Elizabeth Ball, we remember, died August 31st, 
1720, leaving her husband with four children rang- 
ing from six to thirteen years of age. Let us try 
to enter into the problems of the eleven months fol- 
lowing. 

Four young children in a plantation home, in a 
sparsely settled neighborhood, surrounded by Afri- 
can and Indian slaves not far removed from sav- 
agery — children who were not only to be housed 
and fed, but clothed, educated and trained in all 
ways! What was a man to do? His eldest daugh- 
ter, a girl of only nineteen, was living in her hus- 
band's home; and it is not likely that the rich old 
sailor would have cared to bring four healthy chil- 
dren, accustomed to the freedom of plantation life, 

39 



into the quiet of his childless house. Their uncle, 
John Harleston, had four or five children of his 
own, and might well have shrunk from doubling 
his responsibilities, even if their father had been 
willing to part with them. 

How the first few months were tided over, we 
have no hint, but in the beginning of November it 
is noted in a crabbed and labored handwriting that 
"Mrs. Cook came." She was probably brought to 
look after the children — an account for sundry ar- 
ticles was opened with her, and was closed as paid 
in full by her services. We may suppose that this 
arrangement did not work well — possibly the boys 
were unmanageable — for on the 11th of November, 
"being of a Monday," he notes : "My two sons went 
to Madam Dogett to school." The Dogetts prob- 
ably lived in the neighboring town of Childbury; 
but we know nothing of them except through the 
extremely matter-of-fact pages of this old book. 
From what is therein set down, however, we may 
gather that they were not altogether satisfactory 
people to deal with. 

Whose fault it was can never be known, but 
something seems to have gone wrong with this ar- 
rangement also; for two months later, on the 20th 
of January, he "took them away from Madam Dog- 
ett." Three days later: "I sent my four children 
to Mr. Faur (Mr. Nicholas Faur, residing at 
Childbury)." Eight pounds were paid to Mr. Faur 
for "a year's schooling for Johny." "Betty" seems 
to have remained but three months, as that amount 
of "schooling" was paid for for her. 

40 



Was Betty, aged nine, so much needed in her 
father's household, or did she refuse to stay through 
wilfulness? — thus paving a highway for her moth- 
er's successor. It is significant that in the midst 
of all this maze of difficulties, the name "Mary 
Delamare" is scrawled across the page, right 
through the memoranda. The idea was evidently 
beginning to present itself that here was a way 
out of all perplexities. 

In May it is noted: "Andrew Songster came to 
my house to live." Thereupon, an account is 
opened with him, prefaced by the words "and he 
had of me." This man seems to have been a kind 
of overseer, but, as there is an entry of cash paid 
for packing his wife's goods and of money paid to 
herself, it is probable that she had charge of the 
children. The Songsters were evidently in bad cir- 
cumstances, if they were not of an inferior class; 
the first entry on his account is for an itemized suit 
of clothes for him, and he is more than once re- 
ferred to merely as "Andrew." He is also charged 
with beds, sheets, and blankets. Very many gal- 
lons of rum and a "little sugar," testify against 
him, his employer jotting down the smallest item, 
even some that was sent to him "at the tar-kiln."" 
Cash was paid to him and for him ; and his services 
w r ere valued at eighty pounds a year. The Song- 
sters' account is a tangled one — suggestive, per- 
haps, of worry and love combined. The last entry 
charged against Songster is : "To neglect of your 
business, and not bringing up the rice from the 
wharf." The Songsters then disappear from view. 

41 



The upshot of it all is written elsewhere than in 
the account-book : to the effect that Mary Delamere 
took in hand the household reins on the 27th of 
July, 1721. 

And I fancy that she held them to some purpose. 
If it were true, as her predecessor's brother states, 
that "she was for encroaching all things to herself/' 
it was, perhaps, a proof that she was a good man- 
ager. It is noteworthy, that after her marriage, 
the pages of the memorandum-book assume a more 
orderly appearance; the handwriting though simi- 
lar, is less crabbed, and the accounts are set down 
and balanced with greater regularity. She does 
not seem to have interfered with the children's 
"schooling," as entries are made from time to time 
with regard to their school bills. Besides being 
taught by Madam Dogett and Mr. Faur, they went 
to school to Mr. Lepier; Nelly and Elias had music 
lessons; and Johnny went to Mr. Newbery to 
"learn arithmetick." Accomplishments were ex- 
pensive, too, in those days. Later, Johnny and her 
own eldest daughter, Sally, learnt to dance, at a 
cost of ten pounds a quarter. 

The troubles with the overseers continued, how- 
ever. In September, 1722, it is noted: "Mr. John 
Netman came to live with me." He, too, was 
charged with rum and sugar, previously consumed 
in this instance, at Mr. Faur's, also with "seven all 
sick days." He remained but two months. Early 
in 1725 or 1726 Mr. Thos. Dyer appears on the 
scene, and runs up a goodly account for corn, beef, 
sugar and some rum ; but late in May it is entered 

42 




ELEANOR BALL 

Daughter of Elias Ball (Emigrant), by 2nd wife, Mary (Delamare) 

Married Col. Henry Laurens 



against him ; "you left my Employ and gave me no 
notis." His account runs on for a month or two 
longer, and amounts to over 51 pounds. The credit 
side shows only a blank. 

I take it that the division of the land was made 
about the time of the second marriage. The Balls 
and Harlestons may have continued to live together 
at Comingtee during Elizabeth's lifetime, but 
after that I judge that John Harleston moved to 
Fishpond and made some kind of settlement there. 
For Elias Ball signed a paper on the 20th June, 
1722, in which he pledges himself, his heirs, etc., 
"not to lay claim to any Land or parcel of Land 
now in the possession of John Harleston Esqr. & 
lying on that side the Creek where the said John 
Harleston now dwelleth, on pretence of Purchase, 
or any other right which I now have, or at any time 
mav have had to the said Land." The Harlestons' 
headquarters afterwards seem to have been at 
Irishtown, an inland place near the headwaters 
of the Eastern Branch. Up to 1716, letters were 
addressed to John Harleston at Coming T., near 
Charles Town. One of 1722 has no address copied, 
and one of 1721 is addressed to him "at his house 
in South Carolina." He dates his letters from 
Carolina, or South Carolina. 

Mary Delamare Ball had seven children — 
Sarah, Delamare, William, George, Eleanor, 
Mary, and a fourth son whose name has 
been decipherd as "Yabsley." Neither of the 
two elder boys lived to be two years old; 
Sally died at fifteen, and Mary at about the 

43 



same age; only Nelly's namesake lived to grow up. 
Merely entries, these, in a lost Family Bible; but 
how much tragedy is wrapped up in them, what 
suggestions of anxious nights and sorrowing days, 
as one after another was laid to rest ! 

Elias's name seldom occurs in the memorandum- 
book — not more than two or three times, once in 
connection with music lessons taken, and once with 
a purchase of hogs from "my son Elias;" at that 
time, however, he had reached manhood. Johnny 
also sold hogs. The last mention of Nellv's name 
is in the account with "Mr. Harleston," in which he 
is credited with "sugar borrowed at Nelly's 
funeral." After Nellv's death, which occurred 
when she was about seventeen — Johnny and Sally 
seem to have been the father's favorites, as their 
names occur most frequently. When "my Sarah" 
was about two years old, she had a pair of red 
morocco shoes — we can imagine the little maid's 
pride in them. When she was nine, she and Johnny 
had dancing lessons. At thirteen, she took lessons 
in playing "the Viol." This "Bass Violl" evidently 
got smashed; for, not long after, it was "gleiced" 
by Mr. Thompson, "the Carpenter of the Free 
School at Childbury." He knew how to charge, 
too, for this same "glewing" cost 2 pounds 10 shil- 
lings. At the same time, he glued two small tables 
for 40 and 50 shillings apiece. Later in the year, 
Mr. Thompson worked four days at Comingtee, and 
his journeyman six, "only between sun and sun." 
In that time, they "mended ye chest of drawers, 
the desk and two little boxes, and put locks on the 

44 



black drawers," "and doth charge me 13 pounds 10 
shillings for it." One wonders what wholesale 
damage had overtaken the furniture that year. 

About two years later, in October, 1737, poor 
Sally closed her eyes on all earthly things. 

Life had its petty annoyances, too, in those days, 
as well as its graver troubles. Besides the over- 
seers' delinquencies, the neighbors' negro and In- 
dian slaves raided upon turkeys and hogs in a very 
provoking manner, especially one Dublin, belong- 
ing to Mr. Weed, aided and abetted by slaves of 
Mr. Childs. A memorandum with the signature 
of "Mary Ball," states the offence, and also that 
Mr. Weed had promised to pay for the victims of 
the raid. In the account with Mr. W T eed he is 
charged with the three turkeys killed by his slave. 
Then there was the petty carelessness of people in 
not returning what they had borrowed — a small 
matter comparatively, but nevertheless capable of 
producing great inconvenience when so many arti- 
cles were imported, and were both scarce and ex- 
pensive. 

The Dogetts — Madam Dogett, Mr. Dogett and 
Mrs. Elizabeth Dogett (Madam's daughter, appar- 
ently) — come to the fore on the question. Mr. Dog- 
ett seems to have been an apothecary or physician, 
as he is credited with "Visit and attendance for 
Mr. Ball and Sally," and with sundry doses of medi- 
cine. I take this entry to be in Mary Ball's hand- 
writing. On the opposite page is an indignant en- 
try in the same hand — "I gave you a 20 pound Bill 
and you gave me but 13 and your Bill is not 8 

45 



pound. Madam Dogett had milk for two years, 
which ran up a little bill of 5 pounds 10 shillings. 
Mr. Dogett borrowed a large Bowl "when Mr. 
Small's daughter died." In 1727 it is charged 
against him; and three years afterwards "the 
Punch-Bowl" had neither been returned nor paid 
for. Mrs Eliz. Dogett borrowed Rum; and though 
she returned it it was "not in ye same jug." The 
Balls, by-the-bye, seem to have valued their jugs, 
for in one instance, it was stipulated that some 
rum should be returned in the same Jug. 

Besides the staple "crops" of pitch, tar, and rice, 
which were considerable, Elias Ball sold large 
quantities of shingles and wood. Neither did he 
despise the smaller industries; for he supplied his 
neighbors with corn, peas, potatoes, "stall-fed 
beef," and occasionally with milk and butter, mut- 
ton and veal, in quantities to suit purchasers. He 
also supplied the shoemaker with hides, and got 
in return shoes for himself and the children. 

About the year 1738 most entries are in the 
handwriting of the second Elias. In February, 
1740, he says in one of the memoranda which he 
was so fond of jotting down, "My father went to 
town to live, being of a tuesday." After this they 
are all in his handwriting. In 1739 Mr. Charles 
Pemberton, a carpenter who had repaired the house 
the year before, is credited with "a coffin." Whose 
coffin? Those for the negroes were made by the 
plantation carpenters, and no family death is re- 
corded for that year. It may, however, have been 

made for one of the younger boys, the date of whose 

4 6 



death is illegible. If so, we may well surmise that 
Comingtee had become overshadowed by so many 
sad memories that both parents would be ready to 
go with the remaining children elsewhere. Death, 
however, is omnipresent, and they found it in the 
city; for Mary died, presumably there, at the age 
of fifteen — Eleanor being the only one that reached 
maturity. 

As the accounts passed into the second Elias's 
keeping, in 1738, he probably had the management 
of the plantation, or at least the greater part of it, 
from that time — not, however, from physical in- 
ability on the part of his father; for John Ball 
tells us that "when turned of seventy, being in 
one of the forts in Charlestown in time of an alarm, 
he offered to turn out and take a wrestle with either 
of the invalids in the Fort." 

According to family tradition, the first Elias 
lived in the house on his lot at the corner of East 
Bay and Pinckney streets. That house has long 
since gone to wreck ; but what was left of it has been 
seen by a member of the family, still living, who 
remembers, when driving out as a child with Mrs. 
Lydia Bryan — the daughter of the second Elias — 
how the old lady pointed out this decaying house, 
calling it "Grandtata's ribs." 

We know but little of Red Cap afer his removal 
to the city. We conclude that he made his home 
there; for in his will he styles himself "Elias Ball 
of Charles Town in the province of South Carolina, 
Gentleman." The second Elias, on the contrary, 
in papers signed by him not long after, follows his 

47 



signature by the words, "of Coming T., Planter." 
There is no record of the first Elias's death; but 
from the date of the codicil to his will, February 
4th, 1751, and that of an Exhibit of the lands in- 
herited by his son Elias, filed in the auditor's of- 
fice in Charlestown, March 5th, 1752, he must have 
died in the interim. We know that Eleanor was 
married a year or so before his death, as she is 
mentioned as Eleanor Laurens in his will of 1750, 
as well as in the codicil of 1751. His burial place 
is only a matter of conjecture; it is supposed that 
he was interred in the western half of St. Philip's 
Churchyard; but no headstone has been found. 

In the portrait from which he gets the sobriquet 
of "Red Cap" he appears advanced in years, yet 
hale and hearty. Something pathetic in the eyes, 
and in the lines of the strong old face, indicates 
one who has had a hard fight in life and known 
many sorrows. And truly he had many griefs. 
He saw laid in the grave one married daughter, 
three girls, just budding into womanhood, and 
several young children : — surviving his first wife, 
and eight out of the twelve children whose names 
appear on the record. There is little doubt that 
he survived his second wife also, as no mention 
whatever is made of her in either will or codicil. 

In his will the bequests to his son Elias seem 
very few and small — only the plantation of Com- 
ingtee and "a small Silver Canister" with "a Grif- 
fin's Head engraved thereon." To John Coming, 
on the contrary, they were many and large: The 
Cypress Grove plantation ; 1,000 acres of land near 

48 



Three Mile Head; Dockum plantation; 300 acres of 
Eveleigh's Land; fifty feet of the lot in Charles- 
town ; a negro man named Sambo ; a bond of John 
Coming's own for 1,000 pounds; a large silver 
tankard and a "soop spoon;" two silver salvers, 
and all the other silver spoons that should be found 
in his house at his death; his chaise and harness; 
and his large Family Bible. Such division of the 
property would seem rather unfair to the elder 
son, were it not that certain other tracts of land 
came to him by right of primogeniture — a law 
which seems still to have been in force in the Pro- 
vince. Comingtee was also of more value than 
some of the other tracts; so that leaving such an 
amount of land to the younger son was only an 
equalization. 

After certain other legacies were paid, the re- 
mainder of the property was to be equally shared 
by his two sons, whom he appointed Executors. 
Pew No. 16 in St. Philip's Church was left 
to them jointly; and by the terms of the 
codicil, Lot No. 49 was to be divided be- 
tween them "to their own liking." But 
two of his grandchildren were named, though he 
had several at the time — the two Elizabeths, daugh- 
ters of Elias and John Coming — to each of whom 
he bequeathed a negro girl. All the cash, bonds 
and notes for money (except John Coming's bond) 
were left to his grandchildren, to be put out at in- 
terest and paid to them as they came of age. 

To his two surviving daughters, Ann Austin and 
Eleanor Laurens, he bequeathed 1,500 pounds 

49 



apiece. Eleanor was also to have had the larger 
part of Lot No. 49. It was entailed on her eldest 
son and his heirs ; — failing him, it was to go to each 
of her children in succession, first the sons and 
then the daughters. But the codicil revoked all 
this, dividing the lot between his own two sons, 
and giving her 1,500 pounds additional. 

There is also a legacy of 50 pounds to his nephew 
Elias Ball, "to buy mourning with." 

Note. — After Elias Ball's second marriage an 
account appears every now and then with "My 
mother;" money was sent to her, and goods were 
purchased by her — noticeably cloth and trimming. 
And on one occasion 300 pounds were paid to her, 
"being my mother's portion." Now, Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Delamere signs as witness twice, and once 
some article was sent down bv her. It does not 

t/ 

seem likely that a man of two or three and forty 
would so far have adopted his second wife's mother 
as to call her "my mother" in the pages of an ac- 
count book — inference being that some of these 
accounts were kept by Mary Ball herself. The 
handwriting, in all, is very similar — even in the 
entry regarding "Mr. Ball and Sally," which would 
hardly have been made by him. (The handwriting 
of the second Elias was marked.) 

Was the "mother's portion" any regular income 
that Elias had covenanted to pay his wife's mother? 

There is a large plain gold ring, a good deal 
worn, within which may be deciphered "S. B., Sepr. 
22nd 1722." It cannot be a wedding ring of any 
member of this branch of the family, for none of 

so 



them was married on that date. It could not have 
been commemorative of Sally's birth, for, though 
it was in 1722, it was on July 22d and not in Sep- 
tember. 

The old Bible — unfortunately lost at Pawleys 
when the family were driven from there in 1865 — 
had in it the name "Sarah Ball, her book." This 
Bible came from Kensington and contained the 
names of Red Cap's children, including those by 
the first marriage — it passed by inheritance from 
John Ball, Jr. (grandson of both the second Elias 
and John Coming) to his daughter, Mrs. Lydia 
Jane Waring; and from her to her daughter, Mrs. 
A. W. Simons. 

Does it seem likely that a family Bible with the 
names of the first wife's children should have been 
the property of a girl of fifteen, who died long be- 
fore her father? Might not "Sarah Ball" have 
been Elias's mother, and the "S. B." ring have 
been commemorative of her death? This, how- 
ever, is only conjecture. 

51 



IV. 
RED CAPS DAUGHTERS. 

ANN BALL. 
Twice married — First, to Capt. Daws, R. N. ; second, to George Austin. 

Ann was the eldest child of Elias and Elizabeth 
Ball, born — in all probability at Comingtee — in 
1701. She was five or six years older than Eliza- 
beth, the next in age — at least, of those that sur- 
vived infancy. 

At the age of fifteen she married Capt. Philip 
Dawes, K. N., a rich old man of sixty. This ill- 
assorted marriage seems to have been arranged by 
the bride's mother — at any rate, her own brother 
gives her the credit of so doing. But he also ad- 
mits that his niece, "being something anxious for 
the world * * * consented to the match." The el- 
derly bridegroom owned "a good Estate in Slaves," 
and lands near Charleston, on what was afterwards 
called Hampstead — a name still surviving in Hamp- 
stead Mall, in the northeastern part of the city. 

Of the young bride's disposition we may catch a 
glimpse from the foregoing remarks ; of the husband 
we have a sort of etching from the sharp pen of his 
uncle-in-law, who, by-the-bye, was his junior in 

52 




TABLE OF ELEANOR BALL 

(Mrs. Keating Simons') Miss Nellie 
With old jardiniere from Comingtee 



years. In answer to Mrs. Bulkeley's questions he 
writes : 

"As for Cousin Daws, I believe neither she nor her 
husband has any thoughts of coming to Ireland; 
it's something like his romantick airs, for he often 
talks of that he has no mind to do. He has been a 
Capt. in the Navy several years and has commanded 
several good ships, and being in years was desirous 
to live ashore, and settled in Carolina ; he is related 
to the present Bishop of York, who is of his name. 
* * * Though he was not agreeable to her in years, 
he makes her a very good husband and she makes 
him a very good wife." 

Family tradition says, however, that at first she 
was not very kind or affectionate to him ; but that 
one day having overheard him praying, in the 
closet adjoining their room, that God would make 
his wife love him, she was so much touched by it 
that she became thenceforward a most affectionate 
wife. And the fact that he left her all his property, 
— there being no children — seems conclusive that 
they lived harmoniously. 

Capt. Daws evidently planted on Cooper River 
during the latter years of his life; where, is not 
known, but probably on lands given by Elias Ball 
to his daughter — even John Harleston having been 
compelled to admit that he had "done very well by 
Cousin Dawes." (It is a significant fact that George 
Austin afterwards held lands adjoining those of 
Elias and John Coming Ball.) In the marriage-set- 
tlement of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Elizabeth Ashby, 
of which he is trustee, he appears as Philip Dawes, 

53 



Planter, Berkeley County. There are several ac- 
counts with him in the old memorandum book, be- 
ginning in 1722, — for the hire of the "pettiauger" 
for fourteen days and for a hundred bushels of 
corn; after that, for corn by a few bushels at a 
time, for drinking glasses and rum, flour, nutmegs, 
etc. — such things as pre-suppose neighborhood. The 
last time his name appears is in 1733, in an ac- 
count with "Mr. Wood, Capt. Dawes' sawyer." 
From which date we conclude that he lived sixteen 
or seventeen years after his marriage. 

Some years after Capt. Dawes' death his widow 
married George Austin, a merchant in Charlestown, 
who was for some time the partner of Mr. Henry 
Laurens. He seems to have been a man of strong 
prejudices and violent temper; so that her first mar- 
riage, unsuitable as it was in disparity of years, 
may well have been the happier. Beyond the fact 
that there were two children of this marriage, 
George and Eleanor, and that Mr. Austin owned a 
considerable estate on the Ashepoo River, and was 
besides engaged in a lucrative business, we know 
nothing of the domestic affairs of the Austin family. 
But, early in the year 1762, Eleanor made a run- 
away match with John Moultrie, which so exasper- 
ated her father that he refused to speak to her or 
even to see her, and all communication between the 
families was cut off. From the present point of 
view, it is hard to see what was the objection to 
Eleanor's choice, for Moultrie was a man of unex- 
ceptionable family and of intellectual ability; and 
as he was over thirtv vears of age, must have al- 

54 




MRS. GEORGE AUSTIN. neO ANN BALL 
Born January 22nd, 1701 Died June 7th, 1765 



ready given signs of the capacity which caused him 
four years later, to be appointed Lieut. Governor of 
East Florida, a position which he held until the ter- 
ritory was ceded back to Spain. Indeed, of the five 
brothers in that family, three held high civil office, 
one was a colonel in the American army and died 
gallantly in the defence of Charleston, and 
the fifth was Gen. William Moultrie, whose 
name will be honored so long as Charles- 
ton exists. Of course there may have been 
other circumstances of which we know nothing, 
— perhaps one cause of the father's anger was that 
a man of his age, and a widower besides, should 
have induced a girl, ten years his junior, to elope 
with him. Yet, after all, she was no mere child, 
but a woman of twenty-four; and both had doubt- 
less well considered the step they were taking. Any 
run-away match, however, pre-supposes an amount 
of domestic friction that must have rendered a home 
very uncomfortable, while the sudden and complete 
casting off of the offender must have greatly 
increased its unhappiness — so doubtless the 
three years that intervened between her 
daughter's marriage and her own death, 
must have been far from pleasant for Mrs. 
Ann Austin. If she were indeed "something 
anxious for the world" in her youth, the significant 
lines of her pictured face suggest that she was sat- 
ed with it in her old age. Her death occurred on 
the 7th June, 1765 ; and she was buried by her sister 
Elizabeth in St. Philip's Churchyard. Their tombs 
may still be seen in front of the South door. 

55 



It was probably after this that Mr. Austin went 
to live in England, taking his son with him, but still 
cherishing resentment towards his daughter. Tra- 
dition makes Mr. Laurens the means of bringing 
about a reconciliation. Being in England on busi 
nesSj he made up his mind to obtain Eleanor's for- 
giveness ; and, as an old and valued friend, he seem- 
ed the best fitted to make the attempt. He carried 
over with him a likeness of Mrs. Moultrie and her 
two boys; and, armed with this as his weapon of 
persuasion, proceeded to call on Mr. Austin at his 
London house. He was out, but his visitor prevailed 
on the maid to allow him to leave the picture on the 
mantel-piece, to make its own plea. Mr. Austin 
shortly returned, and recognizing the likeness, 
angrily demanded who had dared to leave that there. 
The servant replied that it was a gentleman who did 
not give his name, but said he was an old friend 
of Mr. Austin and would come again. Next day 
Mr. Laurens returned. The picture had probably 
had some influence; yet not until after a long argu- 
ment, was the father induced to forgive his daugh- 
ter. 

We are indebted to a letter of George Appleby, a 
nephew of Mr. Austin's and one of the executors 
to his will, for further light on the affairs of the 
Austin family. This letter was written to the second 
Elias Ball, and dated 23d July, 1774— about a 
month after Mr. Austin's death. It seems that his 
son George, had fallen into dissipated ways; and 
was drinking heavily, and his father, in a fit of 
anger, cut him off with an annuity of 200 1. a year. 

56 




JOHN MOULTRIE, of Aston Hall, Shropshire, Eng. 

Born January 22nd, 1764 Died December 19th, 1823 

Son of Lt.-Gov. John Moultrie, Royal Gov. of East Florida 
Nephew of Gen. Wm. Moultrie 



The bulk of the property, which Appleby computes 
at about 40,000 1. sterling, was left to one of Mrs. 
Moultrie's sons ; and, singularly enough, the choice 
of which son was left to her. About eighteen 
months after this will was made, Mr. Austin died of 
putrid sore-throat, after only thirty-six hours ill- 
ness; and, as he had lost the power of speech be- 
fore he realized his danger, he had no means of in- 
timating whether or not he had changed his views 
toward his son — consequently, the will remained in 
force. The executors were endeavoring to arrange 
with the heir for a small addition to the son's in- 
come ; but we are not told with what success. Poor 
George had begun to reform before his father's 
death, and seems to have sobered down completely 
after it — we can only hope the reformation was 
permanent. This glimpse of him, sober and repen- 
tant in his cousin's house is the last we have. We 
only know he died unmarried. 

How the division of the Austin estate was ar- 
ranged, I do not know ; but John Moultrie, the eld- 
est son, had Aston Hall, Shropshire, Eng., and 
James, the second son, had the property on the 
Ashepoo River, S. C. John married Catherine, 
daughter of Elias Ball of Wambaw, the Tory; and 
James married Catherine, daughter of his uncle 
Alexander Moultrie, Attorney General of South 
Carolina. 

Mrs. Eleanor Moultrie died in London, in the 
year 1826, at the advanced age of eighty-eight. 



57 



ELIZABETH BALL. 

Thrice married — First, to John Ashby ; second, to John Vicaridge ; third, to 

Richard Shubrick. 

Although Elias Ball's other daughters do not 
come in regular succession here, I have ventured to 
group them together, as their history closed before 
the greatest interest of their brothers' lives had well 
begun to develop. 

Of Elizabeth Ball, the third daughter of Elias 
Ball, no mention is anywhere made from the time 
that the bill for three months' "schooling" was paid 
for "Betty," aged nine, until her name appears in 
her first husband's will. We have no information 
as to her character and disposition beyond the 
brief record on her tomb-stone, that she was "a 
woman of rare economy." 

Her first husband was John Ashby, a widower 
with one son. The Ashbys were of a good English 
family, who had settled in St. Thomas's Parish, 
on the left bank of the Eastern Branch, at a place 
which they called Quinby, after their family estate 
in England. Quinby was about eight miles up the 
river, it is true, and on the opposite side; but 
"Capt. Bonneau's ferry" simplified affairs in that 
direction. 

Elizabeth must have married almost as young 
as her sister; probably when about sixteen, cer- 
tainly not over seventeen, as John Ashby's will is 
dated in March, 1728, and she was born in 1711. 

58 




MRS. JOHN MOULTRIE, net CATHARINE BALL 

of Aston Hall, Shropshire, Eng. 

Born 1766 Died July 30th, 1828 



We do not know where they lived, as Ashby does 
not mention the name of his plantation; but, as 
Elias Ball paid Capt. Bonneau a heavy ferriage 
account for his son-in-law, they probably lived 
across the river. 

Ashby's will is very liberal towards his young 
widow of barely eighteen, and was evidently drawn 
up during his last illness, perhaps shortly before 
his death. After stating that he is "weak and sick 
of body," he devises the plantation on which he 
resides to his son John Ashby and his heirs; fail- 
ing them, to any posthumous heirs by his wife 
Elizabeth. To such heirs he leaves the plantation 
on the Santee called Webdoe; failing them, it re- 
verts to his son John. Should John die without 
children, and should there be no other heirs, both 
plantations were to go to Elizabeth; and in all 
cases, she was to have the right of residence at the 
first plantation, and the use of it, until John came 
of age. He leaves her five negroes by name, and 
divides the rest of the property equally between 
herself, his son, and any posthumous heirs. Eliza- 
beth and her father are appointed executors; the 
witnesses are Phil. Dawes, John Coming Ball (who 
must have been a mere boy), and Charles Pinck- 
ney. 

Eleven months after Mr. Ashby's will was made, 
the wife in whom he reposed such confidence signed 
her marriage contract with John Vicaridge, a mer- 
chant in Charlestown. It is to be supposed that 
the marriage took place shortly after, though Let- 
ters Testamentary on Ashby's will were not taken 

59 



out until three months after the date of the settle- 
ment. Phil. Dawes was the trustee, and the whole 
of her property, real and personal, was settled on 
herself. Elias Ball evidently continued to take 
charge, as Executor, of Ashby's property; for in 
1731 there is an item of "cash paid John Blake 
for wages as an overseer to Mr. John Ashby's 
plantation, deceased." 

An account begins with John Vicaridge in 1729 ; 
it concerns principally corn, peas, rice, and shin- 
gles, sent him in large quantities, and casks of 
sugar, wine, etc., received in return, and cash paid. 
This account is carried on until 1735, but in this 
year the items are trifling, apparently mere mat- 
ters of neighborly convenience. His name appears 
but once more, in the summer of 1738, in connec- 
tion with cash paid to a third party. 

After Mr. Vicaridge's death, Elizabeth took a 
third husband, — Richard Shubrick. She died at 
the age of thirty-five, in September, 1746, and was 
buried in front of the south door of St. Philip's 
Church, Charleston, where her tomb-stone and 
that of her sister, Mrs. Austin, may still be seen. 

Her son, Richard, went over to England, mar- 
ried and settled there, and had a large family. 

This is all that we know certainly of Elizabeth 
Ball; but a family tradition has come down on the 
side of the Shubricks, as well as the Balls, of which 
we suppose her to have been the heroine. 

Capt. Shubrick was once off at sea, when a vio- 
lent storm came up. That night she dreamed that 
she saw him, floating on something on the water. 

6o 



The locality was unknown to her, but the dream 
was so vivid that the scene of it was indelibly im- 
pressed on her memory. In the morning she re- 
lated the dream to a friend or relative, imploring 
him to go in search of Capt. Shubrick, who, as she 
felt sure, had been shipwrecked somewhere along 
the coast. She even described accurately the ap- 
pearance of the locality. The notion of such a 
search w r as ridiculed — the ship, I believe, not even 
being due as yet. The second night the dream was 
repeated with equal vividness, but again she could 
not prevail upon her friend to undertake what 
seemed so foolish a quest. The third night the 
dream recurred, and this time the earnestness of 
her appeals and the remarkable persistency of the 
dream sufficiently prevailed over her friend's in- 
credulity and sense of the ridiculous, to lead him 
to get a boat and coast along to the northward. 
Entering Bull's Bay, he was struck with its cor- 
respondence with the locality, described by Mrs. 
Shubrick, and, looking closely, he perceived some 
floating object, which proved to be Capt. Shubrick, 
holding on to a hen-coop, but in an exhausted con- 
dition. But for her dream and her persistence, 
her husband must have perished. 

ELEANOR BALL. 

Married — Henry Laurens. 

Eleanor was the only surviving child of Elias 

Ball's second marriage. She was born in 1731, 

and named, as we suppose, for that elder Eleanor 

61 



who had died a few years before her birth. We 
have but few personal items regarding her. What 
we know is chiefly in reference to others. As we 
have seen, her father removed to the city in 1740, 
when she was but a child. In the ten years that 
intervened before her own marriage, she lost her 
younger sister, Mary, two years her junior, and, 
as we have every reason to suppose, had lost her 
mother also. In the early part of 1750 she mar- 
ried Mr. Henry Laurens, a merchant of Charles- 
town, whose name is identified with the patriotic 
history of his State, and who irreproachably ful- 
filled his domestic duties as husband, father, and 
master. Such is his character as delineated by his 
son-in-law, Dr. David Ramsay. 

A little more than a year after Eleanor's mar- 
riage, her father died, leaving her £3,000 in cur- 
rent money, — part of which seems to have been in 
lieu of a house and lot, previously settled upon her 
and her children, but now transferred to others. 
He probably thought that she did not need the 
house as much as the others of his familv, for her 
husband was a man of means, and owned a fine 
residence on East Bay St., surrounded by an ex- 
tensive garden and shrubbery. 

No kind uncle has left letters to tell us whether 
she was "anxious for the world." If so, she must 
have been amply gratified; for Mr. Laurens, be- 
sides being of an exemplary character, was rich, 
young, prosperous, thoroughly educated in letters 
and in business, and soon began to take a promi- 
nent part in public affairs. 

62 



She died at the birth of an infant, in May, 1770, 
and was buried in the western half of St. Philip's 
Churchyard, in the northwest corner. Mrs. 
Poyas, in one of her books, tells us that the grave 
was covered by a granite slab, set on a brick foun- 
dation, and that "it was broken down and de- 
stroyed by the British when the Old White Meeting 
House (now the Circular Church) was converted 
into a granary or store-house by them." Doubtless 
this act of vandalism was in retaliation for the 
patriotic stand taken by her husband and son dur- 
ing the Revolution. 

Four children survived her: — John, whose short 
and brilliant career deserves further notice; Mar- 
tha, who married Dr. David Ramsay, the historian ; 
Henry, of Mepkin Plantation, St. John's Parish; 
and Mary Eleanor, who married Gov. Charles 
Pinckney, one of the framers of the Constitution. 

Mr. Laurens, having, like many gentlemen of 
those days, sent his sons to England for their edu- 
cation, went thither himself to superintend it. 
The mutterings of impending war recalled him 
to his native country, where John, at least, 
soon followed him. As Mr. Laurens's career is so 
inseparably inwoven with American history, to 
touch on its salient points is sufficient. He was 
President of the Continental Congress for some 
years; was sent by Congress to negotiate with 
France; was captured by the British on his way 
thither, and imprisoned in the Tower of London 
on a charge of high-treason ; was treated during his 
imprisonment with great rigor; and was only re- 

63 



leased when negotiations for peace were set afoot. 
He then returned to Carolina. The latter part of 
his life seems to have been spent at his beautiful 
plantation on Cooper River — Mepkin, where he 
died in 1792. 

According to the wish, expressed in his will, his 
body was wrapped in twelve yards of tow-cloth, 
and burned on a funeral pile. Tradition still points 
out the spot, on the southern spur of the bluff at 
Mepkin. There are two other such spurs; the mid- 
dle one, on which the house stood, and the northern 
one, where the cemetery was located, and where Mr. 
Laurens's grave may still be seen — a grave of ordi- 
nary size, not in the least suggesting that it holds 
but a mere handful of charred bones and ashes. 

Eleanor Laurens's history would be incomplete 
without a brief account of her gallant son. Dr. 
Ramsay places his birth in the year 1755. As we 
have seen, lie was educated in England. He was 
proficient, not only in the solid branches of learn- 
ing, but in the lighter graces and accomplishments 
of music, drawing, dancing, and fencing, and was 
noted for the charm of his manners and the nobility 
of his sentiments. He had a keen sense of honor, 
and was brave even to the point of rashness. He 
rendered distinguished service as a colonel in Lee's 
Legion, was sent to Paris on a mission to the French 
Government while Franklin was there, succeeded 
in his mission, returned to his command, and was 
slain in a petty skirmish in 1782, having left a sick- 
bed to join the fight. He was killed in the Comba- 
hee region, and, according to Dr. Johnson's "Rem- 

6 4 



iniscences," buried on a neighboring plantation. 
But his place in the cemetery at Mepkin is reserved, 
by a grave, whose simple head-stone bears the clas- 
sic epitaph: 

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." 

65 



V. 
THE SECOND ELIAS. 

ELIAS OF KENSINGTON. 

The second Elias Ball, eldest son of Red-Cap, 
was born, presumably at Comingtee, in December, 
1709. 

Of his youth and early manhood we know little. 
He was twelve years old, at his father's second 
marriage, sufficiently grown to be impatient of the 
rule of a step-mother who was only a few years his 
senior; but, as neither tradition nor memoranda 
hint the relation between them, they were probably 
in the main amicable. He seems to have had the 
same amount of "schooling" as his brother, with 
the exception, perhaps, of "Johnny's" special in- 
struction in "arithmetick" and dancing. His name 
occurs less frequently, and his only accomplishment 
seems to have been music, there being a bill for his 
music-lessons — only one such bill, however. Some 
years after, there is a memorandum : "hogs bought 
from my son Elias"; so that he must soon have 
established some business interests, independent of 
his father, for whom he is also mentioned as re- 
ceiving and paying out money. 

66 




ELIAS BALL 
Born December 22nd, 1709 Died August 8th, 1786 



^ 



Tradition throws but a faint glimmer of light 
on these hidden years of his life. He is said to 
have fallen in love with his fair neighbor, Lydia 
Child, grand-daughter of Mr. James Child, founder 
of the neighboring town of Childbury. (See Note.) 
The old account-book gives some color to this, for, 
inserted in the very midst of heterogeneous planta- 
tion memoranda, is the statement in his handwrit- 
ing: "Mrs. Lydia Child was 19 to-day" — a queer 
setting for a bit of sentiment, but sentiment it un- 
doubtedly is. And, strangely enough, not only dicl 
Mrs. Lydia marry George Chicken this very year, 
but was actually married to him at the time of this 
memorandum. There is no other mention of her; 
and Elias appears to have gone on his quiet way, 
unmarried, not finding attraction in any other 
woman. 

Father and son seem to have taken their share 
in cultivating the land, for there is a story to the 
effect that, one afternoon, the younger Elias, who 
was contemplating a visit to his lady-love (at Child- 
bury, no doubt), brought a plough-share to his 
father and complained that it was too dull for long- 
er use. His father readily acknowledged its dul- 
ness, but remarked that his son would have plenty 
of time to take it on his shoulder and "step up" to 
Moncks Corner — fourteen miles above — and have it 
sharpened — which he had to do. 

As we have already learned, the elder Elias Ball 
moved to Charleston in 1740. For a year or so 
previous, the younger Elias seems to have been 
largely associated with him in his planting inter- 

67 



ests ; and the notes and memoranda in the old book 
are almost altogether in his handwriting, and after 
that date entirely by him, and the entries are some- 
what changed. There are fewer small industries 
noted; it is more and more of a planter's book. 
There are accounts with carpenters, or for lumber 
sold, besides all manner of household memoranda 
and some of a personal character; but this part 
is taken up chiefly with lists of negroes' names — 
the dates of their birth, and sometimes of their 
death, — with the number and recipients of the 
blankets, etc., given out, and with the purchase and 
probable age of African slaves. He was fond of 
making memoranda; and there is a certain little 
note-book, bearing his wife's maiden name and con- 
taining sundry notes in a round, childish hand, 
most of whose available space is filled with entries 
in his peculiar handwriting, which, though rather 
small for a man, is of a marked character, — firm, 
regular, and tolerably easy to read. 

Elias evidently lived at Comingtee; but I do not 
know where John Coming lived up to this time. 
He may have had the care of the property farther 
away from home; but, at all events, he made a 
home for himself soon after his father left Coming- 
tee. Elias must have been lonely enough in the 
empty house at Comingtee. Even the parrot which 
his father sent him must have proved but a poor 
solace. Instead, however, of finding a helpmeet 
for himself, he bought and cleared a tract of land 
adjoining Hyde Park, and built and settled therein, 
— in order, as his son tells us, to be near the brother 

68 



to whom he was so deeply attached. He named this 
plantation Kensington. 

"All things come to him who waits;" and in 1745 
Mrs. Lydia Chicken was left a widow, with one 
little girl. Elias doubtless lost no time in renewing 
his suit; and two years afterwards they were mar- 
ried. He was then thirty-eight. He seems to have 
been the kindest of step-fathers to little Catherine ; 
she grew up with his own boys as of the same fami- 
ly, and frequent references are made to her in his 
letters and in theirs. 

Little Caherine Chicken was the heroine of a 
family tradition that tells how, having once in- 
curred the displeasure of the brutal school-master 
at Childbury School, she was tied by him to a tomb- 
stone in the neighboring churchyard, by way of 
punishment, and was left there and forgotten. She 
was not missed until night-fall, when search was 
made for her; and she was found, half dead from 
fright and exhaustion. Though she recovered, her 
mouth was permanently drawn into a crooked 
shape, and a portrait, in possession of one of her 
descendants, shows the distortion of features plain- 
ly. The school-master was drummed out of Child- 
bury. 

We have only a few dates from which to construct 
the annals of the subsequent twelve years, doubt- 
less happy and prosperous, in the main, though 
chequered by the sorrows inseparable from human 
life. The first child of this new marriage was a 
daughter, Elizabeth — one of the only two grand- 
children, mentioned in the First Elias Ball's will: 

69 



— the two that bore the name of his first wife. 
This daughter died, however, but a month after the 
will was made, at the age of two years. 

After his father's death, Elias seems to have set 
diligently about improving his property. Coming- 
tee had been left to him by will, and he had inher- 
ited, as eldest son, several thousand acres besides, 
most of which must have been timber land. He 
also came into possession, in right of his wife, of 
Strawberry Ferry and Plantation, in which tract 
the larger part of the town of Childbury was in- 
cluded. From time to time, he made purchases of 
African slaves, some of whom were grown, and 
some, boys and girls. He planted oaks to beautify 
Kensington; and seems to have had some special 
interest in pigeons, as several memoranda concern 
them. In 1754, he notes: "my clock came home." 
And never did a clock need so much cleaning and 
so many repairs, from professionals and from non- 
professionals ! Nevertheless, we cannot help think- 
ing that it may have been one of the two exactly 
similar timepieces which in after years stood in 
the houses at Limerick and Comingtee. We would 
like to think, too, that these two clocks had been 
imported by the two brothers — but this is imagina- 
tion, pure and simple. Building, also, must have 
been going on, this year, or have been projected; 
for the well was "bricked in"; and, the day before 
Christmas, 1755, "Elias Ball and family moved into 
his new house." The "family" by this time con- 
sisted of his wife and two boys — Elias and Isaac — 

and Catherine Chicken. Two more children, Lydia 

70 



and John, were born afterwards. There are, in 
both books, various memoranda of the weather — of 
unusually heavy rains, late frosts, a great freshet, 
and the celebrated "whorlwind" that did so much 
damage to the shipping in Charleston Harbor in 
May, 1761. 

There is an entry of March 10th, 17C3 :— "Mrs. 
Catherine Chicken and Elias and Isaac Ball went 
down in Mr. Bonneau's canno (canoe) and he went 
with them to their Uncle Laurens to be inoculated 
for ye small-pox." We can almost see the sad little 
party, and hear good Mr. Bonneau's attempts to 
cheer and comfort them. In this same year, too, 
Mrs. Catherine Chicken married Mr. Benjamin 
Simons, son of the second of that name. The 
Simonses lived at Middleburgh, a plantation in St. 
Thomas' Parish, not many miles distant. 

It seems possible that the education of these elder 
boys and of Catherine Chicken may have been car- 
ried on by a tutor. They must have had education 
of some sort, as there is no memorandum of Elias 
ever being sent to school, and of Isaac only once; 
and yet Elias wrote and spelt fairly well, and 
Isaac, even better. There is a suggestive memoran- 
dum of April, 1763, to the effect that John and 
Thomas Cordes came to school — at a given rate. 
"Schooling" as well as boarding was charged to 
them. 

An opportunity presented itself in 1764 of 
purchasing the plantation of Limerick, * * which 
adjoined Kensington on the other side. It was then 

7i 



a well-settled place, with a fine dwelling, and was 
owned by Daniel Huger, son of the Emigrant. 

But prosperity in wordly goods was soon offset by 
heavy griefs. John Coming Ball died in 1764, in 
October; and we can well understand how heavy 
the blow was to the surviving one of these two de- 
voted brothers. 

A yet heavier blow, however, was in store. Only a 
few months later, — in April, 1765 — his wife died, 
leaving him, much as his father had been left, with 
four small children. But, unlike his father, Elias 
did not take a second wife. His eldest boy was 
twelve — much about his own age when he was left 
motherless; — and perhaps his own experience may 
have made him hesitate to put a step-mother in au- 
thority over his boy. Or it may have been — and 
facts would seem to bear it out — that Lydia was 
really the only woman for whom he ever cared. At 
any rate, circumstances and times were different, 
and he could afford to indulge his preferences. The 
country was well-settled now, and every household 
boasted trained servants, devoted to the family of 
their owners. And, more than all, his brother's 
widow and children lived on the next plantation. 
No existing memorandum gives even a hint, of what 
became of the children, the youngest of whom was 
only five years old; but it is natural to suppose 
that Mrs. Judith Ball assumed the care of them. 
The very absence of memoranda hints that domes- 
tic matters must have worked smoothly. 

There are few memoranda of any kind, until Feb. 
1769, when it is noted : "my son John went to Mr. 

72 




KENSINGTON PLANTATION (taken 19001 
House Built by Second Elias Ball 



Gibson to school." In April, Isaac went there too. 
Where Mr. Gibson taught, I cannot state, nor how 
long he continued to instruct the boys. 

The uniformity and monotony of events was 
broken in October, 1771, by a wedding in the family. 
Little Lydia, not yet fifteen, married Edward Si- 
mons, a brother-in-law of her half-sister, Catherine, 
— not an old man, though nearly twice as old as she 
was. 

In June, 1772, "John Ball went to Mr. Sam Bon- 
neau's in order to go to school at Mr. Thomson's," 
who may have been the master of the Childbury 
Free School, or of the Beresford School in St. 
Thomas's Parish ; — in either case, some of the Bon- 
neaus would probably have been nearer than Ken- 
sington. Yet, notwithstanding all the school-going, 
John Ball says : "My education was too much neg- 
lected by my fond father." 

Mrs. Judith Ball died in August, 1772. Nothing 
is said of any arrangements made by Elias Ball for 
his family; but, indeed, none were needed. Lydia, 
the only girl, was already provided for ; John, now 
twelve, was at school ; and Elias and Isaac, twenty 
and eighteen respectively, lived with their father, 
by this time, and took an active part in his plant- 
ing interest. 

Nothing regarding them is noted until July, 1774, 
when "John went to town to live with Mr. Edward 
Simons," whether to attend school or to learn some 
business does not appear; but the former seems 
most likely, as he was only fourteen; and, besides, 
his brother Elias, writing of Isaac's failing health, 

73 



earnestly wishes that John were "old enough" to 
come and take charge of the planting. 

For more than a year after this, some insight 
into the domestic life of the family is furnished 
through the letters, written by the three elders to 
the absent youngest member, which also help us so 
to know their kindly, simple, affectionate natures 
as to make them very real and present to us. 

John leaves home on the 27th July; and on the 
2nd of August a short letter from his eldest brother 
"to dear Jack," thanks him for his "kind favor," 
ending, "I hope you will follow the advice you had 
from me, which will give me a great deal of pleasure 
to hear it. I beg you will keep up a constant cor- 
respondence with me." The boy, living in the city, 
in the midst of its opportunities and temptations, 
becomes the recipient of a great amount of good 
advice, of many commissions, and sometimes of 
what was more acceptable — country dainties dear 
to the boyish palate, such as "ground-nuts," fruit, 
etc. 

There was much sickness in the family at this 
time, Mr. Ben. Simons, "Caty's" husband, being 
seriously ill; "Bro. Ned/' Lydia's husband, misera- 
bly out of health ; Elias Ball, Sr., apparently suffer- 
ing all the time from some chronic "Disorder" ; 
and Isaac having already developed symptoms of 
the disease of which he eventually died; besides 
which, Elias, Jr., had one or two sharp "bouts" of 
sickness. Yet the tone of the letters is cheerful in 
the main ; it is only over those of the younger Elias 
that a shadow sometimes seems to hover. 

74 




ELIAS BALL 
Born April loth, 1752 Died January 2nd, 1810 



But we will let the letters speak for themselves 
in a few extracts. 

The first letter from his father runs thus : 

"My Dear Son John, 

I received yr Kind' favor dated ye 29 July, it 
was for want of an opportunity of answering it 
sooner. I beg you'll write to me all Opportunities 
you have. * * * Be sure, John, be a good Boy 
and mind your Business to the best of your Power. 
Come home Early of an Evening and Don't get into 
bad Company. If you see any Quarrel going for- 
ward, turn your back and walk off, and have noth- 
ing to say to them on either side * * * You 
may tell your Sister that I am afraid I shall never 
see Charlestown again. 

My Blessing to you all, and am, dear Son, 

Your loving Father, 

E. Ball." 

Under date of Aug. 27th, 1774, Elias Sr. writes: 

"Your brother Isaac and John Langstaff (John 
Coming Ball of Hyde Park, a boy of John's own 
age) have been out shooting summer-ducks, and 
Langstaff had an opportunity of firing at 38 yds. 
Dist., as fair a shot as man could have, and killed 
but * * * (the number is illegible, but was ap- 
parently small) I suppose if he had not had your 
Silversight he would not have killed one." Then 
follow commissions for shoemaker's thread, rice- 
sickles etc., and then : "Your brother Isaac is very 

75 



unwell. Just now he was most strangled with his 
own blood this morning; — he was at Limerick, and 
was going a hunting this morning, but he came to 
me, and I took some blood from him, I hope it will 
be of service to him." 

Elias Jr. writes of this the next day, — 28th : 

"Brother Isaac was unwell yesterday with a spit- 
ting of blood, for which my Father bled him, and 
I think it was of service to him, as he spit no blood 
to-day * * * John Coming staid a week with us 
on his way to St. Stephen's." * * * 

Oct. 3d the father writes quite a long letter, the 
first part being taken up with Mr. Ben Simons' 
illness, in consequence of which he himself has 
been at Middleburgh every day, and Elias, day and 
night, for a week. The latter part relates hunting 
anecdotes: "A stout Buck" was started by Mr. 
Joseph Bell, who "gave him a long chase ; at length 
he took the river, and swam till he came where 
Stepney was minding rice, and he heard a noise in 
ye river, he looked about him, and there he saw 
this stout Buck ; up he starts and runs up to Cupid, 
who immediately went and got a shot, and Laced 
him from stem to stern; for all that, he made shift 
to get up as far as Silkhope Orchard, and there he 
lost him; he stept to Mr. Bell and got his Dogs and 
put them on the scent, and when he found him, he 
found him Dead and Stiff. I do assure you he was 
a fine fellow." The Wednesday following, * * * 
there was somebody else a hunting — I suppose it 

76 




ISAAC BALL 
Born May nth, 1754 Died January 5th, 1776 



was Mr. Quash's Billy — and .there was another 
"stout fellow roused, and he came Blundering down 
ye River as ye other did" * * * here there are 
one or two lines illegible, but the substance of it 
is, that the person to whom the buck came "had no 
shot; he broke his Pipe in pieces and put that in 
his gun, and got so close to the buck as to shoot 
him in his ear, and got him; and just as I came 
home from your Bro. Simons, lo, he came swag- 
gering with him. I do assure you, John, he was a 
Stout fellow, much stouter than the other." Poor 
John ! shut up with books or business when there 
were such glorious doings in the neighborhood of 
the dear old home! 

In less than a month after, Isaac was in danger 
of his life from another source. His father writes: 

"I heard my dear son Isaac was Castaway near 
Town or in it * * * I shall be very uneasy until 
I see him or hear from him, pray, John, tell him to 
take more care of himself, and Don't bring my 
Grey hairs with sorrow to the Grave." 

Not long after, Elias Jr. writes that Isaac has 
been very ailing, and that he thinks he will never 
be better if he does not go away. Indeed, he seems 
to have been anxious about him from the first. 

Poor little John was about this time seized with 
a boyish desire to own a watch, and wrote to ask 
his brother Elias to let him have money enough, 
out of some that he owed him, to purchase one. 
Apparently, however, watches were not considered 
suitable for boys in those days, and his brother, 

77 



after referring to his own severe sickness, answers 
thus: 

"Dear John you mention to me in one of yours 
about a watch, and that the money should be 
drawn from the sum I have given you a note of 
hand for, and your reason for getting one is to 
know when to go to breakfast and dinner. I do 
assure you it gave me a great deal of concern to 
think that you should want to lay out your money 
so foolishly. But my advice to you is that I think 
you stand in no need of a watch ; which if you did, 
I would advise my Father to give you one. But, 
however, John, if you do not choose to follow my 
advice to you, I will pay up my whole Note as soon 
as I have sold some of my rice, then you must do 
what you please with it." But in case of the pur- 
chase, he gives John to understand that he will 
never undertake to advise him again; but adds: 
"I hope that by your next you will think quite 
otherwise.'' 

To this period is apparently referable the follow- 
ing letter from his father, the date of which is torn 
off. 

"Dear John, 

* * * it is time enough for you to think of 
such things six years hence. You seem to let your 
head run too much on Dress and this fine thing 
and that fine thing; my advice to you is to mind 
your business and study that more than you do— 
what signifies if you don't come to meals to a min- 

78 



lite or not; be a good Boy and you shall want for 
nothing that I can help you to. Your head seems 
to run too much on dressing yourself, as if you 
Came into the world for nothing else." 

Poor John must have felt as if he had inadver- 
tently pulled the string of a shower-bath ! It must 
have been a great consolation when "Sister Caty" 
wrote to him about making up some shirts, and 
promised to have them ruffled if she had to sew the 
ruffles herself. Probably she had heard some of the 
masculine discussions on the subject. Shortly 
after, he seems to have been guilty of some more 
serious misdemeanor, for on the 1st of December 
is this little note: 

"Dear Son John, 

I have reed, your very kind favour, and that 
you acknowledge you were a naughty Boy. I for- 
give you sincerely, and you shall hear no more of 
it." That is all, except a few words about stock- 
ings that were being knit for him, and the health 
of his brothers. 

The year's correspondence ends thus: 

"Please let me know by the return of the boat 
when I shall send your horses for you, and you 
may depend I shall send them." 

Strange, that a boy of fourteen should own 
"boys," horses, and several guns, yet not be thought 
old enough to own a watch ! 

79 



Even Christmas holidays in the country, with the 
riding and the hunting and the shooting, and all 
the charms of the dear familiar home life, must 
come to an end, and 1775 sees John back in the 
city. 

The first letter for this year is a long one from 
his father, dated Comingtee Feb. 10th. 

"Dear Son John, 

I have received your several letters, etc. * * * 
My son, I am not angry with you at all. I heard 
yesterday that you had a Bruising bout with Bob 
Simons, and that he gave you a Black Eye; my 
son, I would not have you to be Quarrelsome or 
litigious, but at the same time I would not have 
you be put upon by no Lad of your match. * * * 
I shall send down your moneys by your Bro. Isaac 
when he goes down, so you may buy your watch as 
soon as you please; if you get it at Mr. Downes' 
take it on his word and honour, be sure you get a 
good one or not at all. Be sure, my dear Son, be- 
have yourself like a young gentleman, and be ob- 
liging to your Bro. and Sister, and be strictly 
honest; always take care how you promise, but 
when you promise always perform your promise. 
I had your two guns cleaned and put up im- 
mediately, I did not wait for Tycho telling me. 

I received your Jar of raisins some time ago. 

Be sure, John, write to me all opportunities, 

don't wait for my answering yours, but write to 

me, it is your Duty. In so doing you should say, 

I remain, Hond. Sir, your dutiful Son John Ball, 

80 



* * * 

* * # 



not and humbl. Servt., that is all foolish to a 
father. 

My blessing to you all and am dear John, 

Your Ever Lo. Father 

E. Ball." 

John evidently made a successful plea for that 
watch, on this Christmas visit. 

His brother Elias seemed mindful of his threat 
of never sending him advice again, for there is none 
in his letter from Comingtee next day, — but doubt- 
less John would have preferred the driest counsel 
to what he did write. After stating that he had 
been kept there some time by sick negroes, and 
begging John to send up the plantation things by 
a certain boat, he proceeds: 

"You promised the next time you wrote it should 
be a long letter, I desire it may, for by accounts 
you have a good subject to write on — the Battle 
with the Boy as little again as yourself, and am 
credibly informed he gave you a good drubbing 
with two black eyes. I was sorry that you should 
fight that Boy, for I thought you were on much 
better terms than to fight, but as it did come to a 
battle, I was much surprised to hear you had 
parted with consent and with two black eyes. I 
had imagined you were able to flog two such boys 
as him at one time. My father is well, he is now 
with me. I have not heard lately from Isaac." 

But Isaac had heard of John, for on the 13th he 

writes in that clear copper-plate hand of his : 

81 



"I shall be glad to hear in your next how that 
Battle was fought between Messrs. Simons and 
Ball, and who came off Conqueror." 

It was in March of this year that Elias wrote to 
John wishing he were old enough to come and take 
charge of things, for Isaac's health is so bad that 
the negroes take advantage of it to feign sickness, 
and the family can get no work done satisfactorily. 
Even the horses break bounds, and can't be kept 
out of the oats patch — John's three being as bad 
as any. 

In July, the father writes from Kensington, 
accusing John of forgetting various commissions: 
"Out of sight out of mind, as the old saying is — 
you quite forgot me too, as well as the rest of man- 
kind." 

In every letter now there is mention of Isaac as 
being "very poorly." On August 27th, 1775, Elias, 
Jr., writes sadly of Isaac's health, and fears that 
his only chance lies in his going away somewhere. 
He then goes on to say : "I have entered into a 
volunteer company under the command of Capt. 
Job Marion and R. Gough, first Lieutenant. (Isaac 
also joined this company.) I am much in want of 
a gun to have a bayonet fixed in, as my old piece 
is too short, and I beg that you will let me have 
yours for that purpose. My father tells me you 
shall have his to make use of till we have better 
times, and then I shall give you one in the room 
of yours, equally as good. I think the offer I make 

you so fair that you can't have any objection to it. 

82 



I beg you will acquaint me by the first opportunity 
whether I shall have it or no. If you consent to 
it, I shall send it down with one of the bayonets 
that is at Kensington, and get you to put it in one 
of the best workman's hands in town to get fixed 
up for me." 

We have not John's answer, but its tenor may 
be guessed from the following letter from his 
brother. 

"In regard to the Gun, I think the offer I made 
you very fair, and you have been so ungenerous as 
to ask me more for it than the first * * * and 
not then without my being one of the * * * (lieuten- 
ants, apparently). Your being so ungenerous has 
induced my Father to make me a compliment of his 
gun, and I intend getting Jeudon to fix it up for 
me. We are to be a company of foot, but I can't 
acquaint you what the uniform is to be, as cloth 
is so scarce in town." 

The letters of the father and brothers cease after 
August, and the probability is that John soon re- 
turned home, as his brother-in-law, Edward 
Simons, died early in October of this year (1775), 
and Lydia's home in Charlestown must have been 
broken up. We do not know whether she came 
back into her father's house or not; but probably 
she was there on long visits, at any rate. She 
seems too young to have lived entirely alone. There 
is some mention in one of the letters of "your 
Sister's things" being stored at Limerick; and 
writing in 177G from Charleston to John at Ken- 

83 



sington, she asks if "her people" have been "up to 
any tricks at Limerick," and begs John to come 
for her on a given day. Once or twice in the years 
succeeding her husband's death, Elias, Jr., then in 
Charlestown, sends love to his sister. I have seen 
it stated that "Lydia Simons went to live at Lime- 
rick with Elias" after Mr. Simon's death ; but this 
must be a mistake. In the first place, it was then 
understood that Limerick was to be Isaa&s, it be- 
ing so stated in the will made three years previous- 
ly, so Elias would scarcely have been living there 
then. And in the second place, Elias — judging 
from his own letters — was very little at home after 
Isaac's death; and it surely was more likely that 
so young a widow should have lived in her father's 
home than alone on a plantation in those troublous 
times, when the whole surrounding country was 
for so long in the hands of the British. 

These were exciting days, and the elder Elias 
made some of his accustomed notes in his wife's 
old note-book on the current news — the arrival, 
and then the flight, of Lord William Campbell, etc. 
It is easy to see that all his sympathies were with 
the patriots. Therefore, it must have been a sore 
trial when his brother's eldest son openly declared 
himself a Tory. He seems to have been uneasy 
about the younger son too, as he inquires, rather 
anxiously, "In what troop does he ride? and what 
is his uniform?" 

There was need of Lydia's presence in the house- 
hold now, — though, indeed, she had griefs enough 
of her own, in the loss of husband and child. We 

84 



have not the exact date of her child's death; but 
as John writes shortly before Mr. Simon's death 
that "little Neddy" was very ill, it is likely that 
he died the same autumn. This only child, as well 
as the father, seems to have been always ailing, and 
the poor child-mother must have had but a sad and 
anxious life, between the two. 

I cannot say if any one at Kensington realized 
the impending sorrow, except Elias; but doubtless 
it was a shock to all, when, on the 5th January, 
1776, Isaac breathed his last. To the father, it 
must have been a specially heavy blow; this son 
had been always with him ; had managed the home 
plantation; and of him he expressed himself in 
most affectionate terms. One cannot help feeling 
that, if he relied more on Elias's administrative 
ability and firmness of character, Isaac was nearer 
his heart. And to Elias, this brother next in age 
was evidently very dear. 

There are few memorials left of the young life, 
whose flame was so early quenched. Half-a-dozen 
short letters — scarcely more than notes, — written 
in a clear, regular hand, better spelled than was 
usual with country gentlemen in those days, and 
with occasional dashes of pleasantry; a little 
memorandum-book, containing a few miscellaneous 
items; and a portrait by Theus, of cabinet size, 
showing a pleasant-faced boy in the prim dress of 
that day, holding a bird in his hands. His body 
rests in the family cemetery at Strawberry. 

Things were changed at Kensington now. Elias, 
the main-stay of the family, was necessarily often 

85 



absent, and the active management of the business 
devolved upon John, now a lad of sixteen. The 
stress of the war began to be felt, too, in the scar- 
city of cloth and salt, as well as of such luxuries 
as good wheat flour. From time to time, too, some 
of the negroes went over to the British, who after 
a while over-ran the country, and finally, even John 
joined a company in active service. 

Elias, Sr., seems to have continued to keep most 
of the accounts — the register of the births of negro 
children, for example, is kept by him up to 1780. 
Possibly it was at the time of John's marriage — 
this same year — that he divided his property be- 
tween his sons. In a manuscript book, belonging 
to John Ball, there is "A List of Male Slaves from 
sixteen to sixty, at Kensington, with each negro's 
age to the best of our knowledge, made the eight 
day of March, 1780." There is also a "Copy of the 
Ages of the Negroes belonging to my Father, taken 
from the original, March 6th 1780." In another 
part of the same book is a list of the Negroes that 
came with his wife, born after he had possession 
of them. The first birth registered is June 5th, 
1780. The latest writing of the second Elias seems 
a memorandum slip of the births of his grand- 
children in 1782, 1784, and 1785. 

How he fared in these times, with ill-health and 
increasing years, we do not know; nor how much 
Elias, Jr., was able to be at home; but from a let- 
ter written after the Peace, we presume that he had 
been absent most of the time. 

In the Spring of 1779, we find John a second 

86 




STRAWBERRY CHAPEL 
Ball Cemetery in lower right hand corner, Harleston Cemetery in background 



Lieutenant in Screven's company, Col. Daniel 
Horry's regiment of Light Dragoons; and in 1780 
he married his cousin Jane Ball, daughter of John 
Coming Ball and his wife Judith Boisseau. So 
Elias, Sr., may not have been left alone in his old 
age. Doubtless the wife was the "Cousin Jinny" 
about whose health Elias, Jr., inquired in the 
autumn of 1776, and who seems to have been then 
on a visit to Kensington. 

In 1780, over forty negroes, men, women, and 
appaiently some children, left Kensington to go 
to the British army. Some of these afterwards re- 
turned. 

The year before the war closed, 1783, Lydia mar- 
ried Mr. Bryan, and settled (I believe) at Camp- 
vere, near the Simons' place, Middleburgh. 

In the summer of 1786, Elias Ball's long con- 
tinued ill-health brought on death on the 8th of 
August, at the good old age of seventy-seven. He 
was buried beside his wife and his son Isaac in 
the centre of the family cemetery at Strawberry 
Chapel, where a single wide slab covers their 
graves. 

The second Elias Ball and his family — so I have 
always heard — were the first to be interred in this 
Family Cemetery at Strawberry Chapel (formerly 
Childbury Chapel). The cemetery at Hyde Park, 
which belonged to the John Coming Ball branch, 
has been long disused in favor of this one. 

There is a will extant, dated March 13th, 1772, 
an original, not a copy. It is duly witnessed, and 
seems to have been duly signed — though the signa- 

87 



ture has been cut out — but I do not see that the 
will has been proved. In this he devises Coming- 
tee to his son Elias; also "Eveleigh's Land;" some 
other tracts which had been granted to his father; 
certain special legacies of negroes and silver; and 
his "clock and Family Pictures." To Isaac he 
leaves Limerick, and special legacies of negroes 
and silver. To John, Kensington and Hyde Park, 
except a piece of ground on the latter of twenty 
feet square, "reserved as a Place of Family Se- 
pulture for ever." John also has special legacies 
like the others. To Lydia he leaves Lot No. 49 in 
Charlestown, and the sum of 10,000 1. currency; 
her special legacies include furniture also. 

Of course, Isaac's death must have made a 
change. Limerick became Elias's; but as far as I 
know, John and Lydia retained their original 
shares. Any difference in value may have been 
equalized in money. It is strange that in this will 
no mention is made of Mrs. Lydia Ball's landed 
property, which consisted of Strawberry Planta- 
tion, and about 160 acres on the other side of the 
river, left her by her aunt Mrs. Durham, yet con- 
firms the bequests of personal property made in 
her will. In this will, dated the day before her 
death, she appears uncertain which of her sons was 
to have Strawberry. 

Elias Ball's character may best be given in the 
words of his son John. "My father and Uncle John 
C. Ball were honest, peaceable, domestic men. 
Their ambition was to live happy and content- 
ed in private life. They resided chiefly on 

88 



their plantations, Kensington and Hyde Park, 
that they might be near each other, as 
there ever subsisted the utmost harmony and 
brotherly affection between them. They were 
very easy, indulgent masters, which united to their 
not being of an enterprising disposition, prevented 
that accumulation of property which was so favor- 
able in their younger days ; especially in taking up 
grants of valuable lands, vast bodies of fertile 
swamps were then vacant. They, each of them, 
however, had the happiness to leave a pretty begin- 
ning for their children." 

There are three portraits of the Second Elias, 
taken in early or middle life. They show us a 
pleasant-faced man, not strictly handsome, but un- 
mistakably the gentleman. 

Note. 

CHILDBURY. 

The town of Childbury was founded by "James 
Child, Yeoman," of Buckinghamshire, England, 
who, having in some way incurred the enmity of 
the notorious Judge Jeffries, and being fortunate 
enough to escape his clutches, fled to Carolina. He 
left his wife and a large family in England; only 
one son, Isaac Child, accompanied or followed him. 

Mr. Child acquired property around what is now 
Strawberry Ferry. Here he laid out a town on the 
English plan, and called it Childbury. It was laid 
off in lots, one of which was reserved for a church, 

and another for a school-house; the streets were 

89 



named ; several houses seem to have been built ; and 
semi-annual Fairs, incorporated by Act of As- 
sembly, were duly held. 

But conditions were not favorable to the growth 
of small inland towns so near the capital of the 
Province, and after the death of Mr. Isaac Child, 
the town gradually passed out of existence, and 
the unsold lots were incorporated by the heir, Wil- 
liam Child, with Strawberry Plantation. 

90 






VI. 

THE TWO JOHN COMINGS. 

OOHN COMING BALL OF HYDE PARK.) 
GOHN COMING BALL OF BACK RIVER.) 

JOHN COMING OF HYDE PARK. 

Our acquaintance with John Coming Ball is not 
nearly so intimate as with his brother Elias; since 
we have no letters or memoranda through which 
he might become to us a real and living personage 
instead of a mere name. This absence of material 
is probably due to the fact that the original house 
at Hyde Park was destroyed by fire; and many 
valuable relics of past days doubtless then 
perished. 

Of the First Elias Ball's two sons, John Coming 
seems to have been the favorite. His name occurs 
frequently in the memorandum-book in connection 
with "schooling" and dancing, and is frequently 
associated with that of his eldest half-sister, Sarah. 
He was only six at the time of his mother's death, 
and probably accommodated himself to the ways 
of the young step-mother more readily than the 
elder ones were able to do. And, as we have seen, 

91 



the personal bequests to him in his father's will 
far exceeded those to his brother. In spite of the 
five years' difference in age, however, the strongest 
affection and friendship existed between them ; and 
if their father did make any difference in his treat- 
ment of them, it does not seem to have influenced 
in the least their feelings towards each other. 

"Johnny" was duly sent to school after his 
mother's death ; and we know that he had at least 
one full year's schooling — for it was paid for. 
Johnny also went to Mr. Newbery to "learn 
arithmetick," but whether from natural aptitude 
or inaptitude, does not appear. As he grew older, 
the notices of him are limited to occasional pur- 
chases of hogs "from Johnny," showing that Johnny 
began early to strike out for himself in some direc- 
tions. It is probable that the sons assisted their 
father in his various branches of business as soon 
as they were old enough to do so. 

In course of time, John Coming bought a tract 
of land on the Eastern Branch, from Mr. Gough, 
and built and settled there, calling the plantation, 
"Hyde Park." I have not the date of this pur- 
chase, but suppose it was somewhere about the time 
of his father's removal to Charlestown — 1740. This 
original house at Hyde Park did not occupy the 
site of the present one. It stood on the hill near 
the family cemetery, and is said to have been a 
comfortable square house, resembling that now 
standing at Kensington. I have not been able to 
ascertain the time at which it was burnt down, but 
it may have been shortly after the Revolutionary 

92 



War. It was subsequent to Mrs. Judith Ball's 
death, for she died at Hyde Park ; and the present 
house was not built until long after. The fire is 
said to have originated from a lighted candle which 
had been left in a closet. 

In 1742 he married Catherine Gendron — 
daughter of John Gendron and his wife Elizabeth 
Mazyck, — Huguenots of the Santee settlement. 
There were six children by this marriage, two of 
whom died in early childhood and in the same 
year. 

Mrs. Catherine Ball died in the latter part of 
September, 1755, the eldest of her four children 
being under thirteen, and the youngest only two. 
In ten months' time her place was filled by another 
Huguenot bride, — Judith Boisseau. 

By this marriage there were five children, two 
of whom, also, died in childhood. 

John Coming Ball himself died in October, 1764, 
and was buried in the family cemetery at Hyde 
Park, where the bodies of his first wife and of four 
of his children had already preceded him. 

Well might his nephew say of the two brothers 
that "they each of them had the happiness to leave 
a pretty beginning for their children." John Com- 
ing died possessed of nearly 9000 acres of land, in- 
cluding at least two settled plantations; and, as 
sawing lumber and making tar were then important 
industries, even the large body of uncleared pine 
forest was by no means unproductive. Some of this 
land had been left him by his father, and some had 
been purchased by himself. A considerable part 

93 



of his land was in the vicinity of Wambaw Swamp, 
near the Santee river. Part of this he owned joint- 
ly with his brother-in-law, Henry Laurens, and an- 
other part he mentions as having been bought from 
Col. Gendron. 

He left the plantation on Wambaw to his eldest 
son, Elias, who was already living there. Hyde 
Park was also bequeathed to Elias, with the pro- 
viso that the widow and the other children should 
have a home there and the use of the plantation 
during her lifetime. The will is long and very ex- 
plicit, providing for every possible contingency ex- 
cept the one that actually arose, viz., the birth of 
a posthumous child. Six children survived him; 
four of the first wife's, Elias, Elizabeth, Catherine, 
and Ann ; and two of the second wife's, John Com- 
ing and Jane. Five months after his death, another 
daughter, Eleanor, was born. 

The Santee lands were all left to the first wife's 
children, with directions that the slaves that fell 
to her daughter's share should be kept at work on 
their lands there; whence I surmise that some, at 
least, of this property must have been acquired by 
his first marriage. The slaves belonging to his 
second wife and her children were to be kept at 
work on the lands near Cooper River. 

Mrs. Judith Ball died at Hyde Park, in 1772, 
eight years after her husband. By this time her 
stepchildren were all married; Elizabeth and Elias 
having married shortly after their father's death, 
and Ann in 1771. She was buried by her husband 
in the cemetery at Hyde Park. A single stone 

94 







STRAWBERRY CHAPEL 
Ball Cemetery at left of picture (corner of Cemetery) 



marks the resting place of them all, and bears the 
inscription : 

"John Coming Ball died at Hyde Park, Oct. 
20th, 1764, aged 50 years and 2 months. 

Katherine Ball died at Hyde Park Sept. 23d, 
1755, aged 32 years. 

Judith Ball died at Hyde Park Aug. 2d, 1772, 
aged 41 years. 

Also to several children and grandchildren. 
This stone is erected to their memory in 1821 by 
Isaac Ball, Grandson of John Coming and Judith 
Ball." 

Mrs. Judith Ball seems to have lived on har- 
monious terms with her step-children. She made 
her step-son Elias, executor of her will and guar- 
dian of her children, conjointly with her nephew- 
in-law, Elias Ball; and her girls seem to have 
found happy homes with their step-sisters. 

Of John Coming's children, Elias and John 
Coming will have separate mention. 

Elizabeth married Mr. Henry Smith of Goose- 
creek, son of Landgrave Thomas Smith, and left a 
numerous family. 

Catherine married Benjamin Smith, another of 
the Landgrave's family, and died before a year 
was out. 

Ann married Mr. Richard Waring of Tranquil 
Hill, near Dorchester, where, as wife and widow, 
she lived a long and honored life. She had no 
children. 

95 



Jane became the wife of her cousin, John Ball 
of Kensington. 

Eleanor's first husband was Mr. John Wilson, 
a merchant of Charlestown, who lies buried in the 
cemetery at Hyde Park; and her second husband 
was Mr. Keating Simons. She died on her birth- 
day, in 1827, of consumption, and was buried at 
Lewisfield Plantation. She had no children. 

Family tradition says that "Miss Nelly" (her 
pet name) was "a beauty and an heiress." Of her 
beauty we have abundant proof in the very fine 
portrait by Morse, painted only a few years before 
her death. Though an old lady, she is a very hand- 
some one, with clear-cut, regular features, which 
testify to the firmness and attractiveness of char- 
acter for which her step-children and grand- 
children admired her. The heiress-ship seems more 
doubtful. As we have seen, she had no part in her 
father's will ; and I have found no letters or papers 
which point to the relinquishment of any part of 
the property to her by the heirs. Her mother left 
her 6000 currency, and a yearly income of 100 un- 
til her brother John Coming should come of age; 
but we gather from family letters that this legacy 
was not paid. There were other special legacies 
to her; of three negroes, and of silver, furniture, 
etc. She was also to share equally with John 
Coming and Jane the rest of their mother's per- 
sonal property. 



96 





f % % 



MRS. KEATING SIMONS, nee ELEANOR BALL 
Born March 20th, 1765 Died March 20th, 1827 



JOHN COMING BALL OF BACK RIVER. 
"POOR JOHN COMING." 

The second John Coming Ball was the youngest 
son of John Coming Ball. His mother was the 
second wife, Judith Boisseau. He was only six 
years old when his father died, and fourteen, at 
the time of his mother's death. We know very 
little of him, there is only an occasional mention 
of him in the letters of his uncle and cousins, and 
a reference or two to him by his half-brother. He 
was about two years older than his cousin, John 
Ball of Kensington, and doubtless they were much 
together in their boyhood. It is not mentioned 
with whom he lived after his mother's death; but 
he seems to have been sent to school, and was at 
one time in Charleston. "John Langstaff" was his 
nick-name with the family at Kensington; some- 
times in full, at other times "Langstaff," or "Cousin 
Staff;" occasionally, he was known by the more 
dignified proper name "John Coming." 

We cannot help thinking, from the way in which 
he is mentioned by every one, that his words were 
stronger than his acts, and that there was some- 
thing incomplete and inefficient about him. This 
may have been due to the want of wise guidance 
and methodical training in his youth. The two 
Eliases, his half-brother and cousin, had been ap- 
pointed by Mrs. Judith Ball as guardians to her 
children ; but the cousin must have declined to act, 

97 



as he nowhere refers to such a responsibility, and 
he was a man to have shouldered it bravely if he 
had assumed it. The boy seems to have drifted 
around aimlessly; sometimes stopping in at Ken- 
sington and bringing his gun from Bossis, where 
some of his Harleston relatives lived; sometimes 
going on to his elder brother at Wambaw ; or to St. 
Stephen's to school, where some young man had 
promised to help him find board. He was in Char- 
lestown too, for a part of his time; his uncle asks 
John if he knows what business he is in, and a 
little later on, what uniform he wears and in what 
troop he rides ; but unfortunately, I have not John's 
answer. He has the reputation of having been a 
Tory, chiefly founded, I believe, on Gen. Marion's 
having captured a fine horse in a skirmish from a 
John Coming Ball, which horse he rode for some 
time, and called Ball. It is possible that there may 
have been some mistake in the name, and the horse 
may have been Wambaw Elias's; but poor John 
Coming gets the credit or discredit of it. 

He remained in America, however, and seems to 
have drifted on somehow through life. His half- 
brother and guardian invested in land for him; and 
he appears also to have bought land for himself, as 
his brother regrets his having done so, since it pre- 
vented his own buying Fishpond. It is his brother 
who calls him in one of his letters, "Poor John 
Coming." He owned a plantation on Back-River, 
in Goosecreek Parish. 

John never married; and does not appear again 
in any letters. Tradition reports that his health 

98 



was bad, and that he went northward for a change. 
He died on Long Island, N. Y., in October, 1792, 
and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, where a 
stone was erected to his memory. He left his prop- 
erty to the children of his two sisters, Mrs. Jane 
Ball and Mrs. Eleanor Wilson, and appointed his 
brother-in-law, John Ball, one of his executors. 
The will was drawn in August, 1792. John Ball 
was the only executor who qualified; and he man- 
aged the estate for eighteen years, until after the 
youngest heir had been of age for some time. When 
the estate was divided in 1810, the whole was 
vested in John and Isaac Ball, the only surviving 
children of Mrs. Jane Ball. How well it was ad- 
ministered, is proved by the following memoran- 
dum: 

"J. Ball gave up the Estate of John C. Ball to 
the heirs the 7th May 1810 — Having added a plan- 
tation that cost 2500 1. — paid off Debts to about 
0000 1. & deliver'd up 138 Negroes— being 50 
negroes more than was appraised — run out for 
Estate abt. 130 Acres near Jericho — and paid the 
heirs in cash and Notes $7828.79." 

99 



6534* 



VII. 

ELIAS OF WAMBAW. 

"WAMBAW ELIAS." 

John Coming Ball, as we have seen, left two sons, 
one by each marriage. The elder of these, Elias, 
was born at Hyde Park in 1744, and was conse- 
quently about twenty at the time of his father's 
death. To him were left Hyde Park, and the plan- 
tation on the Santee River, whither, as we learn 
from one of his letters, he had already gone to re- 
side. He sold Hyde Park to his uncle Elias; but 
his step-mother, according to the terms of his 
father's will, continued to reside there until her 
death. 

Of his earlier years we have no record, but after 
his father's death we begin to hear of him. In 
May, 1765, he married Catherine Gaillard, a lady 
of Huguenot descent. His step-mother, Mrs. Ju- 
dith Ball, appointed him, conjointly with his 
cousin Elias Ball, executor of her will and guar- 
dian of her three children. When the War of In- 
dependence began, he sided with the British; and 
while we do not know exactly what part he played, 
various circumstances would seem to suggest that 
he was sufficiently active to render himself dis- 

100 



agreeably unpopular. His property was confiscated 
by the Jacksonboro' Assembly, and, but for the 
prompt action of his cousin Elias, between whom 
and himself there existed a strong friendship, he 
would probably have been left penniless. Elias 
stepped in and purchased his slaves at a high price, 
probably before the Act of Confiscation was passed. 
At the close of the war, he moved with his entire 
family to England, and settled at Frenchay, near 
Bristol. I have in some way got the impression 
that he did not sail direct from Charleston, but re- 
tired first to Florida, and sailed thence. 

For some years he kept up a correspondence 
with the younger Elias, the dominant topic in his 
letters always being the money due him for his 
negroes. It is true the letters express friendship 
and esteem, and perfect confidence in his cousin's 
integrity, but the omnipresent reminder of the 
pounds, shillings, and pence, owing, must have 
been galling to a young man who, under great diffi- 
culties, was straining every nerve to meet a debt 
incurred through a chivalrous friendship. Oc- 
casionally, the writer provoked a remonstrance, as 
when he made an unreasonable proposition as to the 
fixed price at which the other's rice should be taken 
in payment, or when he wished to charge interest 
on the bond for negroes who had been bought at an 
exorbitant price; and this, after five years of un- 
propitious seasons and lost crops, of every par* 
ticular of which he had kept himself informed. 
Galling, too, must have been his supercilious tone, 
his open sneers at the country and friends of his 

IOI 



correspondent, and his rather dictatorial manner 
which must have made even good advice dis- 
tasteful. But, on the other hand, we catch glimpses 
of a different side of his character ; in his inquiries 
after his former servants, "old Tom" in particular; 
in his messages to them and his pleasant acknowl- 
edgments of "ground-nuts" and other things sent 
to their young mistresses; and in his solicitous 
anxiety that bundles of clothes sent should reach 
them safely. 

There can be no better proof of friendship than 
the way in which the American Elias, strong of will 
and prompt and resolute of action, passed over or 
condoned in his exiled relative what no other man 
would have been permitted to say or do. Doubtless 
he made allowances for the bitterness engendered 
by defeat. Far different was it with our ancestor, 
John, who had married the "Tory Ball's" half- 
sister, Jane, in the very middle of the Revolution. 
Some question of property had arisen, and in re- 
ply, the Tory's peculiar way of expressing himself 
fell upon his quick-tempered cousin like a spark 
upon tinder. The correspondence does not seem to 
have been a long one ; I have but two of the letters, 
and, as no extracts can do them justice, I give them 
entire. 

The first is from Wambaw Elias to John Ball. 

No. 10 North St., Bristol, Aug. 27th, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: 

I received your favour of the 8th July yester- 
day, forwarded to me by my kinsman J. Moultrie; 

102 



in answer to the First part thereof acquaint you 
that I never had the Hundred Acres of Land left 
by my father to his daughter Jane laid off, the rest 
of the land being left to me I thought it best to 
be left until my sister came of age, and then it 
might be done without leaving room for censure, 
my Father in his Will empowered either one of his 
Executors to do it, and I certainly might have had 
it platted off, and I should have done it if it were 
not for the above reason, but the Will so particu- 
larly points out the spot that I don't see how you 
could possibly be at a loss to fix it. He mentions 
the Great pond, a piece of Oak and Hickory land 
he once cleared and planted; that land is so well 
known by all the neighbors, the Guericas and other 
people, that it cannot admit of a dispute. Your 
fellow Peter, old Tom, Frank, and many other of 
your negroes knows the spot. It w r as the best 
piece of Highland on the whole tract, when my 
Father cleared it he planted it two years, the first 
in Indigo, the next in Corn, and both was remark- 
able fine crops. I planted it one year when I first 
went to live at Santee in my Father's lifetime, but 
he giving it away in his Will, never planted it 
after. I once went with my brother to the spot to 
show it him, and told him it was his sister Jane's 
land, and proposed his planting corn on it for the 
use of Jericho plantation. 

In regard to the other part of your letter re- 
garding my sister Nelly's affairs, must acquaint 
you agreeable to the information you have given 
me that she has not been done justice by agreeable 

103 



to her mother's Will. How any person can mistake 
the plain express words of the Will, I can't con- 
ceive ; does not the words of the Will expressly say 
that Nelly is to First have six thousand pounds 
out of the estate, and then the Rest to be divided 
equally between her three children, share and 
share alike? Instead of that, you and her brother 
John has taken it upon you to give her four, and 
then shared the residue. How people can mistake 
Six for Four I cannot account for any other way 
than their being blinded by Interest. I will for 
argument's sake suppose the whole estate to be 
worth but six thousand pounds at the time the 
Will authorized a division, must she not then have 
had the whole? — but you and John C. would say, 
no, she ought to have but four, the other two thou- 
sand we must share. I must say, John, that you, 
from your first marrying my sister, showed an in- 
clination to grasp at her Mother's estate; you was 
strenuous for having the estate divided when the 
Congress money was in circulation, when the six 
thousand pounds that she was to receive was not 
worth Six half-pence, to the utter ruin of that poor 
child who never knew the tender patronage of a 
Father, and to frustrate the good intention of a 
tender Mother, who endeavored to ward off from 
her helpless child poverty and want. Good God, 
my heart bleeds whenever I think of it, and now at 
last when Fate has stript me from her, to seize the 
estate and share it in the manner you have. I 
should not be worthy the great trust reposed in 
me by her Mother, nor should I deserve the name 

104 



of an Elder Brother were I to let so glaring injus- 
tice to her go unnoticed; had you not been quite 
so eager and consulted me on the matter, your con 
duct might have been less liable to censure, be- 
cause under the express words of the Will no other 
Executor was authorized to qualify until I was 
either dead or had refused to take the administra 
tion on me; neither of these two cases having hap 
pened, consequently no person had a right to trans 
act the business of that Estate but by a power 
from me, which might have been easily procured. 
But when Persons can lay the Will aside in one 
case they may in all, and its a wonder to me you 
had not shared the Estate without regarding the 
legacy left Nelly, and shared the negroes particu 
larly given her with the rest, there is as much jus- 
tice in the one as in the other; and I now, John, 
as a friend advise you to take the Will and pull 
off that Veil of Self Interest from your eyes, and 
read it with attention, and lay your hand on your 
heart and say if Nelly has had her share of her 
Mother's estate agreeable to the express words of 
the Will, and if not, do her immediate justice. 
Otherwise, if she marries a man of any spirit, you 
may be involved in a litigious Lawsuit; and if any 
thing ever carries me to Carolina it will be to assist 
that child to her right, which I may do under the 
treaty of peace. I now conclude this long letter 
with wishing you and yours all Earthly Felicity 
and Eternal in a Future State, and I would not 
have you think I am less your friend for writing 
so plainly to you on the above case, you ought to 

105 



consider what a capacity I stand in with regard 
to my Sister Nelly, whom I tenderly love and wish 
to serve, and would have done had not fate parted 
us and put it out of my power. Give my kind love 
to my Sister and tell her I lay it much to heart her 
neglect of her cast off Brother, and believe me to be 

Your affect. Kinsman and Friend, 

Elias Ball. 

We must remark that while the war was in prog- 
ress, it might not have been very easy for a lieu- 
tenant of cavalry in Horry's Brigade to consult, or 
even to communicate with, a pronounced Tory; — 
nor would it have been a very simple matter to 
conduct the affairs of an estate from so distant a 
point as England. And he seems ignorant of the 
fact that John and John Coming Ball had been 
legally appointed administrators, and were acting 
as such, apparently with the will annexed. 

Let John Ball speak for himself, however. 

Kensington, S. Carolina, 27th Dec. 1786. 
Sir, 

Your scurrilous letter of the 27th August came 
to hand a few days since — and in order to vindi- 
cate my character of the aspersions which you have 
so profusely bestowed — I will endeavor to convince 
you of your error. The enclosed paper contains 
the whole amount (by Appraisement) of such part 
of Mrs. Judith Ball's estate as John Coming Ball 
produced to the Appraisers. To convince you — 

106 



Miss Nelly — and the world that there was no fraud 
intended, I have, since the receival of your letter, 
offered Nelly to have the whole estate sold, pay her 
the six thousand pounds and divide the remainder. 
Now, Sir! I shall take the liberty of making some 
comments on your character as an Executor — in 
the first place I will leave it to the impartial World 
whether or not an Executor ("not to mention one 
who boasts the epithet of an elder Brother and of 
fidelity to his ward, and so much laments for jus- 
tice sake that fate had strip't him from her") 
ought to give in to the heirs when of age a clear 
state of his proceedings with an estate committed 
to his care for upwards of sixteen years. — What 
improvements or additions did you make to your 
sister Jane's portion in this long space of time? 
— surely in the manner she was brought up, her 
income, though trifling, could not be expended in 
Board &c. — No purchase of negroes was ever made 
for her ; on the contrary, there was one of hers sold, 
as I have been informed. — Pray was the expenses 
for Coming so much less than for Jane, as to enable 
you to purchase for him 1500 acres of land at 40/ 
per acre, without making the least purchase for 
the other. — But by the bye you have not made 
Titles to Coming for this land yet; which methinks 
an honest man might have done seven years ago, 
and before fate had strip't this worthy elder 
Brother from the younger. 

In your letter to Nelly you inform her that her 
legacy of 100 1. per annum was never paid, — that 
your legacy of 120 1. was likewise never paid, and 

107 



that you make it a present to her. Liberal Sir! 
can't you make a present to your sister out of your 
own purse, for be assured I will never pay six- 
pence of your Legacy until you produce a clear 
account of the monies you received for that Estate, 
as I have reason to believe that you have embezzled 
more than the amount of your Legacy. To my cer- 
tain knowledge, Wershing the Butcher paid you 
many guineas in the year 1781 for cattle belonging 
to that Estate. — From Nelly's annual legacy hav- 
ing never been paid, and from the very few receipts 
which appear on your and the other bonds given 
to Nelly by the heirs of my Uncle, it would appear 
(if we were not too well acquainted with your lib- 
erality) that you entirely maintained her from the 
decease of her mother until fate had strip't you 
from her — poor unfortunate Nelly, what must you 
sustain from the loss of this bountiful elder Brother 
and most faithful Guardian. 

Good God ! is it possible that thirty odd negroes 
could not pay their own expenses and these trifling 
legacies in the course of seven or eight years — 
Surely the best that can possibly be said for you 
as an Executor will be to compare you to a parable 
of the servant in the Gospel who had one talent 
committed to his care, which he hid in the earth 
and delivered again to his Lord on his return, with- 
out improvement. 

I must now point at those parts of your letter 
which are repugnant to truth; you say "that from 
your first marrying my Sister showed an Inclina- 
tion to grasp at her Mother's Estate." I deny it, 

108 



Sir! I only wished for my wife's portion of that 
Estate which was my due on the day of Marriage, 
and might have been divided then (as it has been 
since) without Nelly's losing anything by de- 
preciated paper. — But you were pleased to keep 
me from it as long as you could. — In your letter 
you affirm that it was "The express words of the 
Will that no other Executor was authorized to 
qualify until I was dead or had refused to take the 
administration on me," — what a glaring falsehood 
is this — and how clandestinely did you act on the 
occasion — for you must certainly know (if ever you 
read the will) that my brother was left in equal 
power with you, both as Executor and Guardian — 
you recorded the will and qualified thereon without 
ever informing him that he was mentioned. — You 
further add that "No person had a right to trans- 
act the business of that Estate but by a power 
from me." — This point you may dispute with Mr. 
Lining, Ordinary for Charleston District, who 
granted Letters of Administration. 

Towards the conclusion of your letter you seem 
to threaten to return to this country to have justice 
done to Nelly, now as matters remain just as they 
were before you wrote, I hope you will come over 
"to assist that poor child to her right," and answer 
to the charges herein alleged against you. — You 
may rest assured that you may come with all safety 
under the treaty of Peace, more especially under 
the Administration of the present Governor (Major 
Pinckney) whose conduct hitherto has been such 

against Mobs and riots as I believe will effectually 

109 



prevent there being any while he continues Chief 
Magistrate. 

After writing the most scurrilous letter that you 
could well pen, you conclude yourself my Friend, 
this I doubt as much as any other part of your 
letter, and will leave you to judge from what I have 
wrote whether I still remain your Friend or am 
now become your Enemy. 

Yrs. &c. 

Jno. Ball. 



After this reply, the family relations, for a time 
at least, could hardly have been cordial; though 
the correspondence with Elias of Limerick was still 
kept up. 

Time heals even domestic wounds, however, and 
amicable relations were resumed between the Eng- 
lish and American Balls. William James Ball, 
son of the writer of this fiery epistle, stopped at 
Bristol, on landing in England in 1805, inquired 
for his uncle and paid him a visit at Frenchay. 
Elias of Wanibaw's two sons-in-law, Moultrie and 
Slater, were on very frienly terms with John Ball's 
second son, Isaac, who, for his part, looked after 
Moultrie's property on the Pee- Dee. Mrs. Moultrie 
also kept up a friendly correspondence with him, 
recommended her son to his care during a con- 
templated visit to South Carolina, and gave him a 
handsome watch-seal engraved with the family 
coat-of-arms. This seal is now in the possession 
of his great-grandson, John Ball. 

ITO 



Elias of Wambaw's eldest daughter, Catherine, 
married her kinsman John Moultrie, the grandson 
of Mrs. Ann Austin, and heir to Mr. Austin's estate 
of Aston Hall. Besides Mrs. Moultrie, he had six 
children, all but one of whom were born in Amer- 
ica. Two of these were sons, and both died in early 
childhood. The next daughter was named Lydia, 
— we wonder if it was in compliment to his uncle's 
wife, the mother of his stanch friend. She must 
have thought well of him, as she made him one of 
her executors. The correspondence with Elias 
was kept up certainly until 1795, — and I do not 
know whether it ceased when the debt was paid. 
He now drops out of sight until the record of his 
death in 1822, at the age of seventy-eight. 

Wambaw Elias does not leave a pleasant impres- 
sion on our minds. We cannot help picturing him 
as a man over-bearing, selfish, arrogant, lavish 
of sneers and criticism, and not over-considerate 
of other people's feelings. Yet we are sen- 
sible that there is another side to the character, — 
one that reveals itself occasionally — in the constant 
thought of the faithful old servants in a sort of 
vague unexpressed yearning after the old familiar 
places, in the injured feeling of the "cast-off 
brother" whose sister does not notice him — and we 
feel that perhaps much of the bitterness comes 
from the heart of a defeated, disappointed, exiled 
man who at the age of forty is set to begin life 
anew, in a strange land. 



in 



PAPER ENCLOSED IN JOHN BALL'S LETTER. 

Note. — Mrs. Ball's Will after some small lega- 
cies leaves her Daughter Eleanor 6000, and the 
rest of the Estate to be equally divided. — Query, 
what is Miss Nelly's share of the estate. 

Appraisement amounting to 2085. .12 Sterling. 

7 

Whole estate 14599.4 Currency. 

Nelly's legacy 6000 

To be divided between 3 1 8599. 4 Surplus. 

the Three Heirs 2866.8 Each share. 

Miss Nelly's full 6000 

Share of 

8866.8 the Estate. 

To Amount of Miss Nelly's 

lot of Negroes 677 Sterling. 

7 

To Amount Ditto's lot 

Cattle 4739 Currency. 

Reduced to Currency. ... . 127.8 

To J. C. Ball and J. Ball's 
Bond for 2000 Currency 
Each 4000 

Miss Nelly's share by 

Division 8866.8 

112 




LIMERICK HOUSE IN 1900 
i Taken from the back) 



VIII. 

ELIAS OF LIMERICK. 

"OLD MAS' LIAS." 

The eldest son of the second Elias Ball was called 
Elias, and was born at Kensington April 10th, 
1752. 

We do not hear much of him for the first twenty 
years of his life, except the little glimpse of him, 
going in Mr. Bonneau's canoe, with his brother and 
half-sister, to be inoculated for the small-pox. At 
the age of twenty, we find him and his brother 
Isaac, two years his junior, assisting their father in 
the management of his planting interests. Isaac 
seems to have had special charge of Limerick — 
which was intended as his patrimony — and to have 
had at least a great deal to do with the control 
of the home place, Kensington. Elias man- 
aged Comingtee and Strawberry, both of which 
were to be his after his father's death. 

Elias seems early to have realized the responsi- 
bilities of life; and there is a certain tone of grav- 
ity, almost sadness, about his letters, which seems 
strange in so young a man. His letters to John are 
full of elder-brotherly advice, given with an air of 
authority. Indeed, his firmness and decision of 

113 



character show through them quite plainly. These 
traits, coupled with reliability and judgment, must 
have manifested themselves early in life, as Mrs. 
Judith Ball, in her will, made him joint executor 
and guardian, giving him equal powers with her 
own stepson. He was then barely twenty years 
old. Strength seems to have been linked with 
kindness, in him; for he writes with expressions of 
anxiety amounting to a personal feeling of solici- 
tude about the ill negroes at Comingtee, where he 
remained for some time to look after them. He was 
much at Middleburgh during the illness of Mr. Ben. 
Simons, his half-sister's husband; and at one time, 
when he was most ill, was there day and night, for 
a week. He seems to have been on terms of great 
intimacy with the Simonses, as, indeed, was but 
natural, as both his sister and half-sister had mar- 
ried into the family. Keating Simons, the one near- 
est him in age, appears to have been his special 
friend. 

He went to the North in 1770 — why, it is not 
said — but it was doubtless on acount of his health, 
as he seems to have suffered frequently from fever. 

All through Elias's letters to John, in 1774 and 
1775, he expresses himself as being very anxious 
about Isaac's state of health ; indeed, he, more than 
any one else, seems to have realized its serious con- 
dition. In the summer of 1775, both Isaac and him- 
self joined Capt. Job Marion's Company of infan- 
try ; and Elias was elected first lieutenant, "against 
my will," as he informs John ; adding that he would 
be glad to get out of it if he could do so with honor. 

114 



In the same year, evidently (the date of the letter 
is torn off), he was duly elected, in conjunction 
with Gabriel and Job Marion, Maurice Simons, 
James Ravenel and William Moultrie, Jr., to serve 
in the House of Assembly. He was then but 
twenty-three. 

Accordingly, we find him in Charlestown in Sep- 
tember, 1775. His lodgings being uncomfortable, 
he went to stay with the Jamisons; Mrs. Jamison 
had been a Miss Simons. When they moved into 
the country in November, he offered them his fath- 
er's assistance, and wrote to Isaac to send carts, 
etc., to help in moving their goods from the boat. 
In the same letter he asks Isaac to ride to Coming- 
tee now and then with John, and look after affairs 
there; and in his next, he thanks him for having 
done so, and gives some further directions. But 
Isaac could not long have attended to his brother's 
business, as he died early in 1776. We do not know 
if the end was sudden, or if Elias was able to be 
with him at the last. 

The "House" continued to sit for a long time, 
and there are several letters from Elias during the 
next two years, in which he speaks of being kept 
there by business, though his presence was evidently 
needed at home. In the beginning of 1777 there 
was some difficulty in ousting a man named Harvey 
from Strawberry. He had been duly notified to 
leave at the end of the last year ; but the new year 
had come in and Harvey still remained. Perhaps 
he thought that when the young master's back was 
turned, he could do as he pleased, having only an 

n5 



old man and a boy to deal with; but he reckoned 
without his host. Elias wrote promptly up to 
John, expressing his surprise at Harvey's conduct, 
and requesting him to ask his father to go there 
(and to go himself with him) and tell Harvey to 
leave at once. If he refused, his father was to 
"summon the carpenters and have enough of the 
shingles stripped off to compel them to move out;" 
but if he asked for two or three days' grace, he 
could let him have it. Heroic measures, these, but 
thev accord with the familv tradition that no one 
could "trifle with Mas' Lias." Nearly all of his 
letters contain news of the war to the northwards. 

When the British troops and fleet appeared be- 
fore Charlston in 1780, the Assembly broke up, dele- 
gating its authority to Gov. John Rutledge and his 
council, until ten days after the next meeting. 
What now became of Elias Ball, I cannot say, as 
there is no mention of him (in any letters that I 
have seen) until the close of the war. But doubt- 
less he had his share of marching and fighting. 

It must have been a source of mortification and 
distress when his cousin and intimate friend, Elias 
of Wambaw, took sides with the British; but the 
friendship he felt for him must have been peculiarly 
strong, since it endured the tests of political disa- 
greement, bitterness of speech and absence. When 
the new House of Assemblv met in 1781 at the lit- 
tie village of Jacksonboro' on the Edisto it passed 
laws (in February, 1782), banishing the active 
Tories and confiscating their estates. Elias prob- 

n6 



ably foresaw and forestalled their action, and pur- 
chased his cousin's slaves at a high price. 

When peace was declared, he went home and took 
up the arduous task of restoring his neglected plan- 
tations and bringing the demoralized slaves into 
order. That the difficulties he had to encounter 
were not small, appears from a letter to Elias of 
YVambaw in which he refers to "The great expense 
of bringing those people (from Wambaw) and the 
heavy duty of 31. per head, and expenses with set- 
tling my plantations almost anew, and plagued al- 
most out of my life with the negroes not knowing 
how to work or an unwillingness in them and run- 
ning away." * * * This was the time that his 
cousin chose to charge interest on the bonds for a 
debt, voluntarily assumed out of simple friendship. 
At one time he was so discouraged as to entertain 
the idea of selling Comingtee. The seasons, too, 
were unpropitious, and the water supply at Coming- 
tee was unsatisfactory. To obviate the latter diffi- 
culty, he proposed to his relatives, the two young 
Harlestons who had recently bought Fishpond, to 
mend the broken bank which had damned the creek 
between the plantations, forming a reservoir suf- 
ficient for both. I do not know what terms he 
offered; the papers relating to this bank are lost, 
and our information is derived only from the let- 
ters which passed between the two Eliases. As the 
Harlestons were slow in coming to terms, Elias Ball 
very characteristically set about making reserves 
of his own, banking in the low lands near the creek, 
and securing the "leads" which passed through 

117 



Comingtee. It was a great undertaking, and in- 
volved a vast amount of labor ; but he accomplished 
it, and thus rendered himself practically independ- 
ent of the Harlestons. Later, they agreed to his 
terms, and the bank was made up. Then, owing to 
a dry season, the reservoir remained empty until 
near the end of July, when the rains set in. We 
know already what became of the dam, and how 
Elias absolutely refused to have anything more to 
do with it. 

From a letter of Wambaw Elias's, we learn that 
Elias of Limerick was not on speaking terms with 
his cousin, the gallant Major Isaac Harleston. 
There is no clue to the cause of this quarrel, unless 
on the principle that 

"Lands intersected by a narrow frith 
Abhor each other," 

and Major Harleston owned The Bluff, opposite 
Strawberry Ferry. Consequently, one of the Ferry 
"slips" was situated on his plantation. 

At some period, either just before, or more prob- 
ably after, his father's death, Elias took up his 
abode at Limerick, which was henceforward his 
home. He was the first — and for some time the 
only — Old Bachelor in the Ball family. We know 
absolutely nothing of his love affairs; in fact, we 
only surmise that he had one experience of Cupid's 
dart, from an expression in one of his letters to 
Elias of Wambaw, in which he says that he hopes 
to be married soon. But neither tradition nor let- 

118 



ters give us any hint as to the name of the lady. 
Truly, he could not only speak to the purpose, but 
be silent when need arose. And as for the lady — 
whoever she was — she surely made here one of the 
great mistakes of her life. 

Comingtee affairs being settled, Strawberry be- 
gan to give trouble. In October, 1791, his neighbor 
at Rice Hope, Dr. William Read, entered suit 
against him for some lots in the former town of 
Childbury; lot No. 36, and the fourth part of the 
other lots in the town. These, by the will of Wil- 
liam Child, had been incorporated with Strawberry 
Plantation, which he left to his sister Lydia. Elias 
wrote to his brother John, desiring him to look into 
the matter, as he himself was on the eve of leaving 
for the Pee-Dee — with what object we do not know, 
but it may have been connected with the property 
aferwards owned by Moultrie. "I wish you to call 
on Dr. Read," he writes, "and have a serious talk 
with him on the matter for which he has entered 
an action against me, for which purpose I have en- 
closed the Deed I had shown you, and the right." 
The sight of these papers seems to have satisfied 
Dr. Road, as the following is endorsed on the writ. 

"The suit commenced by virtue of this writ is 
hereby postponed until farther inquiry can be 
made in the business by the plaintiff. 

William Read, 

December 18th, 1791." 

And we hear no more about it. 

119 



The next annoyance at Strawberry was on ac- 
count of the Ferry. The Commissioners of Roads, 
in the slimmer of 1801, refused to have anything 
more to do with the slips at the Ferry, which for 
many years they had kept in repair. Strawberry 
Ferry was established by Act of Assembly in 
1705 ; it then belonged to Mr. James Child. An ad- 
ditional Act was passed in 1748, vesting all rights 
in his granddaughter, Lydia Ball, for the term of 
seven years, and stipulating that she should keep 
the slips, as well as the ferry flat or boat, in proper 
order. But for many years after this the Commis- 
sioners had kept the slips in order, and had made 
no objection to doing so; wherefore Elias Ball 
claimed that they were under obligation to continue 
the practice. His brother-in-law, John Bryan, 
writes that he had had a talk on the subject 
with Mr. Pringle (Hon. J. J. Pringle) and records 
it as his opinion: that "from the great length of 
time that the Commissioners have made and kept 
the slips in repair, you have a very good right to 
claim the privilege." Also, that if any of the Com- 
missioners go to him (Mr. P.) for an opinion, "he 
will give it as his that you have a right to claim the 
rights of privilege, as it will appear from the differ- 
ent Receipts and the Commissioners' books." I 
am not certain how this controversy was settled, but 
I think the Commissioners carried the day. 

While on the subject of the Ferry, I cannot for- 
bear referring to the old cypress board on which 
the rates of ferriage were painted and the inscrip- 
tion on which is now nearly illegible. It is mor- 

120 



tised into a tree on the Strawberry side, and is 
partly overgrown by it. Indeed, the tree had over- 
grown it in this way seventy-five years ago, — from 
which we conclude that the sign board has been 
there for several generations. 

There was one more worry about Strawberry — 
that we know of: While Elias Ball was away on 
a tour to the North in 1806, one of the Childbury 
lots, owned by Dr. Bolton, was offered for sale, and 
Elias writes to his nephew, John Ball Jr., to buy 
it for him, as he does not want either Dr. Read or 
Dr. Fayssoux to get possession of it. 

This tour, which was apparently for his health, 
was undertaken in the summer of 1806, in company 
with his nephew Isaac Ball. Judging from the 
elder man's letters, they had a most enjoyable 
time. He was not going over the ground for the 
first time, and he seemed to find great pleasure in 
reviving old memories, and in noting the changes 
that had taken place in the interval. They went 
by packet to Philadelphia, and travelled through 
the country by coach, visiting the villages of Beth- 
lehem and Nazareth. Thence they went to New 
York ; then to Albany ; and extended the tour into 
Canada. They returned by way of Boston and 
Newport to Philadelphia. The last city does not 
seem to have met with much favor in the eyes of 
the elder traveller ; he finds it hot, and the lodgings 
not very comfortable. From New York he writes: 
"The onlv thinu that looks like when I was here 
in the year 1770, is the ferry from the Hook to 
town ; it is conducted just in the same way it was 

121 



then, but every thing else appears as strange as 
though I had never seen it; it is, to be sure, a 
great city, and a prodigious trade carried on. Phila- 
delphia in several parts of it appeared as familiar 
to me as if I had been there but a few years, and 
I found it so at Bethlehem." * * * Of Boston he 
says: "I like this city better than New York or 
Philadelphia." He met there several friends from 
Charleston, which doubtless added to his pleasant 
impressions of the place. He goes on to say : "We 
intend leaving it in a few days for Providence, 
from thence to Newport, where I expect to meet 
with a great many Carolina folks, and try whether 
Old Townsend's lobster is unwholesome for supper. 
From thence we shall be jogging on Southerly, and 
try to pick up some good horses; but this I have 
my doubts of. I find the very great run of stages 
through these States destroy a great number of 
Horses, which makes them scarce and dear. I 
ordered a Jersey wagon made in the city of Phila- 
delphia, with harness for four Horses, and hope to 
set off from that place the 15th or 20th of October, 
and arrive about that time at Limerick in Novem- 
ber." He does not say whether "Nat (his servant) 
and the baggage" travelled home with them, or 
were sent home by the packet. His health does 
not seem to have been very good at this time; and 
his medical-student nephew — after the manner of 
medical students — hints that his "Game leg" may 
have been due to too high living. 

These letters were addressed to his nephew, John 
Ball Jr., who was at this time living at Comingtee, 

122 



where he had been settled by his uncle on his mar- 



riage. 



"Mas' Lias always maintaind the pleasantest and 
most cordial relations with his three nephews, John, 
William James, and Isaac, — corresponding regular- 
ly with them when absent, and giving besides such 
substantial proofs of affection as that mentioned 
above. He died at Limerick, Jan. 2nd, 1810; but 
according to his request, the funeral service, was 
read in the passage-way at Coiningtee. He was 
interred in the cemetery at Strawberry Chapel. 

He willed his property to his brother, John Ball, 
and his two nephews, John and Isaac, — William 
James being dead. To his brother, he left his three 
plantations on the western side of the Western 
Branch, — Pimlico, Kecklico, and Mepshew (now I 
believe, all comprised under the name of Pimlico) ; 
with all the slaves employed upon them, and the 
cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, stock of every kind, 
plantation implements, vehicles, flats, boats, etc., 
belonging to the place. To John Ball Jr., he leaves 
"my plantations on the T. of Cooper River called 
Comingtee and Stoke, also my plantation called 
Strawberry Ferry, and all my right, title, and in- 
terest in and to the Ferry, also the vacant lots of 
land annexed thereto;" — five tracts of pineland; 
and the slaves attached to the plantations, with the 
stock, vehicles, implements, etc. To Isaac Ball, he 
gives Limerick Plantation, and a plantation or 
tract of land called The Cypress; all the negroes, 
and the stock, etc., on them; also his Household 
goods of every description, — furniture, bedding, 

123 



household linen, books, carriages, etc., and all the 
ready money in the house "(except a deposit by a 
free Negro Man named Nat Weaver, who I have 
employed as a Driver and Miller) ;" also his 
schooner, the Strawberry, and the hands employed 
on board of her. Then follow some special lega- 
cies; — two families of negroes, and the pew in St. 
Philip's Church, to John Ball Jr.; a life-estate in 
his house and lot on East Bay St. to his sister 
Lydia Bryan, reverting to her daughter Elizabeth 
Ball, wife of John Ball Jr. ; two other lots in the 
city to his nieces Caroline and Angeline Ball; a 
tract of land on Watboo Creek, called Watboo 
Landing, to his ward William Morgan; and $2,000 
apiece to his two grand nephews, the Horts (grand- 
children of his half-sister Catherine Simons). 

This will was drawn in December, 1809, less than 
a month before his death. His brother and his two 
nephews were made residuary legatees. We cannot 
help thinking that by the gift of Limerick and all 
his personal belongings there, unreservedly, he 
recognized in Isaac the representative of the one 
whose name he bore. 

Some months after his death, the executors car- 
ried out an expressed wish of his, by making a deed 
of gift to Biggin and Strawberry Churches in the 
Parish of St. John's Berkeley, of "a plantation or 
tract of land" of 63 acres, to be held by the Vestry 
and Wardens in trust for the use of the Episcopal 
minister in that Parish. The heirs, however, re- 
served the right of fisheries and of digging marl 
etc. ; and in case there should be no minister, or the 

124 



minister should not make use of the land then it 
should be "to and for the use, benefit, and behoof of 
those three and their heirs and assigns." The only 
portrait of him is a companion picture to his brother 
Isaac's, and was evidently taken about the same 
time, — by Theus, who painted the portraits of Red- 
Cap, the second Elias, and Ann Austin. 

Elias Ball of Limerick was held in high esteem 
by his fellow-parishioners. They erected a mural 
tablet to his memory in Strawberry Chapel — a 
mark of consideration which, so far as I know, has 
been bestowed on no other layman of that parish. 
We give it entire. 

ELIAS BALL ESQUIRE. 

Endeared to his friends 

By his social qualities, 

Entitled to the gratitude 

Of 

His fellow parishioners 

By his constant, faithful 

And valuable exertions 

In their service 

And by 

His liberal benefactions 

To their Church 

Died 

At Limerick in this parish 

January 2nd A. D. 1810. 

Aged 57 years. 



125 



The members of this Church 

In testimony 

Of the respect and affection 

With which they cherish 

His memory, 

Have caused this tablet 

To be erected. 



Strong-willed, kind-hearted, clear-headed, reso- 
lute, generous, affectionate, he was respected by all 
classes, black and white alike. On his plantation 
his word was law with all. He was a kind and 
just master to his slaves, personally attentive to 
them in illness, and always considerate of their 
welfare and comfort. And it is safe to say that 
they were strongly attached to him. During his 
last Northern tour, he wrote to beg that "Maurice 
Cooper and my people" might be notified of his 
safe arrival; and before starting on his homeward 
journey, hoped that either John or his father would 
purchase his negro cloth for him ; but, as he did not 
wish it distributed until he should come himself, 
he asked his nephew to tell Maurice Cooper to have 
the clothes of the new negroes mended, and any 
others that might need it. 

As an illustration of his undisputed sway, the 
following anecdote has been handed down in the 
family. There was to be a wedding one night in the 
house of the overseer on one of his plantations. 
The feast was ready, the company had assembled, 
the minister and the groom were on hand ; but the 

126 



bride, at the last moment, turned recalcitrant, and 
refused to be married at all. What was to be done? 
— she would listen to neither coaxing, nor threats, 
nor arguments. Fortunately, the Court of Final 
Appeals, in the person of "Mas' Lias," happened to 
be on the plantation. A few minutes after, the 
master was interviewing a panting and breathless 
negro boy; — "Mas' Lias, Miss Katy say she wun't 
married!" — "Tell Miss Katy I say she Must mar- 
ried!" Back sped the messenger in hot haste, — 
and Miss Katy was married. 

127 



IX. 
JOHN BALL OF KENSINGTON. 

GOHN BALL, SENIOR.) 

John Ball, known in the family as John Ball 
Senior, was born at Kensington, July 10th, 1760. 
We have already had pleasant glimpses of his boy- 
ish days, through the letters of his father and 
brother, and have seen how the active management 
of Elias Sr's extended planting interests devolved 
upon his shoulders at the age of sixteen. Nothing 
develops a boy into a man so rapidly as responsi- 
bility; and as John was already a manly and self- 
reliant boy, it is no wonder that he speedily as- 
sumed responsibilities of his own. 

We find him in Philadelphia in August, 1777. 
It is not very clear why he went there; but I sur- 
mise, from a letter to his brother, that it was for a 
change of air. The letter is dated August 21st, 
1777. 

"Dear Brother, 

I just a day or two returned from Reading, a 
pretty inland town in this state, 55 miles from this 
city. Taarling and myself travelled together up 
there, we are very uneasy here about the Fleet's go- 

"128 




JOHN BALL 
Born July ioth, 1760 Died October 29th, 1817 



ing to Charlestown, or at least it's surmised so. 
If I hear certainly that they are there, I shall set 
off (with intent to return) as soon as possible. I 
never was so tired of a place as I am of Philadel- 
phia, a Gentleman must spend a deal of money, 
and has but little satisfaction for it either (at least 
I have found it so). I wish with all my Heart I 
was at Kensington now. In short, I repent al- 
together coming here this year. I thank God I am 
well over the small-pox, and had them extremely 
favorable; so had Hammond (his servant) also. 
* * * I am extremely well and hearty, and am not 
now of an opinion that I shall soon go into a Con- 
sumption. 

Mr. Laurens hires two or three rooms in a House 
and keeps his own Table. I staid with him whilst 
I had the small-pox, but after I was well I thought 
it not proper to be living at his expense when I 
had money enough to support myself. I now lodge 
at Dr. Bond's House. The Doctr.'s family is in the 
countrv, and there is one Mrs. Davis that has the 
house * * * the Dr. himself is a Lodger in his own 
house. I think it is now high time I should hear 
from you all, and most ardently wish to hear of you 
and all my friends being well. 

Aug. 25th 

The Fleet has gone to Maryland, it is thought they 
will land there and endeavour to march to Phila- 
delphia or to Lancaster and destroy our stores that 
is there. General Washington at the Head of His 

Army march'd through this city yesterday, all in 

129 



great order, he and his army are gone towards the 
Enemy. I believe I shall set off the last day of this 
month or the first of next month, shall come in com- 
pany with Major Deming, a Gentleman of Georgia 
who was Aid-de-Camp to Lord Sterling. 

We shall travel but slow, but I shall be Home 
soon after this letter, if nothing happens extra- 
ordinary. I think it will be much better for me to 
be at home minding my Business than to be here 
spending money at so great a Rate without any 
satisfaction." 

In the postscript he adds : 

"I have not been any Farther to the norward 
than this place, I believe I shall go up to Trenton 
and Morristown and about there this week with 
our friend Col. Taarling, and as soon as I return 
here and rest a day or two, will set off for Home." 

Two years after, at the age of nineteen, we find 
him a lieutenant of cavalry in Screven's company, 
Horry's Brigade. The cavalry in the days of '79 
and 'SO led a stirring life, their field of action ex- 
tending over nearly the whole sea-board, and espe- 
cially along the roads leading from Charleston. 
Consequently, the gallant young lieutenant had 
many opportunities of visiting his relatives in the 
neighboring parishes of St. James, Goosecreek, and 
St. George's, Dorchester. Mrs. Richard Waring, 
daughter of his uncle John Coming, lived in the 
latter parish, at a plantation called Tranquil Hill; 
and with her lived her half-sister Jane, — John's 
junior by less than two years. What wonder that 

130 



the young officer was captured by a force far more 
powerful than the British! 

Notwithstanding the gloomy state of affairs in 
1780, the young people were married. The wedding 
took place at Tranquil Hill; but I do not know 
whether the bride continued to reside there or not. 
John could not have been much at home, unless he 
were on parole, and not even a tradition to that 
effect has been handed down to inform us on this 
matter. With Charleston in the hands of the 
British, and the whole surrounding country laid 
open to their foraging parties, the only safe place 
for a patriot soldier was in some impenetrable 
swamp, whence parties could swoop down on the 
enemy as occasion offered. But after the evacuation 
of Charleston by the British in 1781, when the 
supremacy of the Americans was restored, John 
seems to have taken his wife back to Cooper Eiver; 
for his father notes on a scrap of paper that two of 
John's children were born at "Pumpkin Hill." 
Pumpkin Hill, or Middleburgh, we remember, was 
the home of John's half-sister Catherine Simons. It 
was not very far from Hyde Park, across the river, 
and he may well have left his young wife under his 
sister's care when he was unavoidably absent. 

The present house at Hyde Park was built by 
John Ball, but I believe at a later period, as it 
was intended as a place for a maroon of a few 
days or weeks, rather than as a residence. He must 
have been living at Kensington when it was built. 

By the terms of her parents' wills, Jane was en- 
titled to come into her property on her marriage; 

131 



but as we have seen, John complained that this 
provision was not properly carried out by the ex- 
ecutor. There is a memorandum of planting done 
at Kensington by John Ball in the early part of 
1780, but none after April. The memoranda be- 
gin again in 1781. 

John and Jane Ball had five children: — John, 
Elias, Isaac, William James, and Edward; but 
Elias and Edward died in boyhood. 

There is an exquisitely painted miniature, by an 
unknown artist, of Mrs. Jane Ball. It represents 
a delicate-looking lady, whose thin face is framed 
in a wealth of dark hair, which is surmounted by 
a marvellous cap. This miniature was put away in 
a drawer, and forgotten; and when it was found, 
years after, no one could tell whose it was. But 
it occurred to Mr. W. J. Ball that it might be 
recognized by old Hetty, an aged woman at Lime- 
rick, who had been a nurse in the family; so he 
showed it to her. As soon as she saw it, she ex- 
claimed, "That's Kin's'ton missis!" — meaning it 
was the lady who had been the mistress at Ken- 
sington when she was a girl — Mrs. Jane Ball. Mrs. 
Jane Ball died of "long decline" in October, 1801, 
and the next Julv the widower married Martha 
Caroline Swinton. By this marriage there were 
(including two sets of twins) eleven children, 
seven of whom lived to maturity. 

Of the latter part of John Ball Sr.'s life I know 
but little, except that he prospered in his business. 
He was a practical man, of good business parts; 
and judging from the variety and minuteness of 

132 




2nd MRS. JOHN BALL, net- MARTHA CAROLINE SWINTON 
Died September 14th, 1847 



his accounts and memoranda, he must have given 
close attention to every detail, a habit which is by 
no means an unimportant factor in success. When 
he died, he owned the plantations of Kensington 
and Hyde Park, with large tracts of pineland ; Pim- 
lico, Kecklico and Mepshew, White Hall, Midway, 
Belle Isle plantation on the Santee Kiver, St. James 
or the Saw-Mill tract, near Kensington; tracts of 
land at Three Mile Head, the Marshland Farm, a 
few miles above Charleston ; a large brick house in 
the city, a lot of four or five acres near the New 
Bridge, and a share of a lot which had been left by 
Elias Ball to his daughter, Angeline. Each planta- 
tion was stocked with negroes, and he seems to have 
had a good number of cattle. He had also bonds, 
and — I think — stock, and a considerable amount of 
silver plate. He died in Charleston, October 29th, 
1817, of bilious colic, — a malady to which he was 
subject ; and was interred in the family cemetery at 
Strawberry. 

He was a man of sincere piety, — beloved and es- 
teemed by his own family, and respected by his 
neighbors. We cannot close this account of him 
better than in the words of his daughter-in-law, 
Mrs. Isaac Ball, one who knew him intimately, and 
was eminently qualified to judge. 

"This loss is felt most largely, he has left a numer- 
ous family of small children to whom his domestic 
turn of mind rendered him a peculiar blessing; be- 
sides two sons who well know his value, a widow, 
and numerous relatives who mourn his loss, be- 
sides a number of domestics to whom he was a kind 

133 



and just master. But may we not truly say of him, 
'Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for 
the end of him is peace.' He was indeed the up- 
right and true Christian; charity and benevolence, 
combined with prudence, marked his character." 

I know of but one portrait of John Ball Senior. 
It represents just such a man as one would suppose 
him to have been like — a stout, cheerful-looking 
gentleman, whose face shows frankness and benevo- 
lence, yet is not without a hint of quick temper. 

134 




JOHN BALL, JR. 
Born September 12th, 1782 Died June 24th, 1834 



A List of Stages on the Road from 
New York To Charleston, as Trav- 
elled by John Ball. Jr.. in Oct. 
ana Nov., 1802, Mostly on ihe 
Main Post Road. 

"Miles from N. Y. 
New Ark, A. Giffords.good house 

Elizabethtowu 

Bridgetown _ c 

Woodbiidgc tolerable house 

2ml X keys 4 
New Brunswick, good, ju.-t ov sr 

the bridge 10 

Kiugston Vantilbury's good 15 

Princeton, Gilford's 3 

Trenton, Scon, city tavern, so-so 12 

PENNSYLVANIA. 

Bristol, Tombs, good 10 

Frankford 15 

Germ;«ntoTYTj,nicefield house good 5 

Philadelphia 4 

Blue I'.ell Tavern, good .., T 

Chester. Anderson, good 8 

DKLWVAKE. 

Practical Farmers' Tavern, so-so 7 

Wilmington *. 

N'cwpost, Jesse Harris, good 3 

Christiana Bridge, good C 

MAKYUND. 

Elkton, Richardson, good 12 

Charlestowa JO 

Havre de Grace, tolerable house.. G 
H.irtfurd or Buotown. tolerable... 12 
Well's Tavern, good for horses but 

not man S 

Baltimore, Feck's not so good as 

it appears 16 

Spurrier's Tavern, good 1-1 

Boss' Tavern, good 18 

Bladensburgh....' - , 3 

Washington, Stell-'s hotel not ex- 
traordinary C 

Georgetown 3 

Alexandria, Gadby's city tavern 

excellent 8 

Lolehester 16 

Dumfries, good house '•> 

Stafford Court House, prettygood 13 
Frcdericksbnrgh, several houses. 12 



Todil's, indifferent 10 

Howling Green, good „ 12 

White Chimneys, good lo 

Uano\er Court House 10 

Oaks, good 

Richmond Eagle Tavern, indiffer- 
ent 1G 

Osborne's, good „ 15 

I'etersburgb, Armstead's indiffer- 
ent _ 10 

Kirbv's. good _ 13 

King's, bad 7 

John Harris, good 10 

Sholson's, Wallis, good 20 

Drummond's, good S 

Basses, bad '„ 5 

NORTH CAROLINA. 

Mosley's Ferry, Roanoke, no 

hoi.se 7 

Geo. Nicholson's, good 7 

\\ arrenton, a very good house... 8 

Mrs. Walker's, very good If 

Booth's, said to be good 1 

[.onrsburgh Hills, good :.... 14 

Price's <j 

Rogers, good house a 

Rogers 1 Bridge l 

Raleigh. P. Casso, not very good II 

Mark Myeth's, gooil 1G 

Hogens, tolerable 8 

Atkin's. very indifferent 5 

Sprolie's Ferry. Cape Fear River, 

no house 3 

Payton's, very bad 13 

Fayetteville. Col. Dekeiser's. very 

K°od n 

Consolles, a good house, 1802 1G 

l.iunbeJton, Martin's, very good. IS 

Row land's \j 

SOUTH CAROLINA- 

Watson's,* indifferent 11 

Barrlield's AliUsy Little Peedee. 

Fort fi 

Squire Hodge's, indifferent 3 

Rob Dunham, good but an old 

Jacob' 11 s 

Godboth, bad 16 

Brittou'a Ferry, B.g Pee Dee, in- 
different 7 

Rlack Mingo, Mrs Robinson, very 

bad : .... 1C 

Potato Kerry, Black River 12 

l.anueiiu's Ferry, San tee 14 

Uuger's Bridge, Eastern Branch 

Cooper liiver I.i 



PUBLIC L! 



TILL 



X. 



JOHN BALL'S CHILDREN AND GRAND 

CHILDREN. 

John Ball, Jr., the eldest child of John Ball, 
was born Sept. 12th, 1782, at Pumpkin Hill, accord- 
ing to his grandfather's memorandum. He received 
a good education, finishing with a course at Harv- 
ard or Yale. At one time he entertained the idea 
of studying for the ministry, which his uncle Elias 
does not seem to have approved. Possibly he 
thought his nephew not altogether suited to this 
vocation. His advice was, "Marry Betsey Bryan, 
and I will settle you at Comingtee." If John Ball 
had felt himself really called to the ministry, he 
was not the man to have given it up. He must have 
been merely thinking about it, for he took the ad- 
vice about Betsey Bryan — doubtless not at all un- 
willingly — and was duly settled at Comingtee. 

This marriage with his cousin Elizabeth Bryan 
— daughter of Lydia — took place in 1804. They 
had five children — Elias, Lydia Jane, Elizabeth 
Brjan, Eleanor Simons, and John Coming. It 
seems to have been a happy marriage, though their 
married life was a short one. She died of apoplexy 
in September, 1812, scarcely a fortnight after little 
John Coming's birth. 

135 



Not quite two years after her husband married 
Mrs. Ann Simons, widow of Thomas Simons, and 
daughter of the Keating Simons who had been his 
uncle Elias's friend, and who was now the husband 
of his aunt Eleanor — the Miss Nelly of our former 
acquaintance. By this marriage there were three 
children — Ann, Keating Simons, and Judith Bois- 
seau. The last died at the age of three. 

Under his father's will John Ball was left an 
executor and the guardian of his half brothers and 
sisters, the eldest of whom was but eleven, and the 
youngest a posthumous child, who, however, lived 
but a year. This onerous trust he fulfilled faith- 
fully and well, managing the estate with great 
judgment, so that the heirs, as they came of age, 
possessed a considerable amount of property. 

He was a man of exemplary character and of 
deep religious feeling. Upright, firm, and just, but 
also kind and generous, he was alike esteemed by 
his neighbors and beloved by his friends. He died 
of country fever, contracted at Comingtee, in June, 
1834. His widow was gifted with administrative 
ability almost equal to his own. Against the ad- 
vice of some of her friends, she kept the planta- 
tion, and with the assistance of competent over- 
lookers, managed it with success. She also died 
of a like disease, in June, 1840. 

Isaac Ball, the second son, was born in 1785. 
As we saw, he came into possession of Limerick 
on his uncle's death. At that time he was living 
at Midway, an inland rice plantation a few miles 
from Limerick. A few months after his uncle's 

136 




ISAAC BALL 
Born September 6th, 1785 Died December 2nd, 1825 



death, in November, 1810, he married his cousin 
Eliza Catherine Poyas, a grand-daughter of John 
Coming Ball's daughter Elizabeth. They settled 
at Limerick, and lived a happy and useful life there 
for fifteen years. 

For several years there were no children, and 
they adopted a little nephew of Mrs. Ball — James 
Poyas — whom they brought up as their own child. 
Nearly eight years after their marriage, a son was 
born, then a daughter, then three more children — 
William James, Jane and John. The two elder 
children died in the same year, 1824, aged six and 
four, respectively. And the crushing blow of the 
husband's and father's death followed in 1825. 

The widow continued to reside at Limerick dur- 
ing the winter season, spending the summers in 
the city. The plantations had now become so sickly 
for the whites in the hot months, that the planters 
generally moved their families to the city during 
the summer, occasionally visiting the plantations 
themselves to look after their business. Thence 
came many cases of country fever, and the loss of 
valuable lives. Mrs. E. C. Ball lived to see these 
children grow up and marry, and to survive one 
of them. She saw her elder grandchildren, too, 
grow to man's estate, and come in comparative 
safety through the dangers of war; and she died 
at Limerick, April 1st, 1865, beloved, and in an 
honored old age. She was a woman of deep and 
unaffected piety, and a blessing to all who sur- 
rounded her. 

The patriarchal life at Limerick — the hospitable 

137 



mansion full of happy guests ; the negroes, scarcely 
considered as slaves, but rather as dependents at- 
tached to the family (a feeling which they fully 
shared) ; the domestic servants present at family 
prayers; the religious instruction given on Sun- 
days to the other negroes; the constant care of the 
sick and aged, all these have passed away. Only 
the memory of this household life remains, deeply 
imbedded in the hearts of those who witnessed it. 

It is related as a proof of the attachment of Mr. 
Isaac Ball's slaves that on one occasion, on his 
return from a long journey, they actually took him 
from the carriage and carried him home on their 
shoulders. 

William James Ball, son of John Ball, was 
next in age to Isaac. He went to Edinburgh to 
study medicine in 1804, graduated in September, 
1808, and went to London to pursue his studies in 
the great hospitals there. But soon after his ar- 
rival in that city he developed a case of quick con- 
sumption, the seeds of which had evidently been in 
his system for several months. His physician or- 
dered him to the Island of Madeira, the voyage 
home being considered too much for him in his weak 
state of health. He died and was buried in that 
island, in December, 1S08. 

Only seven of John Ball's children by the second 
marriage lived to grow up, and all of them married. 

Caroline Olivia, the eldest, married, at the age 
of seventeen, her relative, John Laurens. She died 
in 1828, when only twenty-three, leaving two chil- 
dren — John and Caroline Laurens. 

138 




ELIZA CATHARINE BALL, nee POYAS 
Mrs. Isaac Ball Died April ist, 1867 



The next, Alwyn, was the eldest son by this 
marriage. He married, very early in life, Esther 
McClellan, and had five children, three of whom 
lived to grow up — Martha Caroline, Isaac, and 
Alwyn. Mr. Alwyn Ball lived at Elwood, a plan- 
tation a little above Comingtee. I have heard my 
uncle, Col. K. S. Ball, speak of him often. He saw 
a good deal of this young uncle, and liked him very 
much. Mr. Alwyn Ball had a passion for hunting; 
he had also a gift for music, and was a fine per- 
former on the violin. Col. Ball often spoke of the 
beautiful "touch" which made his playing some- 
thing not to be forgotten ; he was not musical him- 
self, but the memory of his uncle's playing re- 
mained unfaded after the lapse of many years. He 
described him as a handsome man, not very tall, 
and with delightful manners. Mr. Alwyn Ball built 
the house in Cordesville (the summer Pineland vil- 
lage), which was afterwards purchased by his 
nephew, K. S. Ball. It was a quaint-looking build- 
ing, with an enormous shed which covered the wide 
piazza as well as the house, and gave it somewhat 
the appearance of an East Indian bungalow. 

Mr. Alwyn Ball died in Charleston, in the sum- 
mer of 1835, before he had quite completed his 
twenty-eighth year. The house in which he died 
was situated on a part of the lot now occupied by 
the St. Francis Xavier Infirmary, and I believe is 
still in existence. He was buried in the family 
cemetery at Strawberry, the remains being taken 
up by boat. Col. Ball has often described the 
funeral procession, as it wound its slow way along 

139 



the streets to the wharf. First went the hearse, 
and behind it walked Josh, his faithful servant 
and huntsman, leading his master's hunting horse, 
saddled and bridled. With them were his favorite 
dogs, two couple of deer-hounds. The elder couple 
seemed to realize the state of affairs, for they kept 
near the coffin from the first, following quietly, 
close beneath the hearse, while the younger ones 
strayed around a little, as dogs will do. Then came 
the carriages with the mourners and friends. When 
the coffin was placed on its trestles on the bow of 
the boat, the dogs seemed to feel that they must 
guard it, and all the way up the river, one or other 
of them lay curled up directly under the coffin — if 
one dog moved away, another immediately took its 
place. When the coffin was being lowered into the 
grave, Josh carried out his last directions by sound- 
ing a long blast on his hunting-horn; which, if I 
remember rightly, was then thrown into the grave. 

Mrs. Alwvn Ball afterwards married Mr. Ed- 
ward Gamage. 

The next was Hugh Swinton Ball, born in 
1808. He married Miss Anna Channing, daughter 
of Walter Channing, of Boston. They had several 
children, all of whom died very young. His wife 
and himself both perished in the wreck of the 
steamer Pulaski, on their wav from New York to 
Charleston. The boilers exploded on the night of 
the 14th of June, 1838; the vessel was blown to 
pieces, and many of the passengers were lost. Soon 
after their death, a lawsuit, which lasted several 
years, arose about the property. As the survivor 

140 




ALWYN BALL 
1807-1835 



was to inherit the bulk of it, the question was, 
which one was the survivor — a question not easily 
decided after a scene of such confusion and terror. 
The court finally decided in favor of the plaintiffs 
— Mrs. Ball's family — the evidence (as I have 
heard) showing that Mrs. Ball's voice had been 
heard in the darkness calling for Mr. Ball ; and the 
presumption was, that, had he been living at the 
time, he would have answered her. By this de- 
cision, not only his wife's property, which was con- 
siderable, but more than half of his own, went to 
the plaintiffs. His intention had been to leave his 
plantation, Pimlico, to his nephew, Elias Nonus 
Ball, son of his brother Elias Octavus; but the 
plantation and negroes had to be sold for division. 
His nephew, however, found himself in possession 
of a very comfortable property on coming of age. 

Elias Octavus Ball, the next in age, was born 
in 1809. He married Amelia Waring, daughter of 
Dr. Edmund Thomas Waring. They had four chil- 
dren, all of whom lived to grow up. He, too, died 
as a comparatively young man. 

Next came Susanna Splatt Ball, who married 
Mr. William E. Haskel, and died in the thirty-first 
year of her age, leaving six children. 

Eliza Lucilla Ball came next. She married 
Robert Dewar Simons, who died soon after. There 
were no children. She survived him several years, 
dying in 1849. 

The last was Lydia Catherine, who married Mr. 
Thomas Waring, a brother of Mrs. E. O. Ball's. 
They had twelve children, eight of whom died un- 

141 



der the age of eight years, and most of thein in 
infancy. She died in 1858, aged forty- two. 

JOHN BALL'S GRANDCHILDREN. 

Of John Ball, Jr.'s children by the first mar- 
riage, Elizabeth (Betsey, as she was called) and 
Eleanor died young. The latter lived with Mr. 
and Mrs. Keating Simons — "Miss Nelly" being the 
one for whom she was named. She seems to have 
been a very attractive child. 

Elias, the eldest son was the second Dr. Ball in 
the family. He studied in the Charleston Medical 
College and entered upon the practice of his pro- 
fession ; but he died too early to have made any 
mark as a physician. He married Catherine Cordes 
Dawson, and left one daughter, Elizabeth Carolina, 
who married Capt. Edmund T. Shubrick. 

Lydia Jane married Francis Malbone Waring, 
another brother of Mrs. E. O. Ball's, and died in 
her thirty-fourth year, leaving three children, one 
of whom died in boyhood. 

John Coming, the youngest child by the first 
marriage, lived at Strawberry Ferry, and died in 
the late spring of 1845. He never married. 

Ann, the eldest of the second wife's surviving 
children, married Dr. Elias Horry Deas, and died 
in Cordesville, of consumption, in her forty-fifth 
year. She left two children, a son and a daughter. 

Keating Simons Ball, the other surviving child, 
and the second old bachelor in the family, lived to 
the age of seventy-three — being one of the few Balls 

142 




h 



' 




MRS. ALWYN BALL 
(Esther McClellan) 



who have passed the limit of three-score and ten. 
He was the owner of Comingtee, where all his life 
was passed, except that part of it spent in acquir- 
ing his education; and he is so identified with the 
place, that it scarcely seems as if its history would 
be complete without a brief sketch of his life and 
character. 

He was born Feb. 24th, 1818, and was always 
a delicate child, suffering from severe illnesses., 
both in childhood and youth. Indeed, at no time 
of his life could he have been said to enjoy perfect 
health. He was educated at the Charleston College ; 
studied medicine in the office of Dr. B. B. Simons, 
the leading physician in the city, and then at- 
tended the Charleston Medical College. He only 
took one course of lectures, and then left to assume 
charge of the plantation, without completing his 
medical education, a step which he often regretted 
in after life. He was devotedly attached to his 
chosen profession, and to the end of his life gave 
freely and gladly of his time and knowledge to 
those who sought his help, and were too poor to pay 
for medical attendance. 

After his mother's death, in 1840, he lived en- 
tirely in the country, spending most of the sum- 
mer months in the village of Cordesville, and the 
rest of the year at Comingtee. Twice at least, be- 
tween this time and 1860, he suffered so severely 
from chill and fever that his health was almost en- 
tirely broken up; and he was, besides, once on the 
verge of death from congestive fever. Visits to the 
Virginia Springs restored his health in great meas- 

143 



ure, though he always continued to suffer from at- 
tacks of chill and fever. He was for some time a 
Lieutenant Colonel in the Militia, and fulfilled the 
duties of the position faithfully. His health did 
not admit of his going into active service during 
the Confederate War; but he joined a company for 
local defence, called the Etiwan Rangers. 

In 1866, when Gen. Potter's army passed through 
the country (an event from which the negroes still 
date occurrences, under the title of "When de Union 
come troo" ) , the house at Comingtee escaped being 
pillaged and burnt by negroes and camp-followers 
— as so many other houses were — by its being near 
headquarters and by its being visited by several 
of the officers, who, meeting with a courtesy which 
was unfailing to friend or foe, gave a paper of 
protection. The following summer, when the small 
pox was raging among the negroes from one end 
of the parish to the other, and there was no physi 
cian to call in, Col. Ball attended the sick unwear 
ingly, often driving miles to visit them, and never 
shrinking from exposing himself to the most pesti- 
lential atmosphere. 

At the end of this war, as at the end of the Revo 
lution, life had to be taken up anew, but under 
very different circumstances. The labor was not 
only demoralized but utterly irresponsible, and 
apparently unable to realize the necessity of self- 
support. Under these conditions Col. Ball strug- 
gled along as best he could, having additionally to 
contend with infirm health, advancing years, and 
sight that was already beginning to fail; and last, 

144 




ELIZA LUCILLA BALL 

Mrs. Robt. Dewar Simons 

Born August 13th, 1814 Died November lot, 1849 



but by no means least, with a plantation that, 
owing to unpropitious seasons, was heavily en- 
cumbered with debt. He did not succeed in the 
planting, and finally rented out the plantation to 
Mr. J. C. Porcher, through whose courtesy he re- 
tained a home in that part of the house which had 
been added by his father. (The original lessees 
were Messrs. Heyward and Porcher, but the former 
withdrew in a few years.) 

Another severe illness — blood-poisoning, con- 
tracted from a carbuncle which he was dressing 
for a patient — resulted in the stiffening of the 
fingers of his right hand, and a still more enfeebled 
state of health. Two years before his death he lost 
his sight almost entirely, an affliction which he felt 
deeply but which he bore with Christian cheerful- 
ness and courage. From that time his health failed 
rapidly, and after months of intense suffering, 
borne with patience and fortitude, he passed to his 
rest and reward on the 20th September, 1891, at 
his house in Cordesville. He, too, sleeps with his 
fathers in Strawberry Cemetery. 

Col. Ball served as a magistrate both before and 
after the war, until the institution of Trial Jus- 
tices; and was at different times Warden, Vestry- 
man, and Chairman of the Vestry, in his Parish — 
positions which he filled with diligent conscien- 
tiousness. 

Of a most affectionate disposition, devoted to his 
relatives, loyal to his friends, kind-hearted, open- 
handed, unselfish, the soul of hospitality, and gen- 
erous almost to a fault, the ever ready and sympa- 

145 



thetic nurse and helper in sickness and trouble, 
he will live in the memories of all who have ever 
known him. 

The eldest surviving child of Isaac Ball was 
William James Ball, who succeeded his father 
at Limerick upon coming of age. He married quite 
early in life. His first wife was Julia Cart, a lady 
whose charm of manner was equal to her beauty 
of face. They were, indeed, a singularly handsome 
young couple — as their portraits testify. Limerick, 
like Comingtee, kept its hospitable doors always 
open, and guests were as welcome in the busy, 
happy household as at the bachelor's solitary fire- 
side. There were five children, the youngest of 
whom died in infancy. Mrs. Julia Ball died in the 
summer of 1858, after some years of ill-health, and 
was interred at Strawberry. 

Near the close of the war Mr. Ball married his 
cousin, Mary Huger Gibbs. They continued to live 
at Limerick, making their summer home in Cordes- 
ville. 

Until the war, Mr. Ball had been a prosperous 
planter ; but with changed conditions came changed 
circumstances and as one industry after another 
failed, his means became more and more straitened. 
But he bore his reverses with dignity and cheerful- 
ness, and his doors were as wide open as ever, with 
that truest ideal of hospitality, which welcomes 
guests into the family life, confident that they "seek 
not yours, but you." 

With the summer of 1890 came a marked and 
rapid decline in his health, and after long suffer- 

146 




HUGH SWINTON BALL 
Born October 18th, 1808 Drowned June 14th, 1838 



ings, borne with Christian patience, he "fell asleep" 
on the 26th of April, 1891, aged 70. 

Mr. William J. Ball was a sincere Christian and 
devoted Churchman. Like his cousin, K. S. Ball, 
he was at different times and for many years vestry- 
man, warden, and chairman of the vestry. Every 
summer, for twenty-five years, from the close of the 
war till his health failed utterly, he held regular lay 
services in the Cordesville chapel on alternate Sun- 
days — as the rector divided his time between the 
summer villages of Cordesville and The Barrows. 
He was a remarkably fine reader and conducted the 
service with the utmost thoroughness, dignity and 
earnestness — three qualities which he carried into 
all church and parish matters, as well as into daily 
life. He was a man of cultured taste and marked 
individuality, and was always a prominent figure 
in the parish. Like the patriarchs of old, he "dwelt 
in the midst of his brethren," nearly all of the fami- 
lies in Cordesville being related to him, and at least 
half of the inhabitants being his children and 
grandchildren. He was ever a most loyal friend 
and affectionate relative, and no man held more 
firmly the esteem and respect of his neighbors. Not 
soon will the presence and influence of this Chris- 
tian gentleman be forgotten ; and sorely has he been 
missed in the parish, as well as in the homes of his 
many friends and kinsfolk. 

Isaac Ball's only daughter, Jane, married John 
G. Shoolbred, who lived but a few months. She 
had one son, who has passed away before her. 
Honored and beloved, she still lives. 

147 



John, the youngest son, was the owner of Hyde 
Park and married his cousin, Maria Louisa Gibbs. 
He died of country fever in 1852, at the early age 
of twenty-six — beloved by all, and leaving behind a 
beautiful memory to the widow and son who sur- 
vive him. 

Taking up the descendants of the second mar- 
riage: Alwyn Ball left three children. The only 
daughter, Martha Caroline, married Mr. Bulow, 
who died a few years after, leaving two boys. 

Isaac, the elder son, married Miss Caroline Rut- 
ledge and lived in Charleston. He died compara- 
tively young, leaving a son and a daughter. 

Alwyn, the younger son, married Miss Alicia S. 
Butler of Dublin, Ireland, and settled at the North. 
He had one daughter and five sons — one of whom, 
Alwyn Ball, Jr., owns Comingtee and resides at 
Rutherford, N. J. 

Elias O. Ball's four children all grew up and 
married. Amelia, married Dr. Hugh Rutledge. 

Elias Nonus, as we have seen, inherited a fortune 
from his uncle, H. S. Ball. On coming of age he 
bought Dean Hall plantation, nearly opposite Com- 
ingtee, where he planted until the war began; he 
then went into the army. Just about the beginning 
of the war he married Miss Odenheimer, daughter 
of the Bishop of New Jersey. After the general 
break-up in 1865 he moved to Pennsylvania, where 
he died in 1872. A son and a daughter survived 
him. The son has since died. 

Sophia Malbone married William H. Odenhei- 
mer, who had come South and held a position in the 

148 




MRS. WM. E. HASKELL, n:i- SUSANNAH S. BALL 

Married March 4th, 1828 

Born December 2nd, 1810 Died June 23rd, 1841 



Confederate navy. They had one son. Lieut. Oden- 
heimer was ordered to report on board a vessel in 
English waters and ran the blockade from Charles- 
ton in the little steamer Juno. The fate of the 
Juno was never known; she was not heard of again, 
and it was supposed that she foundered at sea. 

Mrs. Haskell left seven children : Olivia, who p^f 
married Win. L. Venning; Charlotte, w T ho mar- 
ried Benj. B. Simons; M. Caroline, who married 
B. Gaillard Pinckney; E. Lucilla, who married 
Hutson Lee; Lydia Catherine, who has remained 
single; and William E., who married Emma Hay- 
ward. 

Only four chidren survived Mrs. Waring — Lydia 
Catherine, who is single; Thomas Malbone, who 
married Fanny Simons ; and Angeline and Susan, 
both of whom died in early womanhood. Angeline 
had joined an Episcopal sisterhood and died in 

Mobile, Alabama. 

149 



XI. 

COMINGTEE FIFTY OR SIXTY YEARS 

AGO. 

Time workes changes everywhere; but the trans- 
formation wrought at Comingtee during the latter 
half of the last century was so great that one who 
had known it only in its palmier days might well 
have failed to recognize it at present. Perhaps the 
best way to realize how great the difference is, 
would be to present a sketch of the plantation as it 
was in the forties and fifties. 

Approaching it by steamer, the first thing that 
struck the eye was its extreme neatness and orderli- 
ness. The thresher, the barn, the wooden story of 
the brick pounding-mill, the Stoke negro houses, 
were all white, with red doors and windows. A trim 
schooner lay at the threshing-mill wharf — her 
usual berth — or was perhaps taking in a load from 
the pounding-mill, where the busy pestles kept 
rising and falling; while the clink of hammers re- 
sounded from the "cooper-shop'' behind the mill, 
where all the barrels were made. The steamboat 
wharf was here by the pounding-mill, and the mill- 
yard was shaded by several fine live oaks, one or two 
of which drooped over the water. 

150 




BRICK POUNDING MILL AT COMINGTEE 



Proceeding up the road towards the dwelling- 
house, we first notice, on the left, some low ground 
leading down to the mill-pond, with two pretty 
oaks beyond. This is "Cuffee's Dam." "Missis' 
Groun' •" lay to the right. A little further on we 
come to the "Robintation Tree," a tall and once ex- 
tremely handsome live-oak standing on the edge of 
the right-hand side of the road. The great bough on 
the east was cut down by the negroes about thirty 
years ago to get the honey from a hive of wild bees 
that had unfortunately setted in it; but the other 
half remained "a thing of beauty" until the great 
storm of 1893 robbed it of its last claim to special 
attractiveness. The "Robintation," we must ex- 
plain, was a ghost of a style peculiar, apparently, 
to the Ball negroes or the Ball habitat, as the only 
similar one that I ever heard of haunted the road 
near Kensington and was known as the "Sonieting 
in KinVton Path." The Robintation appeared 
first as a small animal, like a cat or a dog crossing 
the road at this point ; it grew, as you looked, into 
something as large as a hog; and then into some- 
thing as large as a calf. What it became after that 
no one could ever tell — for no one ever stopped 
long enough to see. 

Opposite the Robintation Tree, at some little dis- 
tance, is the negro burying ground, a grove of tall 
hickories, white oaks, etc. Shade and silence reign 
there, and under the carpet of fallen leaves lie gen- 
eration upon generation of a simple people, who 
were, in the main and according to their lights, 
faithful and attached to their masters. 

151 



Here and there on this side of the road were 
some fine live oaks, only a few of which are left. 
One large and apparently very old tree still stands 
on the side of the road not far from the site of the 
old corn-house; another one farther down, and 
nearly as fine, was destroyed by fire about twenty 
years ago. On the other side the open cornfield 
was dotted with occasional live oaks, all of which 
have long since disappeared. 

The corn-house and the Comingtee barn were 
still standing and in use in those days. In the corn- 
house the provisions of corn and rice and peas were 
stored. Some, at least, of the Comingtee rice crop 
was brought to this barn and threshed there by 
flail, before steam threshers were known. 

The wagon road from Stoke entered the avenue 
opposite the big sycamores, as it still does; but 
there was a "short path" up to the house through 
the orchard. Just inside the orchard, at this lower 
end, were two large poultry houses where the tur- 
keys, fowls and guinea fowls lived; and near by 
was a tiny pond, which, the children were always 
warned, was "very deep." 

Mounting the slope to the yard, you entered the 
latter behind a cabin of two rooms, with a chimney 
in the middle. I cannot say what was the original 
purpose of this house, but I always knew the south- 
ern half of it as the wash kitchen, and the other 
part as the shot-house. In the latter were kept the 
shot and powder used on the plantation — of which 
the bird-minders alone required no little quantity; 
and there were two great chests, one of which, tra 

152 




WM. JAMES BALL 
Born October 14th, 1821 Died April 26th, 1891 



dition says, was Capt. Coming's sea chest. It is 
probable that the hoes, axes, etc., for plantation 
use were also kept here. 

On the north edge of the road was a shallow cir- 
cular pond, called the Bee-house pond ; the beehives 
stood under a shed on the opposite side of it. On 
the yard side of the pond was "Daddy Surrey's" 
house, a double negro house, part of which was the 
residence of an old negro, one of those faithful, 
honest servants who were trusted and honored by 
the family through a long life. On this north side 
of the yard was a motley collection of buildings. 
Here stood the detached brick oven, called into 
requisition when the house was full of guests; here 
was the "carpenter's shop ;" and here the fattening 
coop and the pigeon house, substantial structures 
of no small size. 

On the top of the slope, and quite near the dwell- 
ing-house, stood the two-story kitchen, containing 
four large rooms with great, yawning fire-places, 
and having a brick-floored piazza in front. The 
western room was the kitchen, in which a smaller 
brick oven was built into the side of the chimney. 
It was from this room, doubtless, that Plenty, the 
cook, would send out one of the kitchen boys to race 
round the building holding the roast pig aloft on 
the spit, so that the cold air might give it just tho 
proper degree of crispness. The corresponding 
room was the "sausago room ;" and it presented a 
busy scene in hog-killing time. On the long table 
that ran down the length of the room lay piles of 
red and white pork readv for the chopping blocks, 

153 



of which there were two or three — solid sections of 
live oak, on which the cleavers of the men servants 
fell almost as regularly as the pestles in the mill. 
There, too, were great oblong trays of chopped 
meat, into which Mamn Mary Ann and Maum 
Maria, with possibly a junior helper or two, were 
kneading the pepper and salt, while in the frying- 
pan in the depths of the chimney, bits of the mixture 
were sizzling to test the seasoning. Here, too, were 
the big balance scales in which the meat was 
weighed, and the smaller scales by means of which 
the proportion of pepper and salt was meted out. 

The room above this was called "Possum Hall" ; 
it was roughly fitted up as a bedroom in which the 
boys of the family could be quartered when the 
house overflowed with guests. And surely never 
was there a jollier place of exile. Over the kitchen 
was the "Mangleroom." It contained little besides 
the mangle through which the house linen and table 
linen was passed instead of being ironed. 

On the eastern side the knoll sloped suddenly 
down to the large pond, which was oblong, and 
embraced two small islands, with a live oak and 
some cedars growing on each. The pond was 
bordered by large cedars and weeping-willows. On 
the bit of level land between the pond and the 
slope, stood the meathouse, the dairy, and the 
smokehouse. In the first the cured bacon was 
hung on hooks in the ceilingbeams; and in the 
last, the bacon and hams were smoked previous to 
bagging and hanging. On the crest of the hill and 
on the way leading to the creek and the reserves, 

i54 




MRS. WM. J BALL, neC- JULIA CART 
Born November 20th, 1823 Died July 12th, 1858 



stood another "double house," half of which was 
the Blacksmith's Shop, and the other half his resi- 
dence. 

On the top of the hill at the south was a large 
stable with a hayloft above, and a shed for the 
mules on one side. In front of it was a long, nar- 
row building called the cart-house; and behind it 
was yet another "double house," where the man in 
charge of the stable lived. The carriage house was 
at the foot of the hill on this side. Between it and 
the stable were a large pecan tree and a beech ; and 
at the corner of the yard beyond it was a little gate 
with pointed posts, leading to the fields. The south- 
ern side of the yard was bounded by the garden and 
orchard fence. Half-way down the slope, between 
the house and the dairy, was a row of great trees, 
white oak, walnut, hickory and pig-nut. 

We have already alluded to the avenue proper, 
which led to the public road along the western 
branch. Part of this, next the yard, is still bor- 
dered by fine old sycamores ; but a still longer space 
on the other side, after passing the sick-house 
(which also has been already alluded to) was once 
bordered by goodly cedars — most of which have 
passed into the making of fence posts. At the Rice 
Hope line there used to be an ornamental white 
gate, where some ghost was supposed to dwell; 
horses almost always shied in passing it, even those 
belonging to the place. They kept up the practice 
after the gate was down, and have been observed to 
prick up their ears and look uneasy long after every 
vestige of gate and fence had disappeared. The 

*55 



rest of the avenue has right of way through the Rice 
Hope fields. The other fork, or So'boy Avenue, led 
over a bridge and causeway across the reserve to 
the river road along the eastern branch. At the 
top of the little clay hill beyond the reserve was a 
gate, called the So'boy Gate. 

In those days the Comingtee house consisted of 
two parts — the colonial brick dwelling called the 
"Old House" and the modern wooden addition 
known as the "New House." 

It is needless to go again into the question of who 
built the Old House; we content ourselves with 
glancing at the ouside and then at the inside to see 
the arrangement of the rooms and furniture. The 
house fronts the west and a continuous piazza ran 
from the northern gable of the Old House to the 
eastern gable of the New. Against the wall were 
long wooden benches, painted blue. Those on the 
Old House piazza — for things never changed their 
places at Comingtee — were evidently of oak and 
showed by their style that they were genuine an- 
tiques. In front of the house still stands a large 
live oak, whose branches, unless often trimmed, 
covered the piazza shed. 

A marked peculiarity of the Old House was the 
irregular size of the windows. The east and west 
windows were all of normal size, but those in the 
south gable on the first floor were much larger, 
while those in the closet above were very narrow, 
and the garret window in each gable was really 
tiny. Mounting the brown stone steps, and entering 
the double-leaved front door, we come into the hall 

156 




JOHN BALL 
Born September i, 1825 Died July nth, 1852 



way, or "entry." Opposite was the staircase, and 
under the landing the back door — wide enough, but 
necessarily so low as to compel a tall man to stoop. 
Under the staircase another low door led to 
the cellar. There were two rooms on this floor: 
the southern, familiarly known as the "Old Hall," 
was divided from the entry by a partition of panel- 
led wood against which hung most of the family 
portraits. The floor was covered with much-worn 
grey and white oil-cloth, over which the carpet was 
spread in winter. This oil-cloth must have been 
laid down for generations, for, when an attempt was 
made to take it up, parts seemed almost incorpor- 
ated with the flooring boards. The fire-place was of 
cavernous size, and was furnished with large brass 
andirons and fender, burnished and shining like 
gold. The high wooden mantel-piece was very nar- 
row, and had circular projections to accommodate 
gilt and white china jars, kept full of fresh pine, 
branches of which also hung from four hooks in 
the ceiling. Two mirrors, with carved frames and 
beveled edges, faced each other from the wall-spaces 
between the east and west windows; plain wooden 
book-shelves were fastened to the wall in one chim- 
ney jamb and the tall old clock stood like a sent- 
inal in a "catacornered" position in the southwest 
angle of the other. The windows were strikingly, 
and very gracefully, draped with heavy white cur- 
tains, edged with ball-fringe: Never, elsewhere, 
have I seen others so draped and arranged. 

The furniture consisted of a mahogany centre- 
table, two antique card tables — one under the book- 

157 



case and the other under the west mirror; a large 
rocking chair; and heavy mahogany chairs with 
carved backs. An inlaid and quite ornamental 
piano stood against the partition; and, under the 
other mirror, was a stuffed sofa made on the plan- 
tation by "old Hackliss," (Hercules) an African 
who had been taught the carpenter's trade. A 
square seat ; also of plantation make, stood on each 
side of the fire-place. (These, I believe, have dis- 
appeared some years since.) 

Before the New House was built, the old "butler" 
doubtless occupied a place of honor in this room, 
as it was the dining room. 

Opposite was a room, apparently meant for a par- 
lor, for the wall above the mantel-piece was elabor- 
ately panelled in wood; but not within the memory 
of man has it been used except as the best bed- 
room. The bed was a stately structure with carved 
mahogany posts, and hung with the characteristic 
chintz curtains of former days whereon birds with 
wonderful plumage were depicted, perched among 
the branches of marvellous flowering trees. When 
the curtains were drawn the bed was completely 
shut in, like a square tent enclosed on all sides and 
overhead. 

On the second floor, were two bed-rooms, and a 
third room much smaller, secured by taking in the 
end of the passage-way with a wooden partition. 
Both larger rooms had big fire-places ; and the chim- 
ney jambs were made into light closets which part- 
ly answered the purpose of dressing-rooms. The 
garret also had three rooms, exactly corresponding 

i53 




JANE BALL 

Married January 27th, 1842, to John G. Shoolbred 

Born May 14th, 1823 Died February gth, 1905 



to those on the second floor. It had never been 
ceiled ; but the south room was sometimes used as a 
bed-chamber. The north garret was for a long 
period the wine-room, fitted up with capacious bot- 
tle-racks, whereon many dozens of old Madeira 
had ripened, through the years. Under the house 
was a cellar of two rooms, and in the larger one a 
huge fire-place. 

The Old House, particularly the north room up- 
stairs, had the reputation of being haunted. Strange 
and unaccountable noises were often heard; but 
no one, I believe, ever claimed to have seen any- 
thing ghostly; except a negro girl, who, after the 
war, averred that she frequently saw ladies and 
gentlemen coming down the stairs and going out. 
But, as according to her report they invariably van- 
ished through the second story window, her testi- 
mony was supposed to be of doubtful value, and 
she was credited with a lively imagination. 

159 



XII. 

PLANTATION INDUSTRIES AND OLD 
SERVANTS. 

Probably, one reason why planters made money 
in former days is that so much was produced within 
the plantation itself, nothing being bought that 
could there be grown or made; hence the money 
realized from the crop was clear gain, except what 
was paid out for clothing and groceries. The large 
quantities of corn, peas, and potatoes, planted on 
the highland, nearly, if not quite, supplied the 
year's provisions for the negroes. A number of 
hogs were raised, and enough bacon cured to meet 
the needs of the white family and sometimes in 
part, also, those of the plantation. A herd of cat- 
tle furnished milk and butter, and a well-stocked 
poultry -yard, turkeys, ducks, geese, fowls, and eggs. 
The feathers from the geese were made into pillows 
and feather-beds ; and the wool from the sheep, into 
most comfortable mattresses. 

There were always skilled mechanics of various 
kinds on the plantation. Besides the barrels for 
the pounding-mill, the cooper's shop furnished cy- 
press or cedar tubs, buckets, pails, and piggins, of 
every size and sort ; so that a "bought bucket" was 
rare. These were not only strong and serviceable, 
but some were beautifully finished. The carpen- 

160 



ters could not only construct the flood-gates and 
rice-field trunks, and build the negro houses, but 
make the plantation wagons and carts, and do 
work, requiring great neatness of finish. Very cred- 
itable pieces of furniture were sometimes made 
hj them. The wooden addition to the dwelling 
house was built and completed, inside and out, by 
these plantation carpenters ; — even as I have heard 
to the window-sashes. The blacksmiths made and 
mended what ever of wrought iron was used on the 
place; and could do finer work on occasion; I have 
been told that some of the iron-wire nursery fenders 
in the house were of their making. Among these 
mechanics was always to be found one, capable of 
being miller to the pounding-mill, or engineer tc 
the thresher; and the simpler repairs to the ma 
chinery were done at home. 

If a boy showed an aptitude for any branch of me- 
chanics, he was put to learn in that "shop ;" and if 
he developed a special gift, he was bound apprentice 
to a master-mechanic in the city, and taught the 
trade thoroughly. In general, if a boy had a native 
'bent' for any special branch of service, he was 
taught that; — if prompt and neat, he was "taken 
into the house" and put under the butler for train 
ing; — if fond of horses, he was employed about the 
stable; — if he liked to run after the cattle, he was 
made "cattle-minder's boy." And, if any girl show 
ed an aptitude for any branch of domestic service / 
she likewise was put in training; and in this way, 
some were always being fitted to take the places of 
others who were growing old and incapable. 

161 



Baskets were also made on the plantation, gen- 
erally by some of the old men. Large round rush- 
baskets sewed with oak, were much used in the mill 
and barn-yard. There were also baskets for domes- 
tic use; some round or oval, deep and with covers; 
others shallow, without covers; and yet others 
smaller, woven of grass and sewed with strips of 
palmetto. Some of these were really tiny; and 
some had "steeples," — i. e. a second and smaller 
basket worked on the cover of the other, and having 
a cover of its own. 

The Ball negroes were always well fed, well 
clothed, and well treated. Clothing was distribut- 
ed twice a year, — cotton osnaburgs in summer, and 
in winter thick "Welsh Plains,'' — called by the 
negroes "white woolen." Six or seven yards was 
the ordinary amount for adults; the children were 
measured for their share. The cloth, held by one 
end on the forehead, at the roots of the hair, passed 
over the head and down the back until it touched 
the ground at the heels; then doubled and cut off, 
it gave ample measure. I have often myself seen 
the process when a child. Blankets were given 
every third year from the time of birth to the time 
of death : — smaller ones to the children, and full- 
sized to the adults. These were generally Duffield 
blankets. Contracts with the overseer were drawn 
up and signed by both planter and overseer, — de- 
fining the latter's duties and privileges, and enjoin- 
ing proper treatment of the negroes. (See Appen- 
dix.) 



162 



OLD SERVANTS AT COMINGTEE. 

It seems scarcely fair to close this memoir with- 
out some reference to the faithful old negroes, iden- 
tified with the place and the family, and who were 
instrumental in rendering plantation life safe and 
pleasant as it was. 

On all of the Ball plantations, were certain 
families of negroes who seemed above the average; 
intelligent, faithful, trustworthy, and much at- 
tached to their masters and their families, which 
latter returned their devotion by the fullest 
confidence, respect, and consideration. Some of 
these people are rather shadowy to me, though very 
real to those who told me of them ; while others are 
equally real to myself. First comes the name of 
"Jenny Buller," — frequently met with in the plan- 
tation records of the second Elias Ball, and some- 
times in Lydia Child's little memorandum-book. 
Jenny must have had marked characteristics. In 
the note-book it is stated that she was sent to a 
physician "to be cured of a sore leg," and came 
back. The result of this doctoring does not appear 
to have been a "cure," for she ultimately lost the 
leg and hobbled around on a wooden stump : — "do- 
ing as much work as a man," as her great-grand- 
daughter has often told me with pride. She had 
manv children, some of whose descendants are still 
living. The family, as a general rule, were proud 
and high-tempered, but intelligent and trust- 

163 



worthy; and many of them were prominent about 
the plantation and in the household. 

Next comes the name of "Hackliss." Of him, 
however, I know nothing, except that he was an 
African by birth and a carpenter by trade. Some 
of his work still speaks for him in an old sofa at 
Comingtee. 

"Old Marcus" and "Old Bristol" were both fine 
carpenters. The former was small, and peppery- 
tempered ; he kept a strap hanging up in the carpen- 
ter's shop as a persuader for the benefit of his 
apprentices, — and, incidentally, for any of the 
plantation children who made a noise or disturbance 
in the yard. It is even said that he did not hesitate 
to order "the boys of the family" out of the shop 
when they "pestered" him in his work. 

"Old Bristol" had a general supervision of the 
yard, especially during the owner's absence. He 
had charge of the valuable or pet horses left in the 
country in summer, doctored the sick ones, and had 
an eye on things generally. Overseers might grum- 
ble about him in their letters, but dared not inter- 
fere. Indeed the master felt far more assured of 
Bristol's reliability than of theirs. 

"Old Violet" was another 'character' of those 
days. She held the responsible position of planta- 
tion nurse, and was unusually competent for its 
duties, having received some instruction under a 
physician. She knew what simple medicines to 
give for various ailments and could weigh and meas- 
ure them out. Her services were often in request 

in the white families of the neighborhood. 

164 



Violet's son, 'Josey,' was the "body-servant" of 
Col. K. S. Ball, and one, more faithful and devoted, 
never lived. He played with his young master when 
they were both boys ; and, as they grew up, became 
his valet, huntsman, butler, and "right-hand-man" 
in every way. He was a skilled and fearless rider, 
yet very careful of his horses, was an admirable 
"driver" in a deer-hunt and was equally at home in 
the care of his master's horses, dogs, guns, vehicles, 
military equipments, or dining-table. He died in 
the prime of life from the kick of a mule, received 
a few days after a bad fall in the woods while out 
hunting. Josey was fearless in other respects 
than his riding. He used to tell how, when 
quite a young man, he was told to take a 
horse and fetch the doctor for his mother, 
who was dangerously ill. It was midnight, 
and when he got into the heavy sand under the 
sycamores, he saw a dark object rolling and grunt- 
ing in the road before him. His first impulse was to 
turn back, but he remembered his mother and called 
to it. It kept on approaching, — he called again, 
and still the strange apparition advanced. At the 
third challenge, he drew his large hunting knife 
and swore that, ghost or man, if it did not get out of 
his way he would jump off his horse and stab it. 
Then the ghost arose, and begged him not to tell 
on him. He was an old negro man, who was out 
after hours, — doubtless on some predatory expedi- 
tion, and had taken this way of avoiding recogni- 
tion. Most negroes, in Josey's place, would have 

165 



fled at hearing the first grunt, without waiting to 
explore the mystery. 

'Maum Mary Ann' was the housekeeper at Com- 
ingtee for Col. K. S. Ball. She had the keys of store- 
room and pantry, "gave out" the meals, made the 
bread, and supervised the household generally. She 
was fat and black, with clean white palms and a 
cheerful face. I never saw her without a large 
white apron and a bright-colored "head-handker- 
chief." Her husband, "Cappen Dannill," was the 
patroon of the plantation schooner. 

"Daddy Surrey" was Maum Mary Ann's brother, 
and was a prominent figure on the plantation. An 
old man, when I first recollect him, rather small, 
with regular features, always dressed in a suit of 
grey woolen, and very clean and neat. He was 
held in high respect, from the heads of the family 
down. He had charge of the cattle, with subor- 
dinates under him ; and when the family boys came 
up for the December and April holidays, he had 
charge of them also — to go out shooting, for Daddy 
Surrey knew all about guns and game and such 
things, — in fact, there seemed to be few matters, 
about which he did not know. He lived to the age 
of ninety-three. One of his sons, Daniel Pinckney, 
was also faithful to the family through troublous 
times. Another son succeeded him as cattle-minder. 

'Brawley Asgill' began as "hog-minder." He 
lived in the times that tried men's souls, — and 
could not rise quite superior to them ; he professed 
and retained a certain amount of faithfulness to 
his master, but it was of a modified kind. As a 

166 



preacher, he had considerable influence on the plan- 
tation; and, though tricky, was of great use, after 
the war, in inducing the hands to sign contracts 
for the next year's labor, — something which they 
were often unwilling or slow to do. He and his 
wife, 'Binah,' lived in the picturesque little cabin 
on Indian Spring Hill, fronting the So 'boy Road. 
About fifty yards from his house he built a rough 
little clap-board church, in which he preached, up 
to the time of his death. His sorrowing congrega- 
tion resolved that he should have a grand funeral ; 
and one of them was promptly given funds and 
despatched to Charleston, with directions to re- 
turn that very evening and bring a fine coffin. But 
evening came, and no coffin; the next day passed, 
and the last possible train arrived, but still no 
messenger and no coffin. At last the interment 
could no longer be delayed, so a rough box was 
hastily improvised by the carpenter, and the funeral 
proceeded. Before it was quite over, the tardy mes- 
senger arrived with a grand coffin. But it was too 
late to use it for him; so the heads of the congre- 
gation economically decided that it should be put 
up on the rafters of the church, to wait for the de- 
mise of his widow. Some years afterwards, when, 
a new church being built near the public road, the 
old one was taken down, and the coffin was turned 
over to old Binah's own keeping. Having no other 
place to put it, she shoved it under the bed, and 
kept grist and sugar in it. She told me herself, 
that one day she sent out all of her grandchildren, 

and got into it to see if it would fit. She was actu- 

167 



ally buried in it. Had she ever heard of the great 
Emperor Charles V. and his similar experiments 
with his royal coffin? 

One of Jenny Buller's descendants, Hagar, was 
my nurse. Though much of her life was spent away 
from Comingtee, she deserves mention here, from 
her faithfulness to the family and her attachment 
to the place ; for Comingtee has always been "home" 
to every one, white and black, born or raised there. 
She was most capable, efficient in all branches of 
domestic work — a devoted child's nurse, an admir- 
able and untiring sick-nurse, a good seamstress, a 
fine washer and clear-stareher, and an excellent 
pastry-cook. She had the family interests at heart, 
but had almost too decided a taste for managing, 
which kept her from being popular with the other 
servants. At the general break-up in 1865, she ran 
actual risk of life for her faithfulness — and with 
her died the last of the "old Maumas" of Comingtee. 



OTHER OLD SERVANTS. 

As has been remarked, the relations of the Balls 
to their slaves seem alwavs and everv where to have 
been marked by kindness and good-feeling; and 
thus was a reciprocal attachment, on the part of 
the slaves to their owners, and they were proud 
of the "family." Indeed, it was no slight tie that 
bound together those whose ancestors for a hundred 
year had occupied the same relative positions. From 

the first Ball down to the days of Emancipation — 

168 



and afterward — the same consideration, on the one 
hand, and loyalty on the other, have been manifest- 
ed. We mention a few of these faithful servants, 
who, though not connected with Comingtee, are 
still identified with the history of the Ball family. 

Perhaps the name that stands out above the 
others is "Dolly.." We know little about her, but 
enough to show that she was thought well of in the 
family. Perhaps she had "minded" the children, 
and been a faithful nurse in illness. The ministra- 
tions of such humble friends of the family — they 
were surely no less — have soothed many a bed of 
suffering; and in death their hands have tenderly 
performed the last offices. "Dolly" probably began 
her career at Comingtee, for the first mention of her 
is a memorandum made by the second Elias of the 
birth of some of her children ; but in 1748 he notes, 
"Dolly and her children went to St. James to live." 
And in a letter of 1774 he says, "Poor old Dolly 
died Monday night, aged 62." 

In later days, "Old Maum Mary of Kensington" 
is well worthy of mention. She was the faithful 
nurse of John and Isaac Ball, and was like a humble 
friend of the family. The younger generation call- 
ed her "Grand-Mauma;" and she was highly 
thought of by all. When she grew old, she was 
entirely exempted from work, had a house appro- 
priated to her use at Kensington, and land to plant, 
— and hands were sent to work the land when neces- 
sary. One of her grand-daughters, a namesake of 
her own, lived with her and waited on her, having 
nothing else to do. W T hen Kensington was sold 

169 



after Mr. E. O. Ball's death, the purchaser, Dr. 
J. B. Irving, offered her the privilege of retaining 
her home there as long as she lived. But she de- 
clined, saying she would rather go to "the family," 
and moved to Hyde Park, where she lived for the 
rest of her life. When feeble and infirm, she was 
kept supplied with ale and other things to cheer 
her up. 

The second Mary was a woman grown when her 
grandmother died. She became a house-servant in 
Mrs. Deas' family, and was a worthy descendant of 
the faithful old woman. The close of the war found 
her with her young mistress in Greenville, S. C, 
far from her home and friends; there were many 
hardships and discomforts, and no money with 
which to pay wages. When told that she was free 
to go where she liked, and that it was impossible to 
offer her wages if she remained, her answer was, 
"Missy, your grandparents stood by my grand- 
mother, and I will stand by you." And she did; — 
serving at first for a bare support, and afterwards 
for such moderate wages as the family could afford. 
She returned with them to Charleston; and when 
the work grew rather heavy for her, she retired to 
Comingtee, and lived with her relatives, helping 
herself by various odd jobs — for she was no idler — 
and receiving in need whatever help could be given 
by her former owners. She finally bought with 
her savings a few acres of land at the Saw Mill, 
and in conjunction with her nephew, built a house. 
There she died, only a few years ago, faithful and 
devoted to the last. She never married, and was 



170 




ALWYN BALL 
1834 



what is rarest among negros, an irreproachable 
"old maid." 

Nat, who belonged to Mrs. Shoolbred, was a great- 
grandson of "Old Maum Mary," and was equally 
faithful to his owners. He followed his young 
master and the three "boys" from Limerick through 
all the hardships of camp life, stuck to them 
throughout, up to the surrender at Greensboro', 
N. C, and came back to Quinby, to take up life 
where he had left it. He continued to be the right- 
hand man of the family until his master's death, 
and is now entrusted with the care of the property 
there. 

Neither must old "Josh Lovely" be forgotten. He 
was Mr. Alwyn Ball's huntsman, and as fond of 
hunting as his master, to whom he was much at- 
tached. He was a daring rider, and would risk any- 
thing when well mounted. Of course, he sometimes 
got falls, but escaped without serious injury. One 
of the "bays" (low, swampy land, thickly over- 
grown), between Cordesville and Midway, was 
called "Josh's Drive," because in a wild dash 
through it while "driving" the deer, he had such a 
terrible fall that he was brought out for dead. 
After the war he was a bricklayer and plasterer, 
and lived at The Bluff. He died a few years ago, in 
a good old age. It was a pleasure to see him ride, 
even when quite an old man, he "sat" his thin lit- 
tle pony with such style. 

Many an old negro retained not only a consider- 
able amount of feeling for the family, but of pride 
in it ; and has been heard to boast, even after Eman- 

171 



cipation, of being "a Ball nigger." In the general 
upsetting of all order in the early days of 1865, 
there were many to whom family possessions in the 
shape of blankets, clothing, etc. (more valuable 
then than jewels), were entrusted for safe-keeping; 
articles which were being taken from the whites by 
the soldiers, and given to the negroes; and every 
such article was brought back as soon as the coast 
was clear. 

It would take a large volume to record the faith- 
ful acts of all those faithful servants. Name after 
name, and deed after deed, recurs to my mind — 
Ben's long journey, undertaken in the vain hope of 
saving the mules under his care — Friday's driving 
off and saving the whole herd of cattle for "Mis' 
chillun." * * * But I forbear. Memory has 

led me too far afield, perhaps, already. 

****** 

Having now brought down the Account of the 
Ball Family to the generation immediately pre- 
ceding my own, I feel that some apology may be due 
for the length of the story; and I know not how 
better to apologize than in the words of the great 
historian. 

"A lively desire of knowing and recording our an- 
cestors so generally prevails, that it must depend 
on the influence of some common principle in the 
minds of men. We seem to have lived in the per- 
sons of our forefathers. * * * Fifty or a hundred 
years may be allotted to an individual, but we step 
forward, beyond death with such hopes as Religion 
and Philosophy will suggest — and we fill up the 

172 




MRS. ALWYN BALL 

(Alicia Sarah Butler; 

1832— 1897 



silent vacancy that precedes our birth, by asso- 
ciating ourselves to the authors of our existence. 
Our calmer judgment will rather tend to moderate 
than to suppress the pride of an ancient and worthy 



race." 



173 



APPENDIX. 

JOHN BALL'S PAPER. 

"The following account of the Ball family wrote 
by John Ball, the son of Elias Ball, and grandson 
of Elias Ball, the first of the family who settled in 
South Carolina, at the plantation called Coming's 
Tee, now in the possession of my brother Elias. 

I often conversed with my Father about his 
Father, and endeavored to collect the family affairs, 
with intent to write this Genealogy for the satisfac- 
tion of my posterity. I was 26 years of age pre- 
vious to my Father's decease ; my Father was about 
40 years old at the death of his Father ; so that the 
tradition handed to me. which I now commit to 
paper is pretty good for two generations antecedent 
to myself. My children and their descendants (for 
whom only I write this) must not expect elegant 
language, or even that this writing will be free from 
grammatical errors, as my education was too much 
neglected by my fond Father, never being taught 
even the English grammar; but I hope one of my 
sons will put this work into better language, and 
continue the genealogy, with an injunction for its 
continuation from generation to generation, which 
may the great Creator of the universe bless and 

174 




COMINGTEE PLANTATION 
Present House 



prosper in every generation, as my Father and 
Grandfather have been blessed with temporal bles- 



sings. 



But to proceed — 

My Grandfather, Elias Ball, was second son to 
William Ball, a farmer in the county of Devonshire 
in England. Captain John Coming, who com- 
manded a vessel in the American trade, got grants 
at different times for land, among others was the 
plantations of Coming's Tee and Fish Pond, and a 
very considerable part of where the city of Charles- 
ton is now built on. Captain Coming was an uncle 
to my grandfather. He desired one of his nephews 
to come out to Carolina. The elder brother William 
could not bear the idea of coming among the sav- 
ages of America, so Elias, the second son, who was 
a bold and enterprising youth, came to South Caro- 
lina during the reign of William and Mary. Cap- 
tain Coming's vessel was lost on or near Charleston 
bar, himself and crew saved themselves in the long- 
boat ; some censures that fear caused the loss of the 
vessel stimulated the Captain to undertake a peri- 
lous voyage to England to vindicate his character. 
He raised and decked his long-boat, and did abso- 
lutely go to England in her. When hailed in river 
Thames, his answer could not be credited, so mirac- 
ulous did the voyage appear. He afterwards settled 
in South Carolina, on the plantation called Com- 
ing's Tee now in the possession of my brother. At 
his decease his widow had his estate. She was an 
aunt to my grandmother Ball, and to my grand- 
uncle, John Harleston. At her death the estate 

175 



was jointly between my grandfather and grand- 
uncle aforesaid. On the division of the Estate my 
grandfather committed a capital error in re- 
nouncing to his brother-in-law, John Harleston, his 
part of the lands in Charleston, formerly called 
Coming's point, but now Harleston's, in lieu of 
which he got the country lands that was settled, 
without running the risk of getting Fishpond in- 
stead of Comingtee. At that early period there 
were very few houses in Charleston, and to think 
of the lands at Coming's point being built on, I sup- 
pose my grandfather thought was looking too far 
forward, therefore chose rather to give up so dis- 
tant a prospect for the certainty of an immediate 
habitation and ready-cleared fields. Fishpond at 
that time being an undivided, uncleared, and unset- 
tled part of the same tract. The River swamps in 
those days and for a long time after were not 
known to be of any value. 

My Grandfather was about 18 or 20 years old 
when he came to Carolina ; he married when he was 
about Twenty-two years old to Elizabeth Harleston, 
sister to the above-mentioned John Harleston, 
which family was last from Ireland, but originally 
an English family, that had gone over in or about 
the troubles of Charles the first, of whose party was 
that family, and, of course, shared in the misfor- 
tunes of his unlucky friends and followers. My 
Grandfather had many children by Elizabeth his 
wife; only four of whom lived to enter the matri- 
monial state, viz. : 

1st. Anne Ball was born January 20th, 1701. 

176 



She married when about 15 years old to a Captain 
Daws who was 60 years old. He had been an 
officer in the Navy. My Aunt had no issue by him. 
They lived together several years, and the old Cap- 
tain left her all his estate, which was considerable, 
the lands on which the village of Hamstead now 
stands being part of it. My Aunt afterwards mar- 
ried George Austin, merchant, by whom she had a 
Son and Daughter. The former died without issue, 
the daughter married John Moultrie, Esqr., Lieut.- 
Governor of East Florida, while that country be- 
longed to the British Nation. The two eldest sons 
who came in for all old Austin's Estate, are John 
Moultrie, Esqr., of Aston Hall in Shropshire, who 
has married Catherine Ball, daughter of Elias Ball, 
formerly of Wambaw, South Carolina, but now of 
Bristol in England. The second son, James Moul- 
trie, M. D., who has the Ashepoo Estate of Austin, 
has married his cousin, Catherine Moultrie, daugh- 
ter to Alexander Moultrie, Esqr., Attorney General 
to the State. She died June 7th, 1765. 

2nd. Elias Ball was born December 22nd, 1709, 
and was married the 28th day of January, 1747, to 
Lydia Chicken, widow of George Chicken, daughter 
of Isaac Child, and grand-daughter to James Child, 
the founder of Childbury Chapel and School. By 
her my father has 3 sons and two daughters, viz. : 
Elizabeth Ball, born 22nd March, 1748, and died 
the 30th of September, 1750. 

Elias Ball, born the 10th April. 1752— this is my 
elder Brother — he is now an old bachelor. 

The third was Isaac Ball, born 11th of May, 1754, 

177 



and died at Kensington 5th January, 1776. The 4th 
was Lydia Ball, born 13th January, 1757. She was 
married to Edward Simons, Esqr., the 17th Octo- 
ber, 1771. Mr. Simons died in October, 1775. And 
my sister was married to Mr. John Bryan in Feb- 
ruary, 1783. They are both living and have one 
daughter. (Named Elizabeth. She married her 
cousin, John Ball, Jr. Lydia also had a son, John 
Bryan, born in 1791. This account of my Grand- 
father's was evidently written about 1791. W. J. 
Ball.) The fifth was myself, John Ball, born the 
10th July, 1760. Married the 20th January, 1780, 
to my cousin, Jane Ball, the daughter of my Uncle, 
John Coming Ball and Judith, his wife — and have 
five sons, viz. ; 1st, John Ball born September 12th, 
1782; 2nd, Elias Ball, born March 1st, 1784; 3rd, 
Isaac Ball, born September 6th, 1785 ; 4th, William 
James Ball, born April 28th, 1787; 5th, Edward 
Ball, born July 3d, 1788. 6th, a still-born child in 
May 1791. My mother died April 1st, 1765, aged 
43 years and 6 months. My Father died August 
8th, 1786, aged 76 years, 7 months and 6 days. 

3d. Elizabeth Ball, born Aug. 31st, 1711. She 
first married John Ashby, — then John Vicaridge, 
and lastly to Richard Shubrick, by the latter hus- 
band she left one son Richard Shubrick, who lives 
in England, and I am told has a large family. She 
died in Charleston, Sept. 4th, 1746. 

4th. John Coming Ball, born Aug. 25th, 1714, 
was married to Catherine Gendron, Oct. 25th, 1742. 
1st. — Elias Ball their son was born May 11th 1744 
— this is the Elias Ball of Wambaw (but now of 

178 • 




MRS. JOHN BALL, nee JANE BALL 
Born September 29th, 1761 Died October 5th, 1804 



Bristol in England) whose estate was confiscated 
by the Jacksonborough Assembly ; he married Cath- 
erine Gaillard (in 17G6— daughter of Theodore 
Gaillard and Eleanor (Cordes) W. J. B.) by whom 
he had five daughters (and 2 sons W. J. B.). The 
eldest of them is married to John Moultrie Esqr. 
of Aston Hall in Shropshire, the others not yet 
married. 2nd.— Elizabeth Ball, born Feb'y Cth, 
1746. She married Henry Smith, Esqr. of Goose 
Creek, by whom she left four daughters, viz. ; Cath- 
erine, married to Dr. John Ernest Poyas, Elizabeth, 
single, Harriet, married to Richard Scott, Esqr., 
Mary Ann, single. 

3rd was John Coming Ball, who died an infant. 
4th was William Ball, also died an infant. 5th, 
Catherine Ball, born July 12th, 1751, was married 
to Major Benjm Smith (Major B. Smith's first 
wife was Elizabeth Ann Harleston, daughter of 
Nicholas Harleston & Sarah (Child) W. J. B.) 
She died without leaving issue. 6th — Anne 
Ball, born June 2nd, 1753. She married Rich- 
ard Waring, Esqr., of Dorchester, who has left her 
a widow without child. Catherine Ball, wife of J. 
C. Ball, died September 23d, 1755. John Coming 
Ball married his second wife, Judith Boisseau, July 
29th, 1756. John Coining Ball their son was born 
December 24th, 1758, he is now living. (Died 
October, 1792, on Long Island, N. Y. W. J. B.). 
Jane Ball, their daughter and my wife, born Sep- 
tember 29th, 1761, and was married to her cousin, 
John Ball, January 20th, 1780, and has five sons as 
before mentioned. Eleanor Ball, their daughter, 

179 



born (after the death of her father), March 20th, 
1765. She married Mr. John Wilson, merchant, no 
child and now a widow. (She afterwards married 
Mr. Keating Simons and had no children. Died 
March 20th, 1827. W. J. B. ) . 

My uncle, John Coming Ball, died October 21st, 
1764, aged 50 years and 2 months. My aunt, Judith 
Ball, died August 2nd, 1772, aged 41 years. Both 
of my Uncle's wives were descendants of French 
Refugee Families that settled in this country after 
the Revocation of the Edict of Nantz. 

5th. Eleanor Ball, daughter of Elias Ball and 
Mary his wife, (Born April 17th, 1731 — died May 
22nd, 1770. W. J. B.). .Married Col. Henry 
Laurens, by whom she left two sons and two daugh- 
ters. 

1st, John Laurens, who was the justly celebrated 
Col. John Laurens in the American Revolution. 

2nd, Martha Laurens, a most amiable and accom- 
plished woman. She is now the wife of Dr. David 
Ramsay. 

3rd, Henry Laurens, Jr., of Mepkin, member of 
Assembly for St. John's Parish, and a Justice of 
Quorum. 

4th, Eleanor Laurens, now the wife of his Excel- 
lency Charles Pinckney, Esqr., Governor of this 
State. 

The mother of my Aunt Laurens was my Grand- 
father's second wife; her maiden name was Mary 
Delamere, by whom he had many children. (The 
records give the names of 7. W. J. B.), but only 

one that lived to be grown up. 

180 



I have heard my Father say that my Grandfather 
was a ureal sportsman in shooting and fishing. Was 
bold and resolute; and had frequently commanded 
scouting parties after Indians. A Commission, from 
one of the former Governors under the Lords Pro- 
prietors, for that purpose is now in my possession. 
At the age of Seventy, while in one of The forts 
in Charlestown, in time of an alarm, he offered to 
turn out and take a wrestle with any of (he veterans 
in the Fort. He was ahout 7~> or 7<> years old when 
he died. 

My Father and Fnele, John 0. Hall, were honest, 
peaceable, domestick men. Their ambition was to 
live happy and contented in private life. They re- 
sided chiefly on their plantations, Kensington and 
Flyde Park, that they might be near each other, as 
there ever subsisted the utmost harmony and broth- 
erly affection between them. They were very easy, 
indulgent masters, which united to their not being 
of an enterprising disposition, prevented that accu- 
mulation of property which was so favourable in 
their younger days; especially on taking up grants 
of valuable lands, vast bodies of fertile swamps were 
then vacant. They each of them, however, had the 
happiness to leave a pretty beginning for their 
children. 

Note. — "James Child, of Childbury, formerly of 
the parish of Amersham, in the county of Berk, 
who making some opposition to Lord Chancellor 
Jeffries, was thereby obliged to fly. He came to 
Carolina for refuge, where he spent the remainder 

181 



of his days. His son Isaac was the only one of his 
children that came to America." 

(This paper is copied from a copy taken from the 
original by Mr. W. J. Ball, of Limerick Plantation. 
A. S. D.). 

ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT made February, 
1818, between John Ball, Planter, and Arthur 
McFarland, Overseer. 

Aeticle 1. John Ball will pay Arthur McFar- 
land at the rate of two hundred and fifty dollars 
per Annum as wages, provided he discharges his 
duty faithfully as an Overseer — superintending 
Back-river plantation. 

Article 2. Arthur McFarland shall have one- 
third of the hogs raised at Back-river plantation 
and one-half of the poultry raised on the said plan- 
tation during his superintendance. 

Article 3. Arthur McFarland shall have liberty 
to keep one horse, which shall be fed in the same 
manner that the plantation horses are fed, and shall 
have the milk of one cow from the first of October 
to the first of May, and the milk of four cows from 
the first of May to the first of October every year 
during his superintendance. 

Article 4. John Ball will let Arthur McFarland 
have a boy to wait on him and a woman to cook and 
wash for him. 

Article 5. Arthur McFarland engages on his 
part for and in consideration of the foregoing wages 
and privileges to be active and diligent in promoting 
the interest of John Ball — taking care of the ne- 

182 



groes; especially when sick — treating them when 
well with moderation and humanity — and is on no 
occasion to beat them with sticks — when necessary 
always to correct with switches. 

Article 6. John Ball reserves to himself the 
right of discharging Arthur McFarland from his 
employ at any time that he should think A. Mc- 
Farland's conduct deserving of such treatment, and 
in such case will only pay up to the time of such 
discharge. 

In witness of our agreeing to the above six arti- 
cles, we hereunto sign our names. 

Arthur McFarlane. 

John Ball. 

It is considered by John Ball that 
Arthur McFarlane is to have Bread 
Kind for his family use, such as Rice, 
Corn, and Potatoes. 

Note. — No ill treatment was permitted. I know 
for a fact that an overseer was immediately dis- 
charged when a child of six who had seen him kick- 
ing an offending negro, rushed to his father and re- 
ported the occurrence. 

183 



CHART A. 



2 Ann 

i Capt. P. Dawes 
2 George Austin 

Eleanor 



Elias 

Lydia Chicken 

Elizabeth 
i John Ashby 
2 John Vicaridge 



(Emigrant, 169S.) 

1 Elias Ball 

Eliz. Harleston 



2" George 
! S| Eleanor 

g-| John Moultrie 

14 Elizabeth 
15 Elias 
i 6 Isaac 
17 L,ydia 

1 Edw. Simons 



2 John Bryan 



18 John 

1 Jane Ball 

2 M. C. Swintou 



3 Richd. Shubriek J- C 



John Coining 
1 Cath. Geudron 



Richard 



19 Elias 

Cath. Gaillard 



20 Elizabeth 

Henry Smith 



Mary Delamare }■ 



2 Judith Boisseau ]- 



7] Sarah 
8 Delamare 
9] William 
10 George 



Eleanor 
Col. Hy. 



12; Mary 
13 Sou 



I,aurens \ Z 



w 



Edward 



^'Elizabeth 
£ I John Ball 
;- p John 

B i Miss Legari 



I I See Chart B 
L I See Chart C 



46 

47 
48 

49j 
5°, 
5' 

52 



fl 



21 John Coining 

22 William 

23 Catherine 

Maj.Benj. Smith 

24 Ann 

Richard Waring 

25 Jane 

26 John Coining 

27 David 

28 Jane 

John Ball 

29 Eleanor 

1 John Wilson 

2 Keating Simons 

John 

Miss Manning 
Martha 

Dr. David Ramsay 
Henrv 

Eliza Rutledge 
Mary Eleanor 

Gov. Chas. Pinckney 



Catherine 

John Moultrie 
Jno Coming 
Elias 
I,ydia 

J. Slater 
Elizabeth 

— Kisher 
Ann 

— Shutf 
Eleanor 

Henry 

Son 

Catherine 

Dr. I. E. Poyas 
Elizabeth 
Judith Ann 
Harriet 
Maty Ann 
Sarah 
Jane Ball 



184 



DATES FOR CHART A. 



Chart No. Born. 

1. Elias Ball (About) 1675 

2. Ann 1 70 1 

3. Eleanor 1707 

4. Elias 1709 

5. Elizabeth 171 1 

6. John Coming- 1714 

7. Sarah 1722 

S. Delamare ) 723 

9. William 1726 

10. George 1 728 

11. Eleanor 

T2. Mary 1733 

13- Son 1734 

14. Elizabeth 1748 

i. ; - Elias 1752 

16. Isaac 1754 

17- Lydia 1757 

18. John T760 

19. Elias 1744 

20. Elizabeth 1746 

21. John Coming 1747 

22. William 1750 

23. Catherine 1751 

24. Ann 1753 

25- Jane 1757 

26. John Coming 1758 

27. David 1760 

28. Jane 1761 

29. Eleanor 1765 

46. Catherine 1766 

47. John Coming 1768, 

48. Elias 1769 

49. Lydia 1770 

50. Elizabeth 1773 

51- Anne 1775 

=12. Eleanor 1779 

18S 



Died. 

75i 

765 
724 

786 
746 
764 
737 
725 
727 



731 
748 

750 
810 
776 
843 
817 
822 

787 
75<> 

750 

774 
826 
760 
792 
760 
804 
827 
828 
771 
769 



Married. 
(1) 1700 (2) 1721 
(1) 1716 (2)-(3) 



1747 
(l)-(2) 

(0 1/4-' 



(1) 1771 

(0 1780 

1765 

1764 



1773 
1771 



1780 
(l)-(2) 



1729 (3) 

(2) 1756 



I770 1750 



(2) 1782 
(2) 1805 



1793 



CHART B. 



50 



John Ball 
1 Jane Ball 





53 


Elias 


1 75 


Elizabeth Carolina 






Catherine C. Dawson 


j Edmund J. Shubrick 










John Ball 








3 


E. C. Harleston 


John 
1 Elizabeth Bryan 


r 


Lydia Jane 


I 

' B 


Ann Simons 


F. M. Waring 


Lewis Simons 
Edmund Thomas 










Fiaucis Malbone 




55 


Elizabeth Bryan 






56 


Eleanor Simons 






57 


John Coming 






58 


Ann 


) Jf Ann Simons 
J p Henry Deas 






Dr. E. H. Deas 


2 Ann Simons 


r 




"> 1 




59 


Keating Simons 






60 


Judith Boisseau 




31 Elias 








61 


Isaac 






62 


Eliza Catherine 










76 


William James 
Catherine J. Gibbs 








77 


Isaac 




63 


William James 


[* 


Mary L. Moultrie 
John 






Julia Cart 


A Edith Prioleau 








79 


Elias 
Mary H. Wilson 








80 


Francis Guerin 








81 


Eliza Catherine 








82 


Maria Louisa 


32 Isaac 

Eliza C. Poyas 


( 


Mary H. Gibbs 


83 

85 
86 

87 


Jane 

James P. Foster 
Mathurin Guerin 

R. Julia Locke 
Mary 

Lydia Child 
Eleanor 




64 


Jane 
Jno. G. Shoolbred 


21 
) 5= 

n 


John Gibbes 








88|Isaac 




65 John 


1 89 John Coming 
J Ann H. Simons 




Maria L. Gibbs 








90 


Mathurin Guerin 



33 William James 
34 1 Edward 



2 M. C. Swinton )■ \ See Chart C 



186 



DATES FOR CHART B. 



Chart No. Born. 

30. John 1782 

31. Elias 1784 

32. Isaac 1785 

33. William James 1787 

34. Edward 1788 

53- E1 ias 1805 

54. Lydia Jane 1807 

55. Elizabeth Bryan 1809 

56. Eleanor Simons 181 1 

57. John Coming 1812 

58. Ann 1815 

59. Keating Simons 1818 

60. Judith Boisseau 1820 

61. Isaac 1818 

62. Eliza Catherine 1821 

63. William James 1821 

64. Jane 1823 

65. John 1825 

75. Elizabeth Carolina 1830 

76. William James 1842 

';•/. Isaac 1844 

78. John 1846 

79. Elias 1848 

80. Francis Guerin 1850 

Si. Eliza Catherine 1864 

82. Maria Louisa 1866 

83. Jane 1867 

84. Mathurin Guerin 1869 

85. Mary 1871 

86. Lydia Child 1873 

87. Eleanor 1878 

88. Isaac 1847 

89. John Coming 1848 

go. Mathurin Guerin 1850 



Died. 

834 

797 
825 
808 
796 

834 
841 
826 
817 
845 
859 
891 
823 
824 
824 
891 

852 
896 
880 



Married. 
(1) 1804 (2) 1814 



1850 
1894 

1847 
1852 



1810 



1829 
1827 



1838 



(1) 1842 (2) 1862 
1842 
1846 
1850 
1868 
1869 
1869 
1891 



1891 
1893 



1877 



187 



CHART C. 



John Ball 
Jane Ball 



35 



36 



37 



38 



See Chart B 

Caroline Olivia 
John Laurens 

Martha Angeline 



j-iijohn 

» I Eliza R. Laurens 

5 Caroline 

g| 1 J. W. Read 

»i I 2 Lieut. Maffit, U. S. 

66 Martha Caroline 
T. L. Bulow 

67 Jno. Alwyn 

63 Mary Catherine 



69 



Alwyn 
Esther McClellan 



70 



Isaac 
C. A. Rutledge 



Alwyn 
Alicia Butler 



Hugh Swinton | 

Anna C. Channiug j I Infants 



71 



M. C. Swinton }- 



39 Elias Octavus 
Amelia Waring 



7-' 



73 



7! 



Amelia Waring 
D. H. Rutledge 



Elias Nonus 
Annie Odenheimer 



■f 






1 


td 


T. Lionel 


1 





John Charles 
Louisa 


t 


91 


Laura Rutledge 




John Alwyn 




92 


Emlie G. Fraser 




93 


Esther Sarah 
Wm. A. Butler 




94 


Wm. Carol 
1 Isabelle Fraser 


\ 




2 M. H. Tompkins 


95 


Alwyn 




Rebecca O'Brien 




96 


Jno. Isaac 




97 


Lionel McClellan 
Augusta A. Hunt 




93 


Dillon Edward 
Cynthea E. Hunt 

Amelia Waring 
John 




X 

g 


Hugh Rose 


I 




Elias Ball 


» 


1 


Maria 




r- 


Kate Waring 




n 


Susan Rose 
Jas. Rose 



99|Annie Odenheimer | 
I ' J. C. Brewster ( 

f 100 Elias Hugh Swinton 
101 1 Margaret Mary 



40 Susanna Splatt 
Win E. Haskell 



41 
42 



Hugh Swinton 


! 


[02 


Elias Duodecimus 


Kosa Lucas 


[03: Rosa Adela 






O 








a 








n 




Sophia Malboue 
W. H. Odenheimer 


f 


3 
-- 
2 

r. 


Wm. Henry 


Susan Olivia 


i 


•-1 




W. L. Yenning 


t 




Charlotte 


: 




B. B. Simons 




Martha Caroline 


1 




1'.. G. Pinckney 


( 




Kliza Lucilla 






Hutsou Lee 


i 




l.vdia Catherine 






Win. Hlnathan 


f 




Emma Heyward 







Alphonso Coming 
Eliza Lucilla 
R. Dewar Simons 



43 Lvdia Catherine 
T. M. Waring 



CTQ 



44 Edw. William 

45 Angeline 



Edmund Thomas 
Martha Caroline 
Wm. Edward 
Lydia Catherine 
Sophia 
Thomas Malbone 

Fannie C. Simons 
Caroline Angeline 
John Ball 
Susan Ball 
Francis H. 
Edward A. 
Canny Lucilla 



188 



DATES FOR CHART C. 



Chart No. Born. 

35. Caroline Olivia 1806 

36. Martha Angelina 1806 

37. Ahvyn 1807 

38. Hugh Swinton 1808 

39. Elias Octavus 1809 

40. Susanna Splatt 1810 

41. Alphonso Coming 1812 

42. Eliza Lucilla 1814 

43. Lydia Catherine 1816 

44. Edward William 1816 

45. Angeline 1818 

66. Martha Caroline 1827 

67. John Alwyn 1828 

68. Mary Catherine 1830 

69. Isaac 1831 

70. Ahvyn 1834 

71. Amelia Waring 1832 

72. Elias Nonus 1834 

7S- Hugh Swinton 1836 

74. Sophia Malbone 1837 

91. Louisa Rutledge 1854 

92. John Alwyn 1855 

93. Esther Sarah 1856 

94. William Carol 1858 

95. Alwyn 1859 

96. John Isaac i860 

97. T .ionel McClcllan 1862 

98. Dillon Edward 1866 

99. Annie Odenheimer 1865 

100. Elias Hugh Swinton 1867 

101. Margaret Mary 1872 

102. Elias Duodecimus 1868 

103. Rosa Adela 1871 



Died. 

1828 

1816 

1835 
1838 

1843 
1841 
1822 
1849 
1858 
1816 
1819 

1829 
1832 
1852 

1892 
1872 

1891 
1882 



Married. 
1823 



1861 



1885 
1872 



1830 



1832 



1850 
1853 
1853 
1861 

1862 



189 




AD 1908 



Plan of Ball Cemetery 

AT 

Strawberry 




BALL CEMETERY AT STRAWBERRY 




- If. 

S x 

_ a 






a S 

C/5 *■ 



yS 



*_/■ ■ V « •_/