Ballard descendants served county as farmers, medical doctors

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Ballard family of Covington County was introduced in this column several years earlier, and now additional genealogy has been secured that allows an additional look. The earliest ancestor is believed to have arrived in Virginia in the seventeenth century and to be of English heritage. This writing will focus on a descendant, Evans Coleman Ballard, and his descendants.

The earliest ancestors to be identified, Joseph and Temperance Tabitha Ballard, were residing in South Carolina in the early 1800s when their first two children were born. They moved circa 1814 to North Carolina, and after a short time decided to join the movement to the new lands in South Alabama. As they traveled through Tennessee, Joseph died unexpectedly and was buried there.

The family was probably traveling with other settlers as they continued on to Alabama where Temperance gave birth to their last child in 1821. They settled and became squatters on land near the Patsaliga River in the Oakey Streak community. Temperance died there in 1865 and was buried in the Oakey Streak Methodist Church Cemetery where many Ballard relatives were also buried.

Joseph’s oldest son, Benjamin Randall Ballard, born in 1811 in South Carolina, was only a young child when the family arrived in the area to become Covington County. In 1830, he was married to Sarah Nancy Ann Jones (1816-1894), daughter of Joseph and Winneford Jones and a native of Georgia.

Benjamin and Sarah reared a large family of 11 children: Elizabeth Lanie, b. 1833, d. 1860, single; Joseph Hardy “Buck,” b. 1835, d. ca 1861 in war; Polly Susannah, b. 1837, d. 1840; Evans Coleman, b. 1840, d. 1913, m. (1) Nancy Henrietta Lassiter (2) Gerina Carolina Moore; Nancy Jane, b. 1842, d. 1919, single; Presley Preston, b. 1844, d. ca 1861 in war; Sarah Ann, b. 1846, d. ca 1917, m. Jerry Aplin; Benjamin Randall Butler, b. 1849, d. ca 1918, m. Mary Elizabeth Ethridge; Hastings Uriah Gilchrist, b. 1851, d. 1935, m. (1) Sarah Stricklin (2) Minnie E. Barrow (3) Mary E. Boykin; Burse Lasting Gail, b. 1856, d. 1931, m. Lula Barrow; and Nancy Ann, b. 1859, d. 1910, m. James Edward Josey.

Benjamin became a highly skilled craftsman and built heirloom quality furniture pieces for members of his family. He was a successful farmer, timber man and certified for certain medical practices. He often assisted his brother, Jonathan O. Ballard, who became a physician and served the Oakey Streak community. It is sometimes stated that Jonathan O. was the first formally trained medical doctor in Covington County. At 53 years of age in 1864, Benjamin enlisted as a private in Company B., Covington County Reserves (First Class) for the Confederate Army. In 1867, he was listed as a registered voter in Covington County. At some point he and his wife moved to Burke County, Georgia, as he died there in 1890, and she, in 1894.

Benjamin’s fourth child, Evans Coleman Ballard, was born in Covington County. At 21 years of age, he enlisted in July 1861 at Greenville to serve with the Confederate Army. In Montgomery, he was assigned as a private in Company G, 13th Alabama Infantry Regiment. He was captured at Sharpsburg, Maryland, and imprisoned for 14 days. He was wounded at Gettysburg in 1863 and again at Davis Farm in 1864. In August 1863, he was promoted to 3rd. Sergeant and continued to serve with his company. At he end of the war he was paroled on April 10, 1865.

Evans Coleman returned home from the war and married in 1865 Nancy Henrietta Lassiter (1844-1883). They reared the following children: Thomas Jefferson, b. 1867, d. 1912, m. Sarah Alice Ganey; Evans Coleman Jr., b.&d. 1868; Anna, b. 1869, d. 1939, m. Joseph E.J. Deer; Benjamin Randall, b. 1871, d. 1936, m. Tabitha a Bronson Owens (1875-1956); John Beauregard, b. ca 1872, d. 1897, m. Emily Owens; Viola Deluta, b. 1873, d. 1946, m. John D. Thomas; Charlie Monroe, b. 1876, d. 1918, m. Lena Clementine Gregory; George Columbus, b. 1878, d. 1928, m. Mary Anna Raybon; Nancy Henrietta, b. 1880, d. 1945, m. James Miller Byrd; and Minnie, b. 1881, d. 1952, m. John S. Roberson.

After Nancy Henrietta’s death, Evans Coleman, was married to Gerina Carolina Moore (1850-1924). They had the following three children: Evans Coleman, b. 1885; Emma Gerina, b. 1887, d. 1913, m. John D. Thomas; and Jake, b. 1891, d. 1959, m. Annie Mae Morgan (1889-1976).

Evans Coleman eventually settled in the Rutledge community and became a large landowner and farmer in Crenshaw County. In addition, he owned and operated a combination cotton gin, gristmill and sawmill, which were powered by a steam engine.

His oldest son, Thomas Jefferson, was married to Sarah Alice Ganey (1869-1911), daughter of Noel Joshua and Parmilia Amanda (Compton) Ganey. They began their home in Crenshaw County at a residence located between Hardrock Church and Chapel Hill Church. They later moved to Coffee County where Thomas died in 1912. Following his death, his brother, Dr. Benjamin Randall Ballard, acquired ownership of the land, which he left to his daughter, Gladys Ballard, who lived in the house for many years.

The next generation beginning with Thomas Jefferson Ballard’s children will be covered in the column for next week. His brother, Benjamin Randall Ballard, became a well-respected medical doctor who served the community of Alberton, which is located just over the Covington County line in Coffee County.

The sources of this Ballard genealogy include Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871, family records of Perry Ballard and family records of Lois (Ballard) Duensing and her brother, Raymond Ballard.

Anyone who might have any corrections to the above genealogy or additional information on this family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or e-mail

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will have its annual Thanksgiving covered dish dinner at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 18 at a location to be announced. Officers for the next year will be elected. Guests are welcome to attend and share this occasion.