Interesting Families of Virginia
The Ballard family is listed as one of the "First Families of Virginia". Thomas Ballard, born about 1630 in England, was the first of the name to immigrate to the shores of Eastern Virginia. This wealthy, public service minded family left countless genealogical records and have been the subject of many articles about the colonial history of Virginia. They owned many acres of land and sold land for the building of the College of William and Mary. Generations later, a William Ballard did his civic duty and joined the fight for Liberty.
Many have connected these two men but I stopped with my Revolutionary soldier, William Ballard, born in Virginia in 1742 and died in West Virginia 14 September 1799, the same year that our country lost one of it's most important patriots, George Washington. As I read the records and study my family lines, I am always astonished that many of them knew the prominent men of the day, those that shaped our country. I treasure one relative's deed in Henry County, Virginia that was signed by Patrick Henry, a neighbor. Imagine having Patrick Henry as your neighbor!
The name was MacFalls... a Scottish family that came into the Valley of Virginia in the 1700's, after arriving in Philadelphia in 1749. The sons in the family stayed in Virginia with the exception of one who decided to go on into North Carolina. He retained the spelling of his name. The two sons of Squire MacFalls, who stayed in Virginia, dropped the Mac and were then known as Falls. This happened often. The Scotch-Irish settled in the Valley and like many others, kept mostly to themselves, marrying their closest neighbors, establishing their schools and churches and helped immensely to populate that part of Virginia. A lot of immigrants passed down the Shenandoah valley of Virginia but did not stay. They "went west" as the saying was at the time. This makes genealogy a big puzzle, always trying to find the right pieces. Sure they went west, but where??
Interesting Historical Places in Virginia
Why Virginia?The author of The Genealogy of the John Ash Family of Wiltshire England 1634 - 2007
is a native of Virginia and still resides in the Commonwealth of Virginia also nicknamed:
And, yes, Virginia is for Lovers
- The Old Dominion
- The Mother of States
- The Mother of Presidents
- The Mother of Statesmen
- The Cavalier State.
Forming America's Historic Triangle are Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. A visit to these historic locations gives us the opportunity to experience the very beginnings of our nation. Jamestown was home to the first permanent English settlers and our Independence was secured through the final victory battle at Yorktown.
Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown are all connected by the Colonial Parkway. Once the capital of Virginia, after the statehouse in Jamestown was burned in 1698, a visit to Williamsburg is like stepping into the 18th century. As you walk Market Square or visit the Courthouse and other historical structures and buildings you truly feel you are in a different time and place. From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's website .... "When Virginia's General Assembly created Williamsburg in 1699, it ordered that its main street "in honor of his Highness William Duke of Gloucester shall for ever hereafter be called and knowne by the Name of Duke of Gloucester Street." When President Franklin Roosevelt visited 275 years later to dedicate Duke of Gloucester Street's reconstruction, he said it "rightly can be called the most historic avenue in all America."
The Appomattox Court House – National Historic Park, Virginia, is another interesting place to visit. If you visit the website, you can read about the history, culture, people and places as well as stories of General Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. In the parlor of Wilmer and Virginia McLean's home, an interesting story tells of the "silent witness" to the terms of the surrender, little Lulu McLean's rag doll.
You'll love Virginia!
While visiting and traveling through Virginia, you will inevitably become familiar with some of the foods and products that Virginia is so well known for: Virginia peanuts, some of the best peanuts you will find anywhere, the unique Smithfield hams, handmade dolls, handmade wooden toys and hand-blown glass.
The mountains of Virginia are fabulous. Traveling over the Blue Ridge Mountains offers a spectacular scenic journey with scenic views and lookouts scattered along the way. You will definately want to go under the mountains too! and visit Luray Caverns or Shenandoah Caverns.
The James River Plantations, nine historic estates that line Virginia's Route 5, are another stopping point for anyone traveling through Virginia.
Virginia has scores of other places to visit for both leisure travelers and fun seeking adventurers to include Virginia Beach, Colonial Downs, Paramount King's Dominion, Mount Vernon, the University of Virginia, Busch Gardens, Water Country, Presidents Park which features 16-18 foot busts of all 43 Presidents of the United States placed in a garden setting, Old Town Alexandria and the Arlington National Cemetery, both in Northern Virginia. The list could go on.
One of Virginia's unique fishing villages is Chincoteague Island which is filled with natural charm. The wild ponies of Chincoteague are treasured and loved by the residents of Chincoteague and they attract many tourists during Pony Penning Week when they swim from Assateague to Chincoteague. Read more about Chincoteague at Chincoteague.com.
There were once many Covered Bridges and Swinging Bridges in Virginia. Today, only eight covered bridges still stand. The author of The Genealogy of the John Ash Family of Wiltshire, England 1735 – 2007 loves swinging bridges and walked across many as a child and during the course of her research. Although many have been taken down over the years, there are some left! If you ever get a chance... walk across a swinging bridge!
View some videos on YouTube.com of some swinging bridges from around the world.
The Swinging Bridge
How not to ride a bike across a swinging bridge!
Crossing the Swinging Bridge
A lively video of group crossing a swinging bridge.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Ireland
Don't look down!
Low Cost Suspension Footbridge
Maybe you'd like to build a swinging bridge?
Map: 1860 Federal Census of Washington County, Virginia
Posted with the permission of Edgar A. Howard.