Friday, November 28, 2014

Ancestor Stories: Arthur Allen, William Ball and George Durant

     During the next few months and in honor of our 100th Anniversary year, we will feature the stories of our ancestors on this website.  

Bacon's Castle built in 1665.

Arthur Allen was a merchant, planter, and Speaker of the House of Burgesses in colonial Virginia.  A supporter of Governor Sir William Berkeley, during Bacon's Rebellion (1676-1677) his residence was seized and occupied by followers of Nathanial Bacon.  (Allen's house later became known as Bacon's Castle.)  Elected to the House of Burgesses in 1682, Allen became Speaker in 1686 and ran into conflict with two of the colony's royal governors over the scope of the governor's powers.  Following the Glorious Revolution in 1688, Allen declined to take an oath supporting the new monarchs until James II died in 1702; he thereby precluded himself from serving in public office for those years.  After swearing the oaths, Allen returned to public service.  He lost election to the House of Burgesses, but he did receive appointment to a number of minor positions before his death in 1710. (Contributed by Ella Mabie sources Encyclopedia of Virginia and Britannica Encyclopedia, picture from Wikipedia.) 


William Ball was the first member of the Ball family to come to America and was George Washington's great-grandfather, William Ball (1615- c.1680),  arrived in Virginia in the 1650s and later brought over his wife, Hannah Atherold (died 1694), two of their four children, and several servants. William Ball was the son of William Ball of Lincoln's Inn, England who was one of four attorneys in the Office of Pleas and Exchequer. In Virginia, Ball began acquiring land, engaging in commerce, and taking part in colonial politics. He served as a major in the militia of Lancaster County, Virginia, and as a member of the House of Burgesses from 1668until 1676 and again from 1676 to 1677. During this time period, Ball had dealings with John Washington, George Washington's paternal great-grandfather. The four children of William Ball and Hannah Atherold were Richard Ball (died in Maryland in 1677), William Ball (II) of Virginia, Hannah Ball (later the wife of Colonel David Fox, and Joseph Ball (1649-1711). (Mount Vernon Library and JSTOR)
 
George Durrant was a Statesman, explorer, and rebel (1632-1694) and one of early North Carolina’s most prominent leaders. As one of the first settlers in the Albemarle region, Durant became a mainstay in her politics, serving the Lord Proprietors as attorney general just two years after leading an insurrection against them. Through his leadership, Durant was instrumental in establishing local government in an area overlooked and under-appreciated by the Proprietors in London. He was a pioneer settler in Albemarle about 1662 and Speaker of the Assembly. (North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)

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