Ball Family Slaveholders, 1698-1865
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In the 167 years between 1698 and 1865, the Ball family owned more than twenty rice plantations in Lowcountry South Carolina and enslaved nearly 4,000 Africans and African Americans. 
The Ball family’s slaveholding history begins with John Coming (d. 1695). Coming, a mariner from Devon, England was employed making round trips from England to the fledgling Carolina colony, carrying passengers and cargo. On one such trip he met Affra Harleston (d. ca. 1699), who left her affluent family in Ireland to become a settler in Carolina. John and Affra were married aboard the ship or shortly after arriving in Carolina. 
In 1698, John and Affra began building a foundation in Carolina. On one visit to England, John contracted with six indentured servants and brought them on his return trip to Carolina . The Fundamental Constitutions, the guidelines for the settlement of Carolina, provided 150 acres of land for each laborer brought to Carolina. After contracting with the indentured servants, John received a warrant for 900 acres of land. 
John and Affra originally settled in town on a small lot. After redeeming several land warrants, they settled on land in the fork of the Cooper River which came to be known as Coming’s T. In marshes below the T, the tides determined the level of water. Above the T, the water ran fresh. 
Over the years, the name of John and Affra’s plantation would change in popular usage from Comings T to Comingsteee, and eventually to Comingtee, as it is known today. After the servants’ indentures expired, John Coming began purchasing chattel slaves. 
John and Affra never had children, and at some point John began to think about passing along the stake he had built in Carolina to an heir. He and Affra settled upon leaving their estate to one of John’s nephews and one of Affra’s nephews.
John Coming died 1 Nov 1695. In his will, dated 20 Aug 1694, John left all of his property to Affra and made her sole executrix of his estate. 
In her will, dated 28 Dec 1698, Affra bequeathed her estate to nephews John Harleston and Elias Ball, to be divided equally among them. Although her estate inventory is not among the earliest filed in Carolina, Affra’s bequest of “all my Negroes and Indian servants” suggests that both Africans and Native people were among the enslaved at Comingtee. 
Elias Ball and John Harleston
Elias Ball (1676-1751) was twenty-two years old when he claimed his inheritance in Carolina. He and cousin John Harleston divided the land, property and enslaved people left to them, settled on their land and began to grow their estates. 
Elias also commenced keeping detailed plantation records. In his plantation journals, Elias Ball recorded purchases and sales of slaves, births and deaths, and annually listed enslaved people by household. It is because of the Ball family’s detailed record keeping that we can now reconstruct the lineages on Ball family plantations, and begin to learn the life stories of the enslaved whose lives and fates were intertwined with those of Ball family slaveholders.
Elias Ball died in September 1751, at the age of 75. 
Generation Two: Second Elias, John Coming, Ann, Eleanor and Elizabeth Ball
In the late 1730’s, Elias Ball moved to town and left the management of his estate to sons Elias (“Second Elias,” 1709-1786) and John Coming Ball (1714-1764). John Coming developed Hyde Park Plantation, purchased in March 1740, while Second Elias remained at Comingtee alone. 
Second Elias already owned the 1,000 acre tract known as St. James. In 1747, he married Lydia (Child) Chicken (1721-1765), widow of George Chicken. With his marriage to Lydia, Strawberry Plantation, a plantation belonging to her deceased first husband George Chicken, came into Ball ownership.
In Feb 1747, Elias purchased an undeveloped tract of 670 acres next to Hyde Park, which he named Kensington. Elias and Lydia then moved to Kensington with about seventy-five enslaved people. 
After his father’s death in 1751, John Coming’s plantation holdings included not only Hyde Park, but also Cypress Grove, Dockum and Three Mile Head (Dockum and Three Mile Head are referred to as “lands” in Elias Ball’s will and may not have been developed plantations). 
John Coming and Second Elias’ sister Ann Ball (1701-1765) married George Austin. His sister Eleanor Ball (1707-1723) married Henry Laurens. George Austin and Henry Laurens were partners in the thriving slave trading firm Austin and Laurens, which became the main supplier of enslaved people to the Ball family. 
Sister Elizabeth (1711-1746) married Richard Shubrick, who owned Quenby Plantation. 
Generation Three: Children of John Coming Ball
John Coming Ball (1716-1764) married first, Catherine Gendron. Together they had six children, five of whom survived to adulthood. He married second, Judith Boisseau, with whom he had five children. Three survived to adulthood. 
John Coming Ball and Catherine Gendron’s daughter Ann Ball (1753-1826) married Richard Waring, who owned Tranquil Hill Plantation.  Ann’s brother Elias Ball (“Wambaw Elias”) (1744-1822) owned Wambaw Plantation.  He was the commander of a British unit in the Revolutionary War, holding the rank of colonel. 
In 1780, when the British occupied Charleston, many enslaved workers from Ball family plantations fled to the British. At least fifty-one people left from Kensington Plantation alone. 
After the British defeat, patriot forces fell upon Wambaw Elias’ estate and carried off at least fifty-two slaves, who were sold on June 22, 1782. 
Elias sold the one hundred enslaved people still remaining at Wambaw to his cousin Third Elias (1752-1810). Wambaw Elias then migrated to England with wife Catherine Gaillard. Wambaw Plantation was seized by the Americans, surveyed and resold. 
At least one Ball family member took advantage of the sales of forfeited estates. John Coming (1758-1792), son of John Coming Ball and Judith Boisseau and brother of Wambaw Elias, purchased Back River Plantation after the war.  At the time of his death in 1792, he held eighty-six enslaved people. 
Generation Three: Children of Second Elias ~ John, Third Elias, and Isaac Ball
Second Elias (1709-1786) died 8 Aug 1786 at Kensington. In his will he left Limerick and Comingtee plantations to son Third Elias (1752-1810). To son John (1760-1817) he left Kensington and Hyde Park plantations. Daughter Lydia Ball (1757-1843) received a house in town. 
After Second Elias’ death, the enslaved people on Kensington Plantation were divided between the two brothers. Third Elias took sixty-two people to Limerick, while the remaining enslaved remained on Kensington. 
The 1790 U.S. Census was the first to list heads of households in South Carolina. By 1790, Third Elias held 246 enslaved people on his three plantations. Brother John held 188 slaves on three plantations. 
In the early 1800s Third Elias purchased Pimlico and Keckliko Plantations (p260). Brother John purchased three plantations in the early 1800s, Midway, Belle Isle and Marshlands. By 1805 Third Elias owned at least 500 enslaved people. 
John’s wife Jane died in October of 1804 (p261, Ball family genealogy). Nine months later, John married Martha Caroline Swinton. Together they had eleven children. Nine survived to adulthood 
In December of 1803 the slave trade was reopened in South Carolina and both Third Elias and John began purchasing new African slaves. 
Third Elias died unmarried in 1810 (p263). In his will, he left Limerick and its 283 enslaved people to nephew Isaac Ball (1785-1825). To brother John he left his Pimlico, Kecklico and Mepshew plantations. 
John Ball died in 1817 at age fifty-seven. At his death he owned seven plantations (Kensington, Hyde Park, Midway, Pimlico, Belle Isle, White Hall and Marshlands) and 695 enslaved people. In his will he directed the sale of all of his land and many of the enslaved people. On 8 Feb 1819, auctioneers William Payne and Sons presided over the sale of 367 enslaved people in John Ball’s estate. John Jr. (1782-1834) bought Kensington and Midway, brother Isaac Ball (1785-1825) (who already owned Limerick) purchased Hyde Park (p264). John Jr. bought sixty-six of his father’s slaves, Isaac bought sixty. Thirty-nine people from Marshlands were sold to fourteen different buyers. Thirty-one people from Belle Isle were sold to eight different buyers. From White Hall, twenty-three went to nine buyers .
Generation 4: Children of John Ball
By 1824, John Ball’s son Isaac Ball (1785-1825) owned 571 enslaved people. Brother John Ball, Jr. (1782-1834) owned 542. Unlike their father, both John Jr. and Isaac lived in town. Their plantation proceeds paid for their urban lifestyle while the plantations were managed by overseers. 
John Jr. married first Elizabeth Bryan (1784-1812) and second Ann Simons (1776-1840). 
John Jr. managed the accounts of half brothers Alwyn (1807-1835), Hugh Swinton (1808-1838) and Elias Octavious (1809-1893), who were minors when their father John Ball died.  All told, Caroline Swinton’s nine surviving children with John Ball owned 173 enslaved people, managed by half brother and executor John Jr. 
John Jr. died in June 1834 of malaria, at age fifty-one. 
Alwyn Ball (1807-1835) married Esther McClellan. Together They had five children. Alwyn died in July 1835 at age twenty-eight. 
Elias Octavious Ball (1809-1843) married Amelia Waring. 
Hugh Swinton Ball (1808-1838) married Anna Channing, a native of Boston. Hugh Swinton and wife Anna died in June 14 1838 in the explosion of the steamer Pulaski, bound from New York to Charleston. Hugh Swinton was thirty years old at his death. Hugh Swinton and Anna’s property passed to Anna’s family in Boston, in an equity suit. The enslaved workers on Hugh Swinton’s Pimlico Plantation were ordered sold in family groups. 
Shortly after he inherited Limerick Plantation from his uncle Third Elias, Issac Ball (1785-1825, son of John and Jane Ball) married Eliza Catherine Poyas and began construction of a grand house on East Bay Street in Charleston. Isaac and Eliza had five children. Three survived to adulthood. 
Generation 5: William James, Jane and John Ball
Isaac Ball (1785-1825) died of malaria in 1825. In his will, Isaac bequeathed Limerick Plantation to his four-year old son William James Ball (1821-1891). His estate was managed by trustees while he was a minor. William’s sister Jane Ball (1823-1905) inherited Quenby Plantation. Brother John received Hyde Park. Isaac’s brother John Jr. (1782-1834) inherited Isaac’s Jericho Plantation. 
At age twenty William James married Julia Cart . Julia Cart Ball died in July 1858. William James remarried in 1862 to cousin Mary H. Gibbs. 
William’s sister Jane Ball (1823-1905) married John G. Shoolbred in 1842. He died the same year, before the birth of his son John G. Shoolbred, Jr. 
William James’ brother John Ball (1825-1852), owner of Hyde Park, died several years later at age twenty-seven. William assumed the management of both Quenby and Hyde Park. In 1842 William James purchased Halidon Hill Plantation and in 1850 he purchased Cedar Hill.  In 1857 he purchased Cherry Hill Plantation.  In 1859 he purchased The Blessing, a 631 acre tract. 
When the Civil War began, William James Ball (1821-1891, son of Isaac Ball and Eliza C. Poyas) owned or controlled eight plantations. He owned Limerick, Halidon Hill, Cedar Hill, Cherry Hill and The Blessing. He managed Quenby on behalf of his sister Jane Ball Shoolbred and Hyde Park and Jericho plantations in the estate of his deceased brother John Ball, Jr. (1782-1834). 
William James Ball’s cousin Keating Simons Ball (1818-1891) (son of John Ball, Jr. and Ann Simons) owned Comingtee Plantation and 160 enslaved people. Elias Horry Deas (1803-1867), widower of Keating’s sister Ann Ball Deas (1815-1859), owned Pawleys and Buck Hall plantations. Elias Nonus Ball (1834-1872) (son of Elias Octavious Ball and Amelia Waring) owned Dean Hall. William’s son Isaac (1844-1933) owned a plantation called The Bluff. 
Together, Ball family members held at least 842 slaves at the start of the war. 
On Feb 26, 1865 Union soldiers appeared at Limerick and informed the enslaved that they were free. One by one, enslaved communities on Ball family plantations learned of their freedom. And one by one, newly-freed people chose to stake their claim in free life elsewhere, or remain on Ball family plantations as wage laborers. 
At Comingtee, fifty-five Freedmen entered into a labor contract with Keating S. Ball. Twenty-nine Freedmen remained and signed a labor contract at William James Ball‘s Limerick plantation. At Elias Horry Deas‘ Buck Hall plantation, sixty-five Freedmen stayed on or came from other plantations to work on Deas’ land. 
Photo: Comingtee, Cooper River, Cordesville, Berkeley County, SC. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. Digital ID: sc0349.photos.151984p http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.sc0349/photos.151984p, accessed 29 Sep 2013
 Ball, Edward 1998 Slaves In the Family. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 7. (Hereinafter Ball 1998)
 Ball 1998, pp. 26-27.
 Ball 1998, p. 30
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 Ball 1998, p. 36
 “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” Database online at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919417: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Will of John Coming, Wills, 1671-1724, Vol. 001, p. 58. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19388-40941-59?cc=1919417&wc=9386003)
 “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” Database online at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919417: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Will of Affra Coming, Wills, 1671-1724, Vol. 001, p. 14. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19388-33138-15?cc=1919417&wc=9386003)
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 Ball 1998, p. 177; “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” Database
online at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919417:
accessed 27 Mar 2013), Will of Elias Ball, Wills, 1671-1724, Vol. 6, pp. 546-549. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19428-5221-16?cc=1919417&wc=9386041); “South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872,” Database online at Fold 3
(http://www.fold3.com/title_700/south_carolina_estate_inventories_and_bills/: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Estate Inventory of Elias Ball, Book T (1758-61) pp. 81-82.
 “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” Database online at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919417: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Will of Elias Ball, Wills, 1671-1724, Vol. 22, pp. 287-290. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19420-90846-15?cc=1919417&wc=9386072)
 Ball 1998, pp. 244-245.
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 Ball 1998, p. 227.
 Ball 1998, p. 227.
 Ball 1998, p. 230; Ball, John 1780 “A Fair List of the Negroes That is Gone from Kensington,” Ball Family Papers, Duke University Special Collections, Durham, North Carolina.
 Ball 1998, p. 236.
 Ball 1998, p. 236; South Carolina, Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. Plan for Resurvey of 3,038 Acres on Wambaw Swamp, St. James Parish, Surveyed by William Evans, Formerly the Property of Elias Ball. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Series S213187, Vol. 1, page 10, http://www.archivesindex.sc.gov/onlinearchives/ArchivesImages/S213187/S21318700010001001.pdf, accessed 27 Mar 2013.
 Ball 1998, p. 246.
 “South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872,” Database online at Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com/title_700/south_carolina_estate_inventories_and_bills/: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Estate Inventory of Elias Ball, Book B (1787-1793) pp. 493-494 and 537.
 Ball 1998, p. 239.
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 Ball 1998, p. 260.
 “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” Database online at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919417: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Will of John Ball, Wills, 1671-1724, Vol. 33, pp. 1324-1327. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-8024-9?cc=1919417&wc=9386083)
 Ball 1998, p. 264; “South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872,” Database online at Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com/title_700/south_carolina_estate_inventories_and_bills/: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Estate Inventory of John Ball, Book E (1802-1819) pp. 458-467; “Sales on Account of John Ball, Deceased,” Duke University Special Collections Library, Durham, North Carolina.
 Ball 1998, pp. 296-297.
 Ball 1998, Appendix 1: Descendants of Elias Ball I of South Carolina.”
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,  and  Ball 1998, p. 313.
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 Ball 1998, pp. 314-315; “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” Database online at FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1919417: accessed 27 Mar 2013), Will of Isaacs Ball, Wills, 1671-1724, Vol. 36, pp. 1202-1208. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19424-77447-24?cc=1919417&wc=9386086).
 Ball 1998, p. 315.
 Ball 1998, Appendix 1: Descendants of Elias Ball I of South Carolina;” Ball 1998, p. 320.
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 Ball 1998, pp. 343-344.
 Freedmen’s Labor Contract “Keating S. Ball and the Freedmen and Women,” Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, NARA Record Group 105, MC 1910, Reel 89, Target 11; Freedmen’s Labor Contract “W.J. and the Freedmen and Women,” Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, NARA Record Group 105, MC 1910, Reel 89, Target 11; Freedmen’s Labor Contract “E.H. Deas and the Freedmen and Women,” Records of the Field Offices for the State of South Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872, NARA Record Group 105, MC 1910, Reel 89, Target 11
Deas, Anne Simons 1909 Recollections of the Ball Family of South Carolina and the Comingtee Plantation. Full-Text available online at Open Library, http://openlibrary.org/books/OL7034550M/Recollections_of_the_Ball_family_of_South_Carolina_and_the_Comingtee_plantations.