Facts and Events
The "Montague Fallacy"
For many years, people claiming to be descendants of President George Washington (who had no children) have claimed that his mother, second wife of Capt. Augustine Washington was a Montague (supposedly a grand-daughter of Peter Montague), but this this is not the case as anyone who has undertaken the Montague genealogy can attest.
Others have attempted to explain her identity from this record: marriage record of a William Johnson "of Norwich, England" and a Mary Bennett "of West Chester, England", as follows::10 Feb 1688/9: Christ Church Parish Register of Middlesex Co., 1615-1812. This marriage did occur, but it does not make Mary Bennett Johnson the future wife of Joseph Ball of Lancaster County or the mother of Mary Ball.
A complete analysis of the records and documentation researched by "The House of Montague" is at the following site: http://www.houseofmontague.com/BIZyCart.asp?GROUP=HistoryPeter&STYLE=Base&NEXTPAGE=History.htm&CLIENT=Montague
This site pretty well disproves any notion that Mary (----) Johnson Ball Hewes was a Montague. No serious Ball researchers accept the Montague theory. It has been discarded long ago.
Thrice Married Mary
All that anyone ever wrote about her comes from a daughter of Esther Ball Chinn, and that was that she was "an English Woman." All further speculations are spurious and cannot be proved by any record. (See: Joseph Ball Letter Book)
Mary (----) was married three times. She died in Northumberland County in 1721: Before her appearance on the scene in the household of Joseph Ball of Lancaster County, she remains a mystery. In attempts to solve this mystery, many people have manufactured many implausible explanations. The two most prominent myths both claim Middlesex County origins for our mystery woman. Both take very divergent--and equally erroneous--paths.
One myth says she (Mary) was a Montague, daughter (and sometimes called a granddaughter) of Peter Montague. This myth stems from a signet ring seal used by George Washington that included the snippet of a wing of what some may call a heraldic Griffin. Some of the Montagues have morphed this into an entire coat of arms, which of course were not granted to a collateral family--or any family, for that matter. This myth is not new and was debunked in the 1800s. But like all myths, it refuses to die. (See: History and Genealogy of Peter Montague by George William Montague, 1884.)
The other theory is that Mary Johnson, by virtue of her name, must ipso facto be the Mary Bennet who married William Johnson in Middlesex County in 1680--and poof! that makes her the 2nd wife of Joseph Ball in Lancaster County and therefore the mother of Mary Ball. That's a nice theory, but it does not explain the fact that as late as 1714, her two Johnson children were still under the age of 18. Nor does this explain the story of William Johnson and his wife who are very much alive long after the supposed marriage of Joseph Ball to the widow Johnson of Lancaster County.
1. (-----) Johnson. The first name, place of birth and place of death of the husband Johnson are unknown. There is no proof or any believable evidence that the Mary Bennett who was the wife of William Johnson of Middlesex County was in any way connected with Joseph Ball, much less his second wife or mother of Mary Ball.
- Elizabeth 'Betty' Johnson, b. abt. 1694 (under age 18 in 1713--see will of Richard Hewes/Hughes), m. 1) Samuel Bonham bef. 1720, 2) James Straughn abt. 1728; m 3)Thomas Toben
- John Johnson, b. abt. 1691-1694 (under age age 21 in 1713--see will of Richard Hewes/Hughes); d. 1721, Northumberland Co., VA. No children. Died about the same time as his mother.
2. Col. Joseph Ball (1649-1711), his second wife and her second husband, abt. 1708
- Mary Ball, (b. 1708, Lancaster County, Virginia, d. 1789, Fairfax County, Virginia), m. Capt. Augustine Washington (abt. 1694-1743), father of President George Washington.
3. Capt. Richard Hewes (d. 1714, Northumberland county, testate), abt. 1712
Will of Mary (LNU) Johnson Ball Hewes
From Northumberland County, Virginia records:
- In the name of God Amen, the Seventeenth day of December, in the year of our Lord God, one thousand, seven hundred and twenty, I, Mary Hewes, of St. Stephen's parish, Northumberland county, widdow, being sick and weak in body, but of sound and perfect memory, thanks be to Almighty God for the same, and calling to mind the uncertain state of this transitory life and that the flesh must yield unto Death, when it shall please God to call, Do make and ordain this my last will and testament.
- First, I give and bequeath my soul (to God) that gave it me, and my body to the earth to be buried in Decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors in these presents nominated, and as touching such Worldly estate, which it hath pleased God to bestow upon me, 1 give, devise and dispose of in the following manner and forme: ,
- Imprimis, I give and devise unto my Daughter Mary Ball, one young likely negro woman to be purchased for her out of my Estate by my Executors and to be delivered unto her the said Mary Ball, at the age of Eighteen years, but my will is that if the said Mary Ball should dye without issue lawfully begotten of her body that the said negro woman with her increase shall return to my loving son, John Johnson, to him, his heirs and assigns forever.
- Item. I give and bequeath unto my said Daughter, Mary Ball, two gold rings and one being a large hoop and the other a stoned ring.
- Item. I give unto my said Daughter, Mary Ball, one young mare and her increase, which said mare I formerly gave her by word of mouth.
- Item. I give and bequeath unto my said Daughter, Mary Ball, sufficient furniture for the bed her father, Joseph Ball, left her, vizt: One suit of good curtains and fallens, one Rugg, one Quilt, one pair Blankets.
- Item. I give and bequeath unto my said Daughter, Mary Ball, two Diaper Table cloths, marked M. B. with inck, and one dozen of Diaper napkins, two towels, six plates, two pewter dishes, two basins, one large Iron pott, one Frying pann, one old trunk.
- Item. I give and bequeath unto my Said Daughter, Mary Ball, one good young Paceing horse, together with a good silk plush side saddle to be purchased by my Executors out of my Estate.
- Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, Elizabeth Bonum, one suit of white and black callico, being part of my own wearing apparel.
- Item. All the rest of my wearing apparel I give and bequeath unto my said Daughter, Mary Ball, and I do hereby appoint her (to) be under Tuttiledge and government of Capt. George Eskridge during her minority.
- Item. My will is, and I do hereby oblige my Executors to pay to the proprietor or his agent for the securing of my said Daughter, Mary Ball, her land Twelve pounds if so much (be) due.
- Item. All the rest of my estate, real and personal, whatsoever and wheresoever, I give and devise unto my son, John Johnson, and to his heirs lawfully to be begotten of his body, and for default of such Issue I devise the same unto Mary Ball and her heirs, lawfully to be begotten of her body, and for de/ault of such issue I give and Devise the said Estate unto my daughter, Elizabeth Bonum, her heirs and assigns forever.
- Item. I do hereby appoint my said son, John Johnson, and my trusty and well beloved friend Geor. Eskridge, Executors of my last will and Testament and also revoke and Disannul all other former wills or Testaments by me heretofore made or caused to be made either by word or writing, ratifying and confirming this to be my last will and Testament and no other. In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seal the Day and Date at first above written.
- The mark and seal of Mary J | j Hewes.
- Sig. (Seal)
- Signed, sealed and Published and Declared by Mary Hewes to be her last Will and Testament in presence of us.
- The mark of Robert X Bradley.
- The mark of Ralph X Smithurst.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Roberts, Gary Boyd. Ancestors of American Presidents. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009), p. 1.
- ↑ Will Abstract of Joseph Ball, in Lee, Ida J. Abstracts Lancaster County, Virginia, Wills, 1653-1800. (Richmond: Dietz Press, 1959).
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BALL, Joseph,. Psh. St. Mary's White Chapel. Will. 25 June 1711. Rec. 11 July 1711.
Wife Mary; son Joseph; daus. Hannah Travers; Anne Conway; Esther Chinn; Elizabeth Cornegie; Mary Ball; Eliza Johnson (dau. of his wife), dau. Mary, 400 acres of land in Richmond county; grandson James Cornegie (not 21) acknowledges gift to son Joseph Ball, and daus. Hannah Travers, Anne Conway and Esther Chinn made 11 Feb. 1707; Overseer John Hagan; negroes formerly belonging to Jon. Carnegie, decd. Extr. Joseph Ball. Wits. Geo. Finch, Elizabeth Finch, Margaret Miller, Joseph Taylor. W.B. 10, p. 88.