The Children of Two John Balls of Watertown

Watchers
Article Covers
Surnames
Ball
Places
Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Worcester, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Year range
1699 - 1769

Bond confuses three John Balls who lived in Watertown. Warren, in his far more recent work, seems to pretty much use Bond's data without checking, and so even though he indicates some awareness that others don't follow Bond, he can't really find the problem. In fact, he rather fatalistically says, "I cannot see how it affects a Ball Genealogy as to which was the mother of whom." Not helpful.

Bond actually makes two mistakes, one of omission, and one of commission. First, he never shows any awareness of the birth of Mary Ball to John and Mary Ball on 22 Feb 1732/33. Second, in his abstract of the will of John-44, he adds the name of a son Daniel, which amazingly, is never mentioned in the will, and is likewise never mentioned in the list of children provided by the widow. One may speculate on how these errors came about (probably not to the benefit of Bond's reputation), but needless to say, it is impossible to figure things out without fixing those errors.

Bond intermixes facts about three John Balls:

  • John-12, whom he gives a second wife named Mary, who is really the 2nd of 3 wives of John-44. Bond might have recognized this if he hadn't missed the birth of Mary, because then he might have realized the John and Mary having a daughter was not a 64 year old man and his second wife.
  • John-37, who is the son of John-12, is given all the children born to John and Mary, even though some of them belong to John-44. Bond might have realized this if he hadn't missed the birth of Mary, because it is too close to the birth of twins Daniel and Hannah, showing there were two couples named John and Mary, and that more care allocating the children was needed.
  • John-44 is shown losing his first wife in 1728 and then waiting 11 years before he remarries Lydia Perry. Common sense suggests he may have had an intermediate wife. Indeed it is the Mary who was mistakenly identified as the second wife of John-12, and we are thus able to find the births of all the children named in the will of John-44 (which Bond has a hard time recognizing as his will, because there are so many children Bond cannot account for).
  • As a small benefit, Bond's list of unknown Balls includes a Mary Ball who married Samuel Child. The addition of the missed birth of Mary now lets us identify who she was.

We can pretty much take John-12 out of the picture. He was born in 1668, had a wife Bethiah, for whom there seems to be no death record, so no reason to think he remarried. His last known child, John-37, is born in 1704, and all the questionable births we are dealing with are about 30 years after that birth, when he is 64 or more and unlikely to be having children. I presume Bond thought the Mary who d. 1738 was the wife of this John because the death occurred in Waltham, where this John (but also the other two John) lived at the time. This John d. 1752 age 85, and seems to have no probate file.

The other two Johns left wills. John-44 left a will in Worcester in 1756, which Bond mis-abstracted. It available online here. John-37 left a will in Waltham in 1769. It is available at americanancestors.org (membership required?) It was reconciling these wills that exposed the problem with Bond. I have not searched for other treatments of the family than the ones cited, so am unaware if this is addressed in some other article, etc.

The following table attempts to explain how the children were allocated to parents. All the events come from the published vital records of Watertown, Weston, Waltham and Worcester. Since location is not really a factor it was left off to simplify the table, but the records will be cited appropriately on the pages of the respective children. Many are unambiguous, such as those where Abigail (John-44's first wife), Lydia (John-44's third wife), or Anna (John-37's second wife) are named. It is mostly the overlapping period where both men had wives named Mary that is the problem.

Date Event John-37 or John-44 Reason
17 May 1721 Grace born John-44 & Abigail mother named in birth record
22 Feb 1722/23 Amity born John-44 & Abigail mother named in birth record
16 Dec 1724 Anna born John-44 & Abigail mother named in birth record; eldest daughter in will
3 Jun 1725 John & Mary Benjamin married John-37 & Mary John-44's wife Abigail still alive
24 Mar 1725/26 Mary born John-37 & Mary John-44's wife Abigail still alive; note Bond gives incorrect death date for her; she married 1745 Samuel Child and d. 1748
5 Sep 1726 Samuel born John-44 & Abigail mother named in birth record
30 Nov 1726 Samuel died John-44 & Abigail mother named in death record
9 Jan 1727/28 Isaac born John-37 & Mary John-44's wife Abigail still alive
25 Nov 1728 wife Abigail died John-44 & Abigail this is the beginning of the overlap as he soon marries Mary
6 Aug 1730 Lydia born John-37 & Mary this is Lydia Hastings named in John-37's will
1 Oct 1731 James born John-44 & Mary second surviving child and eldest son per will
22 Feb 1732/33 Mary born John-44 & Mary other family has daughter Mary already; too close to Daniel and Hannah below to be from same family; Bond missed this
4 Mar 1732/33 Mary died John-44 & Mary Mary of other family m. 1745 so lived past this date, whereas this family has another daughter Mary born in 1741 so this must be where death goes
16 Jun 1733 Daniel (twin) born John-37 & Mary Daniel was the name of Mary Benjamin's father
16 Jun 1733 Hannah (twin) born John-37 & Mary Hannah was the name of John-37's sister
3 Jul 1733 Hannah died John-37 & Mary follows birth
6 Jul 1733 Daniel died John-37 & Mary follows birth
24 Aug 1734 Samuel born John-44 & Mary Samuel listed as third child in will
24 Feb 1735/36 Daniel born John-37 & Mary reusing name of twin who died
27 Apr 1737 Nathan born John-44 & Mary Nathan listed as fourth child in will
19 Jun 1738 Grace died John-44 & Abigail mother named in death record; this death is why she's not named in will
26 Jun 1738 Amity died John-44 & Abigail mother named in death record; this death is why she's not named in will
5 Jul 1738 wife Mary died John-44 & Mary marriage to Lydia a year later, who is named in his will; end of overlap
13 Sep 1739 William born John-37 & Mary Other Mary has died, so must be this family
24 Sep 1739 William died John-37 & Mary Other Mary has died, so must be this family
4 Oct 1739 John & Lydia Perry married John-44 & Lydia Lydia is named in will as widow
30 Jun 1740 Lydia born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record
10 Jul 1740 Lydia died John-44 & Lydia Mother named in death record
13 Aug 1741 Mary born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; named in will following all boys
22 May 1742 Elizabeth John-37 & Mary Elizabeth Lamson named in will
16 Dec 1742 Josiah (twin) born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; Named in will
16 Dec 1742 John (twin) born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; Named in will
30 Mar 1743 Daniel died John-37 & Mary See birth reason
22 Apr 1744 Isaac died John-37 & Mary See birth reason
16 Aug 1744 Isaac born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; Named in will
16 Apr 1747 Jonathan born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; Named in will
22 Apr 1747 Sarah born John-37 & Mary Mother named in birth record; Sarah Smith named in will
5 Oct 1748 Jonas born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; named in will
10 Jan 1750/51 Joseph born John-44 & Lydia Mother named in birth record; named in will
12 Nov 1752 wife Mary died John-37 & Mary marries Anna in 1753
26 Apr 1753 John & Anna Harrington married John-37 & Anna Named as widow in will
17 Feb 1755 John born John-37 & Anna Mother named in birth record; named in will
17 Jan 1760 Aaron (twin) born John-37 & Anna Mother named in birth record; not named in will; Bond says d. 1763
17 Jan 1760 Moses (twin) born John-37 & Anna Mother named in birth record; named in will
16 Jun 1766 William born John-37 & Anna Mother named in birth record; named in will

--Jrich 03:59, 15 April 2015 (UTC)