The Ballou family of New England traces its origin to Maturin Ballou, who settled in Providence , Rhode Island , some time prior to 1646. He was one of thirty-five so-called “quarter-rights men” who received twenty-five acres of land apiece early in 1646, and in turn signed a pledge of “Obeydience to the Authority of King, & parliament ... and to all Such wholesome Lawes, & Orders, that are or Shall be made, by the Major consent of this Towne of Providence."
Maturin Ballou and his future father-in-law Robert Pike were in the first group of these quarter-rights men. Thus, although Maturin Ballou was a relatively early settler at Providence , he was not – as later generations of Ballous sometimes implied – among the founders of the colony. On the first page of the family history and genealogy, compiled in the 1880s by Maturin ’s great-great-great-grandson Adin Ballou, the founder of the family is described as “a co-proprietor of the Providence Plantations in the Colony of Rhode Island.” This description is not absolutely incorrect – as a shareholder in the fellowship, he was a part owner or “co-proprietor” of the town – but it is misleading. The implication is that he was a co-founder of the colony, rather than one immigrant among many, admitted to full citizenship over twenty years after the first settlement, and then only when the requirements were lowered. Similarly, the Genealogy quotes the colonial records as saying, “At a Meeting at Warwick , May 18th, 1658 , Robert Pyke and Maturin Ballue were admitted freemen.” Actually, the names of Ballou and Pike appear in a list of twenty-eight persons entered as freemen at this meeting, three days after the town meeting at which all inhabitants of Providence had been made freemen.
Maturin Ballou was not a prominent citizen of Providence . He did eventually become a freeman of the town and a land owner, but only in the smallest possible way. He never held public office or featured prominently in town affairs; he appears in the records of the colony only in lists of inhabitants or in connection with the buying and selling of small parcels of land. After acquiring his quarter-share, Maturin Ballou was able to increase his property somewhat: he purchased a house lot in 1650, three acres in 1657, six acres in 1661, and a share of some newly acquired land “on the East Side of the Seven mile line” in 1665. He and his wife Hannah Pike lived quietly on their small homestead and eventually had six children, of whom three lived to have families of their own. The dates of his birth, marriage, arrival in Providence , and death are all unrecorded.
This was the unremarkable origin of a family that grew over the next several centuries into a numerous and prominent one, distinguished particularly in the history of the state of Rhode Island and of the Universalist church in America . The family history and genealogy published in 1888 lists over 8000 descendants, and laments many more who could not be traced.
Hughes, Lynn Gordon. The European Origin of the Ballou Family - A Review of the Evidence. http://www.ballewassn.org/ballou_origins.htm
- Source: S110 Title: Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Database Index Abbreviation: RI:Cemetery Database Author: index compiled by John Sterling Publication: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass., 2003 Repository: #R28
- Repository: R28 Name: New England Ancestors online (NEGHS) Address: City: www.newenglandancestors.org
- Source: S17 Title: An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America Abbreviation: Elaborate Hist.Geneal. of the Ballous Author: Adin Ballou Publication: Privately Published, Providence, Rhode Island, 1888 Repository: #R1
- Repository: R1 Name: DAR Library Address: 1776 D. Street NW City: Washington D.C Postal Code: 20006-5392 Phone Number: 202-879-3229
Transcriptions of Original Documents
The earliest recorded document of the Colony which mentions Maturin Ballou in an Agreement, bearing the names of twenty-eight persons as subscribers. This Agreement is dated "The 19 of 11 mo, 1645," which, as the months were then numbered, must, we suppose, be understood as January 19, 1646, Old Style. The following is a copy:"We whose names are hereunto subscribed, having obtained a free grant of Twenty-five acres of land apiece, with the right of commoning according to the said proportion of land, from the few inhabitants of this town of Providence, do thankfully accept of the same, and do hereby promise to yield active and passive obedience to the authority of the King and Parliament [The State of England], as established in this Colony according to our Charter, and to all such wholesome laws and orders that are or shall be made by the major consent of the Town of Providence, as also not to claim any right to the purchase of the said plantations, nor any privilege of vote in town affairs until we shall be received as freemen of the said town of Providence."
From a small old Record Book with brass clasps on loose leaves in the City Clerk's Office, Providence, R. I. See also in said office a Book entitled "Deeds Transcribed," p. 87. Among the twenty-eight signatures stands the name of Mathurin Bellou, and immediately preceding it that of Robert Pyke. The original document and signatures are not extant, but the orthography of the names may be presumed to have been followed by the recorder. Maturin Ballou and Robert Pike appear to have joined the Colony at the same time, and afterwards were intimately connected till death. It will be seen, from the terms of the Agreement, that they could not enter into possession of their lands, and privileges of citizenship, till received as freemen of the Town. It is understood that they were very soon received as such.
Be this as it may have been, the Colonial Records, Vol. I., p. 387, say: "At a Meeting at Warwick, May 18th, 1658, Robert Pyke and Maturin Ballue were admitted freemen." We may infer that they had, before this, been made in some sort freemen of Providence, and that this act of the Colonial Assembly enlarged their franchise, or at least confirmed it as Colonial citizens. Their special intimacy became cemented by Ballou's marriage to the daughter of Pike, and their lands were probably laid out in close adjacency, especially their home-lots. These appear to have been located on or near the little Moshassuck river, not far from the mill of John Smith, which was burned, as above mentioned, by Philip's Indians in 1676. It is supposed to have stood near the sife of the present dam. This was in the northerly section of the town as originally settled. In that neighborhood Robert Pike and Maturin Ballou had their homesteads. Various parcels of out-lands are recorded to have been subsequently assigned to them in the near or more distant vicinity, as will hereinafter appear. Nothing has come down to us historically respecting their character and standing. They attained to no official dignity in the Colony, but may be confidently presumed to have been worthy persons in all their civil, social and domestic relations. We learn from the records that Pike had a wife Catherine, a daughter Hannah, a brother Conant and a sister Justina. No others are mentioned. What became of Conant Pike is not indicated. The sister, Justina, was married to Nathaniel Patten of Dorchester, Mass., where both lived and died. She survived, and died his widow in 1675, leaving a legacy of goods and money to her Providence relatives of some 20. Her brother Robert had deceased, but Mrs. Catherine, her daughter Hannah, and several of her children, the Ballous, inherited the bequest. After the four surviving children came of age, the estates of their father and grandfather were legally divided between them and their mother.
The following is the recorded document specifying that division: "Whereas it hath pleased God by death to remove Matureene Belloo & Robert Pike, formerly of ye town of Providence in ye collony of Rhode Island & Providence Plantations in New England, and each of them leaving some estate behind them in housing, lands, goods and chattel; and whereas ye said Matureene Belloo & ye said Robert Pike died making no legal instrument or instruments of disposition of their said estates, by reason whereof, if not timely prevented, controverseys may arise amongst their successors concerning the said estates; therefore, for ye preventing of all inconveniency or differences & discord which might at any time arise between ye successors and survivors of ye said Matureene Belloo, Robert Pike & their posterity, it is covenanted, concluded, determined & fully & jointly agreed by Hannah Belloo, widdow & Relique of ye aforesaid deceased Matureene Belloo & daughter of ye said deceased Robert Pike, & by John Belloo, eldest son of ye said Matureene Belloo, and by James Belloo, son of ye said Matureene Belloo, and by Peter Belloo, son of ye said Matureene Belloo, and by Hannah Belloo, daughter of ye said Matureene Belloo, all of ye said town of Providence and collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England: that the house lot, which is in ye aforesaid Providence, the one which belonged to ye said Robert Pike, & also ye house lot which belonged unto ye aforesaid Matureen Belloo with all ye housing on it, & ye share of medow which belonged to ye said Matureene Belloo which lieth at ye great medow, and half ye right of common land yet divisible upon it, reckoning so far west as ye seven mile line, which belonged to ye said Robert Pike, and one quarter part ye right which belonged to ye said Matureene Belloo on ye west side of ye seven mile line, with all and every their appertances, three cows & five swine & all ye household goods, shall belong unto ye said Hannah Belloo, widdow, and ye said Hannah Belloo, daughter, of ye said Matureene Belloo, unto them and their heirs and assigns forever. And if any of said estate shall at any time be disposed of, it shall be with both their consents and approbation; and that ye said estate of housing, lands, goods and cattle what shall be & remainders possessed of by ye said two persons shall revert and be unto ye longest lived of said two persons, (namely) ye said Hannah Belloo, widdow, & Hannah Belloo, daughter, of ye said Matureene Belloo, to their heirs and assigns for ever. Secondly--that the sixty acres of upland in ye 2d division & ye share of medow in ye same division in ye right of ye said Matureene Belloo & one half ye right of common, reckoning so far west from ye town of Providence as ye seven mile line, & a quarter part of ye right beyond ye seven mile line, & one acre of swamp land adjoining to ye aforesaid share of medow, & half a six acre lot lying in ye neck between ye land of John Brown & ye land of Shadrach Manton, it being the west end or west half of said six acres of land, together with all and every of their appertances, to be unto ye said John Belloo, to him & his heirs & assigns for ever. Thirdly--that the sixty acres of land in ye 2d division in ye right of ye said Robert Pike, & ye ten acres of land in ye said division in ye right of ye said Robert Pike in lieu of a share of medow, and a piece of swampy land which was laid out in exchange from ye new field in ye right of ye aforesaid Matureene Belloo, & half of ye right of common reaching from ye town of Providence so far west as ye seven mile line in ye right of ye aforesaid Robert Pike, with what lands are divisible upon it, & one quarter part in ye right of ye aforesaid Matureene Belloo in ye land beyond ye seven mile line, & one quarter part of a six acre lot lying in ye neck betwixt ye land of John Brown and ye land of Shadrach Manton, the which said quarter part of ye said six acre lot is to be at the east end thereof, all the said lands & Common & all and every of their appertances to be unto ye said James Belloo afore named, to his heirs and assigns forever. Fourthly--that the ten acres of land which was bought of Samuel Whipple lying westward of ye brook called Robbins brook & Southward from Walling's furnace, & eleven acres of swampy land lying in ye great swamp in ye neck, the which is both in ye right of Robert Pike aforesaid, & also of ye aforesaid Matureene Belloo, and half a right of Common reaching from ye town of Providence so far west as ye seven mile line with ye lands yet divisible upon it in ye right of ye said Matureene Belloo, & a quarter part of ye right of ye said Matureene in ye land beyond on ye west side of ye seven mile line, and one quarter part of a six acre lot in ye neck which lyeth between ye land of John Brown & ye land of Shadrach Manton, the which said quarter part is to be between the aforesaid John Belloo his share of ye six acres & ye said James Belloo his share of ye said six acres, to be, all and every part of the said lands & common & all & every of their appertances, unto ye said Peter Belloo to him, his heirs & assigns for ever. Fifthly--that in case it shall so fall that ye aforesaid Hannah Belloo, widdow, shall stand in need of assistance with maintainance for her relief, then shall the said John Belloo & James Belloo & Peter Belloo each of them and their executors, heirs & administrators, be at equal charges for her maintainance to the end of her natural life. Sixthly--that four written instruments be made the which shall all correspond & agree each with the other, and that each one of ye aforesaid concerned persons shall sign and set his seal to every one of ye said four written instruments, that any one of ye said four written instruments shall be good to all intents and purposes for each of said persons their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns to hold and maintain their lands and estates by the which are therein contained and mentioned for each one their part, and that this instrument is one of ye said four written instruments. This being covenant conclusion, determination and full & joint agreement made by ye aforesaid Hannah Belloo, widdow, John Belloo, James Belloo, Peter Belloo & Hannah Belloo, daughter of ye said deceased Matureene Belloo; in witness thereof they do all hereunto set their hands & seals this first day of March, in ye year one thousand six hundred eighty and five, six." See Providence Records B. II. p. 112, &c.
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On February 8, 2015 at 17:48GMT Ray Jones wrote:
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