I have seen more speculation than I care to review about HAM origins in the Ashe County, North Carolina and origins in Grayson County, Virginia. However, I cannot address all of the various forms of speculation in one short article. Most speculation that I have seen can be cleared up by careful study of our book, “A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC.” It is my hope that this article will help clear up where we are with the current research of the Grayson County HAM lines.
Migration to Ashe County
Geneva located the following Grayson County record from 1826, which I think is key to showing the relationship of the Ashe County and Grayson County HAM lines. That's because the 1826 land grants in Ashe County don't tell where Thomas and William are from. However, this 1826 Grayson County deed does.
It states that in Oct 1826, William HAM, Jr. "of Ashe County NC" sells 100 acres on Brushy Creek, Grayson County VA to Joseph LYNCH. That is, the Grayson County deed shows that the Ashe County HAM lines and the Grayson County HAM lines are the same line. There is an abstract of the record in the Virginia volume of our book (volume #2, page 212).
The year 1826 marks the migration of Thomas and William HAM, Jr. to Ashe County, NC from Grayson County, VA.
The time period prior to 1783 has been the subject of much speculation. In 1782, there is a William HAM who is taxed on 200 acres in Botetourt County, VA. After 1790, this land becomes Montgomery County. The problem is that there are several William HAM's in the area at the time. The Revolutionary War was on until 1783, and many of the records of the period reflect troop movements. From 1782 to 1787, 60 % of the people in Montgomery County had been living in Montgomery County for less than 5 years.
Prior to 1798, it is difficult to determine the differences between the William HAM of Grayson County, the William HAM of Wythe County, and the William HAM of Montgomery County. And, it is not clear that the William HAM in these three Counties would be the same man.
Drury HAM - The Journey Home:
Drury HAM is the only HAM to be listed on the 1787 Tax Lists for Montgomery County. There is a William HAM who enters 100 acres on Little Brush Creek in 1783, but does not appear on the Tax Lists for Montgomery County until 1788, 1789, and 1790. In 1787 and 1788, Drury is also found in Greenbrier County along with a Samuel HAM and a Joseph HAM. Drury HAM is no longer found on the Montgomery County Tax lists after 1788. By 1789, Drury HAM is found in Greenbrier County, in what is now West Virginia. By 1791, he migrates to Madison County, Kentucky.
The curious part of the Montgomery County records during the 1780's is that both Drury HAM and William HAM eventually end up in Madison County, Kentucky. Yet, this 1783 Treasury Warrant for 100 acres in Montgomery County is eventually found in the Grayson County Plat Book. Therefore it becomes important for Grayson County descendants to understand the difference between the William HAM of Madison County and the William HAM of Grayson County. How were they different? Were they related?
We know from the Revolutionary Pension files that Drury was born in Orange County, Virginia. Later, Drury and one of the William HAM's migrate to Madison County, Kentucky (William arrived in Madison County circa 1787 and Drury circa 1791). and Drury eventually settles in Lincoln County, Kentucky. The Madison County William HAM is found in Madison County in 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, and 1792. This William HAM dies in Madison County, KY in 1812, with his estate settled in 1814 and leaving a widow named Elizabeth. By an intriguing coincidence, this William HAM also has three sons also named John, William Jr. and Thomas, but this Madison County family remained in Kentucky. It was a completely different family from the family of Grayson County, Virginia.
By following Drury HAM from Botetourt County to Montgomery County, we can obtain some clues about which William is the Grayson County William HAM, and which is the Madison County William HAM:
- in Botetourt County 1780, 1783 (Capt. John Gallaway’s Company)
- in Greenbrier County 1785, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1791
- in Montgomery County 1787, 1788
- in Madison County, KY 1791, etc.
Botetourt County William HAM:
- in Botetourt County 1774, 1782 (this land becomes Montgomery Co. in 1790),
1783 (Capt. John Gallaway’s Company)
Greenbrier County William HAM:
- in Greenbrier County 1778, 1780, 1782, 1783, 1786, 1787?, 1798
Madison County William HAM:
- in Madison County in 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, and 1792, etc.
Montgomery County William HAM:
- in Montgomery County 1783 (this land becomes Grayson County in 1793),
1788, 1789, 1790
- in Wythe County 1793
- in Grayson County, VA 1798, 1800
The pairing of Drury HAM and the William HAM of Madison County, KY makes sense for several reasons.
A) “Drury” is a fairly unique name. There was only one Drury HAM for the time period.
B) Drury and William share the last name “HAM”
C) Drury and William are both in Capt. John Gallaway’s Company in Botetourt County in 1783
D) Drury and William both appear in Greenbrier County and end up in Madison County, KY
E) There is some record of Drury’s migration from the Revolutionary War Pension papers.
F) In 1787 to 1788, the Greenbrier County William HAM migrates to Madison County, KY.
Which means that by 1788, we have a different William HAM in Montgomery County, VA.
The timeline should illustrate that we have two or three William HAM’s.
In 1783, we have William HAM in Botetourt County, in Greenbrier County, and in Montgomery County. That is, the Botetourt County William and the Greenbrier County William appear to be different men. Except that the Revolutionary War had just ended and Drury and William could be returning home in that year.
In about 1787 it appears that the Greenbrier County William HAM migrates to Madison County, KY and is followed in 1791 by Drury HAM (from Greenbrier County to Madison County). It would appear the the Greenbrier County / Madison County William HAM could be related to Drury HAM.
In 1788, we have a William HAM in Madison County, KY and a William HAM in Montgomery County, VA.
If I could summarize what we can say about the origins of the William HAM of Grayson County, it would appear that he is first in Montgomery County in 1783, in an area that would later become Grayson County. However, we cannot confirm his presence in Grayson County again until 1798 when he enters land in the Grayson County Plat book. He has not been found on Grayson County Tax Lists until 1800. From examination of the records for Drury and the William HAM of Madison County, Kentucky, we can see that we have a separate William HAM in Montgomery County by1788.
For full source citations and more, see “A Short History of the HAM Surname in Virginia & NC.”