Sunday, June 14, 2009

HAM Origins in Grayson County, Virginia

HAM Origins in Grayson County, Virginia

Originally piublished June 14, 2009

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

Updated: Feb 10, 2022 to correct that Drury was listed as an Orator, not a son

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 1794, 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 1794, 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 2000 acres in Montgomery County is eventually found in the Grayson County Plat Book A, pg 58 (original pg 282), surveyed in 1794 in Grayson County, Virginia. 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 two of the William HAM's migrated 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 elder William HAM dies in Madison County, KY in February, 1799. Bobby Wadsworth (a descendant) sent a copy of Madison County, KY Circuit Court document of Feb 1, 1812 thru Sep 18, 1812 and June 1814 case files, #6380-6585 ca. 1790-1865. Case File No. 6459 image 1095 of 2824 (from the FamilySearch.og image collection). The 1799 death of the William HAM, the elder of Madison County and mention of Drury HAM as Orator, or Representative of the family in the "ANSWER" document below.

The Court records of the estate of William Ham on Oct 8, 1814 (Madison County Will Book B, pg 253) lists the 10 "legalees" of William Ham, and Drury is not among them.

The significance of Drury being a different relation than a son is that it places Drury as a possible brother of the senior William Ham. The will book entry of William Ham, Sr. in 1814 does not list Drury as a son. Which is problematic to those who think this Madison County, KY Drury Ham, was a son of a Samuel Ham of Orange County, Virginia.

Descendants of Edward Ham, believed to be the son of the Samuel Ham of Spottsylvania County, VA have tested DNA withg the haplotype group "I2," and are in Group #7 of the HAM DNA Project. We also have an E-M35 that claims descent from this Samuel Ham of Spottsylvania County, VA who descends out of Wayne County, NC. Obviously, The Wayne County, NC HAM line is testing out as I-M170 in Group #4, and not testing as E-M35, so something is wrong with the lineage there.

Descendants of Samuel Harrison Ham (ABT 1770 - 1841) of Fleming County, KY is testing out as R1b (or R-M269) in HAM DNA Group #2.

That leaves us with the possibility of two Samuel Ham's in Orange County, VA.

More DNA testing of the Spottsylvania County Ham line should resolve the issue here. At the moment, the Madison County, KY line is looking to be I2 (because it has the proper documentation), but we need more Y-DNA testing of that line in order to verify the haplogroup type.

The younger 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.

I have not included here the estate accounts of the Grayson County, Virginia HAM line, which includes the Ashe County, North Carolina HAM line. The focus of this article is the migration period through Montgomery 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:

Drury 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 1794, 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 1794 when he enters a survey for the 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.”

Reference William HAM, the elder (died 1799), father of Drury HAM and William HAM, the younger (died 1812):
Madison County, Kentucky Circuit Court case files, ca. 1790-1866 ; indexes 1790-1865 - case files, #6380-6585 --- ca. 1790-1865. Case File No. 6459 image 1095 of 2824. Feb 1, 1812 thru Sep 18, 1812 and June 1814 image file link as of Sep 2020, per Bobby Wadsworth:

Date Available June 12, 2019

Film: 2241465 DGS 8686451

PRD-410 4-83


Transcript Madison County Circuit Court regarding William HAM:



Ham heirs vs Ham heirs } bill ch’y [chancery]

Filed 3rd June 1812

[Image 1106 of 2824] To the honorable the Judges of the Madison circuit court in ch’y sitting / humbly complaining sheweth unto your honor your orator & oratrixs Drury Ham / Thomas Gully and Elizabeth his wife late Elizabeth Ham / Jacob Wearing and Dicy [“late Dic” crossed out] his wife late Dicy Ham / William West and Zerina his wife late Zerina Ham heirs and representatives [of] William Ham dec’d / that the said Wm Ham departed this life on or about the [blank] day of [blank] / that at the time of his decease he was possessed of the following negro slaves towit Mecia / Charles / Sam / Cole / Orange and one other young negro by the name of [blank] / that the said Wm Ham to the knowledge of your orators left no will nor did he make any disposition of said negroes or estate (?) / that your orators and oratrixs are his legal representatives and heirs / they further represent that there was no administration [“of” crossed out] on the estate of sd decedent & from time of sd William [Ham’s] death up to the present period your orators & oratrixs have never heard of any demand or other title set up to said negroes other than as the property of the sd dec’d / that the negroes and other estate of the decedent has remained undivided [“and” crossed out] / that the said Wm Ham lived with a son of his a certain Wm Ham where the sd William the elder died / that the said Wm Ham Jnr. on or about the [blank] day of [blank] departed this life leaving [“nine” crossed out] ten children towit [“M” crossed out] Polly who intermarried [with] James Stapp / Nelly who intermarried with Edward Willis / John Ham / Zenia who intermarried with Wm Alverson / Nancy who intermarried with ...


[Image 1108 of 2824] George Ham, Wm. Ham, Shelton (Ham), Henry Ham

Thomas Ham & Morning Ham the four last

of whom are infants under the age of

21 years, that the said children heirs &

Representatives of Wm Ham Jnr. are also

intitled to a portion of the estate of said

Wm Ham Senr. deceased. Your Oreators further

represent that since the death of Ham

Senr. the negroes have increased ___ [ in crossed out]

_____ [number crossed out] and there is now [ blank ]

your Orators and oratrixes pray that the sd.

heirs & Representatives of Wm. Ham Senr.

together with his wife Elizabeth may be

made defts [ defendants? ] here to, that a special gua-

rdian may be appointed to the four

children under the age of 21 [ page torn ] that a [illegible] may

be made between the heirs(?) of Wm.

Ham Jnr. his widow & ____ [ the heirs crossed out?] your

Orators& oratrixes of the negroes belong[ing] to the

estate of sd Wm Ham Senr, that by the

Strict rules of the common law your

Orators & Oratrixes are without relief

that division of estates between claimant

of property Situated as the estate of sd.

Wm Ham decd. are proper subjects of

a Court of equity, and for remedy [ "of" crossed out ]

hereof and to obtain a division of said

estate, your Orators & Oratrixes pray that

the deft [ defendants ] may on their corporal oath

true and perfect(?) answer to make to

all and Singular the matters herein

that they may say what number of

negroes there are belonging to the sd.

Wm Ham the elder estate that they may be


[Image 1109 of 2824] compelled to come to a division of said

estate & the Several proportions Set apart

to the legalees of sd. Wm. Ham Senr. that

your honour would grant the common

wealths writ of Subpeonea & Such oth

- er and further relief as to equity &c

belong which &c &c



[Image 1104 of 2824] The Answer of John Ham, Elizabeth Ham, [“Dicy” crossed out] Edward

Willis and Elender his wife, William Alverson

and Rezina his wife, and William Ham to a bill

in chancery exhibited against them and others

in the Maddison Circuit Court, by Drury Ham,

Thomas Gully, [ "and" crossed out ] and Elizabeth his wife, Jacob

Wearing and [ "his" crossed out ] Dicy his wife, & William West

and Rezina his wife. For answer thereto or

so much thereof unto as they are advised are material

for them to answer unto for Answering saith that

that true it is that William Ham the elder

disd at the house of William Ham [Junior crossed out] the younger

["B" crossed out] on or about the day of February, 1799

But they state that He was(?) Possessed(?) of no(?)[ illegible, page torn ]

negroes or Other(?) proof[? - Bobby Wadsworth has "property"] that(?) they(?) know of and

they state that William the younger Died

on or about the [1st? blotted out] Day of 24th December last [that is, year 1811]

They further say that there never was any admi-

nestration taken on the estate of William Ham

the [ "younger" crossed through] Elder that they know of __ They

further state that they have not possession any

Such negroes as the Complainants speak of

in their bill. They further state that the estate

of William Ham the younger is in the possession

of his administrators David Bruton, they further state that they

do not believe that William Ham the elder had

one single negroe at the time of his decease.

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