52 Ancestors, Week 32: William Blanchard

Credit: biggirl107 CC0 on Pixabay

We don't know when the Blanchards came to America, quite possible from England, sometime before 1760.  There are some who say Blanchard meant someone who had a white beard, or wore white clothes, or one who rode a white horse.  The name could have French origins, or German.

"The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Blanchard, which was dated 1177, during the reign of King Henry II. (1)

Benjamin Blanchard was born around 1762 possibly in North Carolina.

His son, William Blanchard was born in 1780 in Gates County North Carolina. William showed up in the Gates County, NC censuses of 1810, 1820, and 1830. These census records only list the head of household's name and then give age ranges and numbers of persons for the rest of the family members.

William married Mary Rawls on 26 Sept , 1801 in Gates County, NC.

In 1810, there are 7 household members:
  • Presumably, William (30) and Mary (30)  (aged 26-44) 
  • 3 boys (under 10)  One of the kids could be Absolum, *(our ancestor) (the dates match up)
  • plus 2 other boys are enumerated aged 10-25. (don't know who these boys could be...possibly younger brothers of William and Mary?)
In 1820, there are 8 household members:
  • Presumably: William (40) and Mary(40)  (26-44) 
  • Six kids.  Absolum was 18, and Elisha (who raises Absolum's kids when Absolum dies young)  was 5.  (those dates match up)  
  • Plus 3 slaves (I hate when I find this, but the blurb below, is of some comfort)

Excerpt from the History of Gates County to 1860

In 1830, there are 5 household members:
  • Presumably, William (50) and Mary (50) (50-59)
  • and 1 male age 20-29
  • and 2 kids under age 14
  • plus 7 slaves, including children
In 1840, William Blanchard of Gates County is named, but this time there is only:
  • 1 white male aged 15-19 years, 
  • plus 10 slaves.
  • Could this be a very young son, and the parents have died:
    • Mary did die in 1837, and 
    • perhaps William died in 1840 before the census was taken, instead of 1842,  and 
    • the siblings have moved away?
It looks like William's will was probated in 1841.

Something happened: an epidemic, or just high mortality among the white residents of Gates County:
  • Mary died in 1837, 
  • William died in 1840. 
  • son Absolum and his wife Elizabeth  died in 1841 and 1840, respectively. 
  • Elizabeth's step-mother/aunt Lucy Walton died in 1837.  
  • All of them in Gates County, NC.



  1. By the 1830 / 1840 years the slaves far out number the Blanchard household. It seems like they could have just walked away, but of course, where would they go. Even if they weren't held by force they were forced to submit by social situation.


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