Nancy Lewis (Roddy) Ballenger

Nancy was born 30 March 1825 1 in North Carolina to James Roddy and Margaret Wood Lewis. At only age 14 she married James Ballenger, likely in Boone County Missouri (the Ballenger clan had moved there from South Carolina sometime prior to 1837 2 ) It is also possible that the new couple lived for a time in North Carolina near Nancy's family, or possibly Smith County, Tennessee.

In 1841 they settled near Providence, on the Missouri River, where James purchased eighty acres from one William Ambrose, on the road from Providence to Columbus.3 There on fifteen acres he planted oats and wheat for sale to the surrounding community.4 Two children were born to James and Nancy; an unnamed son in 1840 (who died in infancy) and Thomas Wood, born 11 December 1842.5 About this time James and Nancy joined the Baptist Church. Nancy was likely very active in the local congregation; "The Bible was her constant companion from the time she embraced Christianity".[1]

James died of yellow fever 12 November 1843 at the age of 29. He was buried at the (Old) Union Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.6 He died owing money to two individuals, and the sale of his personal property was insufficient to cover these debts. His land was sold at auction and what remained was left to Nancy and young Thomas.4

Nancy remarried on 5 January 1847 to Bradford Lanham.7 They continued to live in the town of Providence, having six children together. Nancy Ballenger died on 30 March 1857, after several months of suffering (likely of cancer).1 Thomas was sent north to live with a family friend (or perhaps distant relative) in Jackson Township, Livingston County.7 With him he took an embroidered alphabet sampler given him by his mother; he treasured this gift and kept it with him throughout his life.

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