Col. Ninian Beall

Male 1625 - 1717  (92 years)

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  • Name Ninian Beall  [1, 2, 3
    Prefix Col. 
    Born 1625  Largo, , Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1717  , Prince George's Co., Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I36096  Alger
    Last Modified 9 Feb 2020 

    Father Dr. James B. Beall,   b. 1603, Largo, , Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Largo, , Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Anne Marie Calvert,   b. 1603,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 21 May 1646  Saint Andrews, , Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Family ID F15436  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Elizabeth Gordan,   b. Abt 1627,   d. , , , Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married , , , Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F15438  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Ruth Moore,   b. 1652, , St. Mary's Co., Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1707  (Age 55 years) 
    Married 1668 
    • Ninian and Ruth had 12 children.
     1. Sarah Beall,   b. Abt 1670,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Ninian Beall, Jr.,   b. 1672,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Charles Beall,   b. Abt 1674,   d. Yes, date unknown
     4. Col. George Beall,   b. Abt 1676,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. Jane Beall,   b. Abt 1678,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. Esther Beall,   b. 1680, , Montgomery Co., Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jun 1761, , Anne Arundel Co., Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years)
     7. Mary Beall,   b. Abt 1684,   d. Yes, date unknown
     8. Rachel Beall,   b. Abt 1687,   d. Yes, date unknown
     9. Marjorie Beall,   b. 1700,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F15434  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • **********
      ?i?Perhaps the most colorful ancestor of members of the John Poole Association was Ninian Beall, born between 1625 and 1630 at Largo in Fifeshire, Scotland. There he fought a losing battle against Oliver Cromwell's army in 1650 and, along with some other 15,000 prisoners was transported to servitude in the British Colonies in America.

      Several years after being taken prisoner, Ninian turned up in Maryland. This was in 1658, at which time he was indentured to one Richard Hall. Ninian became a free man in 1666, in which year he claimed the 50 acres of land allotted to each man at the end of his indenture. This acreage, in Calvert County, Ninian called Soldiers Fortune.

      Two years later Ninian got a patent for 300 acres. Apparently he accumulated in a mere two years sufficient funds to pay the charges on this plantation. By the time of his death in 1717, he had figured in land transactions totaling 18,755 acres.

      Such a rise from rags to riches was not unheard of in the early days of Maryland. Ninian Beall's unique place in the history of the Colony stems from his military achievements and activities in dealing with the Indians.

      This phase of his career emerged in 1676 when he was ordered to appear at the Assembly "with all expedition" to testify the truth of his knowledge touching the barbarous and inhumane murder of five Susquehanna Indians.

      In the same year he received a commission as Lieutenant on Lord Baltimore's yacht, the "Loyal Charles of Maryland."

      That was the latest recorded service of Ninian Beall in the Naval forces. By 1678, he held the rank of Captain and was put in command of 30 men to be raised because of trouble with the Indians. Twenty of the men were to be distributed among the plantations for defense of the houses; the other ten to be constantly ranging about the head of the River according to the discretion of Capt. Ninian Beall.

      Neither Beall nor his soldiers nor any inhabitants were to offer any violence to the Indians unless the Indians first made an assault upon them. Those people whose homes were being guarded were to take care of the crops of those pressed into service as Rangers.

      The name "Rangers" from then on was given to the small forces raised from time to time to protect the frontiers from sneak attacks by foreign Indians.

      Evidently the Indian situation was very fluid. Indian trouble was first noted by the Council and a force of Rangers (30 men) was ordered into service on August 9, 1678. On August 20, Capt. Beall was ordered to keep ranging at the head of the Patuxent River. By August 29, the situation must have eased, as the number of Rangers was reduced to 15; however, the settlers were not to relax in their precautions. As the Council saw the situation, Common Rangers now under pay in Charles, Calvert, Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties were sufficient to let the Indians see that they were awake and watchful. Rangers were to tell the frontier inhabitants that if any Indians appeared, they were to fire three guns after the ancient manner. Every house was to answer the alarm by firing one gun; then all were to repair to the place from whence three guns were fired to assist them if need be.

      During ensuing years the Archives of Maryland contain frequent references to Indian troubles. On each occasion Ninian Beall was called upon to investigate, confer, or fight.

      But in addition to his life as a soldier, Ninian Beall carried on from year to year as a planter. It is evident that he was a literate, even an educated man for that day and time. He is witness or executor to a number of wills from 1667 on. He served on juries, sued and was sued, wrote letters to the Government bodies, and from time to time was paid from public funds for unspecified services. In 1684 he was Deputy Surveyor of Charles County. In 1686 he was one of the officials for establishing a town at Mt. Calvert in Calvert County.

      After several uneventful years, real trouble arose in Maryland. It started with wild rumors that the Catholics were about to employ Indians to massacre the Protestants. The Government of the Colony asked Capt. Beall to investigate. Beall's reply that he would take cautious steps to get at the truth of the rumor caused the Council to write him as follows:

      As for your part and the particulars you give us of your past and intended proceedings: We highly approve and commend what you have done and very well like your prudent way of going with ten or twelve men to try and discover the truth of the matter and further do assure you that your good services to this government shall never be forgot; but the same shall be regarded with all the favor and recompense this government is or ever shall be capable of; and we hope all good men will imitate your fidelity and prudence.

      What a shock it must have been to these men to have Ninian Beall, after repeated assurances that no trouble was on foot, turn against them and join with a group of rebels to unseat the Government of Lord Baltimore!

      What happened was that group of Protestants, encouraged no doubt by the "Glorious Revolution of 1689" in England, stormed the Government at St. Mary's City, causing the officials of Lord Baltimore to flee to Mattapany, a private estate of Lord Baltimore. here the rebels laid siege to them and sent them terms demanded for their surrender; among the signers of this ultimatum was Ninian Beall.

      The Rebels took over the government and asked the King and Queen of England to depose Lord Baltimore and rule Maryland as a Royal Province. This was done, leaving to Lord Baltimore his land and rents but no rights in the government of the Province.

      Naturally Ninian Beall was high in favor with the government. He was elected to The Assembly called by the victorious rebels, and in 1690 was named one of the new governing body. Now "Colonel" Beall, he was one of those named to regulate the militia in Calvert County; he was made High Sheriff of Calvert County in 1692 and in the same year was made commander-in-chief of all his Magesty's forces or militia of horse and foot in Calvert County. This commission was renewed in 1694.

      In 1695-6, Prince George's County was created and it included part of what had been Calvert County. Ninian Beall was elected to represent the new County in the Lower House of the Assembly and continued to serve in that capacity. his service as Delegate ran from May 1696 to May 1700.

      Meanwhile, in 1694, the Assembly had passed an "Act for Appointing Rangers for the Defence of this Province." This time the territory they were to cover extended from the Falls of the Potomac to the first draughts of the Susquehanna River above the north side of Deer Creek. The men were to range from April 10th to October 15th. These dates covered the time of year when leaves were on the trees, thus making it easy for the Indians to hide.

      In contrast with the equipment one would have expected to be issued to men roaming the wilderness on the lookout for enemies, we find that on August 20, 1694, Governor Nicholson ordered that the Baltimore County Rangers were to have issued to them when they be required to range, the following:

      Two Holy Bibles
      Two Books of the Whole Duty of Man
      Two Books of Catechism
      One Book Titled "A Brief Discourse Concerning the Worshiping God"
      1 lanthorne
      1 brass compass
      1 prospective glass

      Captain Herman reported that he had received substantially those articles plus, however,

      2 Books of Martial Discipline
      3 Books of the Articles of War

      In 1699, the Assembly passed a new Act "For Securing the Frontiers from Incursions of Indians." This Act provided additional Rangers to cover wider territory than before.

      Under terms of this Bill, the Rangers were to be allowed half a crown per day, out of which they must feed themselves. Apparently the Assembly thought this very generous, for they included in the Bill a provision that "in consideration of their great allowance they should daily range; and if any of them shall be seen straggling about the plantations and not performing their duty, for every such day's neglect they shall lose their day's pay."

      The Assembly, in its discussion leading up to the adoption of the Act described above, asked Ninian Beall who was then (1698) at least 68 years old, if he would keep his commission. Then on April 4, 1698, "came Ninian Beall and offered his services to command one party of the new Rangers to be raised upon Potomac and the said Col. Beall is well accepted by the Board. Capt. Richard Owen is thought to be a person very fitly qualified to command the other party."

      The Assembly Records for Jul 14, 1699, stated that they had been discussing the Indian question and decided to pass an act for strengthening the Frontier against the Indians as described above. They go on to say:

      The consideration of this subject brings into remembrance the many signal services and laborious endeavors of Col. Ninian Beall, one of your Members, which he still continues willingly even beyond what his age seems capable of; and that good services may not go unrewarded and others in time to come encouraged thereby to exert their abilities in the Country's service -

      they recommended to the Lower House that four negroes be bought and presented to the Colonel.

      The Assembly gladly passed such an "Act of Gratuity" on Jun 28, 1699. The wording was slightly different:

      Whereas Colonel Ninian Beall has been found very serviceable to this Province upon all Incursions and Disturbances of neighboring Indians and though now grown very aged and less able to perform, yet continues his resolution even beyond his ability in the like services:

      a Member of the Assembly was directed to purchase three negroes as a gift to Col. Beall.

      Evidently reaching the age of "three score years and ten" did not cause Ninian to cease his activities. in April 1700 he was paid from Public Funds for 14 days as a delegate to the Assembly; also for his services as Ranger from June 11, 1699, to May 6, 1700.

      In 1704, it was decided to call in the Rangers. When Col. Beall was given this information he said:

      "It will be a great dissatisfaction to the Inhabitants on the frontier of Potomac and most of them on the North side of the Branch will draw off unless they can be supplied with ammunition."

      In spite of this testimony, Col. Beall was ordered to discharge the Rangers.

      However, the Rangers were later reactivated under Charles Beall, son of Ninian. He did not "do his duty with any sort of discipline or sense: and the authorities wished to replace him with "a more knowing person." On second thought, the Council decided they were willing to overlook Charles Beall's "mismanagement" for his father's sake, but ordered that he be cautioned to use more discretion for the future, and that Col. Beall "be wrote to, to go and inspect them once in 10 or 15 days."

      That was the last public service asked of Ninian Beall. He lived until 1717 and during his last years had plenty to do taking care of his extensive land holdings, for during his life in Maryland he had acquired thousands of acres of land. Among his tracts were:

      Rock of Dumbarton (797 a)
      Bacon Hall (300 a)
      Beall's Meadows (1088 a)
      Beall's Choice (690 a)
      Collington (300 a)
      Edinborough (380 a)
      Friendship (600 a)
      Good Luck (850 a)
      Maidens Dowry (700 a)
      St. Andrews (980 a)
      Troublesome (300 a)
      Largo (1030 a)

      The Rock of Dumbarton included the present Georgetown. A tablet on a boulder in the yard of St. John's Episcopal Church records his ownership. Another marker at Dumbarton Oaks points to its origin as part of Rock of Dumbarton. All Ninian's properties were in what was at the time of this death Prince George's County. Today they would lie in Prince George's County, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia, including at least part of Georgetown.

      In spite of his vast land holdings, Ninian Beall felt he had been denied certain patents, so he petitioned the Lower House of the Assembly on April 2, 1707, for relief. His petition said in part:

      "Notwithstanding he hath been very instrumental in extending his Lordship's territories upon the Frontiers of Potomac and elsewhere in Prince George's County, he has been very ill treated *** so that in many things the (officials of Lord Baltimore) deny him common justice and extremely oppress him to his utter impoverishment. ***"

      He said he had been "reduced to great poverty" so that he was unable to procure lawyers. But the Lower House, although admitting his good services to the Country, did not allow that Col. Beall had any just cause for complaint. Perhaps they were not impressed by is statement that he was in "great poverty." It is possible that he was "land poor."

      Ninian Beall was a Scotch Presbyterian and has been called the founder of that Church in Maryland. He gave land for a Church in 1704 and also presented to the Church a costly silver service made in London which now belongs to the Presbyterian Church in Hyattsville.

      The first wife of Ninian Beall, Elizabeth Gordon, died in Scotland, leaving two sons who emigrated to America. in 1664, Ninian married Ruth Moore, daughter of Richard Moore, a barrister from London They had the following children:

      Ninian Married Elizabeth Magruder
      Charles Married Mary
      George Married Elizabeth Brooke
      Sarah Married Samuel Magruder I
      Hester Married Joseph Belt
      Jane Married Archibald Edmonstone
      Mary Married Andrew hambleton
      Margery Married Thomas Sprigg
      Rachel Married William Offutt

      There is a legend that many years later the body of Ninian Beall was disinterred. his body was well preserved and showed him to have been a man six feet, seven inches tall with fiery red hair. That would seem to be a fitting physique for a man who was, we might say, the Daniel Boone of early Maryland. His children cashed in on the fortune in land which Ninian Beall acquired and the name of Beall is thought of in Prince George's County, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia as the name of a numerous, prosperous, prominent, and highly respected family.?/i?

      ("Ninian Beall" by Martha Sprigg Poole in "Descendants of John and Priscilla Poole")

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Alger Family Historian - e-mail:

  • Sources 
    1. [S35] Personal Papers of Virginia Helen (Prigg) Munro, Virginia Helen Munro, p. 3-5, 13 (Reliability: 0).

    2. [S15] Family Search Ancestral File - V 4.19, Mormon Church, Pedigree chart for Esther Beall - RIN=1TC2-66F - 28 Nov 2005 (Reliability: 0).

    3. [S51] Poole Book, John Poole Society, (N.p.: privately published, 2001.), p. C-1 - C-6, D-3. (Reliability: 3).

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