~ THE WILLIAM WARD STORY ~
The William Ward Genealogy" by Martyn, copywritten by Artemus Ward in 1925
Excerpts as transcribed by Robert Klein, descendant of William and Elizabeth Ward.
Web Masters Note: The Web Master too, is a descendant of William Ward. His Great-GreatGrandmother Sabrina Ward, who married Isreal Phillips, was a direct descendant of William and Elizabeth Ward.
Web Master John George Phillips Buczek
The story of William Wards involvement with the settlement of Marlbarow
The flight of time has dealt kindly with the Sudbury settlement. Herds have multiplied until the neat cattle alone total several hundred, and households have added comforts impossible during the first few years. Ward's family has been increased by seven children--a total now of seven sons and five daughters.
But the knowledge that every year added to the number of their children attaining marriageable age and ready to establish their own homes, raised a new problem in the minds of the Sudbury proprietors. The township which had first appeared so spacious, now seemed too small.
It is true that its territory of thirty-five square miles contained only about seventy-five families, and one may be inclined to smile at their assertion that they were cramped, but the conditions of those days were not the conditions of twentieth-century Massachusetts, nor their needs our needs. Their principal wealth, apart from their lands, was in cattle, and a plentiful supply of natural mowing ground and pasture was to them essential.
About 1650 John had married Hannah Jackson and had settled in Cambridge (that part now Newton). With his exception, all the members of the family set their thoughts on the virgin lands of the province, and Ward with various other representative men of Sudbury took many a prospecting trip "to view the country."
They finally decided (in 1655 or early in 1656) on "a place which lyeth westward abut eight mikes from Sudbury" which they conceived might be "comfortable for their subsistence," and promptly on the convening of the General Court at Boston on May, 1656, they presented their petition for authority to establish a "plantation" there, stating that they were "so streightned" for land for their stock.. "God haveing given us some considerable quantity of Cattle".. that they could not "so comfortably subsist as could be desired."... That "God hath been pleased to increase our Children, which are now divers of them growne to man's Estate; & wee, many of us, growne into years, so as that wee should bee glad to see them setled before ye Lord take us away from hence." Ward and twelve others were the signatories. All but one of them were members, or sons of members, of the earliest roll of Sudbury pioneers.
The General Court granted the request without hesitation or demur. The Sudbury record of the petitioners was ample guarantee of their ability to establish a new settlement. They were accorded "a proportion of land sixe miles square, or otherwise in some convenient forme equivalent thereunto, at ye discretion of ye Committee, in ye place desired; provided it hinder no former Graunt; and that there bee a Towne settled with Twenty or more families within three years, so as an Able Ministry may be there maintained." It was later found that the grant conflicted with one given to a group o "Praying Indians." This difficulty was overcome by setting off 6000 acres for an Indian Plantation, the founders receiving compensation in other adjacent unoccupied land. The grant also overlapped private concessions, but the disputes were adjusted.
Then came plans for land divisions, and a careful consideration of the possibilities of the new township, which was variously known at this stage as Ockoocangansett, Whipsufferadge, and Whipsuppenicke.
The founders discarded the comparatively compact, central-village style of Sudbury. The house-lots they laid out averaged much larger-- from sixteen to fifty acres--and their homes were consequently further apart. This was a few years later to make the settlement easy prey for Indians.
Also unlike Sudbury, the size of the house-lots was determined by the "estate" standing of the settlers. All later land divisions were in proportion to them. and all public charges were assessed by the same measure.
Three men were recognized by their estate standing as the most prominent in the new community. Each was accorded a fifty-acre house-lot. Ward was one of the three.
Two of his sons also participated: Obadiah, then twenty-five years of age, received a house-lot of twenty- one acres, and Richard, twenty-two years old, a house-lot of eighteen acres. (The ages given are of 1657.)
It was agreed that all the proprietors must "themselves...bee resident" in the township "within two yeares time, or sett a man in that ye Towne shall approve of, or els to loose theire lotts"; and Ward, Thomas King, John Ruddocke, and John Howe were chosen to put its affairs "in an orderly way."
Among their first acts was the "settling" of a minister, the Reverend William Brimsmead, a very worthy man but said to have been so strict a Sabbatarian that he refused t baptize children who had been so indiscreet as to come into the world on Sunday. Pastor Brimsmead was given a plot of thirty acres.
The successful launching of the project with its opportunity for new homes had been quickly followed by two marriages in the Ward household. Hannah married Abraham How of Waterton in the early spring of 1657, and Deborah was united in the fall to John, son of Solomon Johnson, who had been the Ward' nearest neighbor in Sudbury until his removal to Watertown in 1652, following the sale of his house-lot and other near-by plots to William Ward. Abraham was accorded a twenty-five acre house-lot in Marlborough and John received thirty acres, the small difference probably constituting an allowance for a poor stretch of ground, or to encompass a spring, or for other reasons of location.
A survey of the township made in 1667 shows an area of 29,419 acres instead of the six miles square of the original grant. Other additions and subtractions preceded the present boundary lines of Marlborough. Westborough, Southborough, and Northborough are largely on land formerly within its limits.
The most energetic men of the new township--which included Ward, for his name is found on orders urging speedier action in making improvements and laying penalties for neglect to do so--had their lots "perfected," and some had houses built and their families installed in them by or before 1659, others were slower-- a fact which caused much ill feeling and later raised a hornet's nest of disputes and community squabbles. Drastic action was threatened at a town-meeting held in December, 1659. It was resolved: That all such as lay clayme to any Interest in this new Plantation at Whipsufferadge are to perfect their House Lotts by the five & twentieth of March next insueing or els to loose all theire Interest in the fforsaid Plantation." It is also ordered That every one that hath A Lott in Ye foresd Plantation shall pay Twenty Shillings by ye ffive & twentieth of March next ensueing or els to loose all theire Interest in the fforesaid Plantation."
On June 12, 1660 (May 31, Old Style) the General Court confirmed the plantation grant and named it "Marlborow." This was followed by the town's confirmation and record of the house-lots laid out and by its first division of meadow. The number of proprietors had by this time increased to thirty-eight. The settlers avoided to some extent Sudbury's ownership of scattered outlying pieces of pasture and arable land by so ordering the first division of meadow and the second division of upland that each man's shares lay "most convenient" to his "Habitation."
This is a section of a map drawn in 1667 [15:3:1667], the earliest known map of Marlborough showing the layout of the first settlers homesteads. The star indicates the Meeting House, the triangle indicates probable location of William Wards homestead and the shade area indicates an approximation of his land which consisted of 50 acres.
Some of the Wards were early in Marlborough, William Ward himself moved there for good in the early spring of 1661. The family constituted quite a colony in itself. There were father William "of Sudbury" and mother Elizabeth; their four big sons--Obadiah, twenty-nine years old, Richard, twenty-six, Samuel, nineteen, and Increase, sixteen; Elizabeth, a girl of eighteen, and Hopestill, of fourteen; and three children--William, twelve; Eleazer, eleven; and Bethiah, two. With them came one of the three married daughters, Deborah Johnson. Hannah How joined them soon after. The records are incomplete so we cannot tell how many children the married daughters brought with them, but Hannah had three at all events. Only John and Joanna were missing. Joanna had married Abraham Williams and lived in Cambridge. One other defection came in the fall when Richard married Mary Moores of Sudbury and returned there, his Marlborough grant reverting to Samuel. The loss was balanced later by Joanna and her husband and a child or two joining the plantation. Richard's marriage was followed in a few months by the marriage of Elizabeth to John Howe, Jr., son of John Howe--the latter, like Ward, being one of the founders of both Sudbury and Marlborough. The total number of residents, including children, was about a hundred.
Ward's big house-lot was excellently situated. Its northeast corner faced the settlement's first meeting- house, soon after erected, and the town's main read was laid out to run along its northern boundary. Opposite, across the man road, west of the meeting-house, was the minister's plot. The meeting-house was built just within the southerly end of the Indian planting-field before title to its site had been secured, and the purchase of the site from an Indian by the name of Anamaks provided only a bare ten feet of ground around the building, so Ward deeded to the town about half an acre of that part of his house-lot directly opposite.
The town "gratefully accepted" and ordered
"first yt the sd William Ward shall have liberty to cutt & carry away all the wood & timber that is upon ye same: 2ly That hee shall bee satisfyed to his content in any other part of the Towne (not yett granted) in liew thereof: & 3ly it is ordrd that this peice of Land now by him surrendred into the Towns hands as before sd shall lye for A perpetuall common or Highway not to bee taken upp by any, or othrwaise disposed of,
without the consent of every Proprietor that hath Towne Rights."
The above map section is from a map of Marlborough drawn 1803. This map is one generally used to determine where homes were at early times, for no older map of this type exists. The star indicates the Meeting House where William Ward donated 1/2 acre of land; the triangle indicates the approximate location of William Wards homestead. The shaded area approximates the 50 acres of land owned by him. The main road in front of the Meeting House was known as the highway to Boston, now Boston Post Road or Rt. 20.
This plot is part of the present High School Common. The house that Ward built was near the end of the present Hayden Street, a few steps from the library, where the home of Mr. John E. Hayes now stands (see the map opposite). Its site was selected because of an abundant spring near by. A much more commodious dwelling it was than the first log cabin in Sudbury. Similar rough-hewn logs formed its frame, but it was shingle-roofed, clapboarded outside, and boarded within, contained several rooms, and had a cellar. The fields behind are now Marlborough property and are being converted into the town's fine new recreation center--with running track, football gridiron, baseball diamonds, &c.--named "The Artemas Ward Playground" in joint memory of General Artemas Ward, the great grandson of William Ward, and of his great-grandson and namesake, Mr. Artemas Ward, the publisher of this book.
As would be expected, Ward was prominent in Marlborough affairs. He was continuously a selectman, and a deacon of the church from the time of its organization, and his house was frequently chosen for the midweek meetings which became a feature of the township's religious life. The deacons constituted a general committee for the management of church affairs and to assist the minister in his duties, one of them taking his place when he was ill or absent. During divine service they sat in a special pew near the pulpit. Ward probably held other township offices, but the records from 1665 to 1739 disappeared many years ago.
He was also frequently selected to represent Marlborough on the county grand jury, and in 1666 was again in Boston as a deputy.
The years which had seen the confirmation of the new home of the Ward family and their removal thither, gave birth also to happenings of wide significance on both sides of the ocean--the passing if the friendly Cromwell government on the triumphant return of Charles II, and the death of Massasoit, the first influential Indian friend of the white man in New England. The restoration of the Stuart monarchy gravely imperiled the practical independence which Massachusetts had arrogated to herself, for popular revulsion had suffocated Puritanism in England and there remained no widespread or effective sympathy with her aims
The establishment of Marlborough involved the same problems of settlement and the same labor in highways, fencing, and other public improvements as had the development of Sudbury. The experience that the latter township had given should have made the new project progress smoothly, but there was a lack of the harmony which had marked Sudbury's pioneer days. Factional fights divided the inhabitants--with accusations and counter- charges over the failure, or alleged failure, to pay rates and perform allotted tasks, and quarrels over numerous other matters. The disputes extended into religious matters and kept the entire community in a turmoil. A minister had quickly been chosen and a meeting-house was erected in 1662-1663, but no "church" was organized until 1666, the congregation still continuing to be officially of Sudbury.
Reference has already been made to the warning of December 1659 that delinquents must pay their assessments and perfect their house-lots by the following March or lose their rights in the settlement. The next September those who had failed to pay their rates were threatened with a similar penalty. In October of 1661 it was voted that only those who had perfected their house-lots should participate in the second division of upland and that others should, further, be subject to a tax of twelve pence for every acre not laid out. In November of the following year it was ordered that those who had not settled on their house-lots and had not paid rates "according to their full proportion," should "have ye Lotts they lay claime to seized and distrained for the use of ye Towne."
When some, whether from inability or unwillingness, still did not pay their rates the authorities attempted to enforce the forfeiture penalty. A long fight followed, the delinquents appealing to the General Court, and the latter sending a committee to investigate conditions. The committee reported (1663) that, in the event of forfeiture, the town should reimburse those dispossessed for all improvements made. To meet the criticism that orders and penalties were issued and inflicted without sufficient notice, it also ordered that "no town act passe, but in some publicke towne Meeting orderly called, and only by such as are by lawe enabled so to doe."
Obadiah, who seems to have been the lawyer of the family, brought a "test case" against Thomas Rice on behalf of the town. In court at Cambridge (April 6, 1664) the case was settled by the town withdrawing its claim for repossession and paying its own expenses, but the defendant paying all arrears in rates and engaging "for the future to yeeld ye Assistance of his person & Estate for ye carrying an end of the affaires of the place both Civill & Ecclesiasticall as Religion & duty binds."
The case was of absorbing interest to the community, and the men of Marlborough had flocked to Cambridge to hear it argued, "The Inhabitants of the sd place being generally present," the court took advantage of their presence to advise them all to pay their arrears; that so doing and giving their "assistance for the future" they "may continue in theire possessions & Allotments... non- observance of any Towne Orders of Agreements notwithstanding." "Also ye Court solemnely advised them, That they all Joyntly concurre in such waies as might lead to the furtherance of peace among themselves, freely forgiveing one anothr all matters & occasions of former grievances & forbearing to make any repetition thereof, to the upbraiding of any or interrupting of theire future peace that so the God of peace may bee theire portion & his blessing upon the sd place, them. & theires in all wherein they stand in need of his favourable presence to bee with them." But by this time other controversies had developed involving titles and divisions.
The Wards and their friends constituted the party in power, but the opposing clique were numerous and bitterly dissatisfied, declaring themselves a majority both of residents and of proprietors, and in "gravity" able to "ballance or overballance" their opponents. Some of them, believing in "direct action," seized the Town Book--not, as they afterwards explained, to destroy it, but only "to rectify what was amise" in it. They were also charged with but denied any intention or desire to "root out" pastor Brimsmead. The Ward party appealed to the General Court, requesting it to appoint another committee with power to weigh and adjust the community's troubles--which, they said, had come "partly through out owne corruptions and by ye temptations of Sathan hindering our succeeding in matters both civill and ecclesiasticall, which have been and ise very uncomfortable to us and our friends." The fifteen signatories included Ward, his sons Obadiah and Samuel, and his sons-in-law Abraham Williams, John Johnson, and Abraham How.
The opposing party remonstrated against the appointment of a committee and the implied interference of the legislature in the town's management of its affairs. The General Court appointed a committee, nevertheless. But no peace resulted. Mutual complaints and recriminations filled year after year until a temporary suspension was enforced by the breaking out of the Indian war known as "King Philip's."
A number of the inhabitants of Marlborough moved to older and more populous towns when hostilities commenced. The Wards were among those who held their ground. Those remaining were not, however, satisfied with the plans of Lieutenant Ruddocke, who had been given the command. There were many disputes over the housing and feeding of the garrison, and concerning the dwellings to be fortified. As a result the community on October 1 held a general "council of war." It was decided to maintain seven (or eight) "garrison-houses"--dwellings selected for their central or more easily defensible positions--as shelters in case of an attack. These were equipped with arms and ammunition and surrounded with "stockades"--solid wooden walls, eight feet high or thereabouts, of split logs driven deep into the ground.
Many other preparations were hastily made. Barrels were filled with water to supplement the food supply found in every pioneer home, and boxes of sand were got ready to cope with conflagrations. The protection of each garrison-house in case of assault was assigned to designated residents, reinforced by a few of the colony soldiers. William Ward's, Abraham William's (Joanna's), and John Johnson's (Deborah's), were chosen as three of the garrison-houses.
It will be noted that Samuel Ward and Abraham How (Hannah's husband) were assigned to Deacon Ward's, and Increase Ward to Thomas Rice's. William Ward Junior lived with his parents and therefore was another of the defenders on Deacon Ward's--he was now the only unmarried son and shared with his father in the development of the latter's property instead of taking up land on his own account. John How, Jr. (Elizabeth's husband) was probably one of the nine townsmen assigned to the home of John Johnson. Obadiah Ward may have been also of the nine, or he may have been with Deacon Ward. Eleazer Ward was probably in Sudbury, he had during the previous spring married Hannah Rice to that township and had taken up his residence there. he may, however, have been with Deacon Ward, just as local tradition has it.
Of the women of the family: Joanna and Deborah were in their own fortified homes; Hannah was, in time of alarm, with her husband in Deacon Ward's--as were also Sarah (Samuel's wife) and the two unmarried girls, Hopestill and Bethiah; Elizabeth and Mary (Obadiah's wife) were either in John Johnson's or Deacon Ward's; and Record (Increase's wife) was with him in Thomas Rice's. (Samuel and Obadiah had both married in 1667, and Increase in 1672.)
Some day perhaps the story of "King Philip's War" will be adequately told. It has never yet been. The narrative would be too long to give it here.
Weeks of suspense followed, the inhabitants continually alarmed by reports of the savages in large numbers to the west. Then on Sunday, March 26, while they were assembled in the meeting-house, came the alarm, "the Indians are upon us." Picture the excited fright of the children, the stumbling haste of the old and feeble. Heartening them, and hastening them to safety in the nearest garrison-houses, are the men and the more confident of the women--the men gripping their muskets, ready for any emergency, and shouting orders and adjurations. All gained shelter, many in Deacon Ward's close by, but not a minute too soon. One man was crippled for life from a bullet that entered his elbow before he could reach the stockade.
The Indians did not attack the garrison-houses, but they burnt the meeting-house, thirteen dwellings, and eleven barns, killed and mutilated may cattle, destroyed fences and orchards, and then retired to their camp in the neighboring woods. Ward was one of the heaviest losers.
Marlborough did not take its losses "lying down." The following night Lieutenant Jacobs. with some of his soldiers and a party of citizens, surprised the Indian camp and killed and wounded a number of the savages.
This reprisal frightened the enemy off for a time, and the interval was seized by yet more families to flee the township, utilizing the last available carts and teams for the removal of their effects. But not so Deacon Ward despite his seventy-three years! He and a few others stayed on. The number of garrison-houses was reduced to five, and then (by accidental fire) to four.
On April 18 the Indians suddenly returned, destroyed every remaining unfortified dwelling or other structure, and hovered about the township for two days, hoping to surprise some of its defenders outside their garrison- houses, and tempting them to a sally which might be diverted into an ambush--their favorite and often murderously effective trick of war. But both settlers and soldiers were too wary to be drawn out, so the red men abandoned their designs against Marlborough and went on to Sudbury
Marlborough, local disputes broke out again when the settlers returned to rebuild their homes, and the controversies were not ended until the report of another General Court committee in the fall of 1679. This found, among other things, that Deacon Edward Rice, the chief of the contestants fighting with Samuel Ward and Abraham How over some land in Assaba meadow, was "justly blameable for his turbulent opposing ye Order made by ye former Committee."
The committee awarded the land between Abraham How, Edward and Samuel Rice, and the minister, but decreed also that "Recompence be made to ye above said Abrahm How, & Samuel Ward to the full value of ye Meadow taken away from them by virtue of this order."
Fifteen months later, in January of 1681, the two warring parties were united by matrimony--Deacon Rice becoming father-in-law to Bethiah Ward by his son Daniel's marriage to her.
The plans for this marriage resulted in a revolutionary change in Ward's home and home life.
Hopestill from the beginning and Bethiah as she became old enough had helped their mother keep house after the family removal to Marlborough. (Elizabeth, the fourth daughter, three years older than Hopestill, had married within the first year in the new township.) The number grouped around the table had steadily lessened as Richard, Samuel, Obadiah, Increase, and Eleazer had taken wives and set up their own establishments. Of the thirteen children only Hopestill, William, and Bethiah were living on the family homestead when the year 1676 came around. Then, in April 1678 Hopestill married James Woods and set up her own household, and in August of the following year William Junior renounced bachelorhood in order to marry the young widow Eames, leaving Bethiah as the only unmarried child.
William had brought his bride to Deacon Ward's house, but the arrival of their first-born, William of the third generation, had stimulated a desire for a separate home. So, with Bethiah the last unmarried child about to wed, Deacon Ward and his wife, respectively seventy-eight and sixty-eight years of age, decided that they also would also try housekeeping by themselves. An entirely new experience it was to be, for when Elizabeth became a bride her husband had been a widower with several children. Thus plans had gone ahead simultaneously for Bethiah's marriage and for setting up William Junior in his own home.
First, in recognition of the latter's many years of virtual partnership, Deacon Ward bestowed "an estate of lands and housing" upon him. The estate comprised several tracts and the westerly half of the original house-lot together with its proportionate right in all future land divisions. Within the half of the house-lot together with its proportionate right on all future land divisions. With the half of the house-lot went the new barn standing on it and the westerly half of the Ward house itself, with the right accorded to William Junior to sever it from the easterly half and move in onto his own property. This was done, and William Junior and his wife and baby thenceforth conducted a separate establishment.
For the next four or five years Deacon Ward and his wife lived by themselves, in the house thus forcibly reduced in size, the quiet restful life of an elderly couple of comfortable means whose children are all married and well provided for. William Ward began to feel the weight of his years, and he entered into a contract with his son Samuel to assume the management of his herd and his lands land to furnish him and his wife with all the household supplies and fuel that they should need for the remainder of their lives, taking his reward it the succession to the William Ward home and the land it stood on, the remaining half of the original house-lot, and various other tracts.
Next, in colony affairs, came an interim administration of English selection, and then in December 1686 arrived Andros, governor of all New England, the first royal governor that Massachusetts had ever known.
There were many who found him bitter to the palate. The Moderates and their friends basked in the sunshine, but the popular party discovered ample vindication for their fears of what would happen under the direct rule of an English appointee.
Andros knew only the rights vested in the King. Representative government came to an end. The House of Deputies was abolished and a council removable by the governor took the place of the Assistants. Taxes were arbitrarily levied, with heavy fines for resistance. Well might people feel that their hard-developed, hard-earned country had been turned upside down. All the joys of self-government wrested from them--a grievance for every man in the colony, former voter or not--for in the latter case was always the underlying consciousness that he could have been a voter if he and his fellows had wished it very earnestly.
Deeper still the knife went, for King's patents were required for all land that rested on town grants--and that meant practically all the occupied land in the colony. The farms and homes that they and their fathers had hewn out of the wilderness, were suddenly declared not theirs unless they paid fees and obtained fresh titles from the new government. And the fees and expenses became increasingly greater as the conditions disclosed their full possibilities to the grafting officeholders of those days.
Massachusetts submitted to all these indignities. She was angry but inert. Consolation can be found in the knowledge that England herself lay prone at the feet of the same despotism. London and other lesser cities had similarly been stripped of their charters by procedures directed by the notorious Judge Jeffreys, who "made all the charters like the walls of Jericho, fall sown before him, and returned laden with surrenders, the spoils of the towns."
In the full heat of that turbulent and exited summer, the sturdy old Englishman, "William Ward of Sudbury," passed away and was laid to rest in Spring Hill Cemetery, to be loved and reverenced by succeeding generations as the patriarch of the family. For nearly half a century he had lived and labored in the New World of his adoption, playing an important role in the founding of two successful townships, seeing thirteen children develop to ripe manhood and womanhood; and for himself achieving the age of eighty-four years.
He had made his last will a few months earlier "enjoying the entireness of my understanding, but by reason of my great age, and the infirmities thereof being sensible of my approaching death."
He appointed his wife Elizabeth his executrix, and made her heir for life to all his cattle and other "moveable goods of every sort, both within doors and without." Whatever she did not use during her lifetime was to go in equal shares "unto all my children, viz., those which I have by her, and those which I have by my former wife."
He divided his real estate among his sons Samuel, John, and Increase, and his grandson William (son of Obadiah). Samuel was, conditionally, the chief beneficiary, in virtue of the agreement to care for Elizabeth Ward for the remainder of her life. William Junior received no land, his share having been already deeded to him, as noted on an earlier page. He gave small money bequests to all his children and to the widows and children of his two deceased sons Richard and Eleazer. His sons John and Increase and his son-in-law Abraham Williams were named "overseers' of the will, "to be helpful unto my wife as occasion shall serve,"
His worthy helpmate--who had in her wifely, motherly sphere participated to the full in his struggles and successes--survived him by thirteen years and then joined him on Spring Hill: "Here lyes the body of Elizabeth Ward, the servant of the Lord, deceased in the 87th year of her age, December the 9th, in the year of our Lord, 1700."
From the death of William Ward, the story of his descendants must be sought under their own separate names. From Marlborough they spread to other parts of the colony, sharing in the founding of other new townships, and then yet further in course of time throughout the continent--and beyond its limits--to carve out their destinies in a multiplicity of ways.
General Artemus Ward homestead - Shrewsbury, Massachusetts - 1999