Ward Family Biographies
Born in Marlborough, MA in 1684, Nahum was a sailor and ship captain in the West Indies while in his 20s. He left sailing for trade in Boston in 1714 and later bought land in what became Shrewsbury. He married Martha Howe and fathered 7 children. He became moderator (“mayor”) of Shrewsbury in 1726 and remained in that role until 1748. Nahum also served as head selectman for 23 years. He was the first town representative to the General Court; he also served as town clerk for two years. In 1731 Nahum was admitted to the bar and became a justice of the peace; as of 1745 he was a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas. He joined the militia in 1722 and by 1736 was a commander. He built a house across from current Ward House Museum around 1725 and lived there until his death in 1754.
Gen. Artemas Ward
In addition to being the first Commander-in-Chief of the army during the American Revolution, General Ward served publicly in many ways throughout his lifetime. The Museum is named in his honor. For more information, see his biography.
Born in 1762 in Shrewsbury, this Artemas Ward also became influential in politics and public service. He married Catherine Maria Dexter in 1788 and together they had 7 children. He graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in 1783 and a LL.D in 1842 and served on the Board of Overseers. He was an attorney, and practiced law in Weston, MA for seventeen years, often with brother-in-law Samuel Dexter (Secretary of War to John Adams). Later he moved to Charlestown, and then Boston. Artemas Ward served in a number of public roles, including as United States Representative (1813-1815), delegate to the Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention in 1820, and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas from 1821 to 1839. He was an outspoken opponent of United States entry into the War of 1812. He was known for his financial acumen and died in Boston in 1847.
Thomas W. Ward
Born in 1758 in Shrewsbury, he fought in the American Revolution, including the Battle of Bennington. He married Elizabeth Denny in 1782 and fathered 10 children. In 1785 he moved into the old part of the Artemas Ward House while his father, Artemas Ward, occupied the new part. As a member of a cavalry regiment, he helped to suppress Shays Rebellion in 1787. Thomas served as Sheriff of Worcester County for 18 years and served as a township moderator (“mayor”) and treasurer, and as Justice of the Peace. He died in 1835 in Shrewsbury.
Thomas W. Ward, Jr.
Born 1798 in Shrewsbury. He taught school then became store clerk in Boston. He opened a store in Boston in 1824 but then moved to Connecticut and became a successful store-owner and active member of town. He married Harriet P. Grosvenor in 1825 in Pomfret, CT; together they had 7 children. He returned to Shrewsbury in 1829 to take over the running of house and farm from his father. He helped to adapt the farm to changes in the local economy by focusing on dairy production. He also served as a magistrate and was active in the temperance and anti-slavery movements. He died 1890 in Shrewsbury.
Henry Dana Ward
Born in 1797 in Shrewsbury, Henry Dana graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in 1816 and an A.M. in 1819. He was ordained as an Episcopal minister and had parish in Virginia. Henry Dana Ward married twice: Abigail Porter Jones, his first wife, died 1837 in NYC. He then married Charlotte Galbraith in 1842 in Charleston, West Virginia. He fathered 4 children in his second marriage. He moved with Charlotte to New York City and together they founded a girls’ school there. Henry Dana wrote Free Masonry: Its Pretensions Exposed in Faithful Extracts of Its Standard Authors (1828) and other monographs. He retired with his family to Philadelphia., PA and died in 1884. His son Henry Galbraith Ward bought the Ward House back from foreclosure and later sold it to Artemas Ward.
Andrew Henshaw Ward
Born in 1784 in Shrewsbury, Andrew Henshaw graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in 1808. He married Sarah (“Sally”) Henshaw in 1809 and fathered 9 children. He became a lawyer in 1811 and practiced in Shrewsbury. He also served as town clerk. Later he moved to Boston in 1829 and became a customs official for nearly 25 years. Andrew Henshaw served as Justice of the Peace for three counties, for a total of 56 years. He was an active historian of Shrewsbury and genealogist of the Ward family. He published The Ward Family in 1851. Andrew Henshaw also helped to originate the "poor farm system". He died 1864 in Newton, MA.
Sarah Henshaw Ward Putnam
Sarah Henshaw Ward was born in 1800 and died in 1894, both in Shrewsbury, MA. Sarah married Benjamin Perkins Putnam of Marietta, Ohio in 1824. He died three months later and Sarah returned to Shrewsbury. The watercolor mourning art in commemoration of Benjamin Perkins Putnam was hers. Sarah never remarried and resided with relatives in various locations until her death. The quilt on display at the Ward House Museum is hers. The piecework suited both her mobility and commitment to providing for her extended family. She made this quilt for her nieces, Elizabeth and Harriet Ward.
Charles Grosvenor Ward
Born 1829, Charles Grosvenor Ward lived in Boston. He joined the Union Army during the American Civil War as a member of Company H, 25th Massachusetts Volunteers. He became first lieutenant in 1863 and fought in 16 engagements. Charles Grosvenor Ward died May 16, 1864 at the second Battle of Drewry’s Bluff (VA, near Richmond).
Born 1840 in Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Ward (known as Bessie) became a caretaker of Ward family objects and history. She wrote the local history Old Times in Shrewsbury (1892). She never married, and died in1900 in Shrewsbury.
Born 1843 in Shrewsbury, Harriet Ward (Hattie) also did much to preserve family history. She never married but remained active in family circles. Harriet Ward was the last of the Ward family to live in the Artemas Ward House. Many objects in the collection were preserved and annotated by her. She died in 1909 in Shrewsbury.
Artemas Ward was born May 20, 1848 in New York City, In 1863 he served with the New York State soldiers’ depot. Later he moved to Philadelphia entering the Cuban export and import business. In 1872 he married Rebecca Robinson and they had one son, Artemas Ward Jr. Ward founded and published “The Philadelphia Grocer”. He gained the reputation as a brilliant advertiser promoting “Sapolio” soap while working for Enoch Morgan Sons’ Company. In 1899 he obtained the lease for the advertising rights on the New York Elevated Railroad and later the Subway lines. Merchandise rights led Ward into acquisitions of chocolate and chewing gum factories to meet the needs of station stands and the vending machines he now manufactured. He invested in The King Motor Car Company, raised dairy cows on 3,000 acres of land in Orange County, N.Y., acquired several thousand acres of land in Westchester County, N.Y. and New Jersey, and had a thousand acrea apple orchard in Virginia. Summers were spent at his home on Shelter Island, N.Y. Ward wrote "Encyclopedia of Food" that continues to be a standard reference work today. He published "The Life of Artemas Ward, First Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolution", 1921 and "The William Ward Genealogy", 1925 both written by Charles Martyn. Artemas Ward died in New York City on March 14, 1925.
Ella Hapgood Ward
Born 1854 in Shrewsbury, Ella Hapgood Ward worked as an assistant librarian and was known for her work with children. Ella helped to preserve Ward family history; with her sisters Clara and Florence she took care of both the family house and the family collection of objects. She died in 1915.
Florence Grosvenor Ward
Born 1856 in Shrewsbury, Florence Grosvenor Ward was an active caretaker of the Artemas Ward House, along with her sister Clara Denny, and helped to label and preserve the Ward family collection. She and her sister Ella resided in their father’s farm neighboring the main house. She died in 1949 in Shrewsbury.
Clara Denny Ward
Born in 1857 in Shrewsbury, Clara Denny Ward worked as a librarian in the New York Public Library system and in Shrewsbury. She preserved family manuscripts and took care of the Ward family house. Clara Denny Ward died in 1921 in Shrewsbury.