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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hot Spring County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Henry Clay Ward first saw the light of day in North Carolina in 1830. His paternal grandfather, Leonard Ward, was a native of Maryland and a soldier of the Revolutionary War, in which he took brave and active part, being one of the famous “minute men” spoken of in history. His father was Francis A. Ward, of North Carolina birth, who gave his attention to farming as an occupation. Coming to Hot Spring County in 1850, he settled at Rockport, where he was elected the first county judge of that county. In 1861 he moved to Social Hill, and there spent the remainder of his life, dying in 1879, at the age of seventy-eight years. His widow, the mother of Henry Clay Ward, still survives him. She was also a native of North Carolina, her name being Sarah Miller before marriage. She (as was her husband) is a member of the Methodist Church, in which they always took an active part. They were the parents of seven children: John W. (deceased), H. C. (the subject of this article), Wiley A., M. D. (now of Cleveland County), Mary (deceased), Benjamin Franklin (deceased, a musician in the Third Arkansas Infantry), William J. (an architect, at Washington, D. C.) and Sallie (deceased, who was the wife of Thomas Daniel). Henry Clay Ward was reared upon the farm in a new country where he had no advantages for schooling, but he improved such opportunities as were presented to obtain an education, and by subsequent self-application has become a well-informed man. His natural love of mechanics and his inventive genius have often served him in an excellent way. When the Civil War broke out he took a contract to make drums for the Confederate army, and also furnished drums to the Federal army, the Ward drums being found throughout the lines of both forces. Indeed, he is yet called the “Arkansas drum-maker.” Music with Mr. Ward is an intuitive passion, and he is an expert on the violin, having gained quite a reputation by playing the “Arkansaw Traveler,” which piece he practiced with its composer. After the close of the war he settled on his father’s old farm at Social Hill, where he still resides, engaged in farming and distilling brandy and whisky. His still has a capacity of twenty gallons per day. He makes fine liquors, the most of it finding its way to physicians and those wanting a pure article for medicinal purposes, and “Ward’s Best” has achieved a wide and favorable sale. In 1858 Mr. Ward was married to Miss Nancy E. Reasons, who was born in North Carolina in 1840. They are the parents of these children: Mary C. (now the wife of J. R. Alford, a merchant of Social Hill), Martha E. (wife of Henry Hardy, also of Social Hill), F. Ada (wife of P. A. Peyton, of Malvern), Maud (a teacher) and Sallie (who resides at home). Mrs. Ward and all of the children are members of the Methodist Church, South. Mr. Ward belongs to the A. F. & A. M., of which he is a Knight Templar, being one of the first initiated in Rockport. He is a large-hearted man, and of a hospitable disposition, the doors of his house being ever thrown open for stranger or acquaintance, and the poor and afflicted do not hesitate to ask a favor of generous, magnanimous Henry Ward.

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This family biography is one of 52 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hot Spring County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Hot Spring County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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