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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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THOMAS WARD, whose name is familiar as a successful farmer of Johnson County, now makes his home in township 47, range 27. The Buckeye State has furnished many of the leading citizens of this county, and not least among them is Mr. Ward, who was born in Painsville, Ashtabula County, Ohio, on the 22d of November, 1836. He is the third in a family of seven children born to James and Mary (McCarty) Ward, but has only one brother now living, Timothy.

James Ward was a native of New York, where his boyhood days were spent, and there he acquired his education in the common schools. He learned the trade of a stone-mason, which occupation he made his life work. On reaching manhood he was married, and shortly after emigrated to Ohio. He did not remain in that state very long, however, but on securing work on the penitentiary at Jackson, Mich., in 1838, he removed to that city. There he followed his trade for some four years, at the end of which time he located on a farm which he had purchased and devoted his time to agricultural pursuits. For over fifteen years he made that place his home, when, his sons all leaving him, he returned to the city, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying about 1867.

Thomas Ward, whose name heads this record, was but eleven months old when taken by his parents to Michigan, most of his boyhood days being passed upon the home farm. He there grew to manhood, in the meantime acquiring a fair education in the common schools. After he had attained his majority he left the parental roof, embarking on the rough voyage of life for himself. For three years he was employed in a mill during the winter, while in the summer months he worked in a brick-yard, which was very profitable. On the expiration of that time, being a young man full of ambition, he was taken with the “gold fever,” and, shouldering his pick, started for Pike's Peak. Crossing the plains from St. Joe, Mo., with a wagon train in 1860, he arrived at his destination about the 1st of June, and went to work with a will. Being unskilled in mining, his funds were soon exhausted and he then worked for wages. During the first winter he experienced many hardships and privations, but the following spring he and his partner began again, being undaunted by their previous failure, and now success crowned their efforts. In the fall, however, Mr. Ward announced his intention of returning to St. Joe for the winter. His partner tried to dissuade him, telling him that his patriotic spirit would cause him to enlist in the service, as the Civil War was then in progress, but our subject thought not, and promised to return the following spring.

But shortly after his arrival at St. Joe, Mr. Ward joined the Fremont Light Guards, the commanding officer being Colonel Catherwood. There was some difficulty in securing enough men to make up the regiment and it was afterward disbanded. In company with six of his comrades, our subject then went to St. Louis and enlisted in Company D, of the Second Iowa Infantry, November 28, 1861, under Capt. Noah W. Mills and Col. James M. Tuttle. For three years and eight months he remained in the service, and saw much hard fighting, participating in many of the most important engagements of the war. He was in the battles of Ft. Donelson and Shiloh, the siege of Corinth, and the battle at that place on the 3d and 4th of October, 1862. On the 22d of the same month he took part in the battle of Dalton, where General McPherson was killed; and on the 27th the battle of Jonesboro. A notable fact worthy of relating is that his regiment was the first to make a charge and hold its position at the battle of Ft. Donelson, being the indirect cause of its evacuation. Mr. Ward also went with Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea. After the order was given that all men having served two years could re-enlist and would be given a thirty-days furlough, he was mustered out at Pulaski, Tenn., and after his re-enlistment went to Iowa. After one month he re-joined his company, remaining in the service until he was mustered out at Davenport, on the 19th of July, 1865.

From that place Mr. Ward went to Kansas City, where he resumed civil pursuits, finding work in a mill. There he remained until the 15th of January, 1866, when he went to Holden, Mo., and thence to Columbus. After being employed for four years in a mill, he began farming, and has since been one of Johnson County's leading and progressive agriculturists. He was married on the 4th of June, 1867, Miss America A. Matthews becoming his wife. To them have been born six children, but two have been called to the home beyond. Those living are Edwin M., Stella, Mary and Mackie, who are still with their parents, and contribute their share to the happiness of the home. In the spring of 1869 Mr. Ward purchased a farm near Holden, and the following fall moved thereon. There the family resided for some six years, when a portion of its members went to their present home, the father dividing his time between the two places. Since the burning of his former residence two years since, that farm is rented and they now live near Columbus.

Mr. Ward has always been an active Republican, supporting the principles of his party with all the force of his convictions. Since becoming a resident of Johnson County, he has taken a lively interest in its progress and development, giving his encouragement and more substantial support to everything tending towards its advancement and welfare. He stands high in the community and wins friends wherever he goes.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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