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About Artemas Ward, Major General
Artemas Ward (November 26, 1727 – October 28, 1800) was an American major general in the American Revolutionary War and a Congressman from Massachusetts. President John Adams described him as "...universally esteemed, beloved and confided in by his army and his country." He was considered an effective political leader.
Early life and career
Artemas was born at Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in 1727 to Nahum (1684–1754) and Martha (Howe) Ward. He was the sixth of seven children. His father had broad and successful career interests as a sea captain, merchant, land developer, farmer, lawyer and jurist. As a child he attended the common schools and shared a tutor with his brothers and sisters. He graduated from Harvard in 1748 and taught there briefly.
On July 31, 1750, he married Sarah Trowbridge (December 3, 1724 – December 13, 1788), the daughter of Reverend Caleb Trowbridge and Hannah Trowbridge of Groton, Massachusetts. The young couple returned to Shrewsbury where Artemas opened a general store. In the next fifteen years they would have eight children: Ithamar in 1752, Nahum (1754), Sara (1756), Thomas (1758), Artemas Jr. (1762), Henry Dana (1768), Martha (1760) and Maria (1764).
The next year, 1751, he was named a township assessor for Worcester County. This was the first of many public offices he was to fill. Artemas was elected a justice of the peace in 1752 and also served the first of his many terms in the Massachusetts Bay Colony's assembly, or "general court."
French and Indian War
In 1755 the militia was restructured for the war, and Artemas Ward was made a major in the 3rd Regiment which mainly came from Worcester County. They served as garrison forces along the frontier in western Massachusetts. This duty called him at intervals between 1755 and 1757, and alternated with his attendance at the General Court. In 1757 he was made the colonel of the 3rd Regiment or the militia of Middlesex and "Worchester" Counties. In 1758 the regiment marched with Abercrombie's force to Fort Ticonderoga. Ward himself was sidelined during the battle by an "attack of the stone."
Prelude to revolution
By 1762 Ward had completely returned to Shrewsbury and was named to the Court of Common Pleas. In the General Court he was placed on the taxation committee along with Samuel Adams and John Hancock. On the floor, he was second only to James Otis in speaking out against the acts of parliament. His prominence in these debates prompted the Royal Governor Francis Bernard to revoke his military commission in 1767. At the next election in 1768, Bernard voided the election results for Worcester and banned Ward from the assembly, but this didn't silence him.
In the growing sentiment favoring rebellion, the 3rd Regiment resigned en masse from British service on October 3, 1774. They then marched on Shrewsbury to inform Colonel Ward that they had unanimously elected him their leader. Later that month the governor abolished the assembly. The towns of Massachusetts responded by setting up a colony-wide Committee of Safety. One of the first actions of the Committee was to name Ward as general and commander-in-chief of the colony's militia.
The Army of Observation
Following the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the rebels followed the British back to Boston and started the siege of the city. At first Ward directed his forces from his sickbed, but later moved his headquarters to Cambridge. Soon, the New Hampshire and Connecticut provisional governments both named him head of their forces participating in the siege. Most of his efforts during this time were devoted to organization and supply problems.
Additional British forces arrived in May, and in June Ward learned of their plan to attack Bunker Hill. He gave orders to fortify the point, setting the stage for the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. Command during the battle devolved upon General Israel Putnam and Colonel William Prescott. While General Ward received national recognition for the heroic stand made that day, his principal contribution was a failure to supply enough ammunition to hold the position.
The Continental Army
Meanwhile, the Continental Congress was creating a Continental Army. On June 16 they named Artemas Ward a major general, and second in command to George Washington. Over the next nine months he helped convert the assembled militia units into the Continental Army.
After the British evacuation on March 17, 1776, Washington led the main army to New York City. Ward took command of the Eastern Department on April 4, 1776. He held that post until March 20, 1777, when his health forced his resignation from the army.
Politics: Life after war
Even during his military service, Artemas served as a state court justice in 1776 and 1777. He was President of the state's Executive Council from 1777–1779, which effectively made him the governor before the 1780 ratification of the Massachusetts Constitution. He was continuously elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for each year from 1779 through 1785. He also served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1780 and 1781. Ward was the Speaker of the Massachusetts House in 1785. He was elected twice to the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1791 to 1795.
Artemas died at his home in Shrewsbury on October 28, 1800, and is buried with Sarah in Mountain View Cemetery. His great-grandson, Artemas Ward wrote The Grocer's Encyclopedia (published in 1911).
Artemas's lifelong home had been built by his father, Nahum, about the time Artemas was born. The home is now known as the Artemas Ward House and is a museum preserved by Harvard University. Located at 786 Main Street in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts it is open to the public for limited hours during the summer months.
Ward Circle is a traffic circle at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest Washington, D.C.. The land on three sides of Ward Circle is owned by American University. The circle contains a statue of Artemas Ward.
The great-grandson of Artemas Ward gave over four million dollars to Harvard University on the condition that they erect a statue in honor of Ward, and maintain his home in Shrewsbury. Harvard’s initial offer in 1927 of $50,000 toward the statue was enough for a statue, but inadequate to provide the general with a horse.
The statue was completed in 1938. Although there is no pedestrian access to the circle, the base of the statue bears this inscription:
ARTEMAS WARD, 1727-1800, SON OF MASSACHUSETTS, GRADUATE OF HARVARD COLLEGE, JUDGE AND LEGISLATOR, DELEGATE 1780-1781 TO THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, SOLDIER OF THREE WARS, FIRST COMMANDER OF THE PATRIOT FORCES
American University named the home of the American University School of Public Affairs, being the closest building at the time to Ward Circle in honor of Artemas Ward.
WARD, Artemas, soldier, born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, in 1727; died there, 28 October, 1800. He was graduated at Harvard in 1748, entered public life at an early age as a representative to the general assembly, and was afterward chosen to the executive council. In 1752 he was a justice of the peace in his native town. In 1755 he served as major in Colonel Abraham Williams's regiment, and in 1758 he was major in the one that was commanded by William Williams. He accompanied the expedition under Gem James Abercrombie against the French and Indians, attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and succeeded to the command of the 3d regiment. Afterward he represented his native town in the legislature, where he took an active part in the controversies between the colonial governors and the house of representatives and was one of the regularly chosen members that were displaced by the "mandamus councillors" in 1774. On 27 October, 1774, he was appointed a brigadier-general by the Provincial congress of Massachusetts, to which he was a delegate, and on 19 May, 1775, he was made commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts forces. He was in nominal command at the battle of Bunker Hill, though he remained at headquarters in Cambridge and had no share in determining the events of that day. On 17 June he was appointed by the Continental congress first on the list of major-generals, and he was in command of the forces besieging Boston until the arrival of General Washington, after which he was second in command, being stationed with the right wing on Rexbury heights. In consequence of impaired health he resigned his commission in April, 1776, but at the request of General Washington he continued to act until the end of May. He was elected chief justice of the court of common pleas of Worcester county in 1776, was president of the Massachusetts executive council in 1777, and a member of the legislature for sixteen years, serving as speaker in 1785. In 1779 he was appointed a delegate to the Continental congress, but, owing to failing health, did not take his seat. Being afterward elected to congress as a Federalist, he served from 4 October, 1791, till 3 March, 1795. He possessed integrity and unyielding principles, and his judicial conduct, especially during Shays's rebellion in 1786, was highly commended.--His son, Artemas, jurist, born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 9 January, 1762; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 7 October, 1847, was graduated at Harvard in 1783, studied law. was admitted to the bar, and practised in Shrewsbury until 1809, when he removed to Boston. He served in the legislature, was a member of the council, and was elected to the 13th congress as a peace candidate, serving from 24 May, 1813, till 3 March, 1817. From 1.820 till 1839 he was chief justice of the court of common pleas. Harvard gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1842.
Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM
SEE THIS ALSO: http://www.masshist.org/findingaids/doc.cfm?fa=fa0255 -------------------- Adde by Elwin Nickerson II about my ancestor -See Citations Below- ARTEMAS WARD FIRST COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 274. ARTEMUS WARD, born November 26, 1727, in Shrewsbury, Mass., died October 28, 1800, in Shrewsbury. He married July 31, 1750, in Groton, Mass., SARAH TROWBRIDGE, born December 3, 1724, in Groton, died December 13, 1788, in Shrewsbury, daughter of the Reverend Caleb and Hannah (Walter) Trowbridge and of direct maternal descent from Increase Mather and John Cotton. This great-grandson of William Ward of Sudbury became his most famous descendant, taking an active part on the patriot side in the decade preceding the Revolution and serving as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary forces. His career is fully in the companion volume to this work, his biography, "The Life of Artemas Ward." His birthplace was the house that later achieved local fame as the Baldwin Tavern (see reference under his father, Nahum Ward). He graduated from Harvard College, B.A., 1748, M.A., 1751, and early became prominent in his community, holding numerous town offices. In 1757 he was elected for the first of many terms as Shrewbury's representative in the General Court. The following year he was commissioned as major in William Williams's regiment, raised for the Ticonderoga campaign against the French, winning promotion to lieutenant-colonel, and upon his return being appointed colonel of his militia regiment. In 1762 he was made a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. During these first years following his marriage he lived the "Yellow House," or "Old Sumner House," its site a few feet to the south of the present Sumner House. In 1763 he bought the now famous old "Artemas Ward House" from his brother Elisha and made it his home thenceforth. His activity on the patriot side of the political controversy with England commenced with the Stamp Act agitation and was speedily followed by Governor Bernard's revocation of his commission as colonel-- for which Ward returned his "compliments to the Governor," saying that he considered himself "twice honored, but more in being superseded, than in having been commissioned," and that he thanked him for the letter of dismissal ... "since the motive that dictated it is evidence that I am, what he is not, a friend of my country." Two years later (1768) he was elected to the Council in a contest with Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson, but was promptly vetoed by Bernard. Hutchinson's letter to ex-Governor Pownall, one of several on the subject, describes Ward as "a very sulky fellow, who I thought I could bring over by giving him a commission in the provincial forces after you left the government, but I was mistaken." Ward was elected again in 1769 and again vetoed. On his third election in 1770 he was accepted. He had been marked for slaughter a third time, but Hutchinson (then acting-governor) decided to accept him for fear that a new refusal would "increase the bad spirit in the House and through the province." He was prominent in the Worcester County conventions of 1774, which declared that Massachusetts owed no obedience to the English Parliament, closed the courts, and planned measures in the event of "an invasion, or danger of an invasion" of the county by English troops. He was a delegate to both provincial congresses called to succeed the General Court and was by both named as Second General Officer to command the militia in the event of its being called out by the newly formed Committee of Safety. His old militia regiment meantime reelected him colonel. With the province aroused to this degree, the first overt act meant civil war. This came with the firing at Lexington and the fight at Concord Bridge.
General Ward was ill in bed when the express rider reached Shrewsbury with news of the clash with the British troops, but the next morning at daybreak he was on his way to join the militiamen who had driven the redcoats back to Boston and encamped around the town. So developed the most important and most critical period of General Ward's life. As Jedediah Preble, First General Officer, did not act upon his election, Ward assumed the chief command of the forces surrounding Boston, both those of Massachusetts and those that came in from other New England states. With no rank except that accorded by an informal provincial congress, with no authority to enlist men, without adequate supplies, he took the dangerous post of head of an armed rebellion against one of the world's greatest powers. There was, quite naturally under the circumstances, a good deal of laxity and disorder in the camps, and much restlessness among the men who had left their farms and families at a moment's notice--ready to fight but totally unprepared for a protracted siege; and bedeviled by half-patriots subtly poisoning minds and creating dissensions. The conditions stimulated a flood a criticism. Ward was considered overlenient to offenders, and it was charged that he held the reins too loosely. His peculiarly constituted army nevertheless achieved its purpose--it protected the province from the English troops by keeping the province from the English troops by keeping them besieged within the town. Other men were urged for the command, but "both friend and enemy among the leaders of Massachusetts realized that to put another in his place might overnight destroy the province." (This quotation and those following in this brief sketch of General Ward are from "The Life of Artemas Ward, the first Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolution). Ward indeed "filled his most difficult post with so substantial a degree of dexterity that even his most bitter detractor--James Warren of Plymouth--feared the result of making a change and ... testified 'we dare not supersede him here.'" Ward was at that time a man of forty-seven years; of medium height; clean shaven, of prominent features; and somewhat corpulent. One may picture him "dressed in the manner of the times--hair in a powdered wig; a long coat with silver buttons; a figured neckcloth surmounting a ruffled shirt; a long waistcoat with big pockets; knee-breeches, and riding-boots. A 'God-fearing' man, strongly believing in and living up to the religion he professed; quiet, thoughtful, and rather overstern in demeanor; somewhat slow in speech and with a biblical turn to his conversation; inflexible in his ideas, and fully convinced that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the land most approved by Providence, and that those of Massachusetts were the Chosen People." The first weeks of the War of the Revolution were punctuated by many alarms, culminating with the third week of June in well authenticated reports that the reenforced English army had determined to raise the siege. To prevent this movement the Committee of Safety made its session of June 15 historic by passing a resolution recommending the Council of War to seize "Bunker's Hill" and suggesting that "some one hill or hills on Dorchester Neck be likewise secured"--those two positions commanding the peninsulas to the north and south of the peninsula of Boston. All histories prior to "The Life of Artemas Ward" have it "that the result of the action of the council of war on this resolution of the Committee of Safety was Ward's order to fortify Bunker Hill--and the resolution and order have been variously interpreted: as a step of almost blind recklessness, a desperate hazard, occasioned by the urgent necessity to do something to check the British plans to raise the siege; as a move to offset the British intention to take Dorchester Neck; as an act of defiance calculated to bring on a general engagement; as the first step in the contemplated expulsion of the English from Boston. "But the determination at which the council of war of June 15 actually arrived was of a character much bolder--no less than a sudden tightening of the lines around the British forces by the simultaneous fortification of both Bunker Hill and Dorchester Neck."
The Dorchester Neck project was set aside because General Thomas, in command of the right wing, did not feel that his division was strong enough to defend such a possession, but on the following day Ward issued his orders for the seizure and fortification of Bunker Hill. Then followed the famous "Battle of Bunker Hill"--the English troops winning the position but at such heavy cost that their generals forthwith renounced all plans for breaking through the American lines. Thus was the Siege of Boston maintained under Ward until the arrival on July 2 of George Washington of Virginia, elected Commander-in-Chief by the Continental Congress in the well-founded hope of uniting the colonies in a common cause against the English government. On Washington's assumption of the chief post, Ward accepted the command of the right wing, with headquarters at Roxbury. Eight months later his division carried through his long cherished object--the seizure and fortification of Dorchester Peninsula. This compelled the evacuation of Boston by the British--who never again, except as prisoners of war, set foot within the present boundaries of Massachusetts. In the following month Washington marched for New York, and Ward took command of the Eastern Department with headquarters in Boston, remaining in that post until March 20, 1777, on the repeated requests of the Continental Congress and Washington, despite serious ill health. Following his resignation, he was active as a state executive: much of the time as president of the Executive Council; on a secret committee on Tory movements; as president of the Court of Inquiry on the first Rhode Island expedition; as president of the Committee of Investigation of the failure of the Penobscot expedition, etc. In 1779 he was elected to the Continental Congress for the year 1780 and became a member of the Continental Board of War. He was reelected for 1781 and 1782, but was compelled to decline the third term because of ill health. His most important service was with Samuel Adams and Nathaniel Gorham on the committee to check the unrest in Hampshire County fomented by Tory agitators. He was again in the General Court as Speaker of the House during the says of Shays' Rebellion. In his other role as a chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, his determined stand against the insurgents in front of the Worcester courthouse is one of the most dramatic incidents in the history of the county. He was a representative in the second and third United States Congresses, aligning with the federalists and supporting many Washington policies despite the fact that he and Washington never liked each other. "By the summer of 1797 General Ward had begun to feel that his strength was unequal to his judicial duties. On June 12, writing to his daughter Maria and her husband, Dr. Ebenezer Tracy, he says: 'the lawyers in the general court are endeavoring to demolish the Courts of Common Pleas in this Commonwealth & to establish a circuit court in lieu thereof, and it is probable they will effect it. It don't affect me much for I shall soon leave that Court and confine myself at home. I am old & infirm, it is time for me to quit the theatre of action, and while I remain here live a domestic life.' "He sat in court for the last time during the session of December, 1797, and soon after terminated his long career as a judge." He spent the remaining two years of his life in quiet retirement. "His letters show him, in his old age, as in his younger years, full of kindly love for his children and the members of their families--condoling with them in their afflictions, and rejoicing in their happiness, always keeping in the foreground the God he had served so conscientiously all his life, and inculcating the same reliance in, and acceptance of, divine decrees. For himself, he was expecting the end and praying that he might be 'prepared.'"
He died on October 28, 1800. "A long procession of carriages formed his funeral cortege and an impressive address marked the last rites. "Thus closed the career of Artemas Ward, one of the worthiest of Massachusetts' many noble sons. He had played a prominent part in the generation which founded the great republic of the United States. He had stood in the forefront of revolution when the challenge was thrown down to the might of the British Empire, and had held equally resolute against the wrath of compatriots when it ran counter to the best interests of the state or nation. His had been a character of strength and stability which could be swayed neither by favor nor by fear; and a life of continuous industry from youth to old age. A character and a life well deserving a high place in the annals of Massachusetts."
The most important recent memorials to General Ward are cited in the Introduction to this volume. The "Artemas Ward House," Shrewsbury, Mass., his home for thirty-seven years, is open to the public every week-day during the summer months. It is a prominent feature of the state road between Boston and Worcester. Its historical associations and it's store of early colonial and revolutionary relics attract many visitors--students, historical writers, and others, in addition to members of the family. His manuscript letters and orders, etc., are widely held. The largest collection is in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, donated by Artemas Ward, 2722, and containing additions from the collections of Catherine Maria (Ward) Barrell, 1340; Roxa Sprague (Dix) Southard, daughter of 2731; Sarah Elizabeth (Dix) Fisher, 2732; Florence Grosvenor Ward, 4403; Josephine Lewis Danforth and Antoinette (Danforth) Smith, 4368 and 4369; and Gertrude Carruth (Washburn) Weeks, daughter of 4348. Also in the Massachusetts Historical Society are his commission as Massachusetts Commander-in-Chief, presented by Catherine Maria (Ward) Barrell, 1340, and reproduced in "The Life of Artemas Ward"; his Order Book, donated by Rebuke Langdon (Prince) Lamson, 2738; his sword, the gift of Charles (Carlos) Thomas Atherton Ward, 4418; his own copy of the diary he kept during the Ticonderoga Expedition of 1758, donated by Florence Grosvenor Ward, 4403; and some additional letters bound on the Heath, Pickering, and Thomas MSS. A second important group of manuscripts is in the Massachusetts Archives, Boston. There are two contemporary portraits of General Ward. The better known, that by Charles Willson Peale, in 1794 or 1795, hangs in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Copies of it are in the Old and New State Houses, Boston; the Artemas Ward Annex to the Howe Memorial Library, Shrewsbury; the Courthouse, Worcester, Mass.; and the homes of Artemas Ward, 2722, Judge Henry Galbraith Ward, 2723, and Agnes (Ward) White, 4385. Mrs. White's copy is a free rendering by Thomas Sully. The photogravure opposite page 106 is, as noted, from the Independence Hall original. The second portrait, by Raphaelle Peale in 1795, is in the Artemas Ward House. A copy is owned by Mrs. C. A. Page (page 156, footnote). There are also numerous heirlooms of General Ward, other than letters, owned by descendants. The gavel that he used as Speaker of the Massachusetts House is in the Old State House, Boston, and the Shrewsbury Congregational Church cherishes the silver communion cups that he gave it in 1769.
THE PRECEDING NUMBERS AND REFERENCES TO PAGES RELATE TO THE ORIGINAL WILLIAM WARD GENEALOGY PUBLISHED IN 1925.