Samuel Ward, Governor of Rhode Island 1762, 1765-67
Isabella Mein Wardwell's Will, 1940
Wardwell Descendants, from Richard Warren of the Mayflower
Samuel Ward was born at Newport, Rhode Island, on the 27th May, 1715. He was the second son of Richard Ward, who was Governor of Rhode Island in 1741 and 1742, and the grandson of Thomas Ward, who came to this country during the time of Charles II., and who died in Rhode Island in 1689, a highly esteemed and respectable citizen.
Samuel, the subject of this sketch, completed his education at Harvard College, where he graduated in 1733. His education was of a very practical character; and under the tutelage of his father (who was at the head of a large commercial and agricultural interest at Newport), he acquired an extensive knowledge of the duties of a merchant and a farmer. At an early period of his life, he married Anne Ray, the daughter of a respectable farmer of Block Island, and an elder sister of Catharine Ray, of Block Island, who is mentioned in the life of Dr. Franklin, as one of his most valued and intelligent correspondents. After his marriage, Mr. Ward settled down on a farm at Westerly, devoting himself to the improvement of his estate, and the prosecution of his commercial pursuits.
His first appearance in public life, was in 1756, when he represented the town of Westerly, in the General Assembly of Rhode Island. He remained in the Assembly, until 1759 and was known as one of the most active and intelligent men, in that body.
During the French war, which took place about that time, Mr. Ward represented Rhode Island at a convention, which was held at Hartford, to consult with Lord Loudoun, the commander of the British forces, as to the best course to be pursued by the colonies and the parent country, in the vigorous prosecution of the war. The report of the commissioners of Rhode Island, which was presented by Mr. Ward, was approved by the Assembly, and the suggestions it contained, carried into execution.
The careful reader of the colonial history of the United States, and particularly that of the State of Rhode Island, is familiar with the paper money controversy which raged throughout the colonies during the greater part of the eighteenth century, anterior to the Revolution. A newspaper article is not the place for an elaboration of the merits and demerits of this controversy. While Mr. Ward was a member of the Assembly, it raged to a fearful extent. Stephen Hopkins, subsequently a signer of the Declaration of Independence, ran as candidate for Governor, in 1757, as an opponent of the paper system, after having served as Governor, the year preceding.
During the canvass, he published an address to the citizens of Rhode Island, intimating that during his term of office, the Legislature had pursued a course of policy hostile to the success of his administration. Mr. Ward defended the Assembly, and attacked the administration of Governor Hopkins with severity. The Governor brought a suit against Mr. Ward, for slander, in the courts of the State, retaining the celebrated James Otis, as his counsel.
This suit was never prosecuted, and led to a further exasperation of feeling among partisans of Hopkins and Ward. The feeling continued for several years; and, in 1762, Mr. Ward was elected Governor, after a most animating and exciting canvass. He was succeeded by Mr. Hopkins, in 1763 ; but was again elected in 1765, and continued in office until 1767.
We pass over hurriedly, the incidents of the colonial history, and the prominent part taken by Governor Ward in the strifes and struggles of the colonial politics. We find ourselves on the threshold of more important and memorable events.
We find the "stamp act excitement" (that prologue to the great drama of the Revolution), extending into Rhode Island. We find the Assembly appointing delegates to the Colonial Congress, which was to meet at New York; and find Henry Ward (a younger brother of the Governor,) among the number. We find Governor Ward at an early day taking a decided stand against the preliminary encroachments of the ministry. We find him a private citizen in 1773, writing a letter to his fellow citizens of Westerly, proposing and advocating a united opposition to all attempts at introducing taxed tea into Newport by the British. We find him, in 1774, the chairman of a town committee, at Westerly, introducing a series of resolutions breathing forth a spirit of patriotic devotion to the threatened rights of the people of the colonies; and eventually, we find him appointed, in conjunction with his old antagonist, Stephen Hopkins, a delegate from the colony of Rhode Island, to the Continental Congress, which met at Philadelphia, in Carpenter's Hall, on the 5th of September, 1774.
The drama of revolution and war opened with all its horrors of bloodshed and devastation, and all its glorious scenes of devotion to the rights of man, and determination to obtain liberty, at any and every cost. Samuel Ward, of Rhode Island, performed a prominent part in these scenes, and performed it well. Speaking of his own position and his feelings in a letter to his brother, written in 1775, he says:
"I have traced the progress of this unnatural war, through burning towns, devastation of the country, and every subsequent evil. I have realized, with regard to myself, the bullet, the bayonet and the halter; and, compared with the immense object I have in view, they are all less than nothing. No man living, perhaps, is more fond of his children than I am, and I am not so old as to be tired of life; and yet, as far as I can now judge, the tenderest connections and the most important private concerns are very minute objects. Heaven save our country, I was going to say, is my first, my last, and almost my only prayer"
Eloquent words, sincerely written! Governor Ward knew their meaning; knew the times upon which he had fallen, and knew how to meet approaching emergency. He took an active part in the movements of the Rhode Island patriots, and earnestly cooperated with John Adams, in his efforts to place the military system upon a proper footing. His son, Samuel Ward, had but recently come from college, and entered the colonial army with the commission of captain.
While the congress was in committee of the whole on the consideration of the state of America, Mr. Ward occupied the chair.
He was chairman of the committee of the whole, which originated a resolution, " that a general be appointed to command all the Continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty." This resolution was passed. After which, " the Congress proceeded to the choice of a general, by ballot; and George Washington, Esq., was unanimously elected." He was a devoted admirer of Gen. Washington, and a sincere advocate of his election. A few weeks after the appointment, he wrote to Gen. Washington, thus:
"I most cheerfully entered upon a solemn engagement, upon your appointment, to support you with my life and my fortune; and I shall most religiously, and with the highest pleasure, endeavor to discharge that duty."
We find Governor Ward a most active member of Congress, and untiring in his efforts to organize and advance the preparations for defence on the part of the colonists. He was warmly in favor of pronouncing a declaration of independence; and, although he did not live to sign the Declaration, yet he was one of the most active and determined among those who consummated it.
He wrote to his son Samuel, who had been taken prisoner at Quebec, under the lamented Montgomery, words of encouragement, approval and fatherly advice; and as a member of Congress, did every thing possible for the advancement of the cause, and the successful defence of colonial liberty.
Death came upon him suddenly in the noonday of his usefulness. We find him presiding in the committee of the whole on the 13th of March; the last time he is mentioned by the journals of Congress, as participating in its proceedings. He was present, as a member, on March 14, and March 15; but from thenceforward, his seat was vacant forever. On the 26th of March, 1776, he died of small pox, in the fifty-first year of his age. The Pennsylvania Gazette, March 27th, 1776, now before us, thus announces his death:
" Died, yesterday morning, the Honorable Samuel Ward, Esq., late member of the Continental Congress; his remains will be interred this afternoon, in the Baptist Church.
The procession will begin at 3 o'clock, this afternoon, at Mrs. Honse's, in Lodge Alley, where the friends of the deceased are desired to attend. The body will be carried to Arch Street Church, where a sermon on the occasion, will be delivered by the Rev. Mr. Stillman. The ladies will be admitted into the galleries at 3 o'clock."
In the letters of John Adams, we find the following allusion to the death of Governor Ward:
" His funeral was attended with the same solemnities as Mr. Randolph's. Mr. Stillman being the Ana-Baptist minister here, of which persuasion was the Governor, was desired by Congress, to preach a sermon, which he did, with great applause."
Many years subsequent to this, John Adam, writing to a grandson of Governor Ward, thus spoke of him:
"He was a gentleman, in his manners; benevolent and amiable in his disposition; and as decided, ardent and uniform in his patriotism, as any member of that Congress. When he was seized with the small pox, he said that if his vote and voice were necessary to support the cause of his country, he should live; if not, he should die. He died, and the cause of his country was supported; but it lost one of its most sincere and punctual advocates."
The remains of Governor Ward were exhumed and removed to Rhode Island in 1860. The slab over his grave, contains the following inscription, written by John Jay:
"In memory of the Honorable Samuel Ward, formerly Governor of the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; afterwards delegated from that colony to the General Congress; in which station, he died, at Philadelphia, of the small pox, March 26th, 1776, in the fifty-first year of his age. His great abilities, his unshaken integrity, his ardor in the cause of freedom, his fidelity in the offices he filled, induced the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to erect this grateful testimony of their respect."-Providence Press, March 19, 1860.
A fuller memoir of Governor Ward, from the pen of Charles Denison, Esq., of Westerly, was published in the " Narragansett Weekly," Westerly, beginning July 21, 1859, and continued through several numbers of the paper. It is to be hoped that the writer may print it in a better form for preservation.
Isabella Mein Wardwell, b. January 12, 1848, d. July 11, 1940, in Bristol, Rhode Island. The Wardwell's were a prominent Bristol family with Mayflower ties. She never married and was 92 when she died, with hardly any relatives left except cousins. The following is an extract of the names from the 30 page will.
Named in will:
|BACHE, Evalin; Daughter of Evelin BACHE
BELL ROBINSON, Louise; Daughter of Adelaide
BOURNE, Marjorie of Marion, MA
BOURNE, Reverend Alexander of Marion, MA
BROWN, Jennie; Relative on mother's side
CHILDS, Judith Ann
CHILDS, Mrs. Ralph W. of West Barrington
CHILDS, Ralph W. of West Barrington
DENIKE, Margaret; Daughter of Elsie F. DENIKE of Summit, NJ
DENIKE, Robert; Son of Elsie DENIKE
GLOVER, Helen, Fairfield, CT
GRAETZ, Fern; Wife of Herbert
GRAETZ, Reverend Herbert D.
HERRMANN, Charles; relative on mother's side
HERRMANN, Christine; Daughter of Charles HERRMANN
HERRMANN, Ida; relative of mother
HILLS, Florence; Wife of of Bigelow
HILLS, H. Bigelow of Providence
HORNE, Ruth; Granddaughter of Eunice PAULL
KINNECUTT, George L. of Bristol; brother of Adelaide BELL
LEES, Annie M.; in my employ
LINDSAY, Agnes MACAULEY (Deceased) of Prestwick Ayrshire Scotland
LINDSAY, Agnes; Daughter of Agnes
LINDSAY, David; Son on Agnes
LINDSAY, Janet; Daughter of Agnes
LINDSAY, Madge; Daughter of Agnes
|LINDSAY, Mary; Daughter of Agnes
LINDSAY, Reverend Samuel M. Brookline, MA
MCCARTHY, Annie; Housekeeper
MERRIMAN, Dr. Alfred
MITCHELL, Mary of Providence
MUNRO, Harriet B. of Bristol
NELSON, Florence; Daughter of Robert M. NELSON
NELSON, Robert W.; Son of Robert M. Nelson
PAULL, Mrs. Eunice of Bristol
PETERSON, Antoinette of Washington, DC
REID, Shirley; Granddaughter, Mrs. Helen REID, Brookline, MA
RICH, Emity J. of Bristol
SALISBURY, Katherine; Sister of Mary MITCHELL
SHAW, Richard J.
SHERMAN SPRINGER, Marion; Daughter of Annie and Clinton
SHERMAN, Annie; Wife of Clinton
SHERMAN, Clinton T.
WALDRON, Elizabeth; Widow of Lewis B. WALDRON of Bristol
WARDWELL, Marguerite; Daughter of Theodore S. WARDWELL
WARDWELL, Richard P., NY
WARDWELL, Richard W.; mentioned in connection with Marguerite
WARDWELL, Ruth; Daughter of William H. WARDWELL of NY
WARDWELL, Thomas; Grandfather buried in North Cemetery
WEEKS, Edith Vincent; Wife of Edward H. WEEKS, Providence
WILBUR, Hermann; Son of Ethel WILBUR
WINNERSTIAND, Violet; of BRISTOL
Richard WARREN born about 1580 England Mayflower passenger died at Plymouth 1628 married to Elizabeth 1583-1673
Their children were:
1. Mary 1610-1683 m Robert Bartlett
2. Anna 1612-1675 m Thomas Little
3. Sarah 1614-1696 m John Cooke
4. Elizabeth 1616-1669 m Richard Church
5. Abigail 1618-1692 m Anthony Snow
6. Nathaniel 1625-1667 m Sarah Walker
7. Joseph 1626-1689 m Priscilla Faunce
(4) Elizabeth m. Richard Church had 14 children:
1. Elizabeth m Caleb Hobart
2. Joseph b 1637 m Mary Tucker
3. Benjamin m Alice Southworth
4. Nathaniel m Sarah Barstow
5. Caleb m 1. Joanna Sprague m 2. Deborah? m 3. Rebecca Scotto
7. Priscilla m 1. Samuel Talbott m 2. John Irish
8. Abigial m Samuel Thaxter
9. Richard died young
11. Sarah m James Burrows
12. Lydia went to France
13. Deborah died age 4
14. Mary died April 30 1662
(2) Joseph Church married 1660 Mary Tucker
Joseph Church (2) married 1688 Grace Shaw
Caleb Church married 1721 Deborah Woodworth
Thomas Church married 1746 Elizabeth Bosworth
Deborah Church married 1772 Joseph Lindsey, Bristol
Thomas Lindsey 1785-1867 married 1806 Rhoda Luther (1785-1819)
Sarah Luther Lindsey 1811-1890 married 1835 Henry Wardwell (1808-1875) son of Benjamin and Elizabeth.
The daughters of Henry & Sarah (Lindsey) Wardwell:
Sophia Lindsay Wardwell 1838 -1915
Annie/Anne Wardwell 1842-1866
Harriet Wardwell 1845-1929
Isabella Mein Wardwell 1848-1940
2nd marriage Thomas Lindsey 1785-1867 married 1820's? Ann Waldron
The son of Thomas & Ann (Waldron) Lindsey:
Thomas Lindsey 1827-1877 married 1850 Maria Bowler 1830-1909
The children of Thomas & Maria (Bowler) Lindsey:
Edwin F. 1855-1926
Mary Louise 1862-1912 married Herrman
Lillie Sprague 1862-1862
Minnie 1860-? married Frank Kinnicutt
Annie Elizabeth Wardwell 1866-1935 married Tirrell
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