William Ward was in Sudbury as early as 1639. He was a proprietor of lands there. He was living at that time with a second wife, named Elizabeth. (His will makes reference to a previous wife.) He represented Sudbury in 1644 at the General Court; he was several years Chairman of the Selectmen there. In 1656, he and others belonging to Sudbury petitioned the General Court for the plantation of Marlborough. He moved to Marlborough in 1660. He had 14 children, four or five of which were born abroad, and all of whom, per his 1686 will, were born of his first wife, name unknown.
From History of the town of Marlborough, Middlesex Co., MA... p. 459-
"William Ward was in Sud. as early as 1639, and was proprietor of lands there. He was living at that time with a second wife. He represented Sud. in 1644, in the General Court; he was several years chairman of the selectmen there. In 1656, he and others belonging to Sud. petitioned the GeneralCourt for the plantation of Marlb. He moved to Marl. 1660. His wife's name was Elizabeth. He d. Aug 10, 1687, and she d. Dec. 9, 1700, age 87. He had fourteen children, four or five of which were born abroad." [His will makes distinct reference to children by his former wife, but who she orthey were, remain a mystery.]
Examination of court records reveal that Ward and several of his sons and sons-in-law were involved in multiple years of lawsuits with others in the town of Marlborough-- a series of events that were cut short by King Philip's War in 1675.
His will (below) clearly indicates that a) he had a wife before Elizabeth, and b) that earlier wife was father of all his children.
Children (first 4-5 likely born in England):
John, b. abt. 1626; m. Hannah Jackson; lived in Newton; named in father's 1686 will)
Joanna, b. 1628; m. Abraham Williams; lived in Marlboro; Abraham as son-in-law named in Ward's will
Obadiah, b. abt 1632; m. Mary; resided in Marlboro; deceased by father's 1686 will, but had son William who received a legacy
Richard, b. abt 1635, m. Mary Moore; res. in Sudbury; he died before 1686 by which time Mary had remarried Daniel Stone of Sudbury; William's will names sons Obadiah and Lydia as children of Richard and Mary)
Deborah, b. abt 1637; m. John Johnson; moved to Marlboro
Hannah, b. abt. 1639; m. Abraham Howe; lived in Marlboro
William, b. Jan 22, 1640; m. and resided in Marlboro; mentioned in father's 1686 will
Samuel, b. Sep 24, 1641; m. Sarah Howe; res. in Marlboro; named in father's 1686 will
Elizabeth, b. April 14, 1643
Increase, b. 22 Feb 1644; m and res in Marlboro; mentioned in father's 1686 will
Hopestill, b. Feb 24, 1646; m. James Woods; lived in Marlboro
Eleazar, b. abt. 1649; m. Hannah Rice. He resided in Sudbury and was slain by Indians upon the highway between Marlboro and Sudbury about April 20, 1676; William Ward's 1686 will gives legacy to Hannah as well as her daughter Hannah by Eleazar.
Bethia, b. abt. 1658; m. Daniel Rice, of Marlboro.
NOTE: Some sources indicate an additional daughter, Mary, who m. Daniel Stone, but as is clear in William's will, below, the Mary who married Daniel Stone was daughter-in-law of William Ward, and who was widow of William's deceased son Richard.
Last Will & Testament
Will of William Ward, Senior
Probate Records of Suffolk County, Massachusetts
(Found through NEHGS)
Sir Edmund Andros, Knt: Captaine Generall and Governour in Chief of his magesty’s Territory and Dominion of New England. To all to whome this shall come or may come: Greeting Know ye: That on the nyne and twentyeth Day of September In the yeare of our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and Seven. Before me att Boston in the County of Suffolk in the Dominion aforesaid the will of William Ward Senr of Marlborough in the County of Middx within this Dominion aforesaid to this presents Amicus was proved and allowed who having while he lived and att the time of his Death goods rights and Creditts in diverse parts of the said Dominion, the Administration of all and SIngular the goods, Rights and Creditts the said Deceased and his will in any manner concerning was committed unto Elizabeth Ward wife of the said Deceased Executrix in the same will named will and truly to Administer, ye same And to make a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods rights and credits of the said deceased and the same to [____]. Into the secretary's office of the said Dominion by the sixth? Day of April next insueing which will be in the year of our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and Eight and also to render a playne and true account thereof upon Oath. In Testimony whereof I have received? unto sitt the seal of the Office for Probate Wills and Granting Administrations. Dated the first day of October Anno... 1687.
The Will of William Ward Jun’r [sic]
I, William Ward Senr of Marlborough in the county of Middlesex in New England, through God’s mercy and enjoying the interments? of my understanding but by reason of my great age and the Infirmities thereof, being sensible of my Approaching Death Doe make and Ordaine my Last will and Testament in manner and forme following (vizt) After the surrender of my self into the hands of God, my maker and Gracious Redeemer; and the Descent ... all of my body I will that all my Debts be well and truly paid by my Executrix. And I give unto Elizabeth my Loveing wife all my moveable goods of every sort both within Doors and without-- to be unto her use and Improvement for her Comfortable maintenance during her naturall life and what shall remaine of my said moveables over and above what she shall need to spend, this shall distribute equally unto all my owne children, vizt those which I have by her and those which I have by my former wife. And if any of my said children now surviving shall dye before the said distribution be made, my will is that the child or children of the said deceased shall have all their father or mother was to have.
Item to my sonne John Ward I give forty acres land, one hundred rods of upland for ever to be his use and att his disposall as any other goods or lands he hath which said forty acres and an hundred rods so much of my third division of upland granted unto me by the Inhabitants of said Marlborough Lyeing about half a mile southeasterly from Belchers Pond and are next adjoyning unto the Fourty acres of Land which I have given to my sonne William Ward and I also give unto my said sonne John Ward four acres of Meadow be the same more or less lyeing in great Cedar Meadow in said Marlborough. Alsoe all my part? of Meadow Lyeing by Stonye Brooke in the said Towne which is commonly called the Gulfe
Item to my sonne Increase Ward I give and confirme for ever to be his use and att his disposall as any goods he hath all this four and twenty acres of Home Lott now in the possession of the said Increase which I purchased of my sonn in law Abraham Williams. Together with all
Rights privileges and Appurtenances of the same in the said Marlborough according to the full tenor of a Deed of sale given me by the said Abraham depicting? the same. And I alike give and confirme unto my said sonne Increase all my addition or second division of upland containing Twelve acres and half an acre more or less: as it now lyeth joyning to the four and Twenty acres above said.
Item to William Ward sonne of my sonne Obediah Ward, I give and confirme for ever to be his and at his disposal as any goods he shall have, when he shall be one and Twenty years of age, nyneteen acres and sixty Rods of upland which are so much of my third division of upland before mentioned. Lyeing next adjoyning unto the said six acres and halfe and Twenty Seaven Rods Together with all the low-boggy swampy land there granted unto me by the inhabitants of said Marlborough as by their book of Records Doth more fully approve.
Item to Mary__ wife of Daniell Stone of Sudbury I Bequeath One shilling and unto Obediah and Lydia the children of said Mar... by my sonne Richard Ward Deceased I give five shillings a piece. To Hannah now wife of Richard Taylor of Sudbury I give One shilling, and unto Hannah Daughter of the said Hannah by my sonne Eleazer Ward Deceased I give five shillings to be paid in money within one yeare after my decease.
Item to my sonne, Samuell Ward, I Give and Confirm forever to be his use and att his Dispoall as any other Land R___ is Owner of five and Twenty acres of home lott both same more or less consisting partly of upland and partly of meadow lyeing and being in Marlborough aforesaid in One Intire piece, and are the moyety or halfe of the fifty acres, home lott granted unto me the said William Ward Senr by the Inhabitants of said Marlborough and are bounded Northward and East by Highway; Southward partly by the Meadow of W. Ward Junior and partly by Land in the possession of Mirr___ Hunt, Westward by the land of Wm Ward Junr and I give and confirm unto my said sonne Samuel the Dwelling House and Barn upon the said five and twenty
Erected in which I now dwell and three acres of Meadow be the same more less wch I took up in lieu of some of my Second Division of meadow and are lyeing on both sides of Stony Brook in said Marlborough & adjoyning to an Hill Scituate on the north side of the said Brook bounded and every way surrounded by common upland. Also an other piece of Meadow Lyeing on both sides of said Stony Brooke; more upstream bounded by the Meadow of Thomas Beman and of John Bouker att the Northerly end thereof and by the Old Bridge or Cartway att the southerly end thereof and by town land yett undivided on both sides thereof. Also I like give unto my said Samuell halfe my right in Old Harbour Meadow and halfe my right in the Ceder Swamp of the said Marlborough. Together with a full proportion of Land according to five and twenty acres of home lott in every division of land which shall hereafter att any time be made by the Inhabitants of said Marlborough of their town lands as yett undivided. Also right of Cmmon age? with said Towne for feed? of Cattle; ;Timber and firewood proportionable unto an Home lott of five and twenty acres. Provided my said sonne Samuel Ward doe fullfill and affirme o____ well and truly to be fulfilled and affirmed all the ____ articles; which he is to perform to my self, the said William Ward Senr and to Elizabeth my wife During the naturall life of each of us as by an obligation under his hand and seal more fully appears bearing Date the Twenty Sixth Day of Aprill in the year One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and Six.
Butt if my said Sonne Samuell shall fail to performe or cause to be performed all the said articles of Forme_____ unto my self and my said wife liberty and power to recantor upon and reassume all the house lands and rights above given unto him to be and abide unto my self or my said wife for the maintenance of my life and her; and to be att myne or her disposall as if I had never willed the same unto my said sonne Samuell allowing and standing to all such provisions as are on my part or on the part of my said wife to be allowed and fullfilled according to the tenor of the said obligation or bond licensed and sealed by my aid sonn Samuell.
Itme unto all myne own children (vizt) all my sonns and daughtesr which I have by my former wife and all
That I have survive me by my present wife I give twenty shillings a piece to be paid them in money within eight months after my decease And I constitute and appoint Elizabeth my Loeving wife sole Executrix of this my will and for Overseers of this my will I choose and desire my sons John Ward, Abraham Willams and my sonne Increase Ward to be helpful unto my wife as Occasion shall serve. And I make utterly null and void all former wills by me att any time made . This is my will Witnessed my hand and seal this Twenty Sixth Day of Aprill in the year of our Lord Christ One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and Six Anno Regni .... Signed William Ward Senr, by his mark and Witnesses Abraham Williams, Joseph Rice, John Matthews
By His Excellency
The above written Abraham Williams, Joseph Rice and John Matthews appeared before me and made oath on the Holy Evangelist that they saw the above named William Ward sign seal and publish this writing as his last will and testament and that he was of sound mind and memory when he did the same.
Sworn this 29th day of September 1687 before me, Andros.
[Followed by the inventory of the estate]
Charles Martyn, The William Ward Genealogy: the history of the descendants of William Ward of Sudbury, Mass., 1639-1925, New York: Artemas Ward, 1925.
Charles Henry Pope, Pioneers of Massachusetts, republished by the Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1965-1998.
James Savage, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Boston, MA, 1861, Volume 2, p 559.
"Suffolk County Probate (1686-1692)," in The American Genealogist, 12 (1935):227: William Ward, Sr., Marlborough. 1687, Volume 1601. Will: 10:122; Evidence: 10:125; Probate & Letter 10:121; Inventory 10:125.
Vital Records of Marlborough, MA to 1850, Worcester, MA: Franklin P. Rice (1908).
Andrew Henshaw Ward, Ward family : descendants of William Ward, who settled in Sudbury, Mass., in 1639... Boston: S.G. Drake, 1851.
William Ward of Yorkshire or Derbyshire, England [need more info]