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This person migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Biography of William Ward of England, Sudbury & Marlborough, Massachusetts
The William Ward Genealogy by Charles Martyn has charming and detailed (mostly speculatively) chapters on the possible life of William Ward. These chapters set William into historical context.
William Ward of Sudbury was born in England about 1603. He emigrated to Massachusetts Bay probably in the spring of 1638 bringing with him his second wife, Elizabeth, and five children. His surname is sometimes spelled Warde in the early records.
The author Charles Martyn states that he did extensive research in England, checking parish registers and other documents for William Wards in the time frame of 1638. He eliminated all but three of the William’s he found, but the author did not feel that any of these could be our William with any certainty and recognizes the fact that there may be more William Ward’s to find or that there is a good possibility that no records exist. There is above a listing of his parents as Johannes Warde and Maria (Hatton) Warde. This information although it may be correct is not well sourced and as such should be used with caution.
William and his family left England about 1638, for one or more of the various reasons that persons chose to leave the old world and begin the adventure to the New World. He would have sold most of his belongings, outfitted himself for the journey and his early time in New England, traveled to London, boarded a ship and begun the sometimes dangerous and uncomfortable journey across the ocean.
When they arrived safely, Sudbury was a brand new plantation, made up mostly of fresh immigrants. It was approximately five miles (later it increased to thirty five miles) square bordered by Weston on the east, Concord to the north, and stretches of wilderness to the west and south. There were actually a few wigwams complete with native Americans residing within the boundaries of Sudbury. There was also the Sudbury River and the “Old Bay Path”, a well used Indian trail which continued into Connecticut.
William and his family settled by the fall of 1638 on a sight with a good spring, and undoubtedly spent the next few years laboring at building their house, tilling and planting, raising animals and the millions of other things that needed to be done to make a home in times before modern conveniences.
In 1643 Sudbury built it’s first meeting house. William was one of six chosen to represent the town in the meeting house contract. The five others were all freeman, three of them were quite “well to do”. Ward was neither of these things, so he must have had good qualities which led him to this position.
10 May 1643 William Ward became a “freeman”, and the following spring he was elected deputy (representative) to the General Court. In 1645 and 46 he was appointed as commissioner “to end small causes” in Sudbury. He also served as chairman of Sudbury’s selectmen and represented Sudbury on the grand jury of the county court at Charlestown and Cambridge.
During these years, town land allotments were made so that Williams holdings were between two and three hundred acres.
In 1655, cattle had increased, and children had increased and were becoming adults and the people of Sudbury were feeling a space restriction. It was decided to form another plantation about 8 miles west of Sudbury. Ward and twelve others signed the petition sent to the General Court at Boston in May of 1656.
The petition was easily granted. Ward was awarded one of the three highest fifty acre allotments of land, which shows his wealth had increased considerably since his first days in Sudbury. Most of William’s children joined him in Marlborough. William had his house built by 1659 and was definitely a resident by the spring of 1661. In 1660 the General Court confirmed the plantation and named it Marlborow.
William Ward continued an active political life in Marlborough and was a deacon of the church. However the settling of Marlborough was not as smooth as the settling of Sudbury and there were many conflicts and dissensions in the town records.
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.
The Indian raids leading up to and during King Philip’s War were a constant source of concern for the people of the outlying town of Marlborough. Several house’s were fortified for use as garrisons. William’s and his daughters’, Deborah and Joanna, houses were among these. On Mar. 26, 1676, it was reported that the Indians were approaching. People hurried into the garrisoned houses. The Indians didn’t attack those houses but burned the meeting-house, thirteen houses, eleven barns and mutilated cattle, and destroyed fences and orchards before they left.
The following night Lt. Jacobs with some soldiers and citizens attacked the nearby Indian camp and killed and wounded a number of them, which frightened off the enemy for a time. At this point many of the Marlborough residents took flight to safer places. William at 73 remained.
On April 18 the Indians suddenly returned destroying every remaining unfortified house and structure. They hung around for a few days hoping to get at some of the settlers in the fortified houses, but on April 21 they went on to attack Sudbury. William’s daughter Elizabeth lost her husband John Howe and Eleazer, William’s youngest son, was shot. Fortunately the Indians did not return to Marlborough
Aug 10,1687, William died and was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery followed by his wife. “Here lyes the body of Elizabeth Ward, the servant of the Lord, deceased in the 87th year of her age, December the 9th, in the year of our Lord, 1700.”
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 or they were, remain a mystery.]
Name: William Ward Spouse's Name: Eliz. Phillips Event Date: 04 May 1626 Event Place: Saint James,Clerkenwell,London,England  Although this marriage is sourced, proof that this is the correct William, has not yet been presented.
Proof of his marriage to Elizabeth Hall (from above) or Eleanor (from the find a grave memorial) has also not yet come to light.
His will (below) clearly indicates that a) he had a wife before Elizabeth, and that some of his children are by the earlier wife and some by Elizabeth. Current speculation is that the first three are by the first wife. The births of all his children are recorded in the Newton Vital Records, stating that the first five were born in England and the last nine were born in Sudbury.
Children (first 4-5 likely born in England):
- John, b. 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 William 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. 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. Sept. 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
To view the full transcribed will see Cookie Crumbs Ancestry, William WARD. Will of William Ward, Senior Probate Records of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Found through NEHGS)
Court Record [Not the original Will]:
- 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]
- ↑ Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M00141-1 System Origin: England-ODM GS Film number: 942 B4HA V. 13 Reference ID: "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V52S-6KN : accessed 17 Mar 2014), William Ward and Eliz. Phillips, 04 May 1626; citing Saint James,Clerkenwell,London,England, reference ; FHL microfilm 942 B4HA V. 13.
- ↑ Vital Records of Newton, Massachusetts to the Year 1850. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1905.
- 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.
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