John Ware

John Ware (1845 - 1905)

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John Ware
Born in Georgetown, South Carolinamap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Calgary Alberta Canadamap
Died in Alberta Canadamap
Profile last modified | Created 29 Jun 2015
This page has been accessed 784 times.


John Ware, ex-slave from the south and for 25 years a rancher and cowhand in the West, owner of a thousand head of the finest range cattle on the Red Deer River, was killed today by a horse stumbling and falling on him, killing him instantly. Deceased was 60 years old and leaves a family. Ware was one of the most widely known ranchers in this district. He was famous as a roper and rider, and always won first money in any of the competitions he entered. He was a man of prodigious strength, and with apparent ease he could pick up an 18 months old steer and throw him ready for branding. Any person who has tried to throw a six months old steer will realize that this feat is no small one. Ware first came to Canada with Fred Stimson and the Bar U cattle. He was foreman of the large Macpherson horse ranche and later on of the Quorn Ranche on Sheep Creek. He started for himself on Sheep Creek and ran a ranche there for nine years removing to the Red Deer, where he has since lived. His wife died this spring. Calgary Herald Sept 12, 1905. News from Brooks, North West Territories

John Ware was born into slavery on a South Carolina cotton plantation about 1845. After the Civil War ended, John left his father, mother and ten brothers and sisters to make his way out West. In Fort Worth, Texas, John found a job with Murphy Blandon and his son on their horse ranch, where he learned the art of being a rancher and cowboy. In 1879, John left to pursue his dream of riding on a cattle drive, which was going to Montana, the 'far North' at that time, eventually making his way to the great grass plains of the 'Territories', now Alberta.

John Ware was known for his superb horsemanship, astounding strength, generosity, sense of honour, and good nature. He was respected and well-liked by all who knew him. His funeral in 1905 was the biggest that Calgary had seen.

John Ware has several namesakes in his honour, including John Ware Ridge, Mount Ware, Ware Creek, John Ware High School, and the John Ware building at S.A.I.T.

Source: Grant MacEwan's "John Ware's Cow Country"


  • Birth: unknown

South Carolina, USA Death: Sep. 11, 1905 Brooks Lethbridge Census Division Alberta, Canada

Family links: Spouse: Mildred Jane Lewis Ware (1871 - 1905)

Burial: Union Cemetery Calgary Calgary Census Division Alberta, Canada

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Created by: Deb Record added: Jan 04, 2014 Find A Grave Memorial# 122746083

John Ware

John Ware's Cow Country Front Cover Grant MacEwan D&M Publishers Incorporated, Dec 1, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 200 pages 0 Reviews

"In John Ware's Cow Country," Grant MacEwan captures the energy, strength and gritty determination of the now legendary John Ware. Born and raised a slave in the United States, Ware made his way to the foothills of western Canada in 1882. With his talent for ranching, he built up a sizable cattle operation of his own and eventually become of the the most famous cowboys in Canadian history.

John Ware


Links Relating to John Ware

Books About John Ware

Children's Books About John Ware

Books About John Ware

Breen, David H. The Canadian Prairie West and the Ranching Frontier 1874-1924. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983.

High River Pioneers’ and Old Timers’ Association. Leaves from the Medicine Tree: A History of the Area Influenced by the Tree, and Biographies of Pioneers and Old Timers Who Came under Its Spell Prior to 1900. Lethbridge, Alberta: Lethbridge Herald, 1960.

MacEwan, Grant. John Ware’s Cow Country. 1st Greystone edition. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1995, c.1973.

Children's Books About John Ware

Breon, Robin and Vera Cudjoe. The Story of John Ware. Illustrated by Mary McLoughlin. Toronto: Carib-Can Communications, 1994.

Leeder, Terry and Deborah Drew-Brook-Cormack. Brand 9999. Illustrated by Deborah Drew-Brook-Cormack. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1979.

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Categories: Alberta, Notables | Alberta, Agriculture Leaders | Brooks, Alberta