Steven Butler's Family History Website



The Ward Family

Ward Family
Mathew Ward | Morris Ward, Sr. | Morris Ward, Jr.

MATHEW WARD (ABT. 1760 - AFT. 1840)

I cannot say with certainty whether the Mathew Ward mentioned in the preceding section was the progenitor of the family from whom we are descended, or not. In any event, I am most certainly descended from another Mathew Ward, who was born between 1760 and 1770 in either Virginia or North Carolina. In 1790, the first year a federal census was taken, this Mathew Ward was living as a single man in Duplin County, North Carolina. Very little is known about him but he came from a large family, apparently - there being a number of other heads of households named Ward who were also enumerated in Duplin County in the same census.

Duplin County was formed in 1750 from New Hanover County. Its seat was, and still is, the town of Kenansville - named for the family of Colonel James Kenan, who in 1765 led a group of volunteers from Kenansville to Brunswick to protest the hated British Stamp Act. Passed by Parliament in 1765, the act was repealed a year later after enforcement was found to be nigh impossible. The county was named for Lord Duplin, a British nobleman. Many of the earliest residents were Scots-Irish from Ulster who came to America under the patronage of Henry McCulloch - a wealthy London merchant who was granted large tracts of land in North Carolina by King George II.

About 1792 Mathew Ward was married, probably in Duplin County, North Carolina, to Ann Ellison, daughter of a neighbor, Jesse Ellison. Very little is known about Jesse Ellison. He was enumerated in the state census of North Carolina, taken between 1784 and 1787. At that time, he was living in Martin County, just west of Albermarle Sound and a few counties north of Duplin. He and his wife, whose name is unknown, had eight children: four each of boys and girls. One of the latter was Ann. In that same state census, five men named Ward were found living in Duplin County. Any one of three, Philip, William, or Daniel, could have been Mathew Ward's father. Unfortunately, early census records named only the heads of households. Jesse Ellison was one of those enumerated in the 1790 federal census for Duplin County, his name appearing immediately above Mathew Ward's.

Mathew and Ann Ward had at least five children: two boys and three girls - all of whom were probably born in Duplin County. They were: Elizabeth Ward, born 1793; Robert Ward, born April 15th, 1796; Nancy Ward, also said to have been born in 1796 (perhaps she and Robert were fraternal twins); Morris Ward, born 1802; and Sarah Ward, whose date of birth is unknown.

By 1820 Mathew Ward and his family had removed to Columbus County, North Carolina where they may have been among the first inhabitants of Whiteville, the county seat. Founded in 1810, the town was named for James B. White, who gave land for the site of the first courthouse and jail. What prompted the Ward family's move is unknown.

About 1834, probably in Columbus County, Mathew's and Ann's son Morris Ward was married to Elizabeth Ann Wilson, a native North Carolinian born about 1813. She was the daughter of Edward and Rebecca Wilson, about whom little is known except that the family may have previously resided in Bertie County.

The first two of Morris and Elizabeth Ward's children were born in North Carolina: Robert Ward, born about 1835; and Wilson Ward, whose date of birth is uncertain. They afterward removed to Alabama.

Mathew Ward died sometime after 1840 (the actual date is not known). His wife, Ann, survived until 1848 at which time she too passed away.

Ward Family
Mathew Ward | Morris Ward, Sr. | Morris Ward, Jr.

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