Lee County Biography


Lewis Bunel Ward, whose farm is on section 30, Harmon Township, settled in Lee County in the spring of 1869, and in the twenty and more years that have since elapsed has been a valuable member of its farming community, he is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, born May 1, 1834, a son of Elias and Rhoda (Miller) Ward, who were natives of New Jersey. The paternal grandfather of our subject, Israel Ward,was also a native of that State.

Elias Ward and his wife grew to maturity and were married in the State of their birth, and in 1811 took their way to the wilds of Ohio and were among the first to settle at Madisonville, Ohio, seven miles from Cincinnati. In 1832 they removed from there to Cincinnati whence they went to Franklin County,Ind., in l841, and in 1864 he came to Illinois. They settled in Magnolia, Putnam County, but the mother subsequently died in Marshall County in October, 1868,and the father died in Whiteside County in 1870. In early life he learned the trade of a harness-maker, and when he went to Ohio he worked as a carriage-trimmer, but on going to Indiana became a farmer. His last days were spent with his children, of whom he had twelve, eleven of them growing to manhood and womanhood, as follows: Hetty, the second child, now in her eighty-first year,married Edward Simpson and lives with her children; George, the eldest, who was a farmer, died in Putnam County in 1846; Robert, who in early life was a plane-maker, and later a farmer, died in Marshall County; Ellis, a blacksmith, died in Putnam County; Luke, a carriage painter died in Cincinnati, in December, 1886; Israel, a carriage-trimmer, died in Putnam County; James, a blacksmith, died in Washington, Iowa; John, a carriage-trimmer, died in Aurora, IL.; Rhoda, now Mrs. Tyler McWhorter, of Sterling, and Mary, who married George Washington Walker and died in Marshall County. Religiously, the parents of our subject were worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and gave their children Christian training.

He of whom these lines are written is the youngest of the family and the only son now living. He accompanied his parents in their removal to Indiana when he was a child, and there he grew to a stalwart manhood amid pioneer surroundings and was bred to the life of a farmer on his father's farm. In due time he took unto himself a wife in the Hoosier State, marrying Miss Emeline Hoffman, who was born in Camden, Preble County, Ohio, October 14, 1837. She has faithfully done her part in the upbuilding of their home, and looks carefully after the comfort of her household. Their marriage has been blessed with children, of whom these five are living: Emma J., wife of Henry S. McNett, of Washington; Ellis T., a resident of Clinton, Iowa; Carrie H., wife of George W. Mikesell, of Mendota; Daniel II., a resident of St. Paul, Minn., and Clarence A., who is at home with his parents. Death has crossed the threshold of the home of our subject and his wife and taken from them their son, Charles Clifford, who died in 1886, at the age of eight years.

In 1866 our subject left his old home in Indiana and became a resident of Marshall County, this State, where he rented land until 1869. In the spring of that year he came to Lee County an bought one hundred and twenty acres of his present farm in Harmon Township, which,when it came into his possession, was a tract of wild prairie, and never a furrow had been turned. He now has it under excellent tillage, judging by the abundant harvests produced on its fertile acres, and he has added to its dimensions by further purchase and now owns a quarter-section, all of which is well improved. Everything about the place is well arranged and the neat set of farm buildings are the work of Mr. Ward's own hands, for although he is not a carpenter by trade, he has good mechanical ability. He has pretty groves of trees on the farm, which add to its value as well as its attractiveness. Mr. Ward is a loyal Republican in his political views and is a man of sensible opinions on all subjects with which he is conversant. His dealings are always on the square, and his credit in money matters, and in all things, whatsoever is sound.

Transcribed by Christine Walters "Portrait and Biographical Record of Lee County, Illinois,

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