Sunday, May 16, 2021

John Ward of Ward

 John Ward of Ward

John Ward (1836-1918) was the oldest son of Benjamin Ward (1809-1865) and Sallie Ann D. Cathell (1808-1878).  He lived in Ward, a crossroads where Whitesville road and Pepperbox road intersects.  It is about five-miles East of Delmar.  He was a farmer and a recluse.

His brothers and sisters were; Mary P. Ward (1838-1847), wife of D H Boyce, Benjamin P Ward (1840-1863), William Ward (1842-1925), Joseph Ward (1847- ), Cyrus Ward (1847-1911), Dr. James Hoskins Ward (1849-1932), Thomas Bird Ward (1855-1929) and Lavina A. Ward (1844-1925 )wife of Rev John Bailey Jones.

Since the resurvey of the Maryland Delaware line, the Ward family had been in Sussex County, with James Ward (1758-1791) and his wife Catherine Donnally becoming entrapped in Delaware.

 In February of 1918, John Ward died at the age of 82 years.  He froze to death in his own home.  The winter of 1917-1918 was one of the most severe.  He had been one of the more affluent people in Little Creek Hundreds with an estate of over $100,000.   He was a bachelor and lived by himself and preferred it that way.  Until about 1912, he did not make use of banks to keep his money.  This was not that unusual as banks were not as convenient as today, and most of a day would be taken up with going to a town that had a bank and doing whatever transactions were required.  The Banks also were not insured as they are today.  As John Ward was quoted as having said, “ it was dangerous work to entrust your money to others.”  

In 1912 a few hundred dollars was stolen from his house.  However, the robbers feared John Ward and his relatives so much that they returned the money to the home.  Friends and relatives prevailed on John Ward to start using a bank.  For most of his money, he did use a bank. 

About five years after his death in 1918, the house he had owned (since sold) was being cleaned, and upstairs in a closet, a paint can was found by Mrs. Phillip R Hall.  Thinking it was more useless junk, she threw it into the yard, and it burst open, scattering bills and coins about.  Some of the coins dated back to 1811, and some of the bills were confederate banknotes.  The Halls admitted to finding only two hundred dollars.   The relatives of John Ward sued for the money.  It also touched off a minor treasure search in the area for the possible addition of hidden money.

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