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Biography of Darius E. Ward

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The subject of this sketch was born November 23, 1854, at Beattus Prairie, near Mayesville, on the line of the Cherokee Nation. Darius was the eldest son of the Rev. James Ward, the first Moravian missionary that came among the Cherokees. He married a granddaughter of Chief Lowrey, illustrious in the nation’s history. Darius Ward is therefore a Cherokee by blood. In 1862 his father was assassinated, close to his home, while hunting some stray stock. The country was in a state of political agitation at the time, and numerous murders were committed. The above outrage was perpetrated by a party of “Pin” Indians, who followed up their crime by visiting the house of the dead minister and forcing Mrs. Ward and her family of helpless children to mount on horseback and accompany them twenty-five miles into the wilderness, away from any human habitation. Here they were left to their fate, and would, no doubt, have perished, were it not for a special providence which endowed the mother with a courage and fortitude sublime. The love for her children was such that the unfortunate lady made almost superhuman efforts to retrace her steps, and, strange as it may appear, struck a direct path for home, reaching there in two days, having carried two of her children every step of the way. Finding the house deserted on her arrival, and ready to sink with weariness, she started out with her oldest boy in search for her husband. They had not gone more than a quarter of a mile before they found the remnants of his body scattered over a considerable tract, having been torn to pieces by the wolves. His shirt was also discovered, and found to contain a number of bullet holes. The terrible shock which followed the event, in a very short time caused death to this heroic and devoted mother. Being a stanch adherent to the Moravian church, she expressed a wish that her children should be brought up under the guidance of the church, consequently Darius, the subject of our sketch, was sent to Nazareth Hall, Nazareth, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, where he spent five years in being educated, with several Cherokee boys of the Ross family. From there Darius moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he was apprenticed to William Walp & Co., cabinetmakers. Here he remained four years and a half, after which he went to Philadelphia, where he began house carpentering under instruction, and returned to Bethlehem in the fall of 1875, where he married Miss Sarah C. Ritter of that place. In 1876 he removed to Vinita, Indian Territory, and became a builder and contractor, doing a large business throughout the country. In 1887 he was appointed inspector of public buildings by the administration in power, which office he held until a change took place. In 1884 Mr. Ward moved to Tahlequah, Indian Territory, and there, in 1885, took charge of J. W. Stapler’s hardware establishment, which appointment he holds at present. Mr. Ward has six children, Minnie E., J. Herbert, James D., Hindman H., Sydney R. and Gertie. Mr. Ward is five ten inches and weighs 178 pounds. He is a man of good, sound sense, well educated and courteous in manner and address.


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