WARD, IRA, fourth child and third son of Jesse Ward, was born in a log house in the northern part of Waltham, Vt., on the 9th day of April, 1796, and has therefore attained the remarkable age of ninety years. His father was born in Connecticut on the 20th of July, 1763, and served three years on the side of the patriots in the Revolutionary War; married Olive Nye, of Connecticut, in June, 1788, and some time before 1800 settled on the place where Ira Ward was afterward born. He was the father of five children: Chester, born on the 15th of January, 1789; Silas, born on March 11, 1791; Olive, born June, 1793; Ira, next in order, and Orrin, born June 14, 1799. Jesse Ward’s first wife died early in the present century and he married again. He died on the 18th of December, 1839, and his wife survived him only until the 23d of the same month.
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During the boyhood of Ira Ward the towns in the northern part of Vermont were in every way undeveloped, and afforded the youth of the period but small opportunities for an education. Such as he could obtain, however, fell to the lot of Ira Ward. He remained on the farm of his father not only until he was of age but for a number of years later, and until some time after his marriage, about 1820. He removed to a farm in the north part of the town of New Haven, Vt., and after several months removed again to the central part of the town and after an experience of twelve years on that tract came to the farm which he now occupies, which was then covered with the forest primeval, except a small clearing of about thirty acres. Here he has remained ever since, a period of more than fifty-four years. His farm consists of about two hundred acres of good clay land, which is devoted largely to raising grass. Mr. Ward now keeps between fifteen and twenty cows, besides other stock in proportion. At one time, nearly half a century ago, he kept as many as four hundred head of sheep, though he does not raise any now.
Mr. Ward was a member of the old Federal party and is consistently now a member of the Republican party. He has always taken an active part in all the political questions of the day, but has never, for profit or honor, accepted any office of any kind. His religious preference is Congregational.
He enlisted when eighteen years of age in the War of 1812. His two sons, George W. and Franklin I., enlisted for three years in the civil war, George W. in the Second Vermont Regiment, Franklin I. in the Ninth Vermont. George W. contracted disease while marching on the Peninsula and was four months in the hospital; after being in the service fifteen months, was discharged for physical disability. He has in his possession a gun captured from a rebel soldier in the first Bull Run battle, his own being shot out of his hands. Franklin I. was taken prisoner at Harper’s Ferry, was exchanged and sent to Chicago, but remained in the service until the close of the war.
Ira Ward was joined in marriage, on the 16th day of November, 1817, with Hannah G., daughter of Andrew Crampton, then of Swanton, Vt. She was born in Ferrisburgh, Vt., on the 11th of October, 1798. She is still living with her husband, having been his companion for nearly seventy years, and retaining her faculties wonderfully. She performs her household duties as well as most women are able to do at sixty, does her own baking, and since the birth of her youngest child has never failed to make her own bed. Mr. Ward is equally well preserved; cares for his farm with his old-time punctuality, and has the appearance of a man twenty years younger than he is. They have had ten children born to them, as follows: Helen, born November 24, 1821, married Jabez Rogers, of Ferrisburgh, Vt., November 6, 1839, and resides in Ferrisburgh; Harriet E., born September 3, 1823, married Corydon Chamberlin, of Ferrisburgh, Vt., January 22, 1845, and now resides in Solon, Ohio; Hannah A., born March 30, 1835, married Norman A. Bull, of Solon, Ohio, October 12, 1853, where they still reside; Sarah N., born December 19, 1827, married H. C. Blair, of Aurora, Ohio, May 5, 1852, her husband dying July 27, 1883; she still lives in Aurora; Henry W., born January 22, 1830, married Helen M. Thompson, of Weybridge, Vt., February 22, 1865, and resides in New Haven; Cleora J., born July 23, 1832, married Luther M. Brooks; of New Haven, September 17, 1851, now living in Chicago, Ill.; Mary B., born May 9, 1835, died on November 18, 1876 (she was the wife of Byron P. Munson, of Bristol, Vt., whom she married on January 30, 1855; he died December 6, 1877; at the time of their decease they lived in Quincy, Ill.); George W., born on September 29, 1837, married Sarah J. Chase, of Waltham, Vt., October 26, 1859, and now lives on the homestead with his father; Franklin I., born February 21, 1841, married Libbie J. Brooks, of New Haven, Vt., March 31, 1867, and now resides in Bristol, Vt.; and Elenora W., born May 21, 1843, married Chauncey W. Bisbee, of New Haven, October 29, 1862; their home is now in Clarinda, Iowa. Thus there has been but one death among the children, that of Mary, in 1876.