Biography - Alexander Ward

ALEXANDER WARD. Whether it is that Shelby County is especially notable for the longevity of its inhabitants or not, the writer is not certain. It is a fact, however, that almost all of the gentlemen whose history it has been our pleasure to write, have passed the meridian of life and the majority of them are pioneer settlers who can look back upon the growth of the county from the earliest occupancy, when deer, and wild turkevs were much more frequently seen than the face of a neighbor. Our subject is one of the many whose experience includes the changes through which his vicinity and county have passed. Now residing on section 1, Ridge Township, he was born April 24, 1833, in Okaw Township, and is a son of John and Catherine (Lohr) Ward.

The grandfather of our subject, James Ward, resided in Kentucky, and thence three of his sons, namely, William L., John and James, came to Shelby County. Of these, William L. first came, his advent being in 1828. He located in what is now known as Todd's Point, where he entered a tract of land upon which he resided until about 1856, when he removed to Pickaway Township, residing there until his death, which occurred in July, 1872. James Ward came to the county in 1845 and resided in Okaw Township. Later he removed to Dry Point where he died about the year 1866. John Ward was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, but when very young his parents removed to Kentucky, where he grew to manhood. He first came to Illinois in 1830, stopping for a time in Shelby County and then went back to Kentucky, but in 1832 he again returned to Shelby County, and in August, that year, was united in marriage to Catherine Lohr, who was reared in the same neighborhood with her husband in Kentucky. At the time of her marriage her home was in Morgan County, Ill., where her family were early settlers.

After marriage the young couple located in Okaw Township where they entered land and experienced all the ups and downs of pioneer life. He was, however, successful and became the owner of over two thousand acres of land, a large proportion of which he himself entered. He followed stock-raising principally, being especially interested in the breeding of cattle and mules. He died in March, 1880, being over seventy years of age. His wife died in 1870. He was always interested in politics, both national and local. At first belonging to the old-line Whig party, he afterward became a Republican. He was a member of the Christian Church, being a generous supporter of the same. He was a broad-minded, public-spirited man, interested in all public enterprises that promised to be to the advantage of the people. He was well and favorably known throughout Shelby County as a man of unstained honor and integrity.

John and Catherine Ward were the parents of eleven children, one of whom died in infancy, one in childhood and one daughter was accidentally killed when ten years of age. Eight of the children lived to be grown; of these our subject is the eldest; James W. lives in Decatur, Ill.; Lucinda is the wife of James Sudduth and resides in Springfield, Mo.; John W. died in Okaw Township; Charles resides in Shelbyville; George W. died in the latter place; Elizabeth is the wife of George A. Roberts and lives in Shelbyville, and Benjamin F. makes his home in Lincoln, Neb.

Our subject grew to manhood in his native township and he distinctly remembers pioneer days when deer and other game were plentiful. He attended such schools as were provided and in September, 1859, was married to Cordelia Van Hise, a daughter of James H. and Sarah Van Hise. She was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, December 2, 1838. The first home of the young couple was upon the place where he now resides. It then, however, comprised only ten acres of ground, hemmed in by a rail fence, their first dwelling being a log cabin which was primitive, indeed. Four years after marriage the log cabin gave way to his present residence, and since that time he has made many changes in his home and placed many substantial improvements upon his place. Mr. Ward is now the owner of six hundred acres of land, three hundred and seventy-three acres being located in Shelby County, and the balance in Moultrie County, on which he has good buildings.

Five children are the fruit of the union of our subject and his estimable wife. They are, Abraham L., Catherine, Edward S., George A. and Ulysses G. Mr. Ward is a stanch Republican in politics and always votes at general elections for the man he believes best fitted for the office. He himself has never been ambitious to be an office-holder. Socially he is a member of the Association of United Workmen. Our subject is especially interested and engaged in the stock business, buying, breeding, shipping, etc., stock to the metropolitan markets. His history in itself is an apt illustration of what a man may accomplish in the fertile lands of the Middle States, by his own efforts, alone and unaided, but with ambition, industry and perseverance.

Extracted 11 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 349-351

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