Person:William Ward (17)

Deacon William Ward
chr.15 May 1603 Yorkshire, England
m. 1598
  1. Thomas Ward1599 -
  2. Deacon William Ward1603 - 1687
m. 4 Mar 1626
  1. John WardAbt 1626 - 1708
  2. Joanna Ward1628 - 1718
  3. Obadiah WardAbt 1632 - 1717/18
  4. Richard Ward1635 - 1666
  5. Deborah WardAbt 1637 - 1697
m. Abt 1638
  1. Hannah WardAbt 1639 - 1717
  2. Samuel Ward1641 - 1729
  3. Elizabeth Ward1643 - 1710
  4. Increase Ward1644/45 - 1690
  5. Hopestill Ward1646/47 - 1718
  6. William Ward, Jr.1648/49 - 1697
  7. Eleazer WardAbt 1650 - 1676
  8. Bethiah WardAbt 1658 - 1721
Facts and Events
Name Deacon William Ward
Gender Male
Christening[7] 15 May 1603 Yorkshire, England
Marriage 4 Mar 1626 Clerkenwell, Middlesex, EnglandCitation needed
to Elizabeth Phillipus
Marriage Banns 1 May 1626 City of London, Middlesex, Englandto Elizabeth Phillipus
Alt Marriage 1 May 1626 London, London, Englandto Elizabeth Unknown
Alt Marriage 4 Jun 1634 Citation needed
to Elizabeth Unknown
Marriage Abt 1638 based on est. birth of est. first child
to Elizabeth Unknown
Emigration? 1639
Death[4] 10 Aug 1687 Marlborough, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Burial[8] Marlborough, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United StatesSpring Hill Cem.



This section contains what we know about his origins; please see and use the TALK page for discussion of heretofore undocumented theories about his origins.

The first significant research about William Ward of Sudbury was Andrew Henshaw Ward's 1851 Ward Family in which he admits no "satisfactory result" has come from investigations into Ward's English origins, wives' names and baptisms of earliest children (Introduction, pp. v-vi). He does say:

Information already received, renders it improbable that he came from Yorkshire, although it is quite certain, that his early ancestors were of that place.

He makes the case a bit further on that the Ward crest of Yorkshire was similar to that of the Ward crest of Durham, England, which was in a nearby county-- a possible location for William Ward's origins:

the arms anciently belonging to the family here [Yorkshire], were Azure, a cross baton, or Crest, wolfs head erased-- and such were those of the Durham Wards.

He points out that the earliest record of any "Ward" in England came with William the Conqueror in 1066, and "the first which appears there with an additional name was William de la Ward, residing in Chester, in 1175." About the Cheshire Wards, he goes on to say,

From 1349, a succession of eleven generations of one family is found there [Chester], in each of which, the name of the head of the family was, in the first, Ralph; in the second, Richard; in the third, John; in the fourth, john; in the fifth, Richard, in the sixt, William; in the seventh, Thomas; in the eight, Thomas; in the ninth, John; in the tenth, Richard; and in the eleventh, Thomas, who had sons John and William-- these were prevailing names in the early families descended from William of Sudbury, and are yet retained to a considerable extent in the families of his descendants to the present time.

Almost 75 years passes before another Ward genealogy [true?] is published.

The 1925 William Ward Genealogy is the latest significant research of the Wards of Sudbury and Marlboro, MA, coming 75 years after the first major documentation of the family in the 1851 Family of William Ward. Unfortunately, the 1925 author admits that questions of William's British origins "must go unanswered as in the case of many another of the country's founders." Nonetheless, the author researched a significant number of areas in England containing Ward families. He found that "The true Ward entries embrace the baptisms of several infants of the name of William (or Gulielmus) Ward of Warde of about the right date, but it was not found possible to identify any one of them with "William Ward of Sudbury". Most of them were eliminated by finding their deaths recorded in England, or residence there after our William Ward had emigrated to America, or children of the wrong names, etc. He admitted that three "enigmas" exist that are the most likely candidates, but a) he doesn't name them, and b) he admits they are so far unconfirmable.

For future research, he recommends "list of wills in Somerset House, London" and "many documents in the Public Record Office on the British Museum" which he did not have time to research.

The Wives of William Ward

See the Talk page for a discussion of the theories about his wives. The following is what is documented:

That he had TWO wives is documented in his 1686 will which says :
Item unto all myne own children (vizt) all my sonns and daughters which I have by my former wife and all That I have survive me by my present wife I give twenty shillings a piece...loving wife Elizabeth, sole executrix...


The precise time that Ward arrived in New England is unknown, but he was there by 1639, when he is listed among the proprietors of Sudbury, MA. (NEHGR 5:271 citing 1851 Ward Family; need better citation because see next: it looks like the proprietors list wasn't until 1640.)

Life in New England

  • 1640: Listed as one of the first proprietors of Sudbury, MA (“Original Proprietors of Sudbury, MA”, NEHGR 13:261 (1859), "The Names of the original Proprietors of Sudbury to whom lands were assigned in 1640:-- ... Wm. Ward..."
  • 10 May 1643: freeman (NEHGR 3:190, citing C.R. II:27-28)
  • 1656: With other Sudbury men, petitioned the Court to settle in what would become Marlborough.
  • By 1660: Was an early proprietor and resident of Marlboro, MA, when and where he received 50 acres-- one of the largest lots (NEHGR 62:227)
  • 1661/2: one of several selected as selectmen in Marlboro. (NEHGR 62:336, 341)
  • William Ward lived on what is now known as the Hayden Farm, off West Main street, Marlboro.Citation needed
  • Garisons: At Deacon Ward's garrison there should be three soldiers and six citizens. (Residents of Chandler Fay.)Citation needed


See 1686 Will of William Ward for a transcript of his will.

He had 13 children.

Children appear to be:

  1. John, b. abt. 1626; m. Hannah Jackson; lived in Newton
  2. Joanna, b. 1628; m. Abraham Williams; lived in Marlb.
  3. Obadiah, b. abt 1632; m. Mary; resided in Marlb.
  4. Richard, b. abt 1635, m. Mary Moore; res. in Sud.
  5. Deborah, b. abt 1637; m. John Johnson; moved to Marlb.
  6. Hannah, b. abt. 1639; m. Abraham Howe; lived in Marlb.
  7. William, b. Jan 22, 1640; m. and resided in Marlb.
  8. Samuel, b. Sep 24, 1641; m. Sarah Howe; res. in Marlb.
  9. Elizabeth, b. April 14, 1643
  10. Increase, b. 22 Feb 1644; m and res in Marl.
  11. Hopestill, b. Feb 24, 1646; m. James Woods; lived in Marlb.
  12. Eleazar, b. abt. 1649; m. Hannah Rice. He resided in Sud and was slain by the Indians upon the highway between Marlboro and Sudbury. April 20, 1676.
  13. Bethia, b. abt. 1658; m. Daniel Rice, of Marlb.

[The NEHGR article, p. 5:17, which said there were 14 children, probably counted the Mary Ward who married Daniel Stone as a 14th child. This is a common error based on Source:Ward, Andrew Henshaw. Ward Family. However, in the same author's Source:Ward, Andrew Henshaw. Genealogical History of the Rice Family : Descendants of Deacon Edmund Rice, Who Came from Berkhamstead, England and Settled at, p. 30, he notes that this was an error caused by misreading William Ward's will and mistaking Ston for How due to an exaggerated crossing of the T. Thus he though the widow of Richard married a Daniel How, instead of Daniel Stone. The wife of Daniel Stone actually was the widow of Richard, Person:Mary Moore (58), not a daughter of William. That it was the widow of Richard Ward who married Daniel Stone is proved by John Moore's will in 1674 wherein he names his daughter Mary, formerly the wife of Richard Ward and now wife of Daniel Stone. This is also corrected in the more modern Ward Genealogy by Charles Martyn. Thus William had no daughter Mary.]

External Links

  • William Ward story and a map of Marlboro at the time: [1]
  • About 60 pages about William Ward's life: [2]
  • A page about William Ward and Sudbury: [3]
  1.   Pope, Charles Henry. Pioneers of Massachusetts (1620-1650): A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches. (Boston: The Author, 1900).

    Deacon William Ward was questioned in court aged about 61 on 4 October 1664 at Massachusetts.

  2.   Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862)
  3.   Hudson, Charles. History of the town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts: from its first settlement in 1657 to 1861; with a brief sketch of the town of Northborough, a genealogy of the families in Marlborough to 1800, and an account of the celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of the town. (Boston, Massachusetts, United States: T R Marvin & Sons, 1862)
    p 459.

    "William Ward was in Sud. as early as 1639, and was proprietor of lands there. He was living at that time with a second wife. He represented Sud. in 1644, in the General Court; he was several years chairman of the selectmen there. In 1656, he and others belonging to Sud. petitioned the General Court for the plantation of Marlb. He moved to Marl. 1660. His wife's name was Elizabeth. He d. Aug 10, 1687, and she d. Dec. 9, 1700, age 87. He had fourteen children, four or five of which were born abroad."

  4. Marlborough, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records of Marlborough, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. (Worcester, Massachusetts: Franklin P. Rice, 1908)

    Ward, Dea. William, [died] Aug. 10, 1687.

  5.   Martyn, Charles. William Ward Genealogy: the History of the Descendants of William Ward of Sudbury, Mass., 1638- 1925. (New York: Artemas Ward, 1925)
  6.   Ward, Andrew Henshaw. Ward Family: Descendants of William Ward Who Settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1639. (Boston: S.G. Drake, 1851)
  8. From