Monday, July 07, 2014

{genealogy} Artemas Ward of Herkimer, NY

I chose Artemas Ward for this bio because in the genealogy world there is also a lot of focus on the War of 1812, and this Artemas Ward served in that war. The reason there is a lot of focus on the War of 1812 is because the records at the National Archives are only 17% scanned as of today, and naturally the fragile documents are fading fast.

But let's start at the beginning.

Here is the lineage from him to me:
Artemas or Artemus Ward (my 3rd great grandfather)
Jennie M. Ward (Mrs Palmer Wood) (my great-great grandmother)
Ward Palmer Wood (my great grandfather)
Artemas Ward Wood (my grandfather)
My dad

Artemas Ward was born 25 March 1794 in Middlefield, Massachusetts, to John Ward and Abigail Phelps Ward.  Here is an image of the actual vital records from Middlefield, verifying this.

Here also is page 2 of his daughter's DAR application.  His 2nd daughter was Helen Rose Ward.  She was applying to the DAR, as her grandfather John Ward (Artemas's father) served in the Revolutionary War.

From this document, we know that Almira Bishop was Artemas's 3rd wife, and that they were married in 1842.  I have not identified his first 2 wives or whether he had any descendants through those 2 wives.  There are no descendants from previous wives referenced in DAR records, and no children from previous marriages are mentioned in his obituary.


Obituary from "the Citizen" (Herkimer?):
The Late Artemus Ward.  Artemus Ward, whose death was chronicled in the CITIZEN last week, was the oldest resident of the town of Warren where he lived for over 80 years and at his death was 91 years and 11 days old.  He was a man considerably above the average in intelligence and general information.  He possessed a remarkable memory, and in his later years was fond of recalling incidents in his early life and of comparing the early condition of the country with the present.  He came with his father and family from Connecticut in about 1800 and the family still have in their posession boxes in which their goods were shipped from Connecticut, marked "Bennett's Corners" by which the present village of Mohawk was then known.  Mr. Ward would relate many incidents of Jefferson's administration which he remembered very distinctly.  He was in the war of 1812 and in marching to Sackett's Harbor his company passed down Genesee street, Utica, which was then only a country road almost impassible from mud.  He would also recall the building of the great turnpike, then a great achievement and often saw members of the legislature on horseback passing down this thoroughfare on their way to Albany.  Mr. Ward was one of the founders of the Baptist church at Jordanville and of which he was a faithful member for over 50 years.  He was widely known for knowledge of Biblical history and the minister who conversed with him envied the completeness of his information.  Mr. Ward left three children.  A son and daughter are living on the old homestead and the other daughter who resides in Herkimer is the wife of County Clerk P.M. Wood.


The obituary indicates that the family arrived in Warren, Herkimer County, from Connecticut, but we have vital records recorded in Middlefield, Massachusetts.  Why the disconnect?  John Ward is known to have lived and served his country in Connecticut.  Perhaps the Wards returned to Connecticut for a short time after recording all those vital records in Middlefield.  Or, maybe they simply strongly identified with Connecticut, since that is where John was born and served in the military.

So we know from the obituary that they arrived in Warren, Herkimer County, New York in about 1800.

The first time we find Artemas named in the census in Warren is in 1830, where John and Artemas are now living next door to each other, each listed as head of household. (Prior to 1850, only heads of households were listed by name.  In 1820 there is one John Ward named in Warren, in 1810 there are 3 John Ward families, and in 1800 there were 2 John Ward families.)

To translate the tick marks you see here (click to enlarge image), it says that in Artemas's house there are 3 free people and no slaves.  An adult male age 30-39 (himself), an adult female age 20-29 (presumably his wife), and a female child between the age of 10-14.  Since this is prior to his marriage to 3rd wife Almira Bishop, we might assume that in 1830 he was living with a wife and daughter.  What happened to that daughter?

In 1840, we find John and Artemas again.  Still living next door (or close) to each other.

Artemas still has a family of 3, but this time, in addition to himself and an adult woman, the 3rd resident is a little boy under the age of 5.  The girl of 1830 is no longer living there, but she may have married.  But again, this is now 2 years prior to his marriage to Almira Bishop, so I don't know the fate of this wife or the little boy.

Finally in 1850 I see the family with my 3rd great grandmother and my great-great grandmother (shown here as "Mary", though later she is known as "Jennie M.").  We also see daughter Helen, who later would be kind enough to send info the DAR.  Artemas's occupation is "farmer", and it looks like he is reporting his birthplace as New York, even though it isn't.  This reminds us that we can't always trust the details we see in census records.  Vitals are self-reported, not verified by the census taker.  The census taker may also have been too quick in making those tick marks or in phrasing the question ("and the whole family is born in New York, yes?").  This census taker also reports poor Almira's age as "58", adding 20 years to her age, which at the time was probably only 38.

In the 1860 census for Warren, Herkimer, NY, Artemas's birthplace is now restored to "Massachusetts", and Almira's proper age is restored as well.

As stated in the obituary, we can continue to easily find Artemas in both Federal and State censuses for Warren, Herkimer, NY, through 1880.

He continues to farm.  In the 1880 agricultural census, he has 65 acres of land valued at $3200.  He grows buckwheat, corn, oats, and potatoes.  He has 12 apple trees.  He owns 4 chickens, 8 milk cows, 8 calves, and 3 "other".  He sold what looks like over 9000 gallons of milk, and 200 lbs of butter, in 1879.  He cut 10 cords of firewood, probably for himself.

So, back to that War of 1812.

A Google search of "Artemas Ward" and "War of 1812" brings back a lot of info about Major General Artemas Ward of the Revolutionary War, later a Congressman who was opposed to the War of 1812, and who is not my ancestor.  Even after removing "general", "gen.", "honorable", etc I had no luck locating any documentation about my soldier ancestor.

The National Archives has the soldier's names indexed.  There are 3 Artemas Wards who served.  Different spellings, all 3. Artemis, Artemas, Artemus.  One served in Georgia, one in Massachusetts, and one in New York.  I'm not lucky enough to find any of them in the 17% of records that have been scanned at this time, so I have to shell out the bucks to have NARA send them to me.  I am guessing that our guy is the one who served in New York.  The Artemas Ward who served in the New York militia had the rank of Corporal, and served in the 27th regiment under Col. Bellinger.  Bellinger's regiment did see action at Sackett's Harbor, and we know from the obituary that our Artemus Ward had personal memory of Sackett's Harbor during the War of 1812.  Corporal Artemas Ward was also a pensioner.  But until I receive the documentation from NARA, this biography will have to be continued later.  I have also reached out to the Daughters of 1812, and plan to request records from the State of New York.

Artemas Ward died 16 June 1885, 2 years after his wife Almira passed.  They are buried in Herkimer.

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