Oliver John Ward was born in Georgia on 13 July 1823 in Jackson County, Georgia. His parents were John and Ibby Wimms Ward. John Ward was born on 12 May 1794 in South Carolina. John married Ibby Wimms on 26 November 1819 in Jackson County, Georgia. John Ward died on 6 November in Cullman County, Alabama.
It is believed that Oliver John Ward migrated to Attala County, Mississippi about 1845 as a single man, perhaps seeking adventure, but more importantly, seeking new land on which to build his future. Oliver, like most men of his day, was a farmer and for a young man seeking land to till, Mississippi offered land aplenty.
Oliver Ward, upon arriving in Attala County, first settled in the southeastern portion of the county in township 13 (T13N R8E) where Smyrna is the largest town. The parents of Oliver's future wife, Martha Maranda Ellington, lived in the Northwestern portion of the county in an area known as Rocky Point. Martha was born on 6 January 1830 in Attala County, Mississippi, so the Ellington's were among the very first settlers to the area. The marriage between Oliver and Martha took place in Rocky Point about 1846 or early 1847. Their first child, John M. Ward, was born in February, 1848.
Martha Maranda Ellington was the daughter of James Bulloch Ellington and Rebecca Brown. James was born in 1805 in South Carolina. James initially settled in the McAdams community and he farmed his land with the help of fifteen slaves (1850); 7 male and 8 female. In 1860 James Ellington was residing in the Rocky Point community.
Over the years James Ellington acquired considerable land in Attala County. Records that have been located indicate that at various times he purchased considerable land holdings in an area in the southern part of the county just to the north of Joseph and southwest of McAdams in the center of a triangle formed by Sallis, Joseph and McAdams. Some of the land purchases by James B. Ellington in Attala County from 1837 to 1859 is shown below.
August 3, 1837, purchased 75 acres for $1461.37, land consisting of the Southeast quarter of Section 12, Township 13, Range 5 E.
January 19, 1845, for $200 land located in west half of Northeast quarter and East half of Northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 13, Range 6E.
On July 9, 1849, James Ellington purchased 320 acres of land consisting of the North half of Section 12 of Township 13, Range 5E for $400.
January 2, 1854, purchased 225 acres of land in the east half of Southeast quarter of Section 7 of Township 13, Range 6E for $280.94.
November 3,1857, for $200 - 75 acres located in the east half of Southeast quarter of Section 7, Township 13, Range 6E.
October 1, 1859, 37 acres located in the Northeast quarter of Southeast quarter of Section 18, Township 13, Range 6 East.
Records in Attala County show that Oliver J. Ward purchased land in the county in January, 1859 as follows:
Page 258 Deed Book A
January 5, 1859 - Thomas Herring and Laura Herring, his wife, of Monroe County, Mississippi, sold to Oliver J. Ward for $250, land description: East half of Northwest quarter of Section 16, Township 15, Range 6 East, 80 acres.
This property is located just south of what is today highway 440 between Hesterville and West and generally in the Rocky Point area of the county. The property would be in Beat 3.
In 1860, the Ward family lived in Township 15, Range 6E and consisted of Oliver, his wife, Martha and five children, 4 boys and 1 girl. A sixth child, Columbus A. Ward, was born in February, 1860. The family, according to the 1860 census images (June 1, 1860) is shown below:
- Oliver J. Ward, 37 Georgia
- Martha M. Ward, 31 Miss
- John M. Ward, 12 Miss
- Sarah E. Ward, 9 Miss
- James W. Ward, 7 Miss
- Benjamin L. N., 5 Miss
- Robert S. Ward, 3 Miss
- Columbus A. Ward, 3 mo's Miss
- John Hawkins, 32 Ireland (boarder, Ditcher)
A seventh child was born in 1862 or 1863, Ollie M. Ward, female, may have been born after the death of Oliver Ward.
Oliver J. Ward died on 22 August, 1862. He was only 39 years of age and predeceased his wife by only one year. An entry in Probate Book I, 1858 - 1863 for the November, 1862 Term shows that James B. Ellington, Martha's father was the administrator of Oliver's estate, as follows:
Page 258, Probate Book I 1858—1863
November 1862 Term
James B. Ellington was appointed administrator of the estate of Oliver Ward, deceased. James M. Bigly, E. Brister, Thomas Thornton and Williamson McAdory were appointed to appraise the estate.
Martha M. Ellington Ward died on 18 July 1863. Apparently Oliver and Martha Ward are buried in unmarked graves somewhere in Attala County, Mississippi.
It is not entirely clear where the various members of the famiy were when the 1870 census was taken. John M. Ward was enumerated with his wife, Fanny E. and their child, Oliver W. Ward, who was one year of age and named for his grandfather.
In 1880, Ollie M. (17), Benjamin L. N. (25), and Columbus (20), were living with their older brother, John M. Ward and his wife, Malissa. Their son, Oliver is now 11 and Lenora is just 3 months old. Robert S. Ward is living next to John with his new wife, Laura A. Hall Ward
and their 4 month old son, Noel W. Ward. Robert and Laura married about 1878. It is not known where Sarah E. Ward or James W. Ward were at that time.
By 1900, the Robert Ward family had expanded dramatically. Robert and Laura Ward are living in Beat 3 and have six children. Additionally, living in the household are Benjamin Ward, Roberts brother (who apparently never married) and Laura's mother, Matilda J. Hall. The listing for the family is shown below:
- Robert S. Ward, 42 Miss born Oct 1857
- Laura A. Ward, 42 Miss born Jan 1858
- Noel W. Ward, 20 Miss born Jan 1880
- Adell A. Ward, 17 Miss born Jan 1883
- Eunice M. Ward, 14 Miss born July 1885
- Estelle G. Ward, 12 Miss born Feb 1888
- Bessie H. Ward, 10 Miss born May 1890
- Clanson S. Ward 4 Miss born July 1894
- Benjamin L. N., 45 Miss born Feb 1855
- Matilda J. Hall, 62 Miss born Oct 1837
By 1910, Robert and Laura had been married 32 years. They are in their early fifties. Maggie (Eunice) Ward is still single and living at home. Estelle, Bessie and Clanson are still living at home and attending school.
Robert S. Ward - born 25 October 1857 and died 11 Apr 1947. Buried in the Sallis Cemetery along side his wife, Laura.
Laura A. Hall Ward - born 30 Jan 1858 and died 18 Nov 1946. Buried in the Sallis Cemetery along side her husband, Robert.
Noah Wesley Ward - born Jan 29, 1880 and died May 8, 1903, age 23 yrs, 3 mos 9 days. Buried Macedonia Baptist Cemetery.
Adell "Dell" A. Ward Bell - born 28 Jan 1883 and died 12 Apr 1967. Married to a Mr. Bell. Buried Kosciusko City Cemetery.
Eunice M. "Maggie" Ward Blocker - born 28 July 1885 died in Oklahoma. Married Rufus Clinton Blocker.
Estelle E. Ward Cummins - born 20 Feb 1888 and died 19 July 1976. Married to John Howard Cummins, born 5 Dec 1882 and died 25 Jan 1960. Both are buried in Bluff Springs Cemetery.
Bessie Hollingsworth Ward - born Mar 1884 and died Oct 29, 1926. Buried in Ebenezer Cemetery.
Pvt. Samuel Clanson Ward - born 19 June 1895 and died 26 Sept 1918. Died in France (WWI). Buried in Sallis Cemetery.
Information for other family members:
John M. Ward, born Feb 23, 1848 and died Feb 18, 1932 (U.S. Army - ME) Buried next to his wife, Mary A. Ward, born Dec 24, 1855 and died Mar 7, 1939. Both are buried in Marvin Chapel Cemetery.
Ollie M. Ward Gilbert is buried in Pleasant Ridge Baptist Cemetery. Headstone reads, "Mother". no dates shown. Ollie was the seventh child born to Oliver and Martha Ward ca. 1862.
The three photographs shown below were extracted from a school photograph taken ca. 1903 of the Midway School class. The extracted photograph on the left shows Clanson Ward, who would be known as Samuel C. Ward in later life. The center photograph is of Bessie and Estelle Ward. The photograph on the right is of Euncie Ward. It is believed that Eunice was no longer a student at the school but was present as the family representative for the occassion. All of these individuals are children of Robert and Laura Ward. The school was known as the Midway School and would have been midway between some place and some other place, but generally in the Sallis area.
David Blocker, who initially brought the Ward family to my attention, is the great great grandson of Oliver John Ward.