Samuel Ward Sr.
|31st and 33rd Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations|
|Preceded by||Stephen Hopkins|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Hopkins|
|Preceded by||Stephen Hopkins|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Hopkins|
|7th Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court|
May 1761 –May 1762
|Preceded by||John Gardner|
|Succeeded by||Jeremiah Niles|
|Born||May 25, 1725|
Newport, Rhode Island
|Died||March 26, 1776 50) (aged|
|Resting place||Common Burying Ground, Newport|
|Parents||Richard Ward, Mary Tillinghast|
|Occupation||Farmer, Politician, Chief Justice, Governor|
Samuel Ward (May 25, 1725 – March 26, 1776) was an American farmer, politician, Supreme Court Justice, Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and delegate to the Continental Congress. He was the son of Rhode Island governor Richard Ward, was well-educated, and grew up in a large Newport, Rhode Island family. After marrying, he and his wife received property in Westerly, Rhode Island from his father-in-law, and the couple settled there and took up farming. He entered politics as a young man and soon took sides in the hard-money vs. paper-money controversy, favoring hard money or specie. His primary rival over the money issue was Providence politician Stephen Hopkins, and the two men became bitter rivals—and the two also alternated as governors of the Colony for several terms.
During this time of political activity, Ward became a founder and trustee of Brown University. The most contentious issue that he faced during his three years as governor involved the Stamp Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament just before he took office for the second time. The Stamp Act placed a tax on all official documents and newspapers, infuriating the American colonists by being done without their consent. Representatives of the colonies met to discuss the act but, when it came time for the colonial governors to take a position, Ward was the only one who stood firm against it, threatening his position but bringing him recognition as a great patriot.
Ward's final term as governor ended in 1767, after which he retired to work on his farm in Westerly. However, he was called back into service in 1774 as a delegate to the Continental Congress. War was looming with England, and to this end he devoted all of his energy. After hostilities began, Ward stated, "'Heaven save my country,' is my first, my last, and almost my only prayer." He died of smallpox during a meeting of the Congress in Philadelphia, three months before the signing of the American Declaration of Independence, and was buried in a local cemetery. His remains were later re-interred in the Common Burying Ground in Newport.
Ward was born in Newport in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1725, the son of Rhode Island colonial governor Richard Ward. His mother Mary Tillinghast was the daughter of John Tillinghast and Isabel Sayles, and a granddaughter of Pardon Tillinghast who had come from Seven Cliffs, Sussex, England.She was also a granddaughter of John Sayles and Mary Williams, and a great granddaughter of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, making Ward the great great grandson of the colony's founder. Ward's great grandfather John Ward was born in Gloucester, England and had been an officer in Oliver Cromwell army, but he came to the American colonies following the accession of King Charles II to the English throne.
Ward was the ninth of 14 children.He grew up in a home of liberal tastes and cultivated manners, and he was trained under the discipline and instruction of a celebrated grammar school in his home town. He may also have been tutored by his older brother Thomas, who had graduated from Harvard College in 1733. As a young man, Ward married Anne Ray, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer on Block Island, from whom the couple received land in Westerly where they settled as farmers. He devoted much effort to improving the breeds of domestic animals, and he raised a breed of racehorse known as the Narraganset pacer.
Samuel and Anna Ward had eleven children. Their second son Samuel Ward, Jr. served as the lieutenant colonel of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment in the Continental Army. A great-granddaughter was Julia Ward Howe who composed the "Battle Hymn of the Republic". Ward's aunt Mary Ward married Sion Arnold, a grandson of Governor Benedict Arnold.
In 1937, the town of Westerly honored Ward's memory by dedicating its high school to him. It was renamed Westerly High School in the late 20th century, but the main auditorium was given his name.
Ward left a dressing table to his son Samuel Ward, Jr.. The dressing table is now with the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The table is an example of Queen Anne style furniture. It was made in 1746 by the cabinetmaker Job Townsend, Sr, who worked with his brother Christopher Townsend in Newport, Rhode Island.
Ward first became active in politics in 1756 when he was elected as a Deputy from Westerly.The divisive political issue of the day was the use of hard money (or specie) versus the use of paper money, and Ward sided with the former group. His chief rival was Stephen Hopkins of Providence who sided with the paper money view. So bitter was the animosity between these two men that Hopkins commenced an action for slander against Ward. The case was moved to Massachusetts for a fair trial, and the judgment went against Hopkins by default in 1759.
For ten years, the two men went back and forth as governor of the colony, each at the head of a powerful party. Josias Lyndon was elected as a compromise candidate in 1768, and the constant butting heads stopped.Hopkins won the election as governor in 1758, and beat Ward again in the following three elections. In 1761, the Assembly named Ward to the office of Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, but he only served in this capacity for a year, finally being elected governor in 1762. During this first year in office, the plan was discussed of founding a college in the Rhode Island colony, and it received Ward's hearty support. He took an active part in the establishment of "Rhode island College," later Brown University. When the school was incorporated in 1765, he was one of the trustees and one of its most generous supporters.
In 1763 Hopkins once again beat out Ward in the election for governor, serving for the next two years. However, in 1765 Ward for the second time won the contest between the two men. During this term one of the most contentious issues of the age arose, uniting the divided elements into a common cause.Two months before Ward's election the Stamp Act was passed by both houses of the Parliament of Great Britain. This act was a scheme for taxing the colonies, directing that all commercial and legal documents, to be valid in a court of law, must be written on stamped paper sold at fixed prices by governmental officers, and also directing that a duty be applied to newspapers. Parliament, assuming the right to tax the colonies put additional duties on sugar, coffee and other articles. The government also required that lumber and iron from the colonies only be exported to England.
The news of the act infuriated the colonists. Samuel Adams of Massachusetts invited all the colonies to a congress of delegates to meet in New York to discuss relief from the unjust taxes.In August 1765 the Rhode Island General Assembly passed resolutions following the lead of Patrick Henry of Virginia. Rhode Island's appointed stamp distributor, Attorney General Augustus Johnson, refused to execute his office "against the will of our Sovereign Lord the People." The Rhode Island General Assembly met again at East Greenwich in September 1765, choosing delegates to the New York congress, and appointing a committee to consider the Stamp Act. The committee reported six resolutions that pointed to the absolution of allegiance to the British Crown unless the grievances were removed.
The day before the act was to become effective, all of the royal governors took an oath to sustain it. Among the colonial governors, only Samuel Ward of Rhode Island refused the act.In so doing, he forfeited his position, and was threatened with a huge fine, but this did not deter him. Ultimately, the act was repealed, with news reaching the colonies in May 1766 to public rejoicing. The conflict for independence was delayed, but not abandoned.
In the 1767 election Ward once again lost to his nemesis, but Hopkins would not seek re-election after 1768. Eventually, friendly relations between the two great rivals was established.The famous controversy was replaced by a more momentous struggle soon to involve the colony. Governor Ward retired to his estate in Westerly, but became active again in 1774. At a town meeting in May of that year, the freemen of Providence formally proposed a Continental Congress for the union of the colonies, the first such act in favor of this measure, though the idea had already been circulating in several of the colonies. As plans solidified, the General Assembly met the following month in Newport and elected Samuel Ward and Stephen Hopkins as delegates to congress.
Ward served on several important committees, including the Committee on Secrets and frequently sat in the chair when the Congress met as a committee of the whole. He devoted all of his energy to the Continental Congress, until his untimely death from smallpox at a meeting of the convention in Philadelphia. Ward died a little more than three months before the Declaration of Independence was signed.He was originally buried in Philadelphia, but in 1860 was reinterred in the Common Burying Ground in Newport, Rhode Island.
|Ancestors of Samuel Ward (American statesman)|
Stephen Hopkins was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, a Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was from a prominent Rhode Island family, the grandson of William Hopkins who served the colony for 40 years as Deputy, Assistant, Speaker of the House of Deputies, and Major. His great grandfather Thomas Hopkins was an original settler of Providence Plantation, sailing from England in 1635 with his cousin Benedict Arnold who became the first governor of the Rhode Island colony under the Royal Charter of 1663.
The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the original Thirteen Colonies established on the east coast of America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It was an English colony from 1636 until 1707, and then a colony of Great Britain until the American Revolution in 1776, when it became the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
John Coggeshall Sr. was one of the founders of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and the first President of all four towns in the Colony. He was a successful silk merchant in Essex, England, but he emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1632 and quickly assumed a number of roles in the colonial government. In the mid-1630s, he became a supporter of dissident minister John Wheelwright and of Anne Hutchinson. Hutchinson was tried as a heretic in 1637, and Coggeshall was one of three deputies who voted for her acquittal. She was banished from the colony in 1638, and the three deputies who voted for her acquittal were also compelled to leave. Before leaving Boston, Coggeshall and many other Hutchinson supporters signed the Portsmouth Compact in March 1638 agreeing to form a government based on the individual consent of the inhabitants. They then established the settlement of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island, one of the four towns comprising the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Nicholas Cooke was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations during the American Revolutionary War, and after Rhode Island became a state, he continued in this position to become the first Governor of the State of Rhode Island. Born in the maritime town of Providence, he early in life followed the sea, eventually becoming a Captain of ships. This occupation led him to become a slave merchant, becoming highly successful in this endeavor, and he ran a distillery and rope-making business as well. He is depicted as one of the affluent merchants in John Greenwood's satirical painting from the 1750s entitled Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam.
The Rhode Island Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the U.S. State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The Court consists of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices, all selected by the Governor of Rhode Island from candidates vetted by the Judicial Nominating Commission. Each justice enjoys lifetime tenure and no mandatory retirement age, similar to Federal judges. Justices may be removed only if impeached for improper conduct by a vote of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and convicted by trial in the Rhode Island Senate.
Benedict Arnold was president and then governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, serving for a total of 11 years in these roles. He was born and raised in the town of Ilchester, Somerset, England, likely attending school in Limington nearby. In 1635 at age 19, he accompanied his parents, siblings, and other family members on a voyage from England to New England where they first settled in Hingham in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In less than a year, they moved to Providence Plantation at the head of the Narragansett Bay at the request of Roger Williams. In about 1638, they moved once again about five miles (8 km) south to the Pawtuxet River, settling on the north side at a place commonly called Pawtuxet. Here they had serious disputes with their neighbors, particularly Samuel Gorton, and they put themselves and their lands under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, a situation which lasted for 16 years.
John Easton (1624–1705) was a political leader in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, devoting decades to public service before eventually becoming governor of the colony. Born in Hampshire, England, he sailed to New England with his widowed father and older brother, settling in Ipswich and Newbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As a supporter of the dissident ministers John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy, his father was exiled, and settled in Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island with many other Hutchinson supporters. Here there was discord among the leaders of the settlement, and his father followed William Coddington to the south end of the island where they established the town of Newport. The younger Easton remained in Newport the remainder of his life, where he became involved in civil affairs before the age of 30.
John Cranston (1625–1680) was a colonial physician, military leader, legislator, deputy governor and governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations during the 17th century.
Joseph Wanton Sr. was a merchant and governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations from 1769 to 1775. Not wanting to go to war with Britain, he has been branded as a Loyalist, but he remained neutral during the war, and he and his property were not disturbed.
Pardon Tillinghast (1625–1718) was an early settler of Providence, Rhode Island, a public official there, and a pastor of the Baptist Church of Providence. A cooper by profession, he immigrated to New England about 1645, and became a successful merchant. Later in life he became a clergyman, serving without compensation for nearly four decades. He died in 1718 aged about 96, and was buried in a family cemetery on Benefit Street in Providence that remains extant. Among his thousands of descendants are many of great prominence, including Continental Congress delegate Samuel Ward; Julia Ward Howe who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic; and Stephen Arnold Douglas who was involved in a series of famed debates with Abraham Lincoln in 1858, prior to a Senate race, and later lost to him in the 1860 presidential election.
Walter Clarke (1640–1714) was an early governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and the first native-born governor of the colony. The son of colonial President Jeremy Clarke, he was a Quaker like his father. His mother was Frances (Latham) Clarke, who is often called "the Mother of Governors." While in his late 20s, he was elected as a deputy from Newport, and in 1673 was elected to his first of three consecutive terms as assistant. During King Philip's War, he was elected to his first term as governor of the colony. He served for one year in this role, dealing with the devastation of the war, and with the predatory demands of neighboring colonies on Rhode Island territory during the aftermath of the war.
Metcalf Bowler was a Rhode Island merchant, politician, and magistrate. He was for many years speaker of the house in the Rhode Island colonial assembly, attended the 1754 Albany Congress, and was elected a delegate to the 1765 Stamp Act Congress. In 1776 he was appointed to the newly independent state's supreme court. A successful Atlantic merchant, he was financially ruined by the American Revolutionary War, and was in the 20th century revealed to be a paid informant for the British Army.
Samuel Cranston (1659–1727) was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations during the first quarter of the 18th century. He held office from 1698 to 1727, being elected to office 30 times, and served as governor longer than any other individual in the history of both the colony and the state of Rhode Island. The son of former Rhode Island Governor John Cranston, he was born in Newport and lived there his entire life. Going to sea as a young man, he was captured by pirates, and held captive for several years before returning to his family.
Richard Ward was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, serving for one complete term from 1741 to 1742.
William Greene Sr. was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was a clerk of the county court in Providence, deputy from Warwick, speaker of the Rhode Island Assembly, and then deputy governor from 1740 to 1743. He became governor for the first time in 1743 and served four separate terms for a total of 11 years, and died while in office during his final term.
Gideon Wanton was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations who served for two separate one-year terms. His father was Joseph Wanton, a shipbuilder in Tiverton, and his mother was Sarah Freeborn, the daughter of Gideon and Sarah (Brownell) Freeborn. One of his great grandfathers was William Freeborn, who signed the Portsmouth Compact, becoming a founder of Portsmouth in the Rhode Island colony. Both of Wanton's parents were Quakers, and both were public speakers within the denomination.
Josias Lyndon was a governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, serving for a single one-year term.
Elisha Brown was a deputy governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was the son of James and Mary (Harris) Brown, and the great grandson of early Rhode Island settler and Baptist minister Chad Brown. Brown was a member of the General Assembly, and possessed a large property, which was lost during the financial difficulties of the mid-18th century. During the Ward-Hopkins controversy, he sided with Samuel Ward, and during Ward's term as governor from 1765 to 1767, Brown was selected as his deputy governor.
William Greene Jr. was the second governor of the state of Rhode Island, serving in this capacity for eight years, five of which were during the American Revolutionary War. From a prominent Rhode Island family, his father, William Greene Sr., had served 11 terms as a colonial governor of Rhode Island. His great-grandfather, John Greene Jr. served for ten years as deputy governor of the colony, and his great-great-grandfather, John Greene Sr. was a founding settler of both Providence and Warwick.