Monday, May 30, 2011
Remembering One of My Heroes and Mentors - Artemas Ward
As we enter another Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to remember one of my most beloved members of my family who helped create this country into what it is known today. Artemas Ward the first Commander-on-Chief of the Patriot Forces during the American Revolution, was born November 26, 1727 and passed after long service to our country while battling sickness, on October 28, 1800.
My great grandfather, General Artemus Ward lived most of his life in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts with his wife, Sarah Trowbridge, and their eight children.
Grandpa attended the common schools, was prepared for college by a private tutor and graduated from Harvard College (B.A. 1748, M.A. 1751).
Like his father, he held a prolific number of public offices at the town, county and state level, including Justice of the Peace in 1752, a representative in the Colonial General Assembly for many terms and in the executive council, Lieutenant Colonel in the Provincial Army in the French and Indian War and appointed Brigadier General by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts on October 27, 1774.
Commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Massachusetts Forces.
As political crisis brought on an American Revolution, Ward was made Commander in Chief of the Massachusetts forces on May 19, 1775, appointed by the Continental Congress to Major General on June 17, 1775 (second in seniority only to George Washington) and was in command of the forces besieging Boston until the arrival of Washington in Cambridge July 2, 1775.
Demand that the troops be protected from the weather.
President Hancock's Letter Transmitting Ward's Commission as First Major-General of the Continental Army.
Ward's Letter Accepting his Commission as First Major-General of the Constitutional Army.
Article published in the Massachusetts Spy, April 14, 1784.
General Artemas Ward, 1727 - 1800
The Battle of Bunker Hill occurred under Ward's general command. The fortifying of Dorchester Heights with cannon brought from Fort Ticonderoga by General Henry Knox took place in the sector under Ward's command in March, 1776.
The Resolution of the Council of War, June 15, 1775 to occupy both Bunker Hill and Dorchester Neck.
Soon after the British evacuated Boston, Ward returned to civilian life where he served in demanding and important positions. He was Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas of Worcester County in 1776 and 1777. He served in the Massachusetts Senate as President of the Executive Council. He served in the Massachusetts Senate as President of the Executive Council. In this capacity, Ward functioned as Massachusetts' chief executive during the war (1777-1779) in the office that replaced the Royal Governor no longer recognized.
He was a member of the Continental Congress from January 1780 to May 1782 when he resigned, and was later elected as a Federalist to the 2nd and 3rd Congress (1791-1795).
The Artemas Ward Memorial Entrance, Mountain View Cemetery,
December of 1797, Ward concluded his long career as judge and spent his final years in quiet retirement at home with his family. He died October 28, 1800 and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Shrewsbury Center.
On November 3, 1938, a bronze statue of General Ward was unveiled at Ward Circle, Washington, D.C. and stands at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. The sculptor, Leonard Crunelle also used the cape actually worn by Ward as a model. The sculpture and base each measure approximately 10 feet high by 5 feet wide by 4 feet deep. The stone base is inscribed "Artemas Ward, 1727-1800, Son of Massachusetts, Graduate of Harvard College, Judge and Legislator, Delegate 1780-1781 Continental Congress, Soldier in Three Wars, First Commander of the Patriotic Forces."
Artemas Ward was more than just my Great Grand Pa. He contributed to our country's needs with the people in mind and the rights of freedom. His story keeps me grounded everyday and commits me to moving forward in speaking my mind and creating change for the benefit of ALL people. I approach my business in selling Mid-Century Modern architecture with Artemas in mind. Not only is he one of my most beloved heroes, but also one of my most inspiring members of my family tree. I look at all business situations in the same fair manner as he.
Artemas would be proud of the men and women who serve our country and to those who have lost their lives in doing so.
Excerpts taken from:
Martyn, Charles. The Life of Artemas Ward, The First Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolution. 1921. Reprint, Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1970.