Family Stories

William Anderson Ward Biography

William Anderson Ward Biography

from A History Of Johnson County, Kentucky

William A. Ward, the efficient and popular postmaster of Paintsville, county seat of Johnson County, naturally shows unqualified loyalty to his home town, for he is a native son of this county and a representative of a sterling family whose name has been worthily linked with the history of this section of Kentucky since the pioneer days.  William Anderson Ward was born at River, Johnson County, on the Big Sandy River, and the date of his nativity was October 1, 1863. He is a son of John M. and Pauline (Meek) Ward, both likewise natives of this county, the father having been born in the vicinity of the little village of River and mother at Ward City, a place now known as Whitehouse. John M. Ward died in 1912, at the venerable age of eighty-one years, his wife having passed to eternal rest in 1891 and both having been earnest members of the United Baptist Church.  William A. Ward, grandfather of the postmaster of

Paintsville, was born and reared in Virginia, of Colonial ancestry, and was one of the venerable and honored pioneer citizens of Johnson County, Kentucky, at the time of his death. He developed one of the productive farms of the county and in the early days gave attention each year to the trapping and hunting of the wild game, which was then plentiful in this section.  John M. Ward was for years actively engaged in the navigation trade on the Big Sandy River, he having operated a push boat, by means of which he transported merchandise, produce, etc., to the various river points between Catlettsburg and Pikeville. His association with this enterprise continued thirty-five years or more. He was in full sympathy with the cause of the Confederacy in the Civil War, was a democrat in politics, and both he and his wife were active in church work, he having aided in the erection of the building of the United Baptist Church at Ward City, a place named in honor of the family of which he was a member.  Of their five children two died in infancy; Trinvella, who died at Whitehouse at the age of thirty-five years, and the wife of Washington Brown; Sallie, the wife of Wallace Borders, was twenty-six years of age at the time of her death, at Whitehouse; and the subject of this sketch is thus the only surviving member of the immediate family. William A. Ward attended school at River and also the rural school at the mouth of Two Mile Creek, it having been necessary for him to walk the five miles between his home and the latter school each day. At the age of thirteen years he initiated his service as cook for his father in connection with the latter’s transportation business on the Big Sandy River, and he continued his active association with the river trade for a full quarter of a century, twenty years of this period having found him in service as pilot and captain on steamboats.  For fourteen years of this time he was associated with John C. C. Mayo, and among the boats with whose operation he was identified were the Sipp Bayes, the Beulah Brown, the Argyle, the Andy Hatcher and the Thelka, the last mentioned having been named in honor of Mrs. John C. C. Mayo, the owner. Mr. Ward was associated with Mr. Mayo also in all of the latter’s trips through the Big Sandy Valley and the mountains when he was investigating and buying coal leases.  In 1910 Mr. Ward was appointed postmaster at Paintsville, and his administration has been signally efficient and satisfactory. He is a staunch advocate of the principles of the democratic party, is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and both he and his wife are members of the Mayo Memorial Church, Methodist Episcopal, South, at Paintsville.  As a youth of eighteen years Mr. Ward was united in marriage with Miss Mittie Ellen Borders, who was born in Lawrence County, a daughter of John Borders.  She was born in 1865, and her death occurred on the 9th of July, 1911. Of the five children of this union four are living: Hester is the wife of J. T. Powell, a merchant at Grahn, Carter County; John is in the employ of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company; McGuffy is his father’s assistant in the postoffice at Paintsville; Smith is in the service of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company; and Carrie B. died at the age of nineteen years. On the 8th of August, 1914, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Ward with Miss Effie Casady, a daughter of Samuel Casady, of Martin County, and she is the popular chatelaine of the pleasant home at Paintsville.  As the owner of a fine farm on the Big Sandy River Mr. Ward is deeply interested in the advancement of the agricultural and live-stock industries in his native county, and in his civic attitude he is essentially progressive and public-spirited.

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