Artemas Ward was a colonial general and was in command of the provincial forces of Boston during the siege of Boston until the Continental Congress formally appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He was an effective political leader during and after the American Revolution and helped Massachusetts ratify the Constitution.
Artemas Ward Facts: Early Life
Artemas Ward was born to another long line of descendants living in Massachusetts Bay Colony. His parents were Nahum Ward and Martha Howe. It is believed that Artemas comes from the William Ward line of Massachusetts. Artemas was the youngest of 3 children and the only son of Nahum to survive into adulthood. His first brother, Benjamin, died three days after his first birthday.
Young Artemas learned much from his father who was successful in many different career ventures. He did attend common school and had a private tutor that also helped his siblings.
He would go on to marry Sarah Trowbridge how was from Groton, Massachusetts and the daughter of Reverend Caleb Trowbridge. Artemas and his young wife would reside in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and opened up a General Store. The two went on to have eight children. Artemas quickly rose up the political ladder serving as an assessor and as a Justice of the Peace.
Artemas Ward Facts: French and Indian War
In 1755 the militia was restructured for the war, and Ward was made a major in the 3rd Regiment which mainly came from Worcester County. They served as garrison forces along the frontier in western Massachusetts. This duty called him at intervals between 1755 and 1757, and alternated with his attendance at the General Court. In 1757 he was made the colonel of the 3rd Regiment or the militia of Middlesex and “Worchester” Counties. In 1758 the regiment marched with Abercrombie’s force to Fort Ticonderoga. Ward himself was sidelined during the battle by an “attack of the stone.”
Artemas Ward Facts: Pre-Revolution and Revolutionary War
Artemas Ward became an influential voice during the pre-revolutionary period. He and James Otis were two of the leaders that railed against the various acts of the British government. His words were so strong against the British that the Royal Governor rescinded his British military commission, which really did not have much affect. The majority of the 3rd Regiment resigned by 1774 and were under the command of Artemas Ward during the siege of Boston.
Artemas Ward was viewed in high regard and took command of the Massachusetts provincials after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. While organizing the siege provincial troops from other colonies arrived in Boston and the colonies of New Hampshire and Connecticut named him head of their forces. The Continental Congress named four other Major Generals outside of Washington to lead the Continental Army: Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, Israel Putnam, and Artemas Ward.
After the war Artemas Ward continued to be an influential voice in Massachusetts politics.
He died October 28, 1800 at his home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.