An Illustrated History of Central Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Company, Spokane, WA. 1905, page 361-362.

* A portrait of Mr. Ward appears between pages 361 and 362.

* A portrait has been posted on-line at

THOMAS A. WARD, deceased. The birth of Mr. Ward occurred in Wisconsin on October 17, 1846 and he died at The Dalles on April 6, 1903, aged fifty-seven years. His father before him had been one of the prominent men in Oregon and one of the most intrepid of pioneers. He was associated with him in various capacities and came to be one of the leading citizens of the state of Oregon. His death occurring in the prime of life, snatched away one beloved and esteemed and he was widely known and recognized as a leader. His father, John H. Ward, was born in New York state and went to Wisconsin in the early days and there followed mining. Afterwards he lived in Missouri then came on west to California and later to Virginia City, Nevada, and mined in both places. His family joined him in California after he had mined seven years. Five years later, they came to Oregon and about 1864 took land in the Cross Hollow country, the present site of Shaniko. The family home was there for many years and stock raising occupied them. They also kept hotel and our subject drove stage for many years. The Wards were among the first settlers and were the most prominent people in this part of the country. All over western Oregon they were well known and about 1874, the father sold out his property and removed to The Dalles. Some three years later, he was called away by death. He was a man of the most unswerving integrity and sterling worth. Our subject continued to drive stage until the winter of 1876, operating on the Canyon City line. In the following spring, he took a claim in Long Hollow and conducted a stopping station for the stage in addition to raising grain and stock. For nine years, he dwelt there and then sold the property and moved to The Dalles. Here he was engaged in the hotel business for a few months and then took up the livery business with Jim Eglin. Eglin sold later to Mrs. Ward's brother. In 1892 Mr. Ward was elected sheriff of Wasco county on the Democratic ticket and after serving for one term, he again engaged in the livery business. He continued in this until the time of his death, the firm being known as Ward and Robertson. After his demise, his son succeeded as his mother's agent and is conducting the business with Mr. Robertson at this time.

In political matters, Mr. Ward was a strong Democrat and held many important offices, as member of the city council, water commissioner, president of the fire department, and so forth.

In Grant county, in Spanish Gulch, on August 27, 1876, Mr. Ward married Miss Mary L. Kerns, who was born near Mt. Tabor. Her father, William Kerns, crossed the plains in 1852 and took land near Mt. Tabor. He died in 1878. He followed mining for many years and was killed at Spanish Gulch by a cave-in from a mine. He had married Miss Lois Allen, a native of Maine and a member of the old colonial Allen family. The marriage occurred in Indiana and Mrs. Kerns died in Oregon City, in 1894. Mr. Ward's mother is now eighty-eight years of age and lives with his widow. He had one brother, John, who was killed accidentally in traveling from Nevada to Oregon. He has two sisters, Mary J., the widow of Robert Milligan, and Bercia A., widow of William Saltzman. Mrs. Ward has two brothers, Wilbur G. and Elmer B., and one sister, Lulu Westervelt. Three children were born to our subject and his wife, T. Elmer, attending to the stable, Rex A., employed in the stable and Lulu L. at home.

Mr. Ward was a prominent member of fraternal circles, assisting in organizing Ridgeley Lodge, I.O.O.F., of Dufur, of which he was the first noble grand and also a representative to the grand lodge and encampment. He and his wife were members of the Rebekahs and the Women of Woodcraft. He belonged also to the W.W., being a charter member in The Dalles.

His life speaks for itself and he is cherished in the hearts and memories of those who knew him. Fearless and brave, yet guided by a keen sense of honor and a due appreciation of his stewardship, he conducted himself both in public and private so that his reputation was flawless and unsullied. In discharging the trying duties of sheriff of Wasco county, he was always known as humane yet strictly executing the wish of the law. His friends are numbered by legion in all parts of Oregon, and no man was more highly esteemed or widely known than Thomas A. Ward.


Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in January 2005 by Jeffrey L. Elmer. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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