Samuel Ward (1725-1776), 2nd cousin 8x removed
Samuel Ward was a farmer, politician, Supreme Court Justice, Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and a delegate to the Continental Congress. Born in Newport in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1725, Ward was the son of an earlier Rhode Island colonial governor, Richard Ward. Samuel Ward’s mother, Mary Tillinghast, was a 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 2nd great grandson of the colony’s founder. Ward’s g-grandfather, John Ward, came from Gloucester, England, and had been an officer in Cromwell’s Army, but came to the American colonies following the accession of King Charles II to the English throne.
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, and settled there 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. Entering politics as a fairly young man, he soon took sides in the hard money/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, alternating as governors of the colony for several terms.
During this time of political activity, Ward became a founder and trustee of Rhode Island’s first college, Brown University. The most contentious issue 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. This act, putting a tax on all official documents and newspapers, infuriated the American colonists, being done without their consent. Representatives of the colonies met to discuss the unpopular act, but when it came time for the colonial governors to take a position in regards to the act, Ward was the only one who refused it, threatening his position, but bringing him recognition as a great patriot.
After last serving as governor in 1767, Ward retired to his farm in Westerly, but in 1774 he was called back into service as a delegate to the Continental Congress. War was looming with the mother country, and to this end he devoted all of his energy. After hostilities began, Ward made his famous statement, ending with “Heaven save my country, is my first, my last, and almost my only prayer.” During a meeting of the Congress in Philadelphia, slightly more than three months before the signing of the American Declaration of Independence, he died of smallpox, and was buried in a local cemetery. His remains were later re-interred in the Common Burying Ground in Newport.
I am related to the wife of Samuel Ward, Anne Ray, in several different ways. She is my 2nd cousin 9x removed. Anne’s mother, Deborah Greene (1659-1763) is a great granddaughter of Dr. John Green (1597-1659) and Joan Tattersall (1598-1635) on both her father’s side and her mother’s side. Dr. John Green and Joan Tattersall are my 11th g-grandparents. Deborah Greene is also a great granddaughter (on her mother’s side) of William Almy (1601-1677) and Audrey Barlowe( 1602-1676). William Almy and Audrey Barlowe are my 11th g-grandparents.
Samuel Ward (1725 – 1776), 2nd cousin 8x removed – Mary Tillinghast (1690 – 1767) – John Tillinghast (1657 – 1690) – Pardon Tillinghast (1622 – 1718) – Hannah Tillinghast (1682 – 1731) – Lillis Haile (1714 – 1797) – Jesse Mason (1737 – 1823) – Lydia Mason (1765 – 1812) – Lydia Baker (1788 – 1851) – Fayette B Hamlin (1812 – 1866) – Henry Fayette Hamlin (1834 – 1901) – Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868 – 1940) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom