Col Nahum Ward was born 18 December 1684 in Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts to William Ward (1649-1697) and Hannah Brigham (1650-1719) and died 7 May 1754 Shewsbury, Worcester County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Martha Howe (1687-1755) 1712 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.


Nahum Ward was a sailor, a Boston merchant, a town founder and real estate operator, a militia officer, a lawyer and judge.

Merchant / Sailor

The call of the sea came first, and while still in his twenties he was master of a vessel in the West-Indian service. "A spiritual change came over him and induced him," he said, "to relinquish that made of life and go into trade in Boston." There we find him admitted by the selectmen as a "new inhabitant," May 6, 1714.

First Mayor of Shrewsbury

Two years later (1716) he was again in Marlborough at the time that plans were being perfected for the division of a westward tract of 3200 acres, Known as the " Haynes Farm," and he purchased the shares of two of its twenty-three owners. The division of the property was followed by a petition to the General Court for land contiguous to and surrounding both the Haynes and other privately owned tracts for the formation of a new township. This was granted and Shrewsbury MA was established, with forty-four original proprietors - Nabum Ward being one of them.

Ten years later the town ship was incorporated, and he was elected moderator (or "mayor"), chairman of its first board of selectmen, and assessor. The office of moderator he held for twenty-two years; that of selectman twenty-three years. He was the town's first representative in the General Court and served wight years in the legislature. In addition were two years as town clerk, and four as town treasurer.

Legal Career

In 1731 he was admitted to the bar and became a practising lawyer, being in the same year commissioned as justice of the peace. In 1745 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

Military Career

His military titles show the same advance--from ensign in the town's "foot company" in 1722 to the command of his regiment in or before 1736.

He dealt largely in the town lands, both buying and selling, and had interests also in Sturbridge, Tyringham, and other townships.

About 1725 he moved into the large house he had built on a site nearly opposite that on which he erected the "Artemas Ward House" a few years later, and there he resided until his death. Later it became well known as the Baldwin Tavern. Its site is now part of Dean Park.


The original double headstone of Nahum and Martha Ward is embedded in the east face of the west pier of the General Ward Memorial Entrance to the Shrewsbury Cemetery.

Marriage & Family

They had seven children.

  1. Damaris Ward (1705-)
  2. Nahum Ward (1713-1738)
  3. Benjamin Ward (1716-1717)
  4. Persis Ward (1718-1768)
  5. Ithamar Ward (1721-1800)
  6. Martha Ward (1724-1794)
  7. Maj Gen Artemas Ward - 1st Commander in Chief of US Continental Army, preceeding Washington.
  8. Elijah Ward (1733-1802)


Offspring of Col Nahum Ward and Martha Howe (1687-1755)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Damaris Ward (1705-)
Nahum Ward (1713-1738)
Benjamin Ward (1716-1717)
Persis Ward (1718-1768)
Ithamar Ward (1721-1800)
Martha Ward (1724-1794)
Artemas Ward (1727-1800) 27 November 1727 Shrewsbury, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States 28 October 1800 Shrewsbury, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States Sarah Trowbridge (1724-1788)
Elijah Ward (1733-1802)




Footnotes (including sources)