Ward, Thomas, 1807-1873

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Thomas William Peg Leg Ward (1807-1872), architect, veteran of the Texas Revolution and government official, was born in Ireland in 1807. Prior to emigration to Quebec in 1828, he was educated as an architect. Ward subsequently moved to New Orleans and became a member of the New Orleans Greys in 1835 when Texas called for aid against Mexico. His company served under Colonel Ben Milam at the Siege of San Antonio de Bexar, during which Ward’s right leg was severed by a cannon ball. A replacement wooden leg gave him the nickname Peg Leg Ward. He recruited a company of volunteers in New Orleans, which served under Thomas Jefferson Rusk. After San Jacinto, Ward settled in Houston and eventually contracted for the construction of the capitol there. In March 1841, he lost his right arm in a cannon accident during a Texas Independence celebration.

Ward served the Texas government in many capacities during the Republic, early statehood, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods. He became postmaster of the Republic, was made chief clerk of the House of Representatives during the Fourth Congress, and in 1840 was elected second Mayor of Austin. On January 4, 1841, Ward succeeded J.P. Borden to become the second commissioner of the General Land Office. He was a major figure in the Archives War, having been ordered directly by Sam Houston to remove the archives from Austin. Ward served as land commissioner until 1848, when he was defeated by George W. Smyth. On June 20, 1844, Ward married widow Susan L. Marston.

In 1850 Ward was appointed commissioner to issue certificates to claimants in Peter’s Colony. He was elected to his second term as mayor of Austin in 1853, but left office later that year to serve a presidential appointment as consul to Panama until 1857. During the election of 1860, despite bad health, Ward participated as an opponent of secession. After the Civil War, Gov. A. J. Hamilton appointed Ward as mayor of Austin – his third and final time in that office – which he left to serve as President Andrew Johnson’s collector of customs in Corpus Christi from 1865 to 1869. He resided in Austin until dying of typhoid fever in 1872. Wardville, TX, and Ward County, TX, are named in his honor.

Sources: Meriwether, Sara May. Ward, Thomas William. Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/WW/fwa52.htmlhttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/WW/fwa52.html (accessed Sept. 25, 2009). Thomas William Ward Papers, 1825-1885, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

From the guide to the Thomas William Ward Papers 73-102; 85-022; 86-211; 98-387; 2004-065; 2008-173; 2008-303; 2009-257., 1825-1885, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Thomas William "Peg Leg" Ward (1807-1872), architect, veteran of the Texas Revolution and government official, was born in Ireland in 1807.

Ward moved to New Orleans and became a member of the New Orleans Greys in 1835 when Texas called for aid against Mexico. His company served under Colonel Ben Milam at the Siege of San Antonio de Bexar, during which Ward's right leg was severed by a cannon ball. Ward settled in Houston and eventually contracted for the construction of the capitol there. Ward served the Texas government in many capacities during the Republic, early statehood, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods. He became postmaster of the Republic, was made chief clerk of the House of Representatives during the Fourth Congress, and in 1840 was elected second Mayor of Austin. Ward succeeded J.P. Borden to become the second commissioner of the General Land Office. He was a major figure in the Archives War, and Ward served as land commissioner until 1848. On June 20, 1844, Ward married widow Susan L. Marston. In 1850 Ward was appointed commissioner to issue certificates to claimants in Peter's Colony. He was elected to his second term as mayor of Austin in 1853, but left office later that year to serve a presidential appointment as consul to Panama until 1857. After the Civil War, Gov. A. J. Hamilton appointed Ward as mayor of Austin, which he left to serve as President Andrew Johnson's collector of customs in Corpus Christi from 1865 to 1869. He resided in Austin until dying of typhoid fever in 1872.

From the description of Ward, Thomas William, papers, 1825-1885. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 474900170

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Thomas William Ward Papers 73-102; 85-022; 86-211; 98-387; 2004-065; 2008-173; 2008-303; 2009-257., 1825-1885 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Ward, Thomas, 1807-1873. Ward, Thomas William, papers, 1825-1885. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Charles Sumner correspondence, 1829-1874. Houghton Library.
referencedIn William James papers, 1803-1941 (inclusive) 1862-1910 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits, ca. 1852-ca. 2004 Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z, and unidentified. Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Briscoe, Andrew, 1810-1849 person
associatedWith Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870 person
associatedWith Cooke, William Gordon, 1808-1847 person
associatedWith Davis, Edmund J. person
associatedWith Davis, Edmund J. person
associatedWith De Cordova, Jacob, 1808-1868 person
associatedWith Durham, George J., 1820-1868 person
associatedWith Green, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1802-1863 person
associatedWith Henderson, James Pinckney, 1808-1858 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith Houston, Sam, 1793-1863 person
associatedWith Hull, Jonathan. person
associatedWith Hull, Jonathan. person
correspondedWith James, William, 1842-1910 person
associatedWith Jones, Anson. person
associatedWith Jones, Anson. person
associatedWith Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte, 1798-1859 person
associatedWith Lubbock, Francis Richard, 1815-1905 person
associatedWith Reily, James person
associatedWith Reily, James person
associatedWith Rusk, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1803-1857 person
associatedWith Shackelford, Jack, 1790-1857 person
associatedWith Smyth, Charles B. person
associatedWith Smyth, Charles B. person
associatedWith Starr, James Harper, 1809-1890 person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Texas. General Land Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Ward, Dudley. person
associatedWith Ward, Dudley. person
associatedWith Ward family. family
associatedWith Ward family. family
Place Name Admin Code Country
Austin (Tex.)
Houston (Tex.)
San Antonio (Tex.)
Panama
Houston (Tex.)
Washington (D.C.)
Panama
Austin (Tex.)
United States
Texas
San Antonio (Tex.)
Washington (D.C.)
United States
Texas
Subject
Diplomatic and consular service, American--19th century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1807-06-08

Death 1873-11-25

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