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William C. Ward

Source: "Jefferson and Birmingham, Alabama, Historical and Biographical." Teeple & Smith Publishers. Birmingham Alabama: Caldwell Printing Works, 1887.

William C. Ward is a native of Bibb County, Alabama, and was born April 5th, 1835. He is a son of David Ward, and his ancestral history, on the paternal side, is an exceedingly interesting one. His father was a native of Edgefield County, South Carolina. His father's father was a Virginian, of direct English descent, the subject's great grandfather coming over with a party of farmers, who landed on Virginia soil about the year 1700. He subsequently went to the State of South Carolina. The grandfather and great grandfather were both soldiers in the revolutionary war, the latter losing his life, and the former an eye, and a great uncle dying in the trenches at the siege of Savannah.

The maternal side of his history is no less interesting. The subject's mother was a Georgian by birth, and her ancestry of Virginia origin, who, in turn, were of direct English descendants. Some of them also figured in the revolutionary war for independence. Her immediate ancestors immigrated to Georgia some time about the beginning of the present century. Her maiden name was A. C. E. Carleton. The subject's father and mother were married in Bibb County, Alabama, some time after their immigration to the State, which runs back to an early period in its history. His mother died in the year 1859, and his father survived her only one year. The latter was a farmer of large means. There were twelve children in the family, several of whom attained maturity.

The subject of this sketch was reared in Bibb County, and received his first school training there. After attaining a sufficient age he entered the University of Alabama, and graduated, as the first-honor man, in the class of 1858. This was no mean distinction. For three years after this he was professor of Pure Mathematics, Rhetoric, and Logic, in Howard College, Marion, Alabama, one of the leading and best known institutions, noted for the high standard of education attained by its students.

In April, 1861, he entered the service of the Confederacy as a private in Company G of the Fourth Alabama Infantry, and was in Lee's army of Northern Virginia. He was in the first battle of Manassas, and all the principal battles of Virginia up to the bloody engagement of Gettysburg, where he was wounded, in the charge on Little Round Top, made by General Hood. He was left on the field of battle for six weeks because the condition of his wound would not permit his removal. Here he endured all that is conceivable of suffering and hardship. He was exchanged, and in the winter of 1863-64 was transferred to the Sixty-second Alabama Regiment, and became Captain of Company A of that regiment. He remained with this regiment until its capture at Blakely, and prior to this was wounded twice at Spanish Fort. For some weeks he was a prisoner at Ship Island, where he was guarded by negro soldiers.

After the close of the war he returned home, and prepared himself for the bar by private study. On being admitted he began the practice at Selma, Alabama, in 1866, and has always been found, in this field of action, taking a prominent stand before the people. He always took a prominent part in politics, except offering for office, and was of the "Simon pure" democratic way of thinking. He stood by the people, and labored earnestly for their interests in one of the darkest periods of the State's history-we refer to the trying times of reconstruction. He did not hesitate to close his office, and, at his own expense, traveled through several counties, speaking wherever a crowd could be gathered to hear him. He was especially active in the political campaigns of 1874, 1876, and 1878. At one time he was a member of the city government of Selma, and interested himself, to a great extent, in organizing the public schools of the city, now one of the most admirable school systems of the State.

He was defeated for the Mayoralty of Selma in the election of 1877. While never holding an office he has frequently acted as special judge, and is now judge in the case of the mortgage bondholders against the Selma & New Orleans Railroad and Emigration Association, and was at one time one of three judges of a special court of the Supreme Court of the State, in the case of Baldwin, receiver, against the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company, and delivered an opinion in the case.

In December, 1885, he came to Birmingham and took up his residence, and since then has devoted himself entirely to professional labors. He owns considerable property here and elsewhere, and, among other things, is the possessor of one of the handsomest houses, which is picturesquely situated on the South Highlands, in the city of Birmingham.

He was married, in 1868, to Miss Alice Goodhue, a daughter of Professor A. B. Goodhue, of Howard College, Marion, Alabama, in the month of February, 1868. His wife's father is now a resident of Gadsden, Alabama. Captain Ward is the father of four living children, whose names are Alice Lillian, Julia, May Carleton, and an infant. Both the Captain and Mrs. Ward are members of the South Side Baptist Church, of Birmingham. Thus, we have, in Captain Ward, the life of a citizen, well rounded with the performance of high and honorable duties.

 

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